Sunday, 31 October 2010

Leaking Leat

Some friends of ours (Malcolm & Carla) have a farm.
This is Malcolm & Carla (Malcolm is the tall one at the back).

On their farm they have two Leats; this is a description of a leat from Wikipedia:

 A leat (also lete or leet) is the name, common in the south and west of England and in Wales, for an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond. Other common uses for leats include delivery of water for mineral washing and concentration, for irrigation, to serve a dye works or other industrial plant, and provision of drinking water to a farm or household.

One of the leats on the farm runs a hydroelectric plant and the other one used to be used to power water wheels, which gave power to tin stamps. Tin stamps were machines that were used to break up tin ore, so that the tin could be extracted from it. This is what a stamp looked like:

A couple of weeks ago Malcolm noticed that the water from one leat was leaking, in several different places, into the other one. When this happens he has to walk through the leat and try and block the leaks. So I volunteered to help which meant I had to buy some wellies & a cap so that I could look the part:
What do you think?

So we walked through the Leat and I ended up being the Leat Menders' mate (which means I was holding the tools and passing them to Malcolm when he needed them).

Anyway, it was a successful piece of work and the leaks were repaired.

This is Malcolm and I after the event:

This was another new experience for me, I enjoyed the afternoon and we had a good laugh, which is always beneficial.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Falmouth Oyster Festival

Last weekend the Falmouth Oyster Festival was held in, you guessed it, Falmouth.

Here is some history about the festival taken from their website:

Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates the start of the oyster dredging season, the diversity and quality of Cornish Seafood and in particular, one of the last remaining traditional oyster fisheries, dredging by sail and hand punt.

For over a century, Cornish families have derived their livelihood from oyster dredging in the Carrick Roads and surrounding rivers. Many of the oyster boats, known as Falmouth Working Boats were built at boatyards around the Fal, with some of the oldest boats in the Oyster Fishery dating back as far as 1860.
Governed by ancient laws that were put in place to protect the natural ecology of the riverbeds and oyster stocks, oystermen fishing in the Port of Truro Oyster Fishery are prohibited from using engines. Instead, sail power and hand-pulled dredges must be used. This is the only oyster fishery in Europe, if not the world, where such traditional methods must be used. Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates the start of the oyster season, which runs from October to March.
The Working Boats range in size from 22 ft to 30 ft and have the original gaff cutter rig. The oyster beds, or lays, are marked by sticks, or ‘withies’, that protrude from the water. The fishermen rely on the tides, wind, their skill, and local knowledge of the fishing waters to dredge for oysters. Once caught, the oysters are purified for 36 hours before being sold. Some oysters are returned to beds to fatten, and can be sold after the close of the oyster season.
During the summer months, the Working Boats may be seen racing in the Carrick Roads, and at many regattas in the county. The racing rig is far larger than the rig used for fishing, and these gracious vessels create a truly magnificent spectacle as they race at close quarters under full sail. The Oyster Working Boat Race is an integral part of Falmouth Oyster Festival and is one of the last races of the season for many Working Boats.
Native oysters from the Truro Oyster Fishery are prized throughout the UK, and are sold to customers across the South West, and throughout the country, with top London restaurants and hotels being supplied from our local waters. Pacific oysters, which are larger than the natives, are also reared in the Fal - you will be able to try both varieties at the Festival.
There are plenty of reasons to learn more about this fascinating, yet fragile industry which plays a large part in Falmouth’s maritime industry and heritage. We hope you enjoy Falmouth Oyster Festival - spread the news and continue to support the oyster industry and continue to support the oyster industry and community.

Here's a picture of a typical working boat:

The picture was taken by Emily Davis ( and I am very grateful to Emily for letting me use it here.

I have set myself a challenge in recent years to try new things. I had never tried an Oyster in any form (cooked or raw), so here was the perfect opportunity to try one. Davina and I went to the Festival on Saturday afternoon. The main Marquee by the Maritime museum was packed:

Even Neptune found it difficult to find a seat:
So he had to hang from the roof!

We fought our way through the crowds and found an Oyster Bar:

We paid our fiver and got a plate of Oysters. Here's Davina with our Oysters and a bottle Pear Rattler (outside the marquee, because we couldn't find a seat inside).:

Here's meeting eating a raw Oyster with a bit of tabasco:

We both enjoyed them, but next time we have them we would like to be sitting somewhere nice and calm and quiet, with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. I can't wait.

This is a nice picture of boats in the marina to finish the blog:

and a picture looking back towards the town from the end of Prince of Wales Pier:

If you have never tried an Oyster, give it a go, you'll love em.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Hooray for the NHS & Cornish Buses

For the past few months I have had a painful knee, which I put down to side effects of some medication that I was taking. I came off the medication last week, but my knee got worse.  It got so bad that I found it difficult to walk.

So, yesterday I staggered up to see my GP who said it was fixable. I was afraid it was a sign of ageing and that nothing could be done.

My GP said I should get an X-ray done before he started treatment; he gave me an X-ray form and told me to go to Treliske Hospital and get it done.

Today I was on a training course in central Truro, the course finished at 2.30pm, so after that I caught a bus which took me right to the main entrance of the Hospital.
Everyone at the hospital was very helpful. I went to one X-ray department and informed them that I needed an X-ray on my knee but I had not got an appointment. The lady on reception said I should really phone for an appointment, but she would get me today as I was already there. I sat for a few minutes and was then asked if I minded going to another X-ray department. She told me to go to the Tower and ask for Tom. When I got to the tower, I asked the man on reception if he was Tom, he said no he was Tony. At that moment Tom walked up and between them they registered me and booked me in for my Xray. After a two or three minute wait the Xray man (didn't get his name) called me in, explained what was going to happen, and did the Xray. By 3.30pm I was waiting for a bus back to Truro, by 4.00pm I was back in Truro and on my way home.

What fantastic service.

Well done to Treliske hospital and Western Greyhound buses.

I have got to wait a week for the results though!!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Harvest Festival

I was watching BBC Breakfast yesterday morning and they did a short piece on Harvest Festival. They showed the Harvest display that was at Truro Cathedral. The point of the article was that only 13% of Londoners celebrate the Harvest whereas in Cornwall 23% celebrate it. Not surprising really considering the amount of farming there is in Cornwall compared to London.

This is part of an article about Harvest Festival from Wikipedia:

A harvest festival is an annual celebration, which occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times throughout the world. Harvests festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, contests, music and romance are common features of harvest festivals around the world.

The reason for Harvest Festival is to give thanks for the crops etc.

Anyway I thought I would go to the Cathedral to take a picture of their display to put on here. But, when I got there there was another Television Crew was filming. So I hung around a bit, I told one of the filming crew that I wanted to take a picture, he just smiled. So I hung around a bit longer, waiting in the background. Then Louise Hubble (BBC Spotlight News Presenter) asked me, politely, to move. I don't know why, I wasn't in front of the camera, maybe I was putting her off. 

So I decided to walk around the Cathedral for a bit and take a few pictures, this first picture is of a smaller Harvest display:

This is the Black Virgin:

This a memorial tablet for Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, a writer who was born in Bodmin and lived in Fowey, Cornwall for most of his life:

And I don't know who this is, but he is too thin to be a relative of mine:

After wandering around taking these pictures I went back to the main entrance to get a picture of the large Harvest display, but Louise Hubble was still doing her bit to camera, so I decided to leave it and go back later in the day and get a picture.

I went back about one o'clock, but the display had been dismantled. So you can blame Louise Hubble for not being able to see a picture of a beautiful Harvest Festival display.

If you are desperate to see it , and I'm sure you won't be, you can watch last nights (04/10/2010) Spotlight on the BBC iPlayer.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Rainbow, rainbow.

We saw a rainbow through the window yesterday evening.

So Davina took a picture:
I thought it was interesting with our rainbow glass in the foreground.

Here it is with the glass in silhouette:

And here it is taken from outside:

Unfortunately, there was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; we didn't win on the lottery.