Cornish Winter Break 9: Tintagel 1 – A Bridge to the Distant Past

Beginning my account of Tintagel, the next stage of my account of my Cornish Holiday.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest installment in my account of my Cornish winter break, which is the beginning of a ‘series within a series’ – a number of linked posts about Tintagel, mythical birthplace of King Arthur and an English Heritage site.

THE JOURNEY

To get from southeast Cornwall to Tintagel involves a journey across Bodmin Moor. My sister who was driving took what Satnav considered to be a short cut, which in brute distance terms it was, but that fails to take into account the relative quality of the roads involved. We found a space in the car park in the village (like many other places in Cornwall a former rotten borough), walked to the visitor centre only to find ti closed, and then headed for the castle.

HEADING TO THE CASTLE

The path down to the bridge which takes one into the castle grounds (of which more later) is very steep, and offers nothing to grip on to for support, so I opted for the Land Rover service instead (costs £1.50) as did my mother. The Land Rover drop off point is right at the bridgehead.

A NEW LANDMARK THAT COMBINES ACCESSIBILITY AND FUTURE PROOFING

I consider the new bridge that enables one to enter the castle grounds without descending right the valley floor and then climbing back up the other side to be a landmark in its own right, and as the driver of the Land Rover I travelled in explained, it is vital for another reason – before it was built the site was one major landslide away from being turned into an island, whereas now it will remain accessible for future generations. This is a place that definitely dates back to the 4th century, and maybe earlier (the Arthur connection is that whoever lived here then was rich and influential enough to still be importing stuff from the Mediterranean, Rome’s declining influence notwithstanding), and for it to have been cut off what have been a tragedy.

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The bridge.

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The surface of the bridge.

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Cornish Winter Break 8: Fowey

An account of my visit to Fowey.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest post in my series about winter holiday in Cornwall.

NARROW STREETS AND HEAVY FOOTFALL DO NOT MIX WELL

The town of Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy’ to rhyme with joy) sits on one side of a drowned estuary, with the old fishing village of Polruan, which I have previously visited and enjoyed, on the opposite side (for readers of Bernard Knight’s books this is the Polruan from which Crowner John’s sidekick Gwyn hails). We were there at a quiet time of year, and it was noticeably crowded even so, so I dread to think what it would have been like being there in the summer. I enjoyed it reasonably, but on the whole I cannot recommend it – there are better ways to spend a day in Cornwall than visiting what is for my money an overrated as well as overcrowded town.

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This car ferry route mkaes the Lynn Ferry look adventurous!

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Cornish Winter Break 7: Lanhydrock – Kitchens and Gatehouse

Completing my account of my visit to Lanhydrock.

INTRODUCTIONS

Following on from yesterday’s post about Lanhydrock I now complete my coverage of my visit there. As I type this I am listening to the final test match of the series in South Africa – England have made one good and one terrible decision thus far – they correctly batted first after winning the toss, but that came after inexcusably leaving out the spinner, Dom Bess. England have just reached the hundred mark with openers Crawley and Sibley still together (a top three of Crawley, Sibley and Burns, with Denly being eased out is starting to look a good prospect once the Surrey man recovers from his injury). Anywa, time to continue our look at Lanhydrock…

FROM HOUSE TO KITCHENS

Leaving the gift shop one passes some stuff about transport at Lanhydrock en route to the kitchens…

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THE KITCHENS

These are on an enormous scale, not surprisingly given the size of the household at its biggest (the family were effectively destroyed by World War One, between those who died in that conflict and those whose minds were destroyed by what they went through in those years). The rest of the story is best told by photographs…

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We were at Lanhydrock on Boxing Day, and here is an explanation of where that name comes from.

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THE FINISH

After we had finished looking round the kitchens we went to the cafe for refreshments, checked out an excellent second hand bookshop in the grounds (I found three splendid additions to my cricket library), looked round the gatehouse and finally walked back to the car park to head home.

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The gatehouse approached from the house.

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A pattern fo wear in this stonework that makes it look like someone has inscibed a T in the middle of it,
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Inside the gatehouse.

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Lookting towards the car park.
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Looking towards the house.

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The chapel partly obscured by one wing of the house.

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Cornish Winter Break 6: Lanhydrock – The House

The first of two poists about Lanhydrock, as I continue my series about my Cornish winter break.

INTRODUCTION

I am continuing my account of my Cornish winter break. My last post completed my coverage of the Eden Project, and this post is the first of two I shall be devoting to Lanhydrock, a very interesting National Trust house.

GETTING THERE

This trip occurred on Boxing Day, and my sister was not able to accompany us, so the party consisted of my parents, my nephew and myself. This meant that we got discounts on all tickets, due to my parents age and membership, me being classed as disabled and therefore my nephew counting as my designated companion for the trip. The car park is a fair distance from the house itself, and the walk is not flat, although the slope is fairly gentle. Only some of the house was open, but definitely enough to make it worthwhile.

THE HOUSE

As one approaches the house one first goes through a gate house set in a surrounding wall the principal value of which is decorative (the gate house actually started life as a hunting lodge, before the big house was built). The house is a very impressive building indeed, and the inside (such as we were able to see of it) lives up to the outside. The kitchens are separate from the main house, with a brief trip outside forming a natural break in ones exploration. There are also apparently some very fine gardens, but this being winter it was not a time to be exploring there.

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Cornish Winter Break 4: Eden Project (2)

Continuing my account of the family outing to the Eden Project.

INTRODUCTION

In my last post I began my coverage of a family outing to the Eden Project, and in this post I continue it with my coverage of the new building next to the biomes, which is dedicated to stuff which is usually invisible.

MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE

This was time extremely well spent. As is my way I tell the rest of the story in pictures:

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What this building is all about (and as I hope the rest of these pictures convey, it is done magnificently).

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This creation is right in the centre of the building.

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A close up of one of the ‘smoke rings’ blown the machine in the centre of the building.

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Another close up of a ‘smoke ring’

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My next and final post about the Eden Project will deal with the Mediterranean Biome where we finished our visit.

Cornish Winter Break 3: Eden Project (1)

The first of several posts about the Eden Project in my series about my Cornish winter holiday.

INTRODUCTION

After a brief aside it is time to resume my coverage of my Cornish winter holiday with the first of what will be several posts about the Eden Project.

GETTING THERE

This was a family trip, and we travelled from my parents place by car. There is generous car parking provision, but you can also travel there by public transport (train to St Austell and then a connecting bus to the Eden Project). We just missed a bus from the car park to the visitors centre and walked there instead. This was my second visit, but the place had developed so massively from my first visit that it was effectively a new experience. After the purchase of tickets we decided what to do. We settled on the Walk Through Time, the new building and the Mediterranean Biome (the biomes, as you will see are remarkable structures whose architecture owes much to the legendary Richard Buckminster Fuller). Here are some early pictures before I take you on the walk through time:

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A shot taken in transit.

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For twitter users this is one way to contact the Eden Project.
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The biomes from above (three shots)

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The roof of the new building.

THE WALK THROUGH TIME

This is a wonderful lead in to the biomes and the new building, and there is only one real way to tell it, especially for me:

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The entrance the new building, which will form the subject of my next post.

Franchise Squad From The Before The White Ball Era

I name a franchise squad comprising entirely players from before white ball cricket was played – and challenge cricket fans among my readers to do likewise.

INTRODUCTION

I am deviating briefly from my coverage of my stay in Cornwall because mention was made of players from the past who would have been useful in franchise cricket during this morning’s BBL commentary on Test Match Special, and I got thinking about a franchise squad comprised of players who flourished before white ball cricket was played.

RULES

To be eligible for consideration under my rules players must have retired before the inaugural T20 cup took place in 2003. Also, unless a very good reason can be found players considered for this must have had some international experience. At least one recognized wicketkeeper must be in the squad.

THOMAS’S SQUAD

I have named 15 for my squad, an envisaged first XI and four reserves.

GILBERT LAIRD JESSOP

The most consistently fast scoring batter in the game’s history (he reached 100 in less than an hour at the crease 11 times in first class cricket, and in a career that included 53 centuries he only once batted as long as three hours in), a gun fielder (his credits include a direct hit run out of Victor Trumper in a test match) and a crafty pace bowler. If one had a time machine to fetch him in his prime into the present day he would send an IPL auction into meltdown.

GARFIELD ST AUBRUN SOBERS

Quite simply the most complete cricketer who ever played the game – a batter capable of hitting six sixes in an over and who averaged 57.78 in test cricket, three bowlers in one (left arm seam and swing, slow left arm orthodox and slow left arm wrist spin, the latter of which would be especially useful in T20) and a brilliant fielder.

ISAAC VIVIAN ALEXANDER RICHARDS

The best batter in the early days of ODI cricket and a brilliant fielder. In view of who else is available to bowl in this squad his off spin would be unlikely to be called on.

ROBERT GRAEME POLLOCK

He averaged over 60 in test cricket, and although he never played ODIs due to South Africa being in isolation by the time that form of cricket took off he averaged over 50 in List A cricket with a best of 222 not out.

FRANK EDWARD WOOLLEY

The only cricketer to have achieved the career triple of 10,000 runs (58,969 no less), 1,000 wickets (2,066 of those) and 1,000 catches (1,018) in first class cricket, and the only non-wicketkeeper to have pouched 1,000 catches.

BASIL LEWIS D’OLIVEIRA

An attacking middle order batter and the sort of medium pace nibbler who would be very useful in T20.

LESLIE ETHELBERT GEORGE AMES

The only recognized wicketkeeper ever to score 100 first class hundreds, and he won the Lawrence trophy for the fastest hundred of the season twice in the first three years of its existence.

GEORGE HERBERT HIRST

He achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in a first class season 14 times in his career, including the only occasion on which anyone managed the ‘double double’ (1906, 2,385 runs and 208 wickets). An aggressive right handed bat and left arm pace bowler, he was also like Jessop what is now termed a gun fielder.

JAMES CHARLES LAKER

Probably (sorry Nathan Lyon fans, I do not buy your claims on his behalf) the best ever at what he did, namely bowling off spin. In 1956 he took 46 wickets in the Ashes series, including 19-90 in the 4th match at Old Trafford), and also helped his county to beat the Aussies by taking 10-88 (off 46 overs on a good wicket in the first innings of the match) and 2-42 in the second Aussie innings.

ALFRED SHAW

He bowled more overs in first class cricket (no List A in his day) than he conceded runs (25,699 overs bowled, 24,873 runs conceded), and captured just over 2,000 first class wickets. His impeccable length and canny variations of pace would make him an excellent option in T20. I also choose him as captain – he proved himself good at the job at a time when few professional cricketers got the chance (most captains in his era were, nominally at least, amateurs who did not get paid to play cricket).

CLARENCE VICTOR GRIMMETT

Clarrie Grimmett (aka Scarl, Old Grum or Fox) the New Zealand born Aussie leg spinner took 216 wickets in only 37 test matches (he had to wait until he was 33 to get the call), and a record first-class tally for someone who never played County Championship cricket (1,424, again at just about six wickets per game). He was exceedingly economical, commanded a range of variations (and was forever experimenting with new types of delivery), and as such would seem made for T20 bowling (although like Shaw above he would probably not have been best pleased at being restricted to four overs per innings).

WALTER REGINALD HAMMOND

A stroke playing batter with a formidable record (over 50,000 first class runs including 167 centuries), a superb slip fielder and a very capable bowler (and in T20, knowing that he would not be bowling more than four overs at any one time he may have been a little less unenthusiastic about this aspect of his game than he was in first class and test cricket). He once hit the first five balls of a days play, bowled by no less a personage than Ted Macdonald, for fours, and according to reports it was only a good bit of fielding that stopped being six fours out of six for the over.

MULVANTRAI HIMMATLAL “VINOO” MANKAD

A slow left-arm bowler, a fine batter (he regularly opened for his country in test cricket) and a capable fielder. He was the first bowler in test cricket to run out an opposition batter for backing up too far, causing a controversy that continues to flare up every time something similar happens (my sympathies are exclusively with the bowler – the batter who gets run out is trying to gain an unfair advantage). If he were to be in the team it would be fun to have Ashwin in the ranks of the opposition!

MICHAEL JOHN PROCTER

An aggressive middle order batter, a fine fielder and a fast bowler who could also bowl off breaks, Procter could come in for anyone save Ames without the side as a whole suffering.

WILLIAM JOSEPH OREILLY

A very different type of legspinner to Grimmett, bowling at around medium pace and generating extra bounce (he was tall, unlike Grimmett), O’Reilly (though he would be voluble in expressing his dislike of the format, and I am quite certain that what he would have to say about The Hundred/ Harrison’s Harebrained Have a Hit would be unprintable) would be excellent at this form of the game.

This squad gives me a plentiful supply of attacking batters, a huge range of bowling options including every style of bowling and plenty of excellent fielders.

CONCLUSION, CHALLENGE AND PHOTOGRAPHS

For ease of references here is my squad listed without comments: 1)Gilbert Jessop, 2) Garry Sobers, 3)Viv Richards, 4)Graeme Pollock, 5)Frank Woolley, 6)Basil D’Oliveira
7) +Les Ames, 8)George Hirst, 9)Jim Laker 10)*Alfred Shaw 11)Clarrie Grimmett, Reserves: Wally Hammond, Vinoo Mankad, Mike Procter, Bill O’Reilly.

For the cricket fans among my readers here is a challenge: name your own franchise squad comprising players from before T20 cricket started, either directly in the comments, or in a post of your own which you link to in the comments below.

Here are a few Cornish photos to finish…

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Two shots showing waves crashing over the breakwater that is visible from my parents living room.

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A few shots from Cawsand, the closest village to my parents home.

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Three views of Fort Picklecombe from Cawsand.

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A heron standing on the breakwater (two shots)

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The officers mess at Fort Picklecombe (permission for the building was given on condition that this part be modelled on Warwick Castle).