Three Days Near Looe

Sunday 29th October 2017

Astonishing range of topics from the Gay Mother within minutes of arrival in the Far West: Edwina Mountbatten much to the fore; how wizened and aged she was when seen at the garden party shortly after the War – the biog reveals that the Royal Family were displeased with her over the Paul Robson affair but she was displeased with them; the frozen prawn cupboard at Tesco in a terrible muddle and remained so despite complaint; the marauding pheasants, of course, and the connected visit of the friend of Prince William’s who’d wanted to know about her Euphatorium Ligustrinum (it is the most sacred bush); not to mention, the Iron Age settlements on the Moor and Pendle Moon’s book about Partition, which had to be ordered specially.

We took a gruelling tour of horrid, creepy Cornwall with its poison icing of money and pedigree dogs. But first was a small rellie lunch for my birthday at the Gastro Pub, a visit to the garden of the ancestral home, a harvest festival evensong and Cousin Teddy’s memorial exhibition of paintings followed by outdoor windy lunch. All that branch of the family were eccentric and buried themselves in their house (talk about rambling, but only one generation back in fact) far down in the river valley, writing novels, constructing works of philosophy and painting pictures, caring nothing whether anyone took any notice. Cousin Lunetta got so that she wouldn’t leave that fastness even for a family funeral, let alone a wedding. Yet Cousin Paquita’s father had been intimate with two kings and it was said her mother corresponded privately with Her Present Majesty in her capacity as a White Witch. Cousin Teddy’s Italian grandfather is buried at San Miniato and was a grandee of Firry. One of the Italian aunts was granted the privilege of being able to copy at the Pitti. So they were in the world once but left it. Cousin Teddy’s paintings are covetable when in pewter and sea shades, the green not so good. Too yellow. Landscapes of our beloved places in the Far West. I’m angling to get 4 in the auction, the Gay Mother was given one. In gilt frames, they’ll give the home an ancestral feel and importance at reasonable cost.

So on to sinister Cornwall. We’d quite forgotten Toilet (or Looe) is a big place. The hotel was strangely impenetrable. There was a howling gale and I was anxious to get the Gay Mother, at 93, in. But there was no front door. Just a glassed in veranda full of people having afternoon tea. It turned out you were meant to barge through the door in the glass and manoeuvre selves and luggage around the tea-takers. I got a bit snappy. I’ve never known a hotel more difficult to get into or out of as a matter of fact. A back door was revealed but to get to it you had to pass through the dining room and many passages with squeezy fire-doors. It took me three trips to insert my outfits into the hotel. Trying to hang them up in the room I became overwrought and thought I couldn’t go on.

The one thing the Gay Mother wanted to do was walk in the garden with its sea view in the gale. So that meant another great blast of air for the tea-takers. A wag had been at work. There was a fat man in plaster sitting on a seat; although quite unbelievable as a human being and not a surprise after the first sighting we still jolted every time we saw him. A watering-can watering glass droplets and a cement pig also featured as optical illusions. The next day the Gay Mother announced that we were to visit a church visible from the hotel across several valleys. She said there might be some tablets to some of our remote ancestors. We set off across a terrific field sloping violently towards the sea. My bootees were soaked through. Then there was a stile, cruelly configured so that one of 93 couldn’t climb over it. The desired church was still in view but there was nothing for it but to go back the way we’d come, except the Gay Mother cunningly worked out that by tacking along the bottom of the field and up the other side from the one we’d come down, it would be less steep. When we got back to square one, it turned out we were to walk just as far in the other direction, down an abandoned lane, past an abandoned farm, then all the way back again. No explanation given. At last lunch but the hotel was packed with vicious retired so we had to perch on drawing room arm chairs. Now we attempted the church in the Official Car. But it was brutally locked. We sat in the churchyard for a bit wondering how there could be so many dead in such a tiny place right by the sea. The ancestors with their tablets (if indeed there) will have to wait, possibly for ever, for will the Gay Mother ever go back? Then it was on to the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery to get another Euphatorium Ligustrinum for one of her neighbours plus a silver birch for where the box used to be and one other plant – can’t remember what.

 

Wicked Stile, Impossible for One of 93

Wicked Stile, Impossible for One of 93

Path Along Which We Walked

Path Along Which We Walked

The Longed-Off Church

The Longed-For Church

Yes, But What if you Just Want to Visit the Church?

Yes, But What if you Just Want to Visit the Church? 

Creepy, Menacing Cornwall

Creepy, Menacing Cornwall, From the Hotel Bedroom 

Sea-View

Sea-View

 

Posted Sunday, October 29, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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