Saturday, 1 March 2008

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi (St Davids Day) and the Pirates of Penzance

March the first is St David's day in Wales, the day on which our patron saint died in 589AD.
One of the ways we celebrate him is to wear one of our national emblems. Traditionally a leek (being St David's own symbol) being worn by men, and the daffodil by women. The Welsh name for both plants are similar Cenin Bedr (Peter's leek - daffodil) and Cenin (leek).

Ready for school

Historically the Welsh and English have not been the best of mates, the invading Saxons in 633 met the Welsh at a battle in Heathfield. The fields here were filled with leeks, we put them in our hats to distinguish ourselves from the Saxons, and we won the battle.
I remember wearing a leek to school and we generally chomped our way through the raw veg all day. Maybe the smell of raw leek was enough to drive the Sasanachs away!
It was rather fitting therefore to arrive in Cornwall and be greeted by fields amass with commercial daffodils.

I digress. I am down in Penzance being a guinea pig for Richard Uren, a change from being a surfing hamster, (check these surfing rodents out). He is running a level 3 assessment and had put out a request for some student volunteers for his candidates to work on. Jim and I did not want to pass on the opportunity to get out on the water somewhere new, and perhaps we might learn something in the bargain.

St Michael's Mount

The first day we play around in general purpose boats in the safety of the harbour going over some personal skills. A visit later to the Dolphin pub for some ale and the search for smugglers passages.

The second day saw us on a short trip along the coast to Mousehole, via Newlyn Harbour.

Tidal Observatory on the south pier at Newlyn

You could pass the above building and not know it's significance. It is the site of Ordnance Datum the datum height for all our Ordnance Survey maps. I was looking for a shiny plaque, but there is nothing here, not even a description of the important work that was carried out here. A tide gauge was sited inside the observatory, where hourly readings of the sea level were recorded from 1 May 1915 to 30 April 1921.

At the foot of the old Penlee Lifeboat slipway. A tragic tale.

Penlee Severn Class Lifeboat, moored at Newlyn Harbour

Jim is generally not an Isolated Danger Buoy!

Jim looks for sunken treasure

We didn't get to see any pirates.

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