Sunday, 29 March 2009

Peaceful things.

I'm not sure how much others feel the same about this, but I love old graveyards. There is something about the feeling of an ancient piece of ground with the beautiful headstones that sometimes tell such sad tales nestled quietly 'neath the boughs of twisted and tangled trees. I was in such a one only last week, one with a particularly serene and perfect setting in the nearby village of Mawnan. It overlooks the Helford River and has dear little grass pathways meandering through yew trees and buddleiah, holly and lilacs, all of which have that strange shorn-on-one-side growth pattern so typical of Cornwall with its prevailling seaward winds.

I found such lovely headstones of weathered granite that I went back to the car to collect the camera. The sun came out from behind pewter clouds, almost shy in its reluctance as Isabella and I wandered through searching for sage green and burnt orange lichens, the vibrancy of the colour softened by both age and the coolness of the winter-turned light.

Sometimes it is the epitaph that catches my eye and others the stone in all its shades and textures. Usually it is a combination of both, though in this instance it was more the setting with the ivy trailing over the words and the decorative edging making the whole reminiscent of a Gothic novel flysheet which appealed greatly to me - I am very much a fan of the Gothic genre it has to be said.

Some were almost too picturesque with swathes of primroses or, as in this case, arum lilies at the feet.

But most of them were resting that eternal rest with the birds singing in the treetops and the river gently sparkling on the shore below. Just so very peaceful.

Other things this last week: a trip to the fishing village of Porthscatho for chips and tea with Granny Mother and Isabella. It was freezing cold with a biting easterly wind and the tide was out nstead of crashing against the quay wall as it usually is, but we had fun nonetheless.

A couple of hours at the allotment this morning in much warmer, though still jolly cold, weather. The broad beans looked like this:

The cut-and-come again like this...

onions and garlic


and we even brought home some rhubarb for a crumble to go with the roast pork I am cooking for later on. It is slowly cooking in the oven and filling the house with wonderful smells - a meal to be shared with our eldest son and his girlfriend over chat and laughter, hopefully in fairly equal measures.

Oh, I have just realised I have uploaded all the pictures on a large setting. Ah well, too late to change it now, so apologies if they seem to shout at you!

Have a good Sunday x


  1. Beautiful pictures. I like old graveyards, for the inscriptions, flora and fauna. I dislike modern cemetaries with their regimented rows and manicured lawns. I much prefer the wild look. Your plants are coming on great. It is bitterly cold here today and not gardening weather at all. I wish I was having rhubarb/pie crumble today!

  2. I too love old graveyards, I have lots of photographs in my albums of them. I have researched my family history and had to scramble through the overgrown plants and brambles to find joy of joys the last resting place of an ancestor of mine.

  3. Lovely pictures Pipany. I am not really a fan of graveyards since being scared silly by one when I was young - everyone in it seemed to be children that had died of the plague. It gave me nightmares for weeks. It is a family joke that everyone but me goes around them looking whilst I just sit on a bench or preferably in the car!!
    I can't belive your vegetables! Mine aren't in the ground yet. Said groud being waaay to wet and cold yet to start digging and planting.
    Lovely post as always

  4. Graveyards can be very beautiful can't they? I agree, Victorian high gothic ones, with all their decoration, little angels and floral carving can be like sculpture. Sometimes a very simple headstone though, with a moving dedication can be lovely too.

    Our village graveyard is currently a carpet of yellow and pink self-seeded primroses.

  5. I love old graveyards too. If you are ever up South Devon way, pop into Dartington Hall. The tower from the old church is still standing next to the hall and surrounded by loads of old graves, some dating back as far as the 16th century. I have some ancestors buried there.
    Your plants are doing really well; I have been busy sowing seeds today and strangely enough, we too are having a rhubarb crumble tonight! x

  6. Wow, wow,wow!! Old graveyards, are you sure we weren't separated at birth!! One of our favorite haunts (no joke intended) is the graveyard a mile up the road, we often go for a Sunday walk around it especially on a sunny day.

    My hubby is very jealous of your allotment produce, he only got started on his a month ago.

    Enjoy your evening and lovely Sunday dinner, we've just had a housefull of nine year olds jumping around all weekend!!

    Nina x

    ps. the other half thinks your blog is lovely too aparently he has been nosing at my comments!!

  7. Your vegetables look amazing, mine are still on the kitchen window sills, shivering and begging not to be put out yet!!

    Sue xx

  8. I am also very fond of the gothic genre, Pip. We have a lovely old graveyard near here where both sets of my grandparents are buried and a step-grandmother and a much loved uncle. It has a wonderful view of the sea and is full of wildflowers in the spring. A very peaceful place but it always makes me want to cry when I am there! Hope your rhubarb was delicious. Karenx

  9. Thank you Pipany, shame I'm feeling rather sad this morning and your post has tipped me over the edge....sob, sob, honestly, don't worry, it's the bug and I'm feeling homesick!I love walking around that church yard and the foot path, we used to do it most Sundays. I like the large photos, feels like I'm there.x

  10. Yep, another one who likes old churchyards. List summer we visited several in Cornwall. Our favourite was Mylor because we saw a bat hanging in the porchway. I should have blogged the photo really. The churchyard at St.Keverne is in a beautiful position overlooking the sea. Apparently, it has the most ship wreck victims buried there. (I'm sure you already know that).


  11. I love old graveyards too.. in fact, I discovered a beautiful small private one, belonging to a local family of Quakers, one of whose ancestors was one of the original founders of Barclays Bank. It is hidden behind a six foot high old stone wall, outside a furniture store in the middle of a market town in North Norfolk. Tall trees surround it, it is dark inside, and I must have passed it innumerable times, never noticing it really. One day, with the help of a friend I looked over, and that was when I saw all the old gravestones. Some research followed and an article with photographs was published in one of our county magazines some months later. Back in the 80s I also used to photograph the old lichen covered ones, the old bricks of cemetery walls and grey headstones, and use them for inspiration for freestyle knitting or tapestry. And some of the epitaphs bring tears to your eyes don't they?

  12. Absolutely stunning pictures! I like graveyards too.

  13. Hi, we spend a lot of time roaming aroudn old graveyards when in the UK. Not too far from home is Brookwood which in absolutely enormous, but fascinating. Back home my OH actually runs the graveyard in our town, so we spend far too much time there, but it must be said it is one of the most beautiful graveyards in the world!

  14. Thank you Pipany for a few wonderful moments of relaxing with you, exactly the type of meandering i love too.

  15. Your blackcurrants are very advanced!

  16. The photos look lovely especially since it's a day when I can't see Mags across the Preseli hills. Damp and misty here. Poo!

  17. Hello Pipany,

    I am delighted at the size of those photos. The graveyard pictures are very evocative. I can see why you enjoy visiting such beautiful peaceful places.

    Rhubarb crumble. Can you imagine that I have never had the opportunity to taste it? Perhaps if I find some rhubarb at a local farmers green market, a bit later this season, I will try to make it myself.

    Promise to check back with you for some recipe tips.


  18. Beautiful photos, Pipany. Like so many others who have commented, I also like walking through graveyards. Ours aren't so old, over here, and the early markers were mostly wood, so only the markers of the very prosperous survive. I had to smile at the name on one gravestone, though. We had a young Mr Courage from England live with us when my father was doing his MA when I was a girl. The young fellow was from a family that owned a brewery.

  19. Gorgeous pictures. Your garden is so far advanced compared to mine. I use your blog as a sort of gardening barometer; what happens with you now happens with us in about four weeks time. Very useful!

    I love graveyards too. So peaceful while the dearly departed sleep on. Where do you stand (so to speak) on graves though? I've always been brought up not to actually step on the body part, but sometimes it is difficult to tell (and have been observed apologising to the occupant).

  20. Strangely enough I don't find solace visiting loved ones graves - too sad, but I love meandering through old graveyards and reading the headstones. I enjoy searching for and visiting ancestors graves. There is something still and soothing about it.
    Your garden is very advanced Pipany, I'm sure you will have great crops.

  21. Hi Pip, I love old graveyards too, had been thinking of taking some pics. You've captured it all beautifully - words and pictures (I like them big!!)

    You like like you've been very productive (does it extend to socks?!) the allotment is looking great!

    Have a wonderful week, and stay warm (it's cold here).

  22. I love Mawnan graveyard, one of my favourite with Mylor Church Town. Often walk that way and then on down the path to Parsons.
    I am very jealous of your allotment as I have been away visiting my daughters for so long I haven't even dug mine yet. I will have to enlist help,I can see.


  23. Great pictures - it looked a lovely day. And you really made my mouth water with talk of roast pork and rhubarb crumble (yum!). I adore Cornwall in winter, even though it's almost spring now.

  24. Hi, I am a long time lurker and lover of Cornwall. Your photographs keep me going in between visits. I love your sewing. We have a bit of a thing about graveyards - wherever we go, we look for interesting graves and war graves!! Its become a bit of an obsession!!

  25. 'Be ye also ready' - yes I love old graveyards too. The older ctrumbling gravestones take the sting out of death - new ones are a bit stark and closer to home.

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