Saturday, March 7, 2009


Relubbus Bridge - Stanhope Alexander Forbes 1929
Penlee House Gallery, Penzance Cornwall

Happily one of my favourite programs is back on TV - the English production, Grand Designs. It is a repeat but I so enjoy the shows, I'll watch two or three times. The last program was about a young couple restoring a pile of rocks to the former glory of a medieval farmhouse which had been in the young man's family for centuries. The site was in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a mountain range in South Wales. This program was made in 2001 and I'd be most interested to know whether or not they toughed it out. The position was to die for; the view magnificent but they would be living without electricity and so exposed to the elements.

Their story brought to mind a little stone cottage close to our hearts. This story is about my husband DMJ and his beginnings.

DMJ was born at Bodriggy Maternity Home, Hayle, Cornwall. In 1941 his Mother was evacuated from her home in Plymouth and sent to Relubbus Moor, St. Hilary, Cornwall. His father was in the navy and was on a ship somewhere (in fact he was on five ships during the war and they all went down). The little cottage DMJ went to after birth was called 'Rose Cottage' and Minnie Jenkins (soon to be Aunt Min) took them in. They lived there for four years while WW2 raged and it was there, near the Relubbus Bridge, that little DMJ threw his first line into the River Hayle.

Many moons later....

In 2005 DMJ took his first trip back to England since 1949 when he arrived in Australia on the H.M.S. Ormond with his parents. His host in England, as a surprise, drove him down from Stoke-on-Trent to Relubbus to re-visit the cottage. When they arrived, after directions from the local historian, they found that the cottage was under quite extensive renovations and additions.

Aunt Min used to shoot at blackbirds from one of the top windows.

DMJ found a little piece of slate at the site and brought it home as a souvenir. As yet I haven't visited England but it is my dream to do so. When the trip is planned, Rose Cottage will be on the agenda. We'll go and knock on the door to hopefully find out about more of the history. We plan to drive all over Cornwall, King Arthur territory and the lakes district and, perhaps, visit the district where my ancestors lived, Cheriton-Fitzpaine in Devon.


willow said...

Being the hunter and gatherer that I am, I'm always bringing home bits of rock as souvenirs! Interesting post.

And, hey, I LOVE the new pic of you on your sidebar!!

Coccinella said...

Re the pic; I was lying in bed thinking, "I must take it off" and so be it. I'll get rid of the 36 year old while I'm at it :) :)