The Old One Comes to claim his own …

cthulu
click to enlarge

An impromptu, innocent and gentle crepus­cular walk in the grounds of Trelissick turns into an unexpected action movie plot point: a monstrous kraken hauls itself from the mire and lumbers, clicking and creaking and groaning, fingers its way across the sward … and we run … and I tip my camera over my shoulder in the hope of … and we are free … well, derrr …

And then today I was wandering across the apoca­lytic wastes around Geevor and was reminded of the obsess­ively claustral, sepulchral aesthetic of the geolo­gical vampires of our recent past.

door to the underworld
click to enlarge

Friends who’ve come here say: it’s not pretty — no; it’s so fright­en­ingly, danger­ously hard — yes; it doesn’t let you forget, does it — no; but it still slips its mineral veins deep into your soul like brittle mycelium — oh yes.

And wherever you go, the Bucca are watching …

totem
click to enlarge

You can fly to the furthest reaches of the globe and fuck the future of our world, and ignore the politics and the ecology and the economics and … and gawp at the natural wonders of the world and tick off your bucket list scores or you can look around yourself, here and now, orient yourself and choose to belong and see the beauty and the depth and the magic of the place where you stand … and …

geevor
click to enlarge

cobble together a collage of 6 photos and try to say something about us, people, and the earth, and about the sea and history and hardship and pain and about home.

Redux

Gaza Sphinx
click to enlarge

Because the premise is a lie … was always. Because family feuds are worse, civil wars not and because antisemitism is not exclusive when it comes to who the semites are … because Trump is, Netanyahu is … not …

And so people die. And live without hope … and now less … if that’s possible.

And not to aesthetisise anyone else’s pain, and not to ignore the ancient greek’s misogyny … why is this shit still going on … I’m not naive, just sad and angry.

The Desolation of Capital

door
click to enlarge

Spent the afternoon clambering around the post-apoca­lyptic scifi, giants’ legoland desol­ation of the St Just Mining District (a World Heritage Site).

lego
click to enlarge

Must have been hell on earth as men delved far out under the sea, digging for tin, copper or whatever was profitable this week, and men women and children processed the stuff up on the cliffs above, smashing rocks and scraping arsenic with their bare hands … at the edge of the world … spending their lives making money for scum.

tomb
click to enlarge

And thank­fully there have been no attempts to prettify or sanitise anything.

columns
click to enlarge

It is hard and raw and grim and still wild and beautiful …

until it all disap­peared into the gloaming and the fog.

Man Engine

man-engine-4
click to enlarge

Penzance has a population of about 20,000 and there was a crowd of about that size to meet the Man Engine, weighing in at 40 tonnes and standing 10 meters tall, the largest mechanical puppet ever made in Britain.

man-engine-1
click to enlarge

The crowd had to wait and wait as he stayed crouched under a Cornish flag half way down Market Jew Street.
He was built to celebrate the “Tinth” (groan) anniversay of UNESCO granting the Cornish mining landscape World Heritage status.

davy
click to enlarge

Humphrey Davy patiently waits with his eponymous lamp as a gift.
The huge puppet had taken eleven days to crawl the 130 miles from where he was built in Devon.

man-engine-2
click to enlarge

And then he did finally stand up.
Always a bit cynical about such orches­trated jollity, having to brave such a vast crowd in such a small space, and Cornish time involving a long hot wait in a sometimes fractious scrum, I was surprised by just how impress­ively steam-punkily big and beautiful he was.

man-engine-3
click to enlarge

It sounds a bit naff but one of the best things about him, intimate almost, alive, is his blink … and then ten thousand people start singing The Song of the Western Men … it’s weirdly quite stirring in a sort of scary An Gof Nurem­bergy way.

man-engine-5
click to enlarge

Sneaking up on the giant miner for a closer look at his internals and puppeteers.

The Brough of Birsay

brough
click to enlarge

Looking east along the north coast of Mainland from the ruins of the Viking church, and first resting place of Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney, that’s St Magnus to you and me, on the Brough of Birsay.

brough-2
click to enlarge

And south towards Marwick Head.

Wild and desolate but home success­ively to Picts, Celtic Monks, Viking Earls and an 11th century Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.

brough-sounds
click to enlarge

When you see the exposed strata on Brough Sounds you realise how easy it would be to extract the huge slabs the ancients erected all over the island.
Now, how they moved the bloody things is another matter. Wet seaweed is a great lubricant appar­ently and perhaps time didn’t mean quite the same thing then.
Ah, them were the days.

Back to Orkney

stromness
click to enlarge

Getting back to our road trip — we really needed a bank on our first morning on Orkney. So we braved rush hour in downtown Stromness only to find that the bank was open just two mornings a week and not on a Tuesday … fair enough.

skaill beach
click to enlarge

The beautiful Bay of Skaill where the settlement of Skara Brae was built 5000 years ago.

skara-brae-2
click to enlarge

An incredible warren built in to the dunes above the beach, which was an enclosed lagoon at the time.

skara-brae-1
click to enlarge

We’d never thought we’d ever get to see it. And you know how some things can’t possibly live up to expect­a­tions? It did.

skara-brae
click to enlarge

The incredible thing is that there are similar settle­ments all over the place here, minus the famous dressers, but they are so much more modest and 3000 years younger … perhaps a bit slow to catch on, the Cornish.