Archives for posts with tag: Cornwall

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I am hanging a kilt up above the bath.

I do this once a year to get the wrinkles out.

It stays up there in the humid air for a couple of days and might get a light pressing before the big day on May the 8th.
Might.
Probably won’t if I am honest.
I did it once but once you are all wrapped up in leaves and flowers you can’t really tell if it is pressed or not.

Prole2: What’s that?

Prole1: It’s a kilt.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: A kilt.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: A kilt, it’s like a skirt that Dad wears.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: Dad wears it, it’s a kind of skirt and he wears it.

Me: I…well not just me…

Prole1: No, not just you. Scotch do too.

Me: Well all sorts of people…

Prole1: Yes, Queen Victoria made lots of people wear the kilt, mostly soldiers and stuff. And Scotch. She liked to see people wearing a kilt.

Prole2: That one? The queen made people…that one?

Me: No, not that one. There are others. Other kilts.

Prole1: Yes, they have…what are they called? The colours? The patterns?

Me: Tartan.

Prole1: Yes tartan. You get Scotch tartan and Indian tartan and French tartan and…well…I think you get quite a lot…quite a lot.

Prole2: Why is that one boring black?

Prole1: The Cornish army wore black ones. The Scotch didn’t.

Me: Umm…yes…I think the term is Scottish.

Prole1: Oh, the Scottish. But the Cornish Army wore Black right?

Me: I think it was the Regiment and not the Cornish Army as such.

Prole2: Boring Black?

Me: Well it’s a classic colour and…well…its not really boring is it?

He stared up at it whilst brushing his teeth and very quietly whispered to himself.

Prole2: Boring Black.

Which serves me right for doing a bit of research into these things and not getting a tartan I suppose.

I know a Kilt does not sound very Cornish.
I know the Kilt is a construct of the Victorian fad for Walter Scott’s fantasy of Scotland and wearing one in Cornwall may seem odd but fortunately I can no longer be repressed for wearing one. I wear it in celebration of Celtic culture everywhere.

Anyhow, try to get anyone in Cornwall to agree on National Dress.
I have to wear something.
It is surprisingly comfortable but you can never relax because you know someone at some point is inevitably going to have a rummage around underneath “Just to see”.
Well, anything to raise a smile.

The white shirt was one of the first things processed in the revitalised washing machine.
It has many more green stains than I remember and is looking a little worse for wear but as I say, it will be greened up soon enough.

Flora Day is a big thing on my calendar and the countdown has begun.
I have brought out the kilt.
I have polished the shoes, the sporran and the belt.
I have booked my 48hr baby sitter cover broken up into three shifts.

I have saved my pocket money for Spingo.

It is all very exciting.

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From today Cornish people will be officially recognised as a National Minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Now that Cornish people are officially recognised as a national minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities all sorts of questions have popped up from people asking what we were yesterday?

Didn’t Europe always think Cornish people were a national minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities?

That may or may not be true, the important thing is that the British Government in Westminster has admitted that Cornish people are a National Minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Which is nice, after all these years of what has been blindingly obvious to anyone living or working in Cornwall for any amount of time.

What ever the legal status, I doubt it will stop people saying you are not proper Cornish until you have three generations in the graveyard at  Trewellard.
I do not have three generations in the graveyard anywhere in Cornwall.
None the less, I am from here, I live here and if I am really lucky I will be living here when I go West.
I am not from anywhere else and when I heard the news I have to say I sat for several minutes and shed a little tear.

This is just one step, one piece of the picture that makes up Cornwall but I hope it brings Cornwall a little bit closer to pulling itself out of the financial place it has bee in for so long.

Perhaps a legal status will instil a greater need for change. I really hope it is the beginning of something important, joyful and celebratory.
It certainly is for me.

The legal status is one that has been discussed a lot and this is one step closer to illuminating what may or may not be going on.

A National Minority status indicates there may be a Nation in discussion.

Actually Cornwall has stronger legal rights to be considered a separate Nation than Wales or Scotland.

I spent about quarter of an hour discussing the Foreshore Dispute of 1857 with an artist from London today.
I don’t do that often but there was something in the air today, what with the news and everything , they called to ask about Cornish coastline and suddenly we were off.

This is the document that spells out that there is a legal difference between England and Cornwall:

“1. All mines and minerals lying under the seashore between high and low water marks within the said County of Cornwall, and under estuaries and tidal rivers and other places below high water mark, are vested in His Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall in right of the Duchy of Cornwall as part of the Soil and territorial Possessions of the Duchy.

2. All mines and minerals lying below low-water mark under the open sea, adjacent to but not being part of the County of Cornwall, are vested in Her Majesty the Queen in right of her Crown as part of the Soil and territorial Possessions of the Crown.
Part reading: Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858 [statute in force]”

Interesting use of County and Duchy.

Britain has two Sovereigns, the Queen and the Duke of Cornwall.

As the Prince of Wales, Chales has no Sovereign rights.
As the Duke of Cornwall, Charles does have Sovereign rights.

This is because Wales is subject to an act of union with England and Cornwall is not.

Essentially, if Alex Salmond lived in Cornwall he would not necessarily have to use a referendum to get the answer to his question.

He could just use a good lawyer.

There is of course the ugly spectre of Cultural Thuggism that rears it’s head whenever discussions of Nation and Patriotism are brought up.
I hope Cornwall is big enough to walk on by.

Anyhow, all this is not getting us any closer to celebrating.

Here is a recipe from “Cornish Recipes, Ancient and Modern” by the Cornwall Federation Of Women’s Institutes 1929.

This is probably the best book ever written, ever.
I may be wrong.
Probably is though.

1 LB Flour
Good Pinch Salt
Grating of Nutmeg
6 OZ Chopped Suet
3 OZ Chopped Mixed Peel
6 OZ Sultanas
6 OZ Currants

Method: Mix all well together and make into a stiff paste with Milk. Place into a scalded and floured cloth and tie loosely, plunge in boiling water and boil to a gallop for three hours. When dished up cut a piece out of top as large as a tea cup, place inside 4OZ of coarse brown sugar, one teacup of Cornish cream. Put in oven for two minutes and serve piping hot. There will be no leftovers.

Any recipe that instructs you to add a teacup of clotted cream at the end is by definition BRILLIANT.

Sadly I have not made this dish, called ‘Grandmother’s Birthday Pudding’ and so I will have to celebrate with a glass of Metheglin.

Google it.

Onen Hag Oll.

Prole1 is doing a project about Rugby at school.

Rugby is fairly important in Cornwall.
People can get quite worked up about it.

The rules were invented here.
Not joking. Look it up.

I am not saying Cornwall did all the work here, some Public school boys did make it popular, change the name and call it their own.

I am just saying it came from Cornwall first.

Prole1 had to interview someone who had been to a rugby match.
He could have interviewed me, rugby is one of the few spectator sports I can watch all the way through without falling asleep or wanting to weep.

Speedway is another.
Speedway is brilliant.
To begin with I could not see the point of Speedway, just bikes going round and round.
Then I saw Chris ‘bomber’ Harris tear through the other bikes like a Jack Russel and I suddenly saw the point.
Glorious.
Anyhow, they closed the last Cornish track and Bomber races up country somewhere.

I like rugby for the singing, for the laughing and for the sheer respect I have for the players who came out after the last game all bloody and with broken fingers and limping but who still had time to sign autographs for the Proles.
Nice guys.
Nice, huge, muscly, intimidating guys.
I have seen games in Scotland, in Wales and in England but Cornish games get me because, as I have said before here somewhere, I can’t get from one end of Trelawney to the other without disintegrating.
The singing sets it apart.
The English fans don’t sing, not like the Welsh do.
I like the Welsh singing, the way they make a pub shake but Cornwall is home and I think they have better harmonies.
The Cornish can sing, really belt out a tune.

I learned rugby at school in Scotland.
I knew all the rules.
I was just shocking at rugby.
Awful.
I was the school touch judge.
I was really good at it too.
I was just shocking at rugby.

I played it again at school when the family moved back to Cornwall but was dreadful so stopped as soon as I was given the option.

It was six years later and I was at college in Cardiff.
I have no idea why but that day I put the tv on and sat on the sofa and on came the County Championship at Twikenham.
I might have been told it was on, though possibly not.
Pre-internet and fully into theatre life in Cardiff I might not have known, it may have been chance. I don’t remember sitting down and thinking ‘Brilliant, rugby, now for a life changing experience’.
In my head it was quite by chance. It was one of the more thrilling afternoons of my life.
It was the final.
Yorkshire were playing Cornwall.

In 1990 there had been around seven thousand people at the final.
In 1991 it was estimated that Yorkshire had seven thousand supporters in the stadium which was full, the other fifty thousand were the Cornish fans.
The crowd.
They were not there because of sponsors or because the team were paid huge salaries.
The team were real, they left their jobs to go and represent Cornwall and Cornwall turned out to represent them.
The Cornish fans didn’t half make a racket.

The game was not for the faint hearted.
I remember watching the whole thing and getting sadder and sadder and then it all happened.
I can’t describe it.
We were losing.
It was all bad.
You should watch it.
It is no spoiler to say Cornwall won.
29-20
It was a really good game of rugby.

I just remember watching the pitch flood with Black and Gold and the noise that came up off them.
I remember the moment that Chris Alcock held the trophy for the first time. It was confused and you could see it was being handed over but there were other players in the way and then suddenly there he was holding it above his head.
I was kneeling in front of the tv in floods of tears.
It was brilliant.
I just wanted to go home.

Prole1 interviewed our friend who has spent a large part of his life filming rugby games.
The interview started seven times.
It took about thirty five minutes to get it in the bag.
The final result runs at just under four minutes.

I heard them talking briefly about the 1991 game and I thought that would be good to have in, a mention of the day fifty thousand Cornish invaded Twikenham.

Just as we were leaving from the back office was brought a track suit top.
It was the black and yellow top Chris Alcock was wearing when he held the trophy for the first time.

Prole1 has borrowed it to take to school.

It is on the kitchen table now, right in front of me.

I don’t really enjoy sport but that track suit top gives me chills just looking at it.

That yellow top that for a moment in 1991 was the focus of fifty thousand Cornish fans in the stadium and countless others across Britain, the world and home in Cornwall.
The voices that were raised at the sight of that yellow top showing where Chris Alcock was holding aloft a trophy.

It sings.