29th Match 2020
Malpas, Falmouth, UK 50 14.00 N 5 01.11 W
In 1820 Thomas Danielle walked out of the Trelissick House which he’d had built overlooking Falmouth harbour, and marvelled at the beauty he’d created. This beauty was exaggerated as the staff he had to tend the gardens, the drivers he had to deliver his wares and the boats that normally frolicked in the bay were all absent. He was alone to enjoy this spot, alone, but not lonely and content with his lot. Move on 200 years and Iain and Fiona, in the midst of the 2020 Covid-19 shutdown, have stepped into Thomas’s boots.
With the lockdown coming into full effect we took our daily exercise quotients within the grounds of Trelissick house. Not a soul disturbed the wildlife and not a car rumbled on the tarmac, all that could be heard were the gentle lapping of waves on the foreshore and the distant cry of crows that were marking the destination of our hike.
The point of interest was a tower that we could see from Ruffian. From Ruffians viewpoint where there should have been 4 turrets there were 3, where there should have been a roof there were branches and where you’d expect a village, only fields were evident on the map. This point of interest required investigation.
As we hiked along the deserted paths our quarry of the day became evident, and if we felt the end of the World was nigh due to the shutdown, it now felt like a countdown to the end was about to chime. Crows circled and cowed around the deserted bell tower which was set in centre of a churchyard. Trees were slowly growing through gravestones surrounding it and crypts that had been open to the elements for years cast empty eyes up to its parapets. We could almost hear the chiming and were worried that the spirit of Thomas Danielle was out to get us as we’d walked on his sacred paths.
Under the dominance of the haunted tower, nestled in a quiet corner of the churchyard, sat the sweetest of little churches. Amidst the craziness of Covid-19, it was still open and we were free to both browse its wares and hide from Thomas who we were sure was waiting outside. Inside, we found that the church had been first built 800 years ago by a chap who’d floated down the river in a stone trough and this spot is where his trough had finally run aground. This put into context that maybe these times aren’t that strange.
The following day we felt that we had to once again take our daily exercise quotient and head towards an abandoned dock that we felt we’d get a good view of Ruffian from. We walked through the tea plantations of the viscount of Cornwall, past wrecks which were once someone’s pride and joy and picture-perfect views of creeks framed by thatched cottages. Nearing our prize, we turned a corner and were greeted by a big gate, a big gate with barbed wire, and on that big gate with barbed wire a big sign reading ‘Private’. Iain took this as a hint that he shouldn’t just hop over and head down, (although left to his own devices Larry probably would have).
After the failure of the walk we were in for another failure on Ruffian. We pride ourselves on Ruffian in having redundancy for everything. There are 2 autopilots, 2 course computers, 2 navigation sources, 2 methods of steering, 2 water tanks (you get the idea). If anything breaks we have a spare, we have however overlooked a certain critical component for happy living on Ruffian. We have no redundant hot water bottles and we ARE a hot water bottle down. After years of faithful service, it had sprung a leak, disgorged its contents all over our bed and now for weeks to come, we’re not going to have the joy of a warm bed to welcome us.
For team Ruffian Thomas Danielle has, so far, been the hero of the shutdown. The landscape he created has been enchanting and the history of the land haunting. We only hope in the days to come the news will not be chilling and we will once again be able to put miles under Ruffian’s keel and explore new worlds.
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