Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Day in Penzance

Happy Christmas everyone.  OK, I know it is now Boxing Day but somehow finding time to upload the photos I took was not the highest priority.

We have spent every Christmas since 1986 except two in Penzance but I think this is far and away the coldest.  In the days when we used to drive down, always with two cats in the car as well as most of the food in the days when Penzance did not have a supermarket, we never got stuck by snow or ice, but I don't think we would have made it this time.  We haven't really had any snow in this second lot, especially when my sister in Shropshire has had it as low as -13 degrees, but it has been very cold indeed.

Christmas Day dawned brilliantly sunny.  We eat Christmas Dinner in the evening and we do not do family Christmases so we always try to get a breath of fresh air.  There have been times in the past when we have taken sandwiches for lunch and gone for a walk on the Coast Path, seeing seals and finding the air almost balmy.  Not 2010.  However, we did go for a walk on Penzance Promenade (the one in the painting The Rain it Raineth by Norman Garstin) where it is fun to watch people in the large hotels eating their Christmas Dinner.

There are always a few people like us although I think yesterday there were not as many as usual.  One dog was having a Christmas Day swim

The tide was right out so the dog and his owner walked/swam some way out.  Not so good for the owner who ended up with his wellie completely full of water.  This part of Penzance is all reclaimed which means that as the tide comes in some interesting patterns appear in the water.

The esplanade (for that's what it is) has been reclaimed more than once from what were originally dunes or Towans as they are called here.  It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like two hundred years ago but winter storms do batter the prom. and dump sand, stones and seaweed over the road quite regularly.

The sight of these rivulets turned my attention to the patterns of lines created by the low angle of the sun.

The Jubilee Pool was looking wonderful although it is not easy to take photographs when you have to poke the camera through the railings.

There were interesting arrangements of lines at the Pool, too.

I took a lot of photos and will use them as the basis of some design work in the Moleskine Notebooks that I got as a present.

The other thing we noticed was strange signs.  It is just that when it is quiet and you really start looking you see things that you would normally walk straight past.

We know John le Carre is a local but we did not know his characters frequented the Jubilee Pool cafe.

A bit difficult to read but the Ritz Bingo hall appears to have moved to France.  At least the sign is suggesting you swim there!

And finally the harbour wall rises to nearly ten feet tall as you approach the wharf where the Scillonian berths. That's the ship that travels to the Isles of Scilly.  The wall plunges vertically at this point.  Would you really want access we asked ourselves?  But obviously walking along it has been a youth sport at some time.

The views across Mounts Bay were glorious.  That is the Lizard in the far distance with Prussia Cove just behind the point on the left.

Then it was home again to concentrate on that important element of Christmas: eating.

The cats knew there was pheasant about and they know the leftovers are still in the fridge.  I made this hanging over ten years ago.  We put it up each year but one or more cats then swings on it until it is right at the end of the baton.  I will have to see if I can find a wonderful photo of Nui doing this when he was young and scan it.


  1. I've thoroughly enjoyed your walk along the quay and all the amusing signs. We come down to Cornwall every year but so far never in the depths of winter. Penzance looks brilliant in the crisp light and the shadows are so strong. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  2. We are luckier than that. We live here!