Cornwall crackles in the summer sun


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Cornwall crackles in the summer sun” was written by Virginia Spiers, for The Guardian on Wednesday 19th July 2017 04.30 UTC

Beneath the clearing sky, people gravitate from car park and cafe towards the life-guarded beach. By Roundhole Point, kayakers paddle and huddle around their instructor, and further west, low tide reveals the expanse of sand in Harlyn Bay.

Close to the shore alexanders along a track are clustered with an abundance of little stripy snails along the bare stems and among the umbels of black seeds. Perhaps these snails relish the celery flavour and thrive in the mild seaside weather, but (as with the tourists and sun-seekers) their numbers diminish away from the sea.

From higher land the ocean appears even more azure, like the sky now streaked with cirrus, but south-east of this haven of blueness, thick clouds linger around Bodmin Moor and shadow the distinctive outlines of Rough Tor and Brown Willy.

Here, overlooking Padstow Bay, pared back hedges along the narrow lanes are overgrown with honeysuckle and bedstraw, the summery fragrance temporarily offset by the smell of hot tar from a lorry filling in pot-holes.

Among the browns of dried-up vegetation stand out the pink and purple flowers of scabious, mallow, woundwort and creeping bindweed. Developing blackberries will need rain to form juicy fruits, but sloes are absent from thickets of blackthorn, shrivelled by earlier cold and salty winds.

Arable fields are edged in verges of rough grasses, burdock, nettles and thistles – grant-aided refuges for insects and a few fluttering meadow browns and gate-keepers. Ripe barley crackles in the sun; but the later spring-planted cereals are pale with silky ears. Brassica fields have been ploughed and sown with fertiliser, adopted as gathering places by an itinerant flock of rooks and jackdaws.

On this calm day the song of skylarks carries across from cliff-top pastures beyond Lellizzick towards Butter Hole and Stepper Point, but the shorter way continues between seeded red valerian and past the cool shade of the deer park opposite Prideaux Place. Downhill, the harbour at Padstow is thronged with chattering visitors and there are queues for speed boat trips towards Tregirls beach and the Doom Bar.

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Cornwall crackles in the summer sun | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).