A Cornish Farewell

April 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm 1 comment

I love the fact that I come from a town where community and tradition are still important. As a community, St. Ives is small enough for everyone knows who you are and who your family is.  When I was young, ‘Whose cheeld are ee?’ or ‘Who do ee belong to?’ (essentially, ‘who’s your mum and dad?’) was a question I was asked if ever I met an adult in St. Ives. I hated the question, favouring anonymity during my angry adolescence. Now I live away from the homeland, I love it. It gives me a sense of belonging, a sense of history. These people could trace my family tree back two or three generations, I can’t!

In terms of tradition; on Good Friday, the locals still go up to Consolls Pond to sail their boats, (of the minature variety), The schools still shut on St. Ives feast day and when a local man and former fisherman dies, the St. Pirran flags on the harbour fly at half mast. Two weeks ago, they flew at half mast for my dad.

We said goodbye to my dad in Fore Street Methodist chapel, the church he grew up attending, it overlooks the harbour that he worked in as a fisherman. It sits a stones throw (literally) away from the house in which he was born, the oldest house in St.Ives. The chapel is also a stones throw (literally, I do mean this, come and have a look!) from the pub in which he met my mum (The Sloop Inn) where he features in two of  the sketches of local fishermen that adorn the walls. The chapel sits across the road from where he and my mum lived where they were first married, a flat that was once above a butchers shop but is now above some unneccessary trinket shop. (I like the unnecessary trinket shops, by the way). My dad was a local man and the community I come from let us know what that means to them.

The flags at half mast, the living room full of cards and flowers, the constant approach of people that I thought were strangers (getting into a taxi: ‘Morley’s maid aren’t you? Sorry for your loss. How’s Mum doing?’) I’m a private person and I don’t like to share my grief, some people might find the constant reminder of their loss excrutiating, but I feel proud that I come from a place that feels the loss with me, that mourns with me, (in a Matthew 5 kinda way). So many of our communities have lost this, but it’s precious.

There’s so many more things I could say about Morley Davey, but my blog should end with the poem my brother-in-law chose and read at his funeral, the celebration of the life of a Cornish man who was once a fisherman.

SUNSET and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness or farewell,
    When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Who knows best?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Natalie Lewis  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Emma, this is lovely. You sum up the spirit of St Ives and why we all love it so so well. Nat x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: