one day at a time…
Thursday, 02 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Cornish Fall & Mellow Fruitfulness
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenney/CornwallCAM.co.uk MAP: Redruth
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.
Carn Brea, Redruth © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyVirginia Creeper © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyBryony © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyBlackberries © Charles Winpenny © Charles Winpenny
Yesterday we featured Autumn mists, and today we feature Autumn fruits: on this occasion the American version of the phrase, Fall fruits, does not jar too harshly on a British English speaker's ear. Charles Winpenny took the pictures: he often shows the hill of Carn Brea, but this time he was on the top looking down on the town of Redruth, which is in the far southwest English county of Cornwall. The Autumn plants are Virginia Creeper, Bryony, and Blackberries. That last name clearly identifies that the fruits are growing in the south of Great Britain, because at some point on the journey north, the locals will start referring to them as Brambles.

On This Day In 2002: Neglected Scottish Gaucho - Wed, 02 Oct 2002

Inchmahome © Martin McCarthyInchmahome © Martin McCarthyMartin McCarthy is the webmaster of the Ancient Scotland web site. These pictures come from Martin's page about Inchmahome Priory, which is on the Scottish island of Inchmahome in the country's only 'lake' ('loch' is the Scottish equivalent name) known as the Lake of Monteith (map), near Stirling, Scotland (map).

The web site, as its name suggests, is a comprehensive guide to all things ancient and Scottish. Inchmahome Priory may be found from the sidebar link to Christian sites.

There is a useful 'search' map that allows you to click on a place to return a list of ancient sites within a user specified radius: a great feature for vacationing explorers. Now there's a fun idea: how about a vacation based on Martin's web site entries?

Martin's pictures show one of the remaining arches of the nave, and an ethereal infrared picture of other parts of the priory ruins. Please click on the images for a full size view. The Mysterious Britain Gazetteer has details of the folklore of the area. The island has received many famous historical visitors, including Robert Bruce, and the 5 year old Mary Queen of Scots. She stayed here for 3 weeks in 1547 on her way to exile in France after the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. As Martin wryly notes "Where didn't she stay?", this woman who was blown hither and thither by the winds of ill fortune. Less well remembered now is Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936), buried within Inchmahome Priory after his body was returned from his beloved Argentina, where he died in Buenos Aires.

Born Robert Bontine to a family with an aristocratic lineage, his childhood was spent on the family estates in Perthshire, and an education at Harrow. Aged 17 he then went to live on the family estates in Argentina where he was affectionately known as 'Don Roberto'. He was an expert horseman, becoming proficient with lazo and bolas. In a 1917 letter to Theodore Roosevelt he wrote, "God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses.". After the death of his father in 1883 he changed his name to Robert Cunninghame Graham and returned to England with his Chilean poetess wife Gabrielle. The family estates were heavily in debt, and despite Cunninghame Graham's efforts had to be sold off. He was politically active until 1892, co-founded the Scottish Labour party in 1888, and in 1928 became the first president of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and was sometimes humorously called 'Uncrowned King of Scotland'. Ever the rebel, he once said, "He has all the qualifications for a great Liberal Prime Minister. He wears spats and he has a beautiful set of false teeth.", when speaking of Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Cunninghame Graham wrote widely; Amazon lists 27 titles associated with his name, covering subjects in North Americas, South America, North Africa, and Scotland. Most are out of print, Cunninghame Graham himself having trouble obtaining copies in his lifetime, as these wry letters show. Project Guttenberg carries a copy of his 'A Vanished Arcadia: Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767'. His circle included James Keir Hardie, William Morris, Joseph Conrad, Whistler, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, W.H. Hudson, Ford Madox Ford, Hugh MacDiarmid, and William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody. Frank Harris wrote a portrait of this Renaissance man.

There are three concise biographies [1:Vettese] [2:Crumey] [3:Walker] on the web. I thought this paragraph by Raymond Vettese summed Cunninghame Graham up nicely, 'There have been instances before of neglected artists who, in the fullness of time, return to their own. Perhaps this will be the case with Cunninghame Graham, but perhaps his present lack of wide fame in Scotland would not have disturbed him, would, indeed, have merely been met with a wry smile and a quotation from his story, 'Cruz Alta': "Failure alone is interesting...those who fail after a glorious fashion, Raleigh, Cervantes, Chatterton...and the last unknown deckhand who, diving overboard after a comrade, sinks without saving him: these interest us, at least they interest those who, cursed with imagination, are thereby doomed themselves to the same failure as their heroes were." The theme of a glorious failure surfaces many times in Cunninghame Graham's work and who is to say that he would not count himself satisfied to be considered as such?'

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)