Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 5: Lanhydrock House and arrival in Cornwall

UK 2014 -- Day 5: Friday, June 27 (Lanhydrock House and arrival in Cornwall)

Coming into Cornwall today, driving through a tempestuous succession of weather events ("rainbow weather" one of the volunteers called it: Bright sun followed by dark clouds, catastrophic showers, then blue sky again) I felt a flush of the anticipation Woolf often notes in her letters or diary. A heightened awareness of changing flora, the signs of clay pits and tin smelters marking the land, a breathless waiting for the first glimpse of the sea across the rolling green hills, which are surreally modernized by the weird presence of giant white wind turbines, so huge they cast everything into some kind of post-modern, near-future science fiction movie, as if they are alien beings quietly guarding the fields.

We drove in thru Hayle, a town near St Ives recorded by Woolf as a destination for weekend walks. The "Hayleston Bog" where they searched for ferns has been partially drained, but a good deal has been saved in a nature preserve. We drove thru Penzance, where we stopped for more groceries at a Tesco, and then wound our way thru the small streets of Marizon,,, catching closer glimpses of St. michael's Mount, towering high above the estuary sands.

arrived at Ednovean House to find its situation and design even more breath- taking than the on-line photos. The super modern, glass-fronted house overlooks the whole bay, which offers a panorama of changing lights and shadows, both clouds and sky and the water shifting colors constantly.

The house is all white and glass, a complete opposite to where we were staying in Devon. there is a huge central kitchen stocked with every necessity-- an entire cupboard full of wine glasses, a wine fridge, two ovens and a microwave and a cook top which is nothing but a giant sheet of glass and buttons. We had to find an operating manual to turn it on. All white and glass, not a single handle anywhere. there is a blond ash wood or light oak table long enough to seat about twenty (a good six feet longer than sue and Neil's) looking out over the bay, encased on three sides with glass doors.

On the way here we stopped at Lanhydrock house, a kind of British Biltmore house, slightly smaller, but reeking of the same conspicuous consumption, horns and hunting trophies everywhere including Eland again and some rugs make of of colobus monkey skins, encased in gothic revival wood panels and Revival William Morris wallpaper. Trooped with dozens of other tourists up and down stairs into servants quarters, ladies' lounging rooms, children's nurseries etc. punctuated by thunder and torrential rain alternating with bright sun in about half hour intervals.

Next morning. Woke to sun and bird song and gull cries, horses grazing in the field below the gardens, beyond the pine and palm trees, the Mount topped by its castle monastery surrounded by water that is currently a serene dark blue, broken by small breaks of waves on hidden rocks. The tide is in, so the causeway is mostly submerged. We are going to St. Ives today, to see the Bernard Leach Pottery and various museums. On Sunday I may hire a car to go see some particular places.

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