Welcome to The Primitive Cornish Hovel. A place where I will share my love of prim, vintage, family history, many interests & everyday life. I hope to show you a glimpse of a bygone age through the history of my family & the many 'treasures' I hold dear. Mixed in with this will be snippets of life today. Do drop in again for a visit to see what is happening at 'The Hovel'. Comments are welcomed.


Thursday, 31 July 2008

White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits

Friday August 1st 2008
‘White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits’
I wish you good luck on this first day of August....I have always known that it supposedly means good luck to say ‘White Rabbits’ on the first day of each month. Why or where this saying originated I do not know but like most old sayings and quotes we say them anyway.....I doubt though that it gave much luck to those poor fellows who died in the Battle of Minden in 1759. It was here that the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry formed part of a force against the French on the continent during the Seven Years War. While passing through Germany the British soldiers plucked white roses from bushes near to the battlefields as a tribute to their fallen comrades. Since that time August 1st, known as Minden Day, has been celebrated by all battalions of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and The White Rose of Yorkshire is worn on their caps....



Other regiments of the British Army also celebrate this day and choose also to wear roses in their caps. The colour of the rose varies depending on the regimental recruiting areas. For example the Fusiliers with part of historic Lancashire and the Princess of Wales's area includes Hampshire (both counties having red roses as insignia). So a red rose with be seen.....



In my ww1 collection I have a photograph of a soldier of the West Yorkshire Regiment and a Christmas card affectionately signed ‘Arthur’. As both came together I like to think that the soldier is Arthur. I think that Arthur is a fitting representative of Yorkshire as August 1st is also known as Yorkshire Day. It was first celebrated as such in 1975 to promote the historic county of Yorkshire and as a "protest movement against the local re-organisation of 1974". Today is also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, had campaigned. So Yorkshire has three reasons in which to celebrate....

Soldier of the West Yorkshire Regiment

Christmas Card for the West Yorkshire Regiment
Affectionately signed ‘Arthur’


Another celebration today is Lammas (Loaf-Mass Day), the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop. In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords. The older, Celtic name for this festival is Lughnasadh which means 'mourning for Lugh'. Lugh was an ancient name for The Sun God and so the name Lughnasadh sums up the feeling of this end of summer celebration. The Sun is on the wane, the sun's strength is dwindling and his energy has gone into the ripening corn.....sadly we have seen little of The Sun God this summer. Yet I remember days when the sun shone on fields of crops and butterflies danced to the hum of bees....


The sun is finally shining on this Lammas morning so The Sun God must have heard me.....whatever you do this day enjoy...until next time....lol...

"Once upon a Lammas Night
When corn rigs are bonny,
Beneath the Moon's unclouded light,
I held awhile to Annie...
The time went by with careless heed
Between the late and early,
With small persuasion she agreed
To see me through the barley...
Corn rigs and barley rigs,
Corn rigs are bonny!
I'll not forget that happy night
Among the rigs with Annie!"
- Robert Burns -

Good Evening From The Hovel

‘Rain, Rain Go Away
Come Back Another Day’

Yes that’s right the hot summer days of last week didn’t last. We’ve had rain and wind but this evening for a brief spell the sun broke through the clouds, so brief that if you blinked you missed it. It’s not cold as such but muggy in the daytime with a damp chilly feel at night, almost as if autumn is coming early. But saying that autumn will soon be here and you know what that means.....Halloween will not be long. I do so love the build up to All Hallows Eve, a time for stories to be told around an open fire, planning what to wear and of course getting ready for Trick or Treat...but I digress, after all it is still summer....

It’s been a funny mixed week here at the Hovel. All the plans for getting the garden done and fences painted went by the way due to the rain. So finding no other excuse to avoid it I tackled the inside of my house, well attempted to. As you may know I have been de-cluttering.....to date I have disposed of 50 files/box files, knitting & craft patterns and magazines. Hubby’s and son’s clothes have been sorted with only mine to do!!! My computer desk and bureau are organized, wow what space. ...now this is good for me. There are still lots more to do but I will get there eventually. To help me not want to keep any ‘to go’ stuff I usually take it to the charity shop as soon as possible and yesterday was no exception. So collecting all the bags away I went. However what I’d forgotten about was that inside one of these bags was a ball that a friend had given Merlin and Arthur to play with (Merlin & Arthur being my two dogs!!). Now this ball was no ordinary ball for it made lots of noises when touched, hence it going to the charity shop!!! So all the way to the charity shop, calling into the bank on the way, I was accompanied by the constant noises of dogs barking, cats meowing , owls hooting, pigs grunting, cocks crowing and goodness knows what other animal noises!!!! I got some funny stares I can tell you but I just smiled....
After I returned home I decided to have a break from The Files I decided to organize my collections of vintage photographs and postcards, didn’t realize I had so many.....Talking about photographs I received some interesting ones by email from a friend of hubby’s. Over the weekend Andy phoned from work to say that this ‘old-fashioned’ sailing ship was seen near St. Ives but unfortunately he was not able to take a photograph of it. However yesterday I opened my emails to find photos of the ship plus others. The sailing ship was The Matthew, a replica of explorer John Cabot's square-rigged vessel, which was on its way back from Brittany where it had taken part in a maritime festival in Brest and had stopped briefly in the Scilly Isles. It has now returned to the Bristol docks after six weeks away and is getting ready to star in this weekend's EDF Energy Bristol Harbour Festival. I would have loved to have seen it but the pictures below show what my hubby saw........


'The Matthew'

'The Matthew' sailing past Godrevey Lighthouse
Godrevey Lighthouse of Virginia Woolf's 'To the Lighthouse' fame


I would like to thank Ron Rook of The Rookery Guest House of St. Ives for the beautiful photos you see here and the one below.
A Beautiful Sunrise at Godrevey Lighthouse

As you know my son Christopher and his fiancĂ©e Jane are getting married on December 31st this year. Their original plan was that they were going to get married in a registry office....wrong as from yesterday. It all started on Saturday night when Jane & I had a girly night by watching some films, one being My Best Friend’s Wedding. While watching the film Jane made a comment which caused me to press pause....’I would love to get married in church’....So me being me said ‘Go ahead then’, after all your wedding day should be one of the happiest day of your life. This being said and agreed by both Christopher and Jane, they planned to visit the vicar and arrange it all. Fine, no problem.....fast forward to Tuesday night at about 9pm when two happy people plus a gurgling baby.....did I tell you that Jane has the most adorable seven month old baby daughter and I will not only be a mother-in-law but a nana as well....no well that’s for another time...hehe...back to Tuesday night. The reason for this happy visit was to tell me that they had been to see the vicar and that he was coming to see them to discuss everything. Where and when I ask....... ‘Oh, here tomorrow at 11am’........WHAT! the vicar coming to the Hovel!!!! Well you can guess what I was going to do, feather duster and cleaner here I come. Ok, the house would have done fine but you know what it’s like and it’s not every day a vicar comes calling.....Suffice to say the house was ready by next morning and I stayed out of the way. So now the church is booked for their special day and I am secretly pleased that they chose to marry in church. It will be a fresh new start for them both as they begin their married like together at the start of a New Year......that is why they chose New Year’s Eve. Having not chosen wisely in the past they both felt that it was symbolic to start a new life together on the first day of the New Year. I can relate to that......until next time....lol...

‘An old broom knows the dirty corners best’
Irish Saying


Friday, 25 July 2008

And So The Wedding Plans Begin

Hello there, nice to see you here at the Hovel....This week we have been blessed with glorious sunshine and only had rain late Thursday night. So hubby and I certainly made hay while the sun shone, well piles of weeds, etc, to be exact....so off to the tip this weekend. The only downside of the sun shining is that it shows me that my windows want cleaning!!! But I didn’t think of housework when I took a break from gardening with a trip into Penzance on Wednesday. The trains were pretty full because holidaymakers are already down here. Hopefully we will have more good weather so I can get all the outside jobs done.....

As you can imagine the main topic of conversation this week has been about plans for my son’s forthcoming marriage in December....not long when you think about it. But as with most wedding plans the details have been mostly discussed by his girlfriend and me....Don’t you just love talking about flowers, wedding dress, etc, and all that goes with it. They have decided to get married in a local registry office but still have all the trimmings that go with weddings, especially the bride....

Vintage Postcard of West Bridgford Hall, Nottinghamshire
The Registry Office where I got married in 1996
The Greenhouse is no longer there


Talking of wedding accessories and traditions got me thinking (you know where I’m going with this!!!)...Regardless of where a marriage is performed or the age of the couple concerned, there is usually some traditional item seen.....obviously the clothing but we see a horseshoe, the bridal bouquet and a garter. Confetti is thrown over the newly married couple wherever they may be. Superstition is also associated with weddings, even today.....but why?
We all know the rhythm:
‘Something Old, Something New,
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
and a silver sixpence in her shoe’
Now I didn’t know about the ‘silver sixpence in her shoe’.....and yes you’ve guessed it, my future daughter-in-law likes the idea of a sixpence in her shoe! Now where’s that box of coins...
Obviously taken between 1914-1919...
Did this new bride have a silver sixpence in her shoe?
The word Wedding comes from the Old English "weddian" to promise, to marry or a derivation of "wedd" meaning a pledge... Just be grateful that today we are normally asked if we would like to get married and then a date is set. Pity the poor girl in early marriages who would be kidnapped by the groom and taken away from her tribe.... then again I suppose if she was willing it wouldn’t have been so bad!!!! Fortunately we have progressed from this. However it is not that long ago that it was customary for the gentleman to seek approval from the father of his intended. Today it’s more relaxed, a marriage proposal is made and if accepted the couple become engaged, usually with a ring. It was believed at one time that the groom purchased the engagement ring to demonstrate his financial commitment to his lady. But to the Egyptians the engagement band was a symbol of eternal love for one another. I like the latter as to me an engagement ring is a symbol of commitment to a loved one.....
The happy couple here at the Hovel have already made that commitment and have the ring. We are planning to have a small engagement party to celebrate this special occassion with them. The next event before the wedding is of course the Hen and Stag nights.....I dread to think what my son’s friends have planned for him......

This custom of a Stag party originated from Ancient Greece where Spartan soldiers would celebrate with their male friends the night before their wedding day. The idea behind this was to offer reassurance that although he was about to embark on married life he would not forget their friendship. Much merriment, drinking and noise would be made in attempt to ward off evil spirits....much like today really...
The Hen night, unlike the Stag party, was originally an opportunity for the bride’s friends and family to visit where she lived. It was usually a quite affair, which can’t be said for Hen nights today. I recently went on a Hen night here in Hayle and it was far from quite.....

From the marriage proposal until the wedding day itself plans are made by the couple and family. It may take only weeks or many years. With hubby & I it took eight weeks and a grand time was had by all. My two have five months and thankfully the dress is chosen and the suit ready, reception more or less booked and cake and flowers in the pipeline. This couple (or should I say Jane) are not hanging about.....but what made them decide to get married on New Year’s Eve..........until next time...lol....

‘It’s so great to find that one special person you want
to annoy for the rest of your life’...
‘May she share everything with her husband,
including the housework’

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Weddings and Suchlike

Hello from sunny Cornwall, yes we’ve finally had some days of sunshine...yippee ....and I’m also feeling slightly better in health, hence my chatting here today.....so what’s been happening here at the Hovel.....

Well the highlight of the week and the most surprising was that my son and his girlfriend announced that they were getting married in December, the 31st to be exact!!!!! Talk about celebrating New Year’s Eve in style. I wish them all the luck.....and I will finally get his room for my crafts...hehe...seriously I do wish them all the happiness in the world , after all he is my only offspring....

Talking about weddings got me thinking about the different ways in which a marriage is performed. The traditional church wedding springs to mind along with the registry office ceremony. We also see different cultures around the world that have specific marriage ceremonies which reflect their traditions and beliefs. I for one got married in a lovely registry office next to a beautiful park in Nottinghamshire..... Regardless of where or how the marriage ceremony is performed, the common factor is that two people commit to each other ....

Another name seen for marriage is Handfasting, a term that is used for a Pagan marriage. The term Handfasting comes from the fact that sometime during the ceremony the couple will have their hands bound together to symbolize their union.....An ancient festival which has preserved many of the old handfasting customs is still practised today in rural Lithuania. The festival is known as The Binding of the Wreaths and is celebrated each year on July 20th. At sunset and when the moon is full, the young people of the community go to the woodlands to gather flowers and greenery to make wreaths and garlands. The wreaths are put aside for later and the garlands are hung between two trees, usually birch trees. The couples will then dance hand in hand under the garlands, where they will share a kiss which is intended to bind them to each other.....

The Fire Dance By Sarah Barham
In the meantime the rest of the community have prepared a picnic feast, which will be taken to the young people in the forest. The wreaths prepared earlier are then place on the engaged couple’s head, from which more garlands are added. The garland strands are then tied together during more dancing, which symbolizes the union they are about to make. The couples usually marry this same day, either in the woods or a village hall, and the garlands from the wreath crowns are used to bind together the couple’s left hands during the marriage ceremony.......After the ceremony the couple will go together and toss their wreaths back into the forest in thanks for the deities blessings.....


What a beautiful way to get married......July 20th is also commemorated as Moon Day in honour of Neil Armstrong landing on the Moon. What an appropriate name for a day when young people in love dance under a full moon....

Silver Magic Made By Pan Of Music And The Moon
By Sarah Barham

In celebration of marriage I would like to share with you some wedding photographs I have of my family....

My mother Jean Elizabeth Mary Ballaam, who at 17 married her
first husband Joseph Walter Collins (1922-1963) on January 23 1943.
What a beautiful couple in wartime..

My husband’s parents, Margaret Joan Laws (1923-2001) and
Walter Ward (1922-2004). Married on February 19 1955.
Look at the snow on the ground...


A third cousin once removed of mine, John William Roebuck (1900-1983)
and his new bride Doris Barraclough (1901-1979)
after their marriage in 1923...


William Wragg (1888-1872), a half second cousin once removed
of my husband, and his new wife Hetty Cooper (1890-1940)
Married in 1913

Don’t you just love the clothes.....I wonder how many were wearing ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue’......Until next time...lol...

We come to love not by finding the perfect person,
but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.- Sam Keen
When you meet someone who can cook and do housework—
don't hesitate a minute--marry him. - Unknown

Friday, 11 July 2008

My First Award

Hello from the Hovel and where is the sun!!! It is still July or have we skipped summer. I know we haven't any control over the weather but it seems such a long time since we had a good old British summer. Well at least we won't be having a hose pipe ban!!!!!

But I do have something to smile about......After a week of being poorly I had not been on my computer much so before going to bed I decided to check my emails. Imagine my surprise when I read a message from Annette of Fairy Shoes and Other Things. Not only was it great to hear from her but she had sent me an award....Wow my first. I feel honoured as I am recently new to this blogging stuff and love doing it but didn't think my blog warranted an award....So thank you Annette I'm really chuffed, so much in fact it made me forget for a moment that I have the cold from hell...LOL.....

Now you must visit Annette's blog, she makes the most amazing things and like me she is also a Brit!!!! Her blog is varied and great to read, well find out what I mean by visiting yourselves for a while, you won't be disappointed......visit Annette at: http://rowanspatch.blogspot.com/

The great thing about this award is that I now pass it on to other blogs that I enjoy visiting...the only problem being is that I like so many....so which ones? I would love to pass one back to Annette but thought I would say thanks with these two 'awards' from me......

Blue Fairy on a Dragonfly

Green Pixie

Once an award is received the rules are as follows:
1/ Put the Logo on your blog.
2/ Add a link to the person who nominated you.
2/ Nominate up to 7 other blogs.
3/ Add a link to those blogs on your blog.
Now as I've said I'm new to blogging and although I can do links using the 'page element' I have not idea how to just put a person's name with their link in the body of this email....so if anyone can tell me how I would appreciate it (told you I was not very technical).....So I will list the blogs below and would you please click on 'Blogs I like to Visit' to link to their blogs....ta muchly...hehe..
Michelle & Nette at The Primitive Pear
Debra at Pilgrims and Pioneers
Leanne at The Stitching Room
Monica at Rust 'n' Dust
Kady at Stoney Hill Cabin Chronicles
Pam at Goldie Loo Woodworks
Do visit my fav blogs and if you're like me make yourself a coffee and enjoy your visits......talking of coffee I am off now to make myself a cappuccino.........I'm back and as I'm now wide awake I will browse a while myself while I enjoy my coffee....until next time....lol...

Monday, 7 July 2008

Memorial Plaques Found

Hello from the Hovel...What wet weather we have had over the weekend, felt more like autumn than summer... And to top it all I have a cough and cold, so please could we have some sun!!!!! But the good news is that the stolen Memorial Plaques were found last week. The bad news is that the first one, found in Plymouth, was cut into four pieces. A local dealer reported it to the police when it was handed to him. The other three plaques were later found in Somerset, two intact but one damaged. It is very sad that two have been damaged but at least they have been found and hopefully the ones responsible will be punished......until next time...lol..




Friday, 4 July 2008

Betsy Ross

Happy Fourth of July to our friends across the pond, many of who will be celebrating by way of patriotic displays, fireworks, parades and family gatherings. The US flag will be seen in many places from the White House to the smallest garden, yet this flag has not always been the one we see today.....

So to find out more I went searching on good old google and found some interesting facts, some of which I vaguely remembered from my school history lessons. Such as the Grand Union Flag which was flown over the American Colonies before independence from Great Britain........

What I didn’t know, I’m ashamed to say, was the story about Betsy Ross. Having a great interest in the roles woman played in history I decided to read more about this lady and the first US flag......

Elizabeth Griscom was born on January 1 1752. Betsy, as she was known, was the 8th child of seventeen children. Her great Grandfather was Andrew Griscom, a Quaker carpenter who had already emigrated from England to New Jersey. True to her roots Betsy attended the Friends (Quaker) Public school for eight hours a day. On completing her schooling Betsy’s father apprenticed her to a local upholsterer. It was here that she met and fell in love with another apprentice by the name of John Ross, who was the son of an Episcopal assistant rector at Christ Church. Quakers frowned on inter-denominational marriages and a guilty couple would be cut-off from the community. Knowing this Betsy and John eloped one November night in 1773 and got married in New Jersey. Less than two years after their marriage, the couple started their own upholstery business......

In January 1776, a British agitator by the name of Tom Paine, who was living in Philadelphia, published a pamphlet that would have a profound impact on the Colonials. The city was divided as many still classed themselves as British citizens. Betsy and John Ross keenly felt the impact of the war and business was slow. John joined the Pennsylvania militia and while guarding an ammunition cache in mid-January 1776, John was mortally wounded in an explosion and died 21st January.....
According to Betsy's telling, in late May or early June 1776 she had a meeting with George Washington, George Ross, and Robert Morris, which resulted in Betsy being commissioned to sew the first flag.....
After being widowed Betsy returned to the Quaker community and joined the Free (Fighting) Quakers who had banded together in support of the war effort. In 1777 Betsy married Joseph Ashburn and had two daughters Zillah, who died young, and Elizabeth. Sadly Betsy was to be widowed again. On a trip to the West Indies to procure war supplies Captain Ashburn was captured by the British and sent to Old Mill Prison in England where he died in March 1782. Betsy learned of her husband's death from her old friend, John Claypoole, who she later married. The couple had five daughters, Clarissa Sidney, Susannah, Rachel, Jane, and Harriet, who died at nine months. Betsy was to be widowed a third time when John died in 1817 after years of ill health. She continued working until 1827 bringing many of her immediate family into the business with her. After retiring, she went to live with her married daughter Susannah in the suburb of Abington, PA.......What a remarkable lady, who not only sewed the first flag but went on to make flags for the United States for 50 years. At the age of 84 Betsy died on January 30 1836......

Never having made a flag other than as a very young child (and that was with crayons and paper) I decided yesterday to have a go....I’m feeling brave enough to show you the little flag cushion that I made without a pattern and material I had to hand . Ok it’s not a true version of the US flag!!! but hey I still did it, my little contribution to July 4th.....until next time....lol....

A nation thrills, a nation bleeds,
A nation follows where it leads,
And every man is proud to yield
His life upon a crimson field
For Betsy's battle flag.
‘Betsy’s Battle Flag by Minna Irving

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Three More Memorial Plaques Stolen

An update on the stolen Memorial Plaque.....I cannot believe it, the thieves only went back last night and stole a further three!!!! The theft of the first plaque was initially spotted by a professional sculptor who had been contracted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to restore all 113 bronze plaques on the city memorial. It's feared they will go for scrap and will only be worth a few hundred pounds yet to replace them will cost around £2000 each......I'm appalled by this act.......Hugs Chrissy x

A news report can be seen at the link below