Thursday, 5 March 2009

Wax Flowers ... "Old Celt" and my memory - not my mother's!!

Dear Mr Postman .. oh thank you we'll enjoy your letter & I'll tell you all about it ...

My Ma was full of the joys of spring today .. ie she was with it & interested .. so I read the weather story to her .. and she laughed again .. & then she asked about Bottrell .. well again .. I'd forgotten who it was or what it was!! So she said - well if you've forgotten it .. you'd better read it to me again .. that put me in my place ..!

I'd taken some wax flower sprigs up, together with some irises and yellow & cream narcissi ..that smell so nice. The wax flowers looked liked tea-tree flowers to me .. and to my Ma .. like heather .. spiky leaves with pale creamy flowers .. both right .. but they are from the myrtle family and are endemic to South Western Australia .. I was told (but I'm not sure!!)

Well murder and mayhem .. can be read about in two of my previous posts. William Bottrell 1816 - 1881 spent his early years living on a farm near the Lands End peninsula, listening and absorbing stories from his grandparents, while sitting by the fire in the kitchen. He was well educated and gained a love for the classics and mathematics. He subsequently travelled greatly, as large numbers of Victorians did in those days, and settled in the Basque area of Spain .. this time collecting local Basque folk tales .. & tending his Spanish garden.

His Spanish lands were confiscated and given to the Catholic Church, so he returned to Cornwall before setting out for a teaching post in Quebec, Canada; he returned again to Cornwall before setting out to Australia, where his wife unfortunately died.

He'd collected folk stories and tales on his travels and continued collecting Cornish ones .. these were published, under the psdudonym "Old Celt" and absorbed into others' volumes for posterity .. but he settled as a recluse in a tumble down cottage on the land at Hawke's Point, near Lelant, where the railway line splits the Point in half, leaving a tiny picturesque meadow.

A description of Hawke's Point is given by a Mr Glasson, who lived there after William Bottrell, and who'd emigrated to Australia but returned for a nostalgic visit:

"In the seclusion of hazel bush and wild briar, a rich little three-cornered meadow of beautiful potato and vegetable soil led down to the very edge of the cliff, just where it turned north towards the headland. Here was a well of water, somewhat similar to the Holy Well of St Uny, but far more secluded and silent, being so enshrouded in the shadows of the overhanging ferns and foliage, of hazel and briar bushes, that it was scarcely known and seldom visited. So secluded was this precious little nook overlooking the beach and Bay, that only in the early morning could the sun ever get a peep at it. Here the maidenhair fern developed as in no other place along the cliff." Beautiful description of a miniscule corner of Cornwall, as it was.

Thank you Mr Postman .. my mother loved these positive stories from the past & I know she'll love hearing them again and again .. they make such fun reading ... murder and mayhem .. whatever next? ...


Peter Baca said...


Nice of you to take flower to your mom....women just love flowers! It shows the kind of care your giving her! Really enjoy these times, especially days she is better.

I enjoyed the information about Bottrel! Also, do you have any pictures of your mom to post. Probably pictures from her past!

Best Regards

Pete Baca

The Car Enthusiast Online

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete .. thanks for the thoughts .. she does love her flowers .. so each week I go to the street seller and see what he's got & she loves her scented flowers .. - my disadvantage is I have no garden .. otherwise we'd have lots of greenery & which every flowers were out .. = to my 2nd home in the country!!!

Good Bottrell was an interesting character ..& this process is interesting as I'm find out so many fun snippets .. I read some more on him to my Ma this pm ..

Yes - re pics .. her cousin sent her some from 1902 - her father aged 11 or so .. & her parents wedding .. but actually my Ma .. I'm not too good re those .. & I'm not too good at getting them into the m/c let alone finding them & putting them across to the posts!

I'll get there .. it's on the list ...

thanks for coming & reading more .. & your is well worth a look by my readers ..

Thanks - Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

Unknown said...

Hi Hilary, Thank you for your interesting article. All the modern histories there are characters who built and supported new era of mankind.

It is also nice to learn that your mother enjoys with you.

Thanks again
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Shaw .. history is just very interesting .. see how countries have developed etc .. and see how leaders take us forward (or restrict us).

Thanks .. if Mum doesn't enjoy it .. then we don't talk about it!!

Have a good day - Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy