The sea the sea

Having moved to the very tip of Cornwall I have come to understand the power exerted by the sea. West Penwith is surrounded by a vast timeless substance that is so much more than just a liquid pushed by tides. The scale and the draw of the sea makes my everyday concerns seem futile.


 My experience of the sea and to some extent the moors hereabouts is that I am thrown into the present moment more and more by walking and exploring the cliffs and the ancient footpaths. When I walk in sight of the sea or over the moors, I don’t slip into reminisce or worry about future events, I am forced to be in the moment, simply because there is so much to see and to feel. At the night seeing the sky peppered with a million stars the same feelings come over me as I’m made aware of how tiny and short lived I am in respect to the vastness of time and space.


Not just the seasons, but also each day brings novelty of light and atmosphere. The wind and rain come hard in across the Atlantic in squalls, and like a piece of music that hooks you in and makes you just feel, you react because at that moment there seems to be nothing else to be done.


Appliqué and re-imagining shirts

It is strange how everything has it's time. I started to re-imagine shirts from charity shops 20 years ago, in response to the Seditionaries shirts Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren designed for the Sex Pistols. I had just enough money to afford one as a student and was unlucky enough to loose it, or I suspect to have it stolen from my wash basket in the launderette. It featured the obligatory image of Karl Marx and various slogans and anarchist signs. Loosing it made me hanker for it's charm and DIY ethic all the more. A ready supply of Saville row shirts seemed to appear in my local charity shop, and I set about adorning them with fabric paint and anything I could find that was vaguely incongruous or radical in some obscure way.

Last week I was asked by a member of Dië Spieglë (local Penzance punk band) to make a shirt for him, and now I seem to be making them for others in the band and a local shop too. The skills and techniques are coming back to me and I am using stencils and iron on transfers that I must have had lying around or in my memory for 20 years.


Wild animals and the people who work for the

My partner and I just got back from a walk along Penzance promenade to Newlyn. There were 3 people swimming in the unusually calm high tide that lapped the shingle beach under a rather leaden sky. We had seen a seal surfacing, further along, just meters off the beach, and waited for it to re surface, which it did, but 100 yards along the beach. As we passed the trio of swimmers larking about they went to swim further out and then they all screamed, and quickly headed out of the surf, we heard them say 'What was that?' and 'It was a seal!" They stood in the shallows talking excitedly about their very brief encounter with the inquisitive dogs of the sea (my name for them) I never tire of seeing seals their noses pointing up out of the sea (bottling as the locals call it) as they rest between dives, or playing in the waves off Portheras or Sennen.

Tonight, I found that there is an on-line publication called Zoomoorphic magazine, dedicated to giving voice to the wild animals that our species has not yet managed to edge into extinction. What an impoverished and unimaginable world it would be without wild animals, they so enrich our lives. Perhaps we are entering a time when, as a species, we are starting to take responsibility for our actions.






Walking, drugs and skylarks.

The 3rd of June was the first night I slept through the night without the aide of Ibuprophen. As a vegan I have to acknowledge that animals have been experimented on in the process of developing the drugs I take. I give money to the Dr Hadwen Trust which campaigns and carries out non animal based research and drug development, this is all I can do to change the future of animal experimentation.

There isn't much we do in life which doesn't have some effect on some other being, I try to remember this and live accordingly.

Walking has been a miracle cure for me, I have started to walk longer and longer distances. They have acted as a gentle massage to my scar tissue and left shoulder. Without this my lungs would also not have got back to some where near how they were before the pneumonia. My most frequent walk out to to the end of the harbour arm at Newlyn, has been accompanied by a pair of skylarks, who play and display above the stinking trawlers and rope sheds. Their song is a magical addition to the therapy of walking.


The animal world of pain

What follows is not scientific, backed up by experiment or entirely factual.

I have had a mild and so far short experience of another world, the place we call pain. That particular sensation that can stop us short, make us quiet and loose us sleep. I have always associated pain with animals, I have no idea why, but maybe the hours of TV I watched as a child hold the answer. I remember a particular public information film a bout rabies which featured stock film from a foreign country of a dog frothing and writhing in pain in a cage. Just maybe this was my time of awareness of the possibility of pain within me and felt universally by animals and humans alike.

I don't claim any kind of early analysis for it took me another 10 years at least to make the connection between my diet and the suffering of animals. But that information film sticks in my mind and that is where I will hang the idea of pain.

I have been managing the pain with Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and at the extremes codeine, all these substances have their effects on us. The codeine particularly speeded and reinforced my emotional responses to any triggers. When I first got home from hospital I cried at the sight of close friends, any moving Facebook post and any show of love towards me.

As someone who felt that in the past I had a lack of emotional response to life this was both a contrast and a welcome chance to let it all out. Here I think also I feel that this is a more animal way to behave, less guarded than our human restraint and decorum.


Maybe also I have learnt to listen better to others, to stay quiet and to really take in not just what a person is saying, but how they are expressing themselves. Why an experience of pain should do this I do not know, but as I said at the start this is an emotional gut reaction to how I am feeling.