Monday, August 31, 2009

The unbearable tiredness of Grampy

Blimey. My longest gap between posts ever I think. Sorry about that. Not that your lives are so rubbish that you await my blogposts with any kind of anticipation you understand. It's just that I know there is a small, possibly sad and lonely band of people who do get some kind of weird pleasure from reading this drivel and I hate to let you down. This post is for you and the psychiatric nurses that tend to your bizarre needs.

So, where have I been? What have I been doing? 'All over' and 'lots' are the answers to those questions. On the working front, there's the launch of the paperback of Joined-Up Thinking coming up and I'm girding my loins for the radio and press interviews currently being arranged by reading the book all over again. It's weird to think that this will be the first time that some people have seen it as I wrote it in 2006. I've written quite a lot of new stuff since then so I've had to remind myself of the content. I'll post details of interviews as and when dates are sorted.

I've also been working with my agent on the pitches for a couple of new books ... one or two of them may even hit the shops this Christmas. More on that as things develop. I'm also cranking out the illustrations for my book of Cornish faerie stories due to be released next year and done some illustration work for Plain English Campaign. So busy, busy, busy.

All of that pales into insignificance beside the job of being a granddad ... and I've spent the past couple of weeks doing just that. This firstly involved driving some 250-odd miles down to Devon to collect my two grandchildren from daughter Kerys and then driving back the next day.

My son Liam came along for the ride - it's not easy controlling two under fives from the driver seat alone - and I spent the next few days playing with My Little Pony, lots of toy cars, reading stories, getting splashed at bath time and enduring the dubious pleasures of Wonderpets on the TV. Have you seen Wonderpets yet? It's extraordinarily addictive. Animated school pets fly around the world, though time and even into fantasy worlds on a frisbee saving other animals in trouble. And all to a Gilbert and Sullivan-esque light opera score. The kids love it and I now know every bleedin' song and can't stop singing them. Here's an intro to the show.

As any parent knows, kids can be exhausting and they certainly wore me out. But this weekend I returned them home ... and then drove the extra 70 miles down into Cornwall to visit my folks. As I was only down there for a couple of days I tried to make the most of it by visiting a couple of very photogenic locations.

First up was Kennall Vale near Ponsanooth. This is a wooded valley in which the natural rainwater streams have been harnessed and directed to create rivers, waterfalls and pools. Originally this was done to power tens of waterwheels - all now sadly defunct - that in turn powered a dynamite making industry. Many of the old powder rooms and workshops are still there, overgrown with ivy and sporting the rusting iron mechanisms that once throbbed with industry. It's a magical place now managed by the Woodland Trust. But if you ever visit, wear your wellies.

Then I visited Camborne's Great Flat Lode. Once the site of the UK's most productive tin and copper mines, the area near Carn Brea is now a silent monument to the death of Cornish mining.

The old mine buildings, now made safe, are enormous and echo inside like huge empty cathedrals. It's a lovely walk and we enjoyed a little sun as we skirted the gorse and brambles, munching on blackberries as we went.

I also enjoyed the simple pleasure of visiting the smallholding of some family friends. They take in stray and unwanted animals and pay for their upkeep by stabling horses for owners who don't have the land. At the moment there are some 20 horses there, chickens, dogs, cats, an agoraphobic goat and a sheep that hides under a tractor all day.

The farm is on a hill and enjoys some spectacular views across Carn Brea towards St Agnes and St Austell in one direction - as seen in this photo of my brother Si and his dog Mya - and St Ives in the other. Glorious. I want to build a studio up there.

But all too quickly the weekend was over and I was in the car and driving the 300-odd miles back to Buckinghamshire. According to the odometer, I've driven 1324 miles this past 10 days. But I have some great photos to show for it. And, speaking of photos, while I was down in the westcountry my photographer brother Simon took some of me as I need a set for publicity-type purposes. He's a clever lad and managed to turn out several that made this old lump of unphotogenic lard look almost human. Thanks Si. One of them is my new profile pic on this blog.

And now, I shall sleep for a week.


Lisa said...

Beautiful photos, lovely grandkids, sounds like you had a ball - how lucky they are to have a gramps like you!!

Looking forward to the book also!

She Means Well... said...

Ooh, those pics brought back memories of childhood summer (ha!) holidays in Cornwall, primarily round ther St. Just-in-Roseland and Tntagel areas.

The weather may not have been up to standard - standard beach wear was swimming cossies or shorts with bare feet and kagoules - but we loved it. And the photos of the glorious old tin mines are intrinsically linked with memories of stuffing our faces with oggies and sneaking a swig of Dad's cider when he wasn't looking.

Did you find any of your Cornish faeries in the woody dell in your first photo?

By the way, gorgeous grandkids too - bet they love having you for a Gramps!

Persephone said...

Admit it, Colvyn, the real reason you don't blog as much as you used to is that yer too darn busy Twittering with your sleb buddies....

Andrew Kerr said...

How can you have GrandKids,your nit much older than me.
You should try Little Einsteins on Disney channel as well.
As I write your in the middle of a Twissup ,so hopefully you'll live to see another day....Although with a Twang-over.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Good luck with the launch of the paperback!

The wooded valley looks gloriously green and mysterious.

A sheep hiding under a tractor all day? I wonder why?!

willow said...

Hey, I have an oil cloth coat just like yours that I got in London yeeeeears ago. Fun pics.

Stevyn Colgan said...

You're all very kind. and yes, I have been neglecting my blog. Twitter isn't to blame though. It's time. I just never seem to have any.


Must try harder.