A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 8: Ascending St Michael’s Mount

Continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall, with the ascent of St Michael’s Mount.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my stay in Cornwall. This post takes us up St Michael’s Mount and covers some of the stuff at the top. There will be at least two and possibly three more posts about the day.

BASE CAMP (!)

Among the places at ground level, before the ascent begins are the restaurant where we would be having lunch and a visitor’s centre which provides a comprehensive introduction. After these one passes through a field that contains a dairy cottage before the ascent begins.

Ships in the distanceSea ViewFind Your WayMapLooking back at the mainlandMuralIllyriaFootprintsMural PlaqueModel of the mountPlan the dayWelcome to St Michael's MountPicture of the mountTL1

TL2
No sops for creationists here! The straight truth about the formation of the granite of which the mount consists – it was formed longer before the dinosaurs roamed the earth than we are after the last dinosaurs disappeared.

TL3The castleThe GardensTL4Boat 1Boat 2Boat info boardThe DrakeAmphibious vehiclesDUKWBoat on the islandThe St MichaelOur venue for lunchMarazion from the IslandThe abbey from belowCreelsOutdoor artworkHutConservation notice

THE ASCENT BEGINS

The climb up to the buildings on top of the mount begins by way of The Pilgrims Steps, continues past the Giant’s Well and the Giant’s Heart and a cannon emplacement. Then comes the first indoor section and a roof terrace where we pause until the next post in this series…

The pilgrims stepsView across the sea

Giants Well
The Giant’s Well – from an old folk tale

Giants Well sign

The vicinity of the Giants Heart
And about 50 yards further along The Giant’s Heart.

The giants heart sign

The Giants Heart
The actual heart!

FrontageArcher's alcoveSea view from aboveSea view from above IISea view from above IIICannonsCannonMarking on cannonView from the cannon emplacementSea View from above IVThe main buildingDistant view of PenzanceYachts and a headlandPenzance from St Michael's Mounttwo yachtsThree yachts

Wall mounted militaria I
The first weapons display – in the next post you will see another one.

Swordsthree swordsGunsGunCrossbowJewellery displayCannon and ammogiant crestCrossed swords ICrossed swords IIDrummers kitPortrait 1Portrait 2Trio IMantelpiece and trioClockCentral UnitGrandfather clockCentral Unit IIBoyPortrait IVCorner unitChest IChest IITrio IILadyArtists representation of the mountMiniaturesquartetLady IIQuartet IIMiniatures IIMiniatures close-upFancy CabinetLiving spaceLibrary and game zoneChess boardChess board IIHeraldry display wallRoof patterning and friezechapelShieldsshields and ornamentsLong tablefrieze workstained glass Istained glass IIstained glass IIIsingle panelShields anf friezeshields and friezeRoof beamsAlcovewooden bas-reliefShieldSilverwareSilverware IISilverware IIIStained glass VStained glass VIShip panelstained glass womanTriple panelstained glass heraldic lionStained glass jester panelCircular stained glass panelsSilverware IVdecorated chestQuintetOval picturePicture of a Cornish gentFireplaceTrio IVbay window

Garden from above I
Us hoi polloi can only view these gardens from above – we never actually get into them.

A study in blueGarden from above IIGarden from above IIIGarden from above IV

Sundial
A very elaborate sundial.

Detail from sundial

Roof terrace
This where our next post will start from.

Greece 2018: Nestor’s Palace

An account of Nestor’s palace at Pylos.

INTRODUCTION

Through a combination of work commitments and still having large numbers of photos to edit it has been a while since I posted, so just to remind people I was in Greece from May 12th to May 19th, and have so far produced five posts relating to that holiday:

  1. Aperiftif – setting the scene for subseqent posts going into more detail about the holiday and various aspects thereof.
  2. Days 1-2 – covering the start of the holiday
  3. The Journey to Methoni – covering the start of the first of the two major excursions.
  4. Methoni Castle – covering the castle other than the Bourzti of Methoni.
  5. The Bourtzi of Methoni – covering the Bourtzi.

A VERY ANCIENT SITE

Whereas nothing at Methoni is above 800 years old, and most of it is around half that age (making it a youngster in terms of Greek sites) Nestor’s Palace at Pylos (about 15 kilometres from the modern town of that name) was in its pomp 3,300 years ago or thereabouts, which means that even by Greek standards it counts as old (although Gortyn on the island of Crete is about twice as old as even this). In an effort to preserve these remains a shelter has been built around the site, and part of this structure is a raised walkway from which visitors view the site – no walking round at ground level these days.

roof and walkways

NESTOR’S PALACE IN PICTURES

It is now time for the combination of my camera and photo-editing skills to take over and give you a virtual tour of Nestor’s Palace…

Information, Nestor's Palace
There is lots of informatrion about the palace and the kingdom it was a part of.

The Kingdom of PylosThe Perfumed Oil IndustryThe White GoddessThe search for the Mycenaean KingdomThe new face of NestorThe well-built citadel of NeleusThe Palace of NestorReconstruction of Nestor's PalacePropylonLooking at Nestor's PalaceMinor roomsstonework, PylosThe Archives of the PalaceCourtColumn support bases and remains of the court wallThe MegaronNature, History, Culture in perfect harmonyside roomsThe back of Nestor's palace and beyondSouthwestern building, Palace of NeleusPantries info boardPantriesThrone room info boardThrone roomThrone pedestalThrone pedestal IIThrone pedestal IIIThrone room wallOuter limits of palaceraised walkway and frameworkThrone room IIstoneworkextremities of the palaceroof structureOlive Oil stiorage roomsOlive oil storerooms remainsstaircaseremainsNestor's bathNestor's bath and queen's throne room

detail from Nestor's bath
some detail from the inside facing of Nestor’s bath.

side of palaceNestor's bath info boardunsheltered remainsNortheastern buildingBeyond the shelterThe Queen's megaronThe queen's throne roomsmall roomLooking out of the palaceThe queen's thronewallsThe bathroombath decorationdisabled access at Nestor's palacepropylon671

Sea view from Nestor's palace IV
The first of several sea views I captured from Nestor’s palace.

SEA VIEWS FROM THE PALACE

Here are my remaining sea views from the palace itself…

sea view from Nestor's palace IISea view from Nestor's palace IIISea view from Nestor's palace

Greece: The Journey to Methoni

Setting the scene for the accounts of Methoni and Nestor’s palace.

INTRODUCTION

On the Tuesday of my Greek holiday (Tuesday 15th May) we visited first the Venetian castle at Methoni and then Nestor’s palace at Pylos. This post sets the scene for the rest of that day by describing things up to the point at which we were poised to visit the castle.

UNDER WAY

We had intended to get underway by nine o’clock and we did. Although being in the back of a hatchback with small rear windows is somewhat limiting of what one can photograph I got a few shots as we approached our main destination.

sea view through the car windowView across the bayMarina IMarina IIMarina IIIMarina IV

Aqueduct through car window I
This is a Turkish built medieval aqueduct, and I got three shots of it from the car, before we stopped because there was an information board about it.

Aqueduct through car window IIAqueduct through car window III

THE AQUEDUCT CLOSE UP

I took full advantage of our brief stop…

Aqueduct information board
The Information board.

Aqueduct segmentThrough an archSegment including towercacticacti II

THE FINAL APPROACH TO METHONI

We passed a scene that featured both good and bad…

The best and worst of Greece

The wind turbines on the hill are a positive sign, but the derelict shell of a building at the bottom is unfortunate to say the least. After parking in Methoni we passed the Venetial Well en route to a cafe…

Venetian well storyboardThe Venetian well at Methoni

At the cafe we were served water and decided to sample their chocolate crepes, which proved to be ill-advised. These were served in absurd quantities, and the principal covering was nutella. I realised after eating one of the three crepes I was served that I needed to scrape away the nutella before continuing with the others. Half way through the second I gave up, realising that trouble was in store if I continued eating the stuff. This decision came too late to entirely save me from adverse consequences, but at least meant that I only became a little nauseous rather than ever actually feeling or being sick. 

Once we were all finished it was time to visit the castle, which will form the subject of my next post.

Picklecombe Fort, Kingsand and Cawsand

An account of a visit to the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand.

INTRODUCTION

The feature of yesterday was a walk along the coast from Fort Picklecombe to the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, and then back. I have many photos from yesterday, and will be sharing the general ones here. I have a fairly sizeable collection of pictures of boats and ships already, and I will be doing a special post about these immediately I have completed this one.

FORT PICKLECOMBE TO THE VILLAGES

In olden times the two villages in this post were on opposite sides of the Devon/ Cornwall boundary – Kingsand in Devon and Cawsand in Cornwall, but nowadays both are comfortably within Cornwall, since the county boundary is the Tamar River. This part of Cornwall, known as the Rame Peninsula has its own official website. The coast path which we followed on our way to the villages is good although a little sticky in places (prolonged heavy rain would undoubtably turn it into a quagmire). Here are some photos from this section of the journey:

leaving the fortAbove the fortDanger signGatemini lighthousesignLighthousetreesTreeruined buildingFlying corvidBreakwaterPathSea viewLeafbirdsMagpiebig house overlooking Kingsandbig snailMt EdgecumbSnail

KINGSAND AND CAWSAND

We visited the Post Office, where my parents had some stuff to post and something to collect, and then walked down to the sea front by way of a road that was unsuitable for motor vehicles. Here are some pictures from Kingsand and Cawsand…

Kingsand and CawsandApproaching KIngsandApproaching Kingsand IIKingsand and Cawsand mapRising SunAmherst BatteryHalfway House InnHalfay House Inn cannonCawsand

Welcome to Cawsand Bay
Note the website bottom right as you look: http://www.ramepbc.org/

Cormorant PanelSSIsProtect the BaySeals and Dolphin

At this point we paid a visit to…

THE DEVONPORT INN

This establishment ticked one box instantly – investigation of the bar revealed the presence of locally brewed cask ale. They had three of the Dartmoor Brewery’s products available, and as someone who is a dedicated Holmesian as well as a fan of locally brewed ales I opted for “Legend”, with its connection to “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. This proved to be a very good choice – it was an excellent drink. As well as the website, which I linked to in the heading of this section they have a twitter account, @devonport_inn. Here are some pictures taken while enjoying my pint…

Fire, the Devonport pubDecorations, the DevonportThe local productA pint of LegendLegend logoLanternWall photo, the DevonportDevonport PR

THE WALK BACK

We started out along the sea front. My mother abandoned this route quite earlu, but my father and I continued along the sea front rather longer (in retrospect this was an over adventurous decision given some of the terrain we had to contend with). By the time we saw a wooden staircase leading up to a campsite near the fort we were glad of a definite way back to the official route. I conclude this post with some photos from the walk back…

Distant view of the fortDistant view of the fort IILighthouse close-upShellsBy the seasideInletruinruined wallInlet IIRed rockShellGullRed rock IIrock formationCarapace fragmentrockspawprints

Claw
I was intrigued by this claw, but in accordance with Sutcliffe’s Rule for enjoying nature and enabling others to do so (take nothing except photographs, leave nothing except footprints), I left it in place for others to see if they happened to go that way.

Herring GullFishing basketsEx-tree

The Gaywood River

An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.

INTRODUCTION

I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:

FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT

I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.

GETTING THERE

Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:

Moorhensigull with spread wings

From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…

BoatCormorantiCormorantiiCormorantiiibirds 'n' churchcormorantiv

…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…

SquirreliiiSquirreliv

Moorhen Chick
This picture and the next feature the heavily sculpted segment of the Gaywood River that passes through the parkland.

Moorhen parent and child

Traini
Apart from photograph opportunities the other plus side to being held up a by a train at the Tennyson Road level crossing is that you can cross the road itself in perfect safety as the cars are all stationary.

trainii

From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut. 

Butterfly
Although darker than their usual colouring I think from the markings that this is a peacock butterfly.
Gaywood river
A section of the Gaywood River

AT THE SCOUT HUT

Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction). 

GazeboDisplay boardGaywood Valley 1LeafletsDisplay BoardGaywood Valley 2Gaywood Hidden HeritageGaywood Valley 3Display Board

Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…

THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL

They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.

Civic Soc display boardCS1CS2CS3CS4183818101960Wall DisplayMKBUrban Trees

Now we turn out attention to…

THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES

The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.

Quiz
I will reveal the answers (just in case anyone did not get them all) in a later post.

Colouring sheetsWall riverCakescolouring table

That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…

IN THE BACK GARDEN

There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…

THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post. 

NWTNH1NH3NH2NH4NH5NH6NH7NH8NH9NH10NH11NH12NH13NH14NH15NH16NH17NH18NH19NH20NH21NH22NH23NH24NH25NH26NH27NH28NH29NH30NH31NH32NH33NH34NH35NH36skull

We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…

THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST

There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:

Winter demo 1
These three models were side by side demonstrating what happens to soil when there is nothing there at all – gets washed straight into the river)…
Farm demo 2
When there are dead leaves covering it – still lots of it ends up in the river…
Farm demo 3
…and what happens when something suitable is planted – note the much clearer water at the end – most of this soil remains in place.

The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…

Caddis House
This is one of nature’s smallest houses – within it is a caddis fly larva, and at some point the adult fly will emerge.
Stickleback
The next three shots are of small sticklebacks.

Stickleback 2Stickleback 3

Gudgeon 1
This was described as a gudgeon, but looks different to the other gudgeons we will see later. The silvery sheen to its scales suggests a dace to my eyes.

Water shot

Stickleback 4
I am not sure what this piebald fish is, though it could be a stickleback.

Water shot 2

Sample dish
This shot of the sample dish showing the thumbnail of the dxemonstrator reveals just how tiny that Caddis fly home actually is – it was in this same dish that I saw it.

Water shot 3Water shot 4Water shot 5SaladsPond animals

Gudgeons1
Two gudgeons in the second bucket – note that as would be the case in the river they are at the bottom.

Gudgeons 2Water shot 6two sticklebacksWater shot 7Water shot 8Water shot 9

There was also a story teller outside…

Story

LINKS

To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:

Now we have a few science and nature websites:

  • Wildlife & Planet – interesting stuff about wildlife from all over the world.
  • WEIT – the website that grew out of Jerry Coyne’s classic book Why Evolution is True. 
  • Science Whys – the blog of Brandeis biology professor James Morris.
  • Rationalising the Universe – sets about accomplishing the big task laid out in its title and does a good job of it.
  • Faraday’s Candle – a science website that will really illuminate your life.

I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:

  • Cindy Knoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
  • Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.

CONCLUSION

This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.

 

 

2 Hampton Court

Continuing my account of Heritage Open Day 2017 with an account of the unique opportunity presented by the fact that 2 Hampton Court is currently being renovated.

INTRODUCTION

This post continues my account of Heritage Open Day 2017, which started with an overview and continued with a post about my experience volunteering at 27 King Street. This post deals with an opportunity that was available for the first and probably last time this year. Having anticipated the effect that my two-hour volunteering stint was likely to have on me I had decided this warranted being seen before that.

SOME HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

A double sided A4 information sheet about some of the history of the place had been put together by Hendrina Ellis:

HC1HC2

There is no connection between this Hampton Court and the famous Hampton Court in Surrey (there are in fact at least three places with this name, the other being in Herefordshire, and the one in Surrey is the newest of the three, being a touch under 500 years old).

2 HAMPTON COURT IN PICTURES

As well as the building itself there was a small exhibition about the history surrounding it. For the rest of this post my camera takes centre stage, giving you the chance to see what I managed to capture of this unique experience:

OpenExhibition 1Fireplace 11320-1520AFOld documentSalisbury familyFireplace 2Merchant's MarkMerchant's Marks - close up 1Merchant's Marks - close up 2Fireplace signMargery KempeFriar NicholasMayors listSalisbury Family 2Display BoardBrassesOld Brickwork1300-1500Buttery doorwayGround plan - 1901Ground plans - 1500 and present dayArchesFlemish brassesc1300-1500Carson OrdWall displayWalter ConeyConey PictureDisplay cabinet

Elaborate lettering
I was so impressed by this display that…
Renaud de Bar
…I took close up shots of each individual sheet

Renaud De Bar 2Renaud de Bar 3Renaud De Bar 4Renaud De Bar 5Renaud De Bar 6Renaud De Bar 7ColourRobert Atte Lathe's housePast and present

CONCLUSION

This was an excellent start to Heritage Open Day. The King’s Lynn Preservation Trust did a splendid job of presenting this building to best effect.