I can’t live without my .. iPhone!

I don’t have an iPhone (yet) but here’s a ‘day in the life of’ an iPhone user.  I wanted to give the woman’s point of view.  I’d like to think it’s the start of a short series showing how iPhones are indispensable to 21st-century women of all ages.

Quite a good day, despite desperate run for train as forgot iPhone and had to go back.  Doing e-mail on train when Sis rings to say she’s preg and would I be godmother.  Shock and delight so listen to iTunes until Waterloo.

Team meeting OK: my designs accepted.  Wow!  Sandwich lunch:  Mum texts, ‘I’m going to be a granny’, and travel agent e-mails.  Christmas in the Maldives:  hooray!  Think I need a camera, look at Amazon and nearly invest in a new one with video, realise iPhone camera is as good.  Save £200:  not bad.

Afternoon a happy haze of achievement.  On way home am looking for recipe online when Ben rings to suggest eating at new restaurant out in the sticks.  He’s not sure where.  ‘No prob,’  I say, ‘my iPhone GPS will sort it.  You drive and I’ll navigate.’   Abandon recipe app and play Scrabble online until Woking.  Score 47 over Bro Nick in Brisbane, feel pleased.  N not amused.

Fix hair, slip into L.B.D.  iPhone navigator takes us to restaurant in good time:  no more arguing over maps!   Dinner divine.  Fusion with an Italian influence.

Home in blissful state and – bed.

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Sydney in 100 words

In Sydney I’m never far from the sea. City of seascapes and bridges, skylines and light – deep copper-flame sunsets backdrop the Harbour Bridge, gardens lapped by the South Pacific.  I linger on Circular Quay, watch the ferries cross to Manly, sip a cappucchino in a harbourside café or cool off with a beer.  Dazzled by the Opera House, pale sail-shapes in shifting perspectives and light – the bridge, quay and ships against a soaring cityscape framed by uninterrupted blue.  At New Year, everyone comes out at midnight to see the city take fire.  I love it for its ‘no worries’.  And always the dancing water.

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Back – and it’s 2012

Oh my word, Deary me and Did you ever!  It’s 2012 and we’ve all done Christmas and New Year, so it’s time to come out of hibernation and get blogging.  All sorts of stuff going on in these parts:  writing on ‘Who Wrote Shakespeare’ (work in progress), Sydney and Singing Farewell all to come.  Plus clearing the clutter.  So I’m back in business and the resolution for 2012 is: more blogging!

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Fog and a zawn

The day after that breezy visit to Land’s End, I drove across the Penwith moors to the Lelant mine.  But first an excellent lunch of fish soup en-route at the pub in Pendeen       This turned out to be a proper Cornish pub, unspoilt by touristic pretensions and all the better for it, where the efficiently charming girl behind the bar turned out to be a photography student from the University at Falmouth.  If I remember rightly, she’s experimenting with ‘old-fashioned’ pre-digital picture making.  At some point a couple with a dog arrived and reported they’d been walking on the upland moors when they realised a thick mist was coming down fast and the only thing to do was to leave immediately.

It was fine and sunny when I arrived on the cliffs above the mine.  It seemed a perfect sort of afternoon for exploring the cliff paths high above the deep blue-green sea below. Relics of the old mining industry are everywhere in these parts and there are some astoundingly deep, and well-guarded, holes connecting to the mine workings which themselves reach out far under the sea bed.  A shame, really, to go indoors, but standing close enough to the working beam engine to be able to touch it – which would have been extremely stupid – was well worth it.  Lovingly restored and maintained by a devoted team of volunteers, ‘the Greasy Gang’, the engine is the treasure of this modest National Trust site which holds the remains of the once-famous Levant Mine, one of the richest in the area when mining was in its heyday.

They show you a video of the mine underground, a bit of history and geology and a fair taste of what it’s like below ground.  I learned here what a zawn is:  a deep inlet in the cliffs formed by centuries of pounding by the ocean.  One such is Hell’s Mouth, up the coast near Hayle where just the other day a vast chunk of cliff fell into the sea.  You’ve probably seen the clip on U-tube.

Coming out of the old mine buildings, I realised the weather was changing, the Pendeen Watch on the far cliffs had disappeared and by the time the car was making its way up the narrow lane inland it was the hills were vanishing and fog was really closing in.  There was a surprising amount of traffic on the road to St Just, headlights were needed and where you expected to see the sea on one side and the hills on the other there was a blankness of white.  Nothing else to do but make for home carefully, put on the kettle and settle in for the night.

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Easton Handbag at Land’s End!

So there I was last week at Land’s End, and it was a grey and decidedly breezy day.  I’d remembered that I promised to take a photo for Shona Easton, luggage designer extraordinaire – meaning extremely talented.  Shona has been asking for photos of her handbags in famous places, so I reckoned Land’s End might qualify as a famous place and took my Easton bag along.  It’s biggish as handbags go, more of a weekend bag really, so into it I shoved my camera, map, money, mobile, tissues .. I needn’t go on .. and off I went to prowl the cliff paths and take photos.  Which I did – cliff views, sea views, views of waves crashing against rocks, the lighthouse, all that kind of thing.  After some time doing this in a howling gale, it began to feel like time for a cup of tea, so I first made my way to the famous signpost.  They like you to pay to have your photograph taken, but it was late afternoon and nobody much about on a grey October day so I didn’t need to feel guilty at depriving someone of a fiver.  Anyway, there can’t be a law against taking a photograph of the view if you feel like it.

Husband – he’d been out on the cliff paths surveying the view too – elected to photograph the bag while I held it.  I mentioned that there was a stiffish breeze – straight off the sea?  Doing its best to wave the handbag like a flag?  Well it was, but he did his best and Shona can have the photo for her website –  I’ll put a link to it here.  That is an extremely useful bag, if anyone wants to know.   I really like is the light pink lining, which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

After all that, a full cream tea on England’s most westerly point was the only possible course of action.

By the way, everyone seems to hate the weird architecture of the tourist ‘attraction’ they’ve installed, but you can look the other way.

More to come about ramblings in the West, but that’s all for now.

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‘Taking the air’ in Cornwall’s far west

17th October and it’s a fantastic, fine, sunny day with a wind enough to blow the garden seat over.  Which it did.  But hey-ho, what a great day to be heading Westward, for Devon and Cornwall.   Especially Cornwall.  Somewhere like my header photo, which I took near Porthleven on Cornwall’s south coast.   There’s a fantastic ‘B&B’ perched right on the cliffs, where you can see for miles and walk for miles on the coast path.  Bliss, but it might be interesting in a Force 8 gale.

I’ve just managed to snatch a few days away in the far south-west of Cornwall, an essential battery re-charge before serious Autumn sets in.  The wonderful air, well-oxygenated and straight off the Atlantic, is very sleepifying for about three days and then you feel re-energised.   So on the fourth morning it was straight up Trencrom Hill for a visual fix:  views eastward across Mount’s Bay to the Lizard and St Michael’s Mount, North-West to the Hayle Estuary and Godrevy (celebrated by Virginia Woolf in ‘To the Lighthouse’, north-east to Redruth and up-country, and south-west to the high moors which lead to Land’s End.  Or ‘the Land’s End’ as they used to call it, when it really was the end of the known land.

Trencrom itself is a mysterious place, of which more anon.

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Nine-Eleven

On September 11th, 2011, I wrote this mini memoir from ten years ago.

Nine Eleven

We are relaxed after a sunny day at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  It is early September and we are on our way to stay with friends near St Ives.  We need to buy fresh fish from the shop in Grampound and we’re relieved that we just make it before closing time at six o’clock.  In the shop we can’t quite hear the radio in the background, but we think a light aircraft must have lost its way or the pilot had a blackout.  Or something.

‘Something’s happened in New York,’ says the fishmonger as he weighs up our fillets of plaice, ‘There’s been a plane flown into the World Trade Centre’.

We thank the fishmonger, pay and leave, and I switch on the car radio to catch the news.   Somewhere towards Truro we hear it’s a big plane, with people on board.  Then we hear another plane has hit the second tower.  Through villages and towns, and down the A30 past Hayle, the story unfolds.

We arrive and our friends greet us, ‘Come in, the television’s on.  Have a drink:  you’ll need one.  We all need one.’   The four of us watch, mesmerised and horrified, and the history of the world changes as we drink Hamish’s best Lagavulin.   Through the evening the news is repeated and up-dated over and over.  When we finally get to bed we know things will never be the same again.

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