I have just got back after a week in Cornwall. I was riding horses most of the time. I still feel sore in several places but I was pleased to note that the aches and pains decreased towards the end of the week. It was good to get back on a horse after a couple of years of being dismounted or whatever the word is, although I was annoyed with myself at times when I realised how out of practice I was at certain things.
I have visited Cornwall before, but not for many years. Happy memories came back. I soon found myself at home there. That was probably in part due to the many similarities between Cornwall and Wales, where I used to live.
The placenames in Cornwall demonstrate an interesting mixture of English and Celtic origins, like the people. I hope all of us Britons can celebrate our distinctiveness whilst valuing those things which unite us.
The countryside has its similarities. Welsh people will be quick to point out that Cornwall does not have any mountains to compare with Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons, but I found I was almost always going uphill or downhill on horse or foot or in the car and it all seemed pretty mountainous to me.
The rugged coastline and the lovely beaches reminded me of parts of Pembrokeshire. Although you can get away from the sea in Wales, more easily than in Cornwall, most Welsh people choose to live near the coast. In the area around Llandrindod Wells you find sheep outnumber people by a large factor.
Fishing, farming and nowadays tourism play a large part in the economic life of Cornwall as of Wales.
There were signs of mining almost everywhere I went. I know these were nearly all tin or copper mines, whilst Wales is, or was, famous for coal. In fact, there is a history of mining tin and copper in parts of Wales too, and where I now live, Warrington, I am again in the centre of former mining areas. I have noticed that, mining creates a certain type of community as well as affecting the landscape, regardless of the particular substance being taken out of the ground.
In Highwaypersons, Book II, The King’s Justice, the main characters get involved in the iron ore business: an activity which predated coalmining in Wales by a long way. I hope those of you who are more knowledgeable than I am regarding the technical aspects of that industry will forgive the mistakes you are likely to find and enjoy the yarn. The story is not really about mining: it is about people.
It is a pity you cannot get a good cream tea in Wales!