Saturday 29 May 2021

We are the World Blogfest # 49 Blindness does not stop us cooking …


People always amaze me at the accomplishments they achieve … but even more so when they are blind, or become blind …


I’ll be writing about one British man … but the BBC World Service programme ‘The Food Chain’ I heard was about three cooks … and I link across to them.


Simon Mahoney has written this wonderful book titled ‘First Catch your Rabbit’ – or Cooking without Fear … with a sub-title …

When You

Have To …

You Do

What You

Have To …


As the back blurb states: ‘Losing your sight is dreadful.  Losing it entirely is devastating.  Losing your wife and best friend (just before Covid struck) so there are no eyes in your home is pushing the bounds of endurance.  Losing your favourite dog is just careless.  In such a situation you either laugh or you cry.’ 


Here he describes how he mastered the kitchen, entirely alone, blind, dodging three dogs and a cat called ‘Spitfire’ is anybody’s guess … 

… but honestly who could not be drawn in.


As he says – please note … ‘no rabbit was harmed, alarmed or even caught whilst writing this book’. 

Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit

He acknowledges the help he’s received … family, friends, The Blind Veterans UK, and being able to draw on the Officer Training Wing, Infantry Training Centre, Royal Marines – for providing an excruciating character-forming experience which has been instrumental in overcoming the challenges of my sight loss.


It’s not a cook book … more a survival manual … for those whose eyes deteriorate until they cannot read, but who might be interested in his kitchen techniques for coping … 


He has exercises called ‘Getting your Hands Back’ … this is proprioception – also referred to as ‘kinesthesia’ - and is the sense of self-movement and body position … we all need it … and is one sense that we need to get working effectively again … it is sometimes described as the “sixth sense” …



Simulation of real life in the 
mid-15th century ... preparing 
a rabbit for a meal

Here is proof that we can all achieve, even in the most challenging of situations … his explanations are so down to earth … so understandable – and perhaps exercises we can get into the habit of using, even before any wear and tear sets in.



So catch your rabbit – be grateful for your sight … while having this book up your sleeve to help others and perhaps in due course yourself.



We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, be Light


Winging It Blind … life can’t be stopped … it is ours, wherever we find ourselves …


BBC world Service – The Food Chain

Payal Kapoor’s YouTube Channel ‘Rasoi ke Rahasya’ … Cooking without Lookingthis NewZealand site tells the story of India’s Payal Kapoor


The Blind Goat is a modern Vietnamese gastropub inHouston, Texas … run by Christine Hà … Gordon Ramsay mentions her extraordinary palate of incredible finesse.


Winging it Blind – Simon Mahoney’s website … with links to his first book ‘A Descent into Darkness’ and his blog, videos etc and this book … First Catch Your Rabbit!


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Treasure those Memories … part 12 … St Ives in overview …


My mother’s family are from St Ives, and though I don’t specifically know, from their occupation I would hazard a guess they had been there for a few centuries … they were fishing, shipping and town administration folk …

Carbis Bay Hotel, where the 
G47 Summit will be held
… all of St Ives would be linked to the early trades fishermen and shipwrights, before the advent of steam and the change of direction as necessitated by events of time in the 1800s and onwards …



We so easily forget how far our history goes back … and today where we came from can be traced … whether I go back as far as being a Phoenician is rather a matter of unnecessary conjecture …


Fish, Tin and Copper - the
three main industries of Cornwall
… the Phoenicians (eastern Mediterranean) were serious maritime traders … coming to prominence in the Late Bronze Age (c 1150 – 600 BCE) – we know they traded for tin – Cornwall’s surface seams could be ‘easily’ mined …


There was settlement from pre-Roman times … Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age … then the Romans visited this western peninsula – both on land, and via the sea routes …


Men-an-Tol standing stones near
Madron, Penzance
(from the late Neolithic or
early Bronze Age era)
So we know Cornwall was occupied with early peoples, traded and barbarically enslaved, some stayed and settled … our early history is spread along the coasts, the stories that have sprung up through the centuries ...



Society of Genealogists
(established 1911)
Fortunately recorded history has already reminded us about significant events … with the leading characters … in 1538 Henry VIII issued an injunction requiring each parish to maintain a Parish Register to hold details of all baptisms, marriages and burials. 


Domesday Book - completed 1088
The Domesday Book of William the Conqueror’s time (1066 and all that) had recorded in detail the land surveyed, as well as how it was occupied, but without the general population’s names.  (Part 7)  Fortunately the Parish Registers in part overcame that …

West Penwith: St Ives to the north,
Falmouth harbour to the south-west

St Ives harbour has always been a shelter from the storms … during the Spanish Armada in 1597, Sir Walter Raleigh captured two Spanish ships, who had hoped to shelter in the Bay from the same storm.  Apparently vital information was learnt from the prisoners.



St Ives was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1639 … copies of King Charles I’s Letter of Thanks to the Cornish People are to be seen in a number of Cornish churches – St Uny’s on the Lelant towans being one – Part 5.

 "We are so highly sensible of the extraordinary merit of Our County of Cornwall, of their zeale for the Defence of Our Person, and the just Rights of Our Crown, of their great and eminent Courage and Patience."  (part of King Charles I's Letter of Thanks to the Cornish People).


From the Knavocks to
Godrevy Point
Part 7 describes the loss of Charles’ goods andchattels, on the ship wrecked by the Stones Reef, out of which Virginia Woolf’s famous lighthouse, Godrevy, arises … and the coincidence of the ship’s loss on the same day he was executed.



Knill's Steeple
We have John Knill (1733 – 1811), mayor of St Ives, with his extraordinary quintennial disbursements … still being administered to this day … see part 3


Barnoon Cemetery
Our family records go back to the late 1700s and onwards … but there’s no-one I know who’s taken an interest … Barnoon Cemetery was opened in 1857 – by then the graveyards would have been full …



St Ives from a distance
Now to my time in St Ives … we would go fairly often when on holiday … my great uncle and his wife lived high on the hill with these views … 

Family photo on beach c mid
1920s (as a young man my great
uncle must be here somewhere)
... the highlights being turned upside down by my uncle, giggling furiously, but unable to get away … playing tennis … walking down and then up?! to the beach …


Rodda's - established 1890
… coming back to wonderful thunder and lightning teas … here shown on bread … we would always have home-made scones … Cornish cream and treacle …



Wheal Trenwith
120 years ago or so, whether you elected to come in to St Ives by road, the fields or the high moors, you couldn’t fail to notice the vast Trenwith Mine above Stennack, where (surprisingly) they (were) searching for radium.  Bearing in mind that it had only been discovered by the Curies in 1898 …



Bernard Leach by
Ryusei Kishida (1913)

The mine is now a car-park and part of the settlement high above the town … interestingly Bernard Leach (regarded as the “Father of British studio pottery”) established his Leach Pottery in 1920, next to the Stennack river … where it is to this day.



View from high up above St Ives
From these high points we see a wonderful combination of blue sea, towering rocks, purple and yellow moors, nor come so near to the heart of prehistoric man … hovering above a tiny fishing harbour … holding sway to the memories of many early artists bewitched by the light, views, and ever changing beauty …

Fore Street, St Ives (2005)
tiny streets are the norm
On to the 1950s – my time … we’d visit from Carbis Bay when we were in Cornwall … times had changed … a Woolworths store had arrived in Fore Street, with a back entry onto the Wharf … where the Sloop Inn … originally from 1312 … is situated …


Sloop Inn, St Ives - on the Wharf
… Fish and chip shops, early ice-cream stalls, lots of seagulls’ eyes wide open for any inadvertent treat by tourist or fisherman …



Now this little part of Britain is being host to the 47th G7 Summit – an intergovernmental organisation – that is creating havoc for the locals …


Tregenna Castle Hotel
The main meetings I gather are being held at the Carbis Bay Hotel Carbis Bay – where we used to visit as kids … but other venues are the Tregenna Castle Hotel, where there’s a heliport, just below my great uncle and aunt’s house when they still lived in St Ives …


St Ives fishing fleet
by H I Babbage (1875 - 1916)
… while the media is being housed over in Falmouth (at the National Maritime Museum) … it is 28 miles away and might take 40 minutes to drive … but who knows what will happen when the Summit is on … there is the local train – but that involves probably two changes and takes considerably longer …


Steam train coming into Carbis Bay
with sailing boat in harbour

I wonder if posh boats will be used – there’s no pier off Carbis Bay … 

West Penwith logo

I’ve been ‘prevaricating’ or just brain wandering more likely and not getting on with things … but as always a co-incidence arises …



A company, 'Identity', in Eastbourne (where I now live) has been chosen as the Events Agency for the Summit … strange but true … goodness knows what it will all entail …

Cornwall c/o World-Guides
I feel for them all … it’s a tiny area … there are no alternative routes – unless you want to surf the Atlantic and find a way round … I can’t think Boris, Biden, Merkel, Macron et al would want to get their suits wet …


Life goes on doesn’t it … stay safe and enjoy some joys of Summer … I'm taking it slowly ... 


Bathing Beauty on
on Carbis Bay beach

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday 4 May 2021

A Spring Morning … oh how it varies …


Early May last year was beautiful … this year – crumbs: well they wouldn’t stay on my plate for very long … as it is rocking and rolling out there … and is still jolly cold …

Eastbourne Pier - on a very windy day
today 2021


1791 illustration for Jack and
Gill going up a hill
(Nursery Rhyme)

England’s weather … John Clare (1793-1864) with thispoem sort of got it right – but I don’t remember one this cold …

A Spring Morning


The Spring comes in with all her hues and smells,

In freshness breathing over hills and dells;

O’er woods where May her gorgeous drapery flings,

And meads washed fragrant by their laughing springs.

Fresh are new opened flowers, untouched and free

From the bold rifling of the amorous bee.

The happy time of singing birds is come,

And Love’s lone pilgrimage now finds a home;

Among the mossy oaks now coos the dove,

And the hoarse crow finds softer notes for love.

The foxes play around their dens, and bark

In joy’s excess, ’mid woodland shadows dark.

The flowers join lips below; the leaves above;

And every sound that meets the ear is Love. 

Carpet Gardens on Eastbourne seafront

A year is a long time … and how much life has changed … and will continue to change …


Wall of Love (erected 2000)
in Montmatre

I rather liked this phrase – it is so appropriate for this difficult time that we’re all going through … 

… we have to possess our souls in patience


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories