Those moments, tasted once and never done,
Of long surf breaking in the mid-day sun.
A far-off blow-hole booming like a gun-
The seagulls plane and circle out of sight
Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,
The veined sea-campion buds burst into white
And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside
Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide
To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.
More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills
A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills
Over these long-defended Cornish hills.
A gun-emplacement of the latest war
Looks older than the hill fort built before
Saxon or Norman headed for the shore.
And in the shadowless, unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.
Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling
Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring
On sunny shallows, green and whispering.
The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky
Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by
Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.
From today’s calm, the lane’s enclosing green
Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene-
Slate cottages with sycamore between,
Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles
With, as the everlasting ocean rolls,
Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.
Bejteman wrote these words about Daymer Bay and the Camel Estuary and he is buried in the St Endecoc church which is hidden in the dunes near where most of these photos were taken. Betjeman had it about right; "those moments, tasted once, and never done". Certainly I am never done with Cornwall, nor the Camel Estuary in particular, and it is one of the places I am calmest, happiest, most content.
photos top L-R:
boats at Rock; crabs at Lundy Bay; me at Lundy Bay
crabs and more Lundy Bay
Husband on the roof terrace at Rick Stein's seafood restaurant; boats at Rock; Husband waiting for the ferry
photos bottom L-R:
Husband golfing at St Enedocs; ferry from Rock to Padstow; lunch at Rick Stein's cafe
Lunch; surfing at Polzeath; rockpooling at Lundy Bay
more rockpooling; trees on the golf course; Camel Estuary mussels
photos by me