Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ancient Cornwall: Just Do It!

Zennor quoit, West Penwith
The granite peninsula of Penwith forms Cornwall’s western tip.  By turn wild or sun-softened, the landscape varies from brooding greys to summer’s heathland radiance, and unbelievably vivid skies. Further east at the Duchy’s heart, the crags and spaces of Bodmin Moor breathe myth; hamlets and farms huddle in shallow valleys, along tiny twisting lanes. Both places are isolated and moody, but magnificent. 

It’s not just the views which captivate; the two areas watch over a wealth of ancient riches, some of Britain’s finest prehistoric stone sites. Other parts of Cornwall too have their share of monuments, thousands of years old. The great stones are a winner for walks and discovering, and inspire an emotional connection which may surprise you.

Ancient Cornwall is my latest little book for Cornish publisher Tor Mark. It’s a glimpse at the Duchy’s most spectacular ancient treasures, and the gorgeous countryside which makes exploring such an unforgettable experience.

You may meet no-one; pause to listen and often the only sound is birdsong, or the wind. But as well as the stones and scenery you’ll find wildlife: brown mottled buzzards, forever patrolling with cold all-seeing stare; perhaps a lizard at rest on warm rocks; along the path a bold stoat, sitting up with front legs waggling.

There’s no rush to see everything at once. Cornwall’s beautiful stones have stood for thousands of years; they’ll be around for a long while yet. Bask in the atmosphere whether bracing or sublime, let the elements soothe or assault you. The ancient sites are a world away from busy beaches and organised entertainments, especially in high summer. On the moors there are no ice-creams or pasties, but take a packed lunch and soak up the serenity; you’ll want for nothing.

Ancient Cornwall will be published in March of next year.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Mangling Our Sacred Language!

Weather Goddess
What’s this current linguistic vogue for stuffing extra syllables into perfectly good words?  More and more, the trait’s being adopted by TV presenters and media ‘personalities’; perhaps they’ve picked it up from Engerland’s football supporters.

This isn’t evolution of language; these aren’t new words.  Such affectation sits alongside the equally irksome upward-lilt which appeared a while ago, the ending of spoken sentences as if to say: “D'ya follow?"

So today, instead of struggling to make ends meet, we’re said to be ‘struggerling’.  People who run fast are atherletes, while gamberling is no longer what lambs do.  Those who speak in this way aren't composing poetry, nor are they always from Essex.  It sounds idiotic and often a touch self-conscious.  Please make it stop.

While we’re on the subject, TV’s weather forecasters (with one exception against whom I’ll hear nothing) now treat 'Ireland' as synonymous with 'island'. I’m sure that’ll please everyone in the nation of bogs, little people, and great filums like Von Ryan’s Daughter.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Celebrity Plummet-Off: Baumgartner v Suarez v Savile!

Which of these famous celebrities has fallen furthest over the last week?

Is it Austrian space-age sky-diver Felix Baumgartner? Well done, you raving madman. Felix is sponsored by Red Bull - what could he achieve on three cans?

Or perhaps ‘footballer’ and hilarious showman, Luis Suarez. Previously an air-diving medal-winner on Uruguayan TV game-show ‘World’s Biggest Tosser’.

Or finally, Jimmy Savile: a fall from Grace (14) was alleged in 1976. Media 'personality' Esther Rantzen has bravely spoken out about Savile's crimes, now he’s dead.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Kill Burglar Bill!

"Take that, oik!"
Following the attack on plebeian police officers by the Tory Party’s chief whip, Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell, today Britain’s new Justice Minister Chris Grayling has attempted to even things up.

Grayling’s carefree initiative supports the police, by allowing home owners to assault with all force at their disposal any intruder found on their premises. The move comes after several high-profile cases where householders who confronted criminals were arrested. Never again will there be a question of frightened residents having ‘over-reacted’ to a burglary, trespass, or poor people looking for odd jobs.

In toff areas across Britain, doors and windows in big houses are now being left wide-open overnight. John Lewis reports spiralling sales of gun-cabinets and kitchen machetes, while local community groups are overjoyed. 

Bunny Tuffington (84) chairs Henley Neighbourhood Watch. “Each night we’ll be placing a choice of valuable household items on the drive, with the security gates unlocked. Shouldn’t take too long to bag some council estate layabout, especially after the pubs shut.” Clutching his gleaming new Purdey shotgun, Tuffington added: “Hug a hoodie, my arse. Being potted by rate-payers is simply a chance every burglar will have to take.”

Of course, people who merely rent ‘their’ homes will be excluded from the Conservatives’ legislation, while those entering rich people’s gardens for any reason will be fair game. Intruders who live through their experience will be given a severe ticking-off and in extreme cases possibly even a small fine.

Happy hunting!