Friday, December 17, 2010

The first few days ....

"Uniquely, the Cornish List does have an annual Christmas Party. Since it's totally online, you can be anyone you wish, bring whatever foods and decorations your imagination can provide, and have as good a time as you wish. Some folks unsubscribe about that time - others subscribe just for it! Most of it is tied to Cornish dishes, history, customs, etc. (At least, we try.) In the past, a lister (George Pritchard) has maintained a website to keep it all straight. No Christmas Party messages are allowed until List Mom announces that the party is started! (All party messages MUST have that in their subject line so those that don't want to join in needn't read them.)"
From a message posted  by Julia in 2006

Albert is the first to accept the invitation from Yvonne, our Highly Esteemed List Mom
Manatawney Creek
Help!  The James Bond Inflatable Zodiac Commando Boat has sprung a leak!  I'll need help chewing lots of bubble gum to patch it.   Or maybe Red Green can send me some duck tape.   Looks like one of our local woodchucks was nesting under the bridge up Manatawney Creek and absent-mindedly chewed a hole in the side. So get busy chewing, mates, and send me the patching material c/o Anvower Mill attn: Boat Fixit.  Old Traveler has remonstrated with the woodchuck, and I dare say it won't happen again.

Schuylkill River

The Chamberlain, Her Supreme Excellency. The Elite Destroyer of Gwinear was quick to respond
The super-kegs of Yuengling's Finest Porter are now floating down the Schuyl Kill.  Best be off to catch them before they disappear into Philadelphia and the contents "evaporate".   All the old crew are assembling.  Traveler the Wonder Dog as helmsman, Howlek an Gath as Ship's Cat,, MaryPat as Purser/Chief Steward/Fun to Have Around and the lovely and talented Jayne Mansfield being lovely and talented.  There's always room for a few more, MidAtlantic party-ers drop us a note.
Glad you are getting ready to come Albert, but where is the Party going to be this year?  Will it be in Cornwall (would suggest St Michael's Mount) or will it be in another Country that our Ancestors emigrated to?

Duchess Daft has started to pack -
Permission to come aboard, Sir!  I need a ride and would enjoy travelling with you, Traveller the Wonder Dog, Howlek, Her Supreme Excellency MaryPat, and the lovely Jayne Mansfield.  I could perhaps pay my passage by being Cook?  I could work under the supervision of the Chief Purser.  If we're going to Helston, that would be great as my ancestors live around there and could join us to raise a jug or two in the Blue Anchor and I'm sure Lorna May's parrots will enjoy sitting at the bar.
I'm packing my bag and let me know when I have to report, Sir.

Blue Anchor Inn, Helston

Votes start to come in ... where shall we party this year?Catherine starts the ball rolling ...
I'm with Albert - Helston would be good - wherever we base, the Blue Anchor should not be missed!!

Duchess Daft has got a lift ...
Yr  Grace:   Delighted to have you aboard.  Do'ee know where the Schuyl Kill a.k.a. Schuylkill River runs? Look out for the VERY large kegs floating downstream and follow them.  I'll be looking for you where the mighty Manatawney Creek runs into the river close by the Riverfront Park in Pottstown.  You'll know the JBZICB by sight and by reputation.  Traveler will be manning the net in case we have to fish you out of the river.
 Oll an gwella, Albert & crew

Uh oh ... Mistress Agnes wants to be in on the fun again .... what potent brews and mystical omens will she bring?
Helston sounds fine to me - not too far for Mistress Agnes and I to travel. I know it's the wrong season but does this mean we can Furry Dance?
Janet in Darkest Devon

Heel and toe - oops! is it raining?

Is Mystical Mary the Chamberlain practising log rolling skills as she brings those kegs on down the river??
I am rolling thru Pottstown right now with the kegs as they are finishing their float down the river.
Lovely Lopsided Lorna said the James Bond is filled with bottle washers and cooks, is that true? {{ who would they be?}}
I am bringing " Ice Wine" from the great grape growing region along the southern shores of Lake Erie. Ice Wine is made from late harvested frozen grapes -- intensely interesting and inviting. Call it juice at breakfast...
See ya'll soon!
Mystical Miss Mary

Warren joins us, using his forbidden alias 'Captain V*******'!  Here's a quick link to a Cornish bells site this one is the bells ringing for a wedding at Phillack, Hayle
Wearing his forbidden costume ...
Greeting all, good day, hi, and happy holidays, Merry Xmas/Christmas......Just a thought for all, thats if one has not done it,,, go to the web,, typein YOU TUBE ,, and in that box type in  Cornwall church bells....
There they show quite a few old churchs in various parts of Cornwall, ( oryou can expand it to over the border)....  Am at the moment watching some,,, sounds great... most likely will sound a lot better when the download is a tad faster...  enjoy...
At the starting post,  with me jar of veggie  stuff....
Capt V...

Connie in Utah is coming ....

I haven't heard of anyone from California going so guess I'll saddle up Bow and head out anyone need a lift?
Connie in Utah

Duchess Daft offers Connie a lift:
May I take you up on your offer of a lift?   Need to get there fast as I'm the cook on the James Bond Inflatable Zodiac Commando Boat and Albert has sent me the directions  and I'm just not a good navigator.  To join the crew, we have to follow the Schuylkill River and find Manatawney Creek to Riverfront Park.  Hope I've got that right.  You seem to be coming on your horse and his poor little hooves would get tired going across the Atlantic and why not pick me up and come on Albert's boat.  You can help me with the
washing up!  We may get lost on the way, so we'll ask Unvirtuous Lady Lorna for the parrots' cell number and they can fly over and with their bird's eyes view could set us back on track.
Best wishes, Duchess Daft

Enter Luscious Lorna! 

OK you two -- Connie and Duchess Daft... who was Connie when she had royal lineage?  Because I have my beautiful and explodable red feather boa I shall not want a lift on the horse, instead, I will fly above the JBICB with the parrots leading the way approved by NASA as a friendly space rocket. .  This is going to cost you. Usually, I don't have to dangle around herding a JBICB across the Atlantic filled with cooks and bottle washers...I could be at the Blue whatitsname drinking Spango!Let me know when you are taking off on the horse!
Luscious Lady Lorna of the Virtuous Past

Albert calls 'All Aboard!' and Helston gets another vote

Right on, 'ere's for Duchess Daft,  Lady Lorna and the Parrots, and Connie and the horse she's riding in on -  Manatawney Creek hits the Schuylkill River just upstream of Riverfront Park in Pottstown, PA.  'er now, don't everyone know where Pottstown is?   To hear some of the locals tell it, 'e'd think twas the crossroads of the universe.    Look for the Hanover Street Bridge, there's a good landmark.   Connie, I'm certain any horse you ride in on would be well behaved and not mind the stateroom up forward.   We should be on our way shortly - I 'spect Sunday after church would do for proper time to cast off.  That's presuming'  they kegs from up-river arrive some time Friday so's can get'n stowed proper. (Oh dear Albert, looks like they kegs got into some trouble!)MaryPat, m'dear, are you signed on yet?  Jayne Mansfield is askin' after 'ee, you know she depends on 'ee for wardrobe advice.
Right on, time to get the yearly rantan abut the place to party started.   First nomination:  Helston, with the Blue Anchor as designated party HQ.   Reason being, the Blue Anchor's Spingo is one of the world's most amazing hand-crafted artisan brews, maybe the best.   As an old tinner's refuge in times of having money, it can't be topped.  With Helston as our center, we can do side trips down to Goonhilly Downs to ride the downs ponies, and to the Lizard and to the Helford River and Frenchmans Creek.

While at the Lizard, I hope everyone will sign on to my one-man campaign to change the name of the Lizard back to the proper Cornish original.  Nothing to do with reptiles, the old name, LIS ARTH, translates into the Saxon tongue as THE HIGH FORTRESS.  I'll even throw in a quid or two to help pay for painting the new sign.  
Albert of Anvower Mill, Traveler the Wonder Dog and Howlek an Gath

We'll all back you on that Albert, and here's some Wikipedia's info for those of us who are not as up on Cornish history as we'd like to be  - now do you want us to organise a small non-violent demonstration while we're there?

Another vote for Helston and Boyd pops in
Doubt that my participation will be more than sporadic this time due to health problems and fatigue, but I'll try to keep an eye on what  you are all up to.  That being said, I probably don't have much right  to vote on location, but I certainly hope Albert gets his way.  My  ancestor James Richards, first Richards to settle in Prince Edward  Island (now part of Canada) was born in Helston in 1781, his parents  Nicholas Richards and Joan Tonkin married there in 1777.  We spent  only a few hours there some years ago, and I've always wanted to visit  again -- and a virtual visit is the best I can do now!
Oll an gwella,  Boyd Richards

(And may good health be yours very soon Boyd!  Here's a picture of Helston as your ancestors might have seen it)

Sporadic is acceptable by Party rules (I think).  That's what a lot of us do.  We'll be looking for you at the Blue Anchor.
Albert Jenkin

Special Licence from Helston!!!
I have it on good authority that the Mayor of Helston has declared that we can celebrate Flora Day and have everyone at the party dance through the streets in their best dress and that anyone who wants to can join the city band to lead the procession. Now I've got to look for a fancy hat to go with my red silk dress with diamond studded bodice. Helston here we come! Is anyone going my way, I'm in Utah USA.

Keith and the Piddlesbury are on the move!
I assume that the root of the name of the town, "Helston" is Hell's town, and the blue Anchor is where the Hell is raised.
Sounds rather good to me.
The Great Piddlesbury, courtesy Keith
I had no idea where Helston was,  so I dug out my handy dandy AZ Great Britain Road Atlas.   And there it was,  way down towards the lovely tropical pointy end of Cornwall about half way between the Lizard and
Penzance.  I have often wanted to meet the Pirates there, so perhaps this will become my opportunity.
I am not so sure of my transportation.  My London Double Decker bus hs been parked in a hayfield since the last time I rented it and it is looking rather forlorn.  Whether we can re-furbish it in time for the trip is a moot question.  Moreover I have been ill for the last couple of months, complicated by coming down with all of the side-effects of a new pill that supposed to work wonders.  I think it nailed my Immune System and I came down with the most amazing string of infections that I should have cast off easily.  It also made me feel very sorry for myself.  Fortunately I have been off the silly pill long enough that most of its effects have worn off and I should have a nice trip.

If I can get the bus "Piddlesbury" up and running again.

Hope to tip a jar of Spingo with you all this Christmas at the Blue anchor.

M Keith Abel
(Great to hear from you Keith, and our good wishes for your improved health in the near future!  I see the Great Piddlesbury property is up for sale @ $1.3million - might be a nice place to party in one day  I think I can just spy the Piddlesbury bus on the aerial view)

Albert replies
No, Helston is an English-speakers mispronounciation of "Hen Lis", The Old Court.  But the Blue Anchor is an excellent spot for bit of Hell-raisin', no question 'bout that.   Should be no problem with the double-decker, just mind you don't shear the top off'n goin' under some o' they bridges and overcrossings.

Albert of Anvower Mill

And Boyd wonders if there's an infirmary on the Piddlesbury?
Persevere, Keith.  If there were an infirmary on Piddlesbury I might  consider asking for a ride....  My problems are mostly side effects from a pill that is SUPPOSED  to  be nailing my immune system; the 'cure' is not quite as bad as the  disease, but....  I'm happy for you that you're off the pill; I'm on for life.
and adds
Meant to say before premature send,  I'll be reading with great  interest.  Can one party both virtually and vicariously at the same  time? (Sounds good to us Boyd!) Party on folks.

Welcome back Chris - with another vote for Helston
After a long break I will be back at the Christmas Party this year.  Helston has my vote (thank you Albert) because Wendron is only a short drive away where they serve the best fish pie at the New Inn.

Wendron New Inn
(the second one, the street view, is from Chris)
St Michael's Church Helston (thanks Chris!)

Joan from Colorado
Nipper the Cake Monster is coming along again this year and he will be accompanied by Tuck the blue bear humper (don't ask) but both are looking forward to catching up with your menagerie.
Looking for transportation from West Australia
Has anyone volunteered as scribe this year?
Chris Uphill

Jennie puts  up her hand again ...
Have been watching the preparations for the Party with great interest .... so glad Keith is considering dragging the Great Piddlesbury out of the blackberries and giving it a quick virtual refurb - you may remember I was beginning to blog last year's party when I was struck down by the Gall Bladder Ghoul and wasn't able to finish.  I'll have another go this year if I get enough responses to warrant it - won't be offended in the slightest tho if someone else wants to have a go at recording the fun.  To refresh your memory go to to have a look at the 2009 blog, when the party was held in Australia.  Great to see the party spirit returning and look forward to participating in some way.
Cousin Jennie
The Duchess welcomes Chris back into the fold
I'm so delighted you and Nipper are coming to the party as we have all missed you.  What's this about a Cake Monster - sounds as though Our Nip has put on some weight.  Tuck the blue bear humper, ("don't ask")?? - Chris, I am ASKING!

Old Scruff, the quarry dog, is coming back from the last century and looking forward to seeing Nipper again, though has doubts about Tuck.  Old Scruff will be singing old and rather bawdy songs and hopes Nipper will join him. Scruff has a very deep voice, the result of cigarettes and too much whiskey. Hope Nipper will be wearing his little red nightcap, er sorry, his Santa hat.

Looking forward to seeing you all, even Tuck.

Best wishes, Duchess Daft

And Chris responds with an update on the family
Nipper now has his grandparents living next door and is spoilt rotten so he has put on weight and we now call him the 'barrel'.  His little brother Tuckwas, sadly, taken from his mother when he was only a wee bairn and when we adopted him at 12 weeks of age he became immediately attached to one of the soft toys that belonged to our son that we call 'Blue Bear'.  Little Tuck never goes anywhere without Blue Bear and rocks him to sleep each night. But he has an unfortunate habit of humping him - usually when we have visitors!
We hope you all have a wonderful party and send our best wishes to all for a happy and safe Christmas and only good things in 2011.

Chris, Nipper, Tuck, Sam, Jack, Mo & Wednesday
Perth Western Australia

Carol votes for Helston
I cast a vote for Helston, too. I have been unsubscribed for several months,
but am back in time for the festivities.   Carol in chilly, windy Maryland

and Albert offers her a lift
Need a ride?  We can pick you up in the James Bond Inflatable Zodiac Commando Boat as we chug down thru Delaware Bay.

Lorna's parrots talk in their sleep!
I think the parrots might have been to Helston already (they get around). I
hear them mumbling in their sleep at night Springo! Springo!
Lady Lorna of the Virtuous past.

and Albert corrects them
'tes SPINGO, me 'ansum, and a very speciald brew.  Yer little birds d'ave they tongues tangled.
Is this the stuff Albert?
 Albert of Anvower Mill

Lorna explains
Sorry, they'm were having nightmares and they'm do lisp!

Speaking of brews ....
Indeed - does anyone know if they are going to do a special Royal Wedding brew next year?  I remember the lethally potent one they did for Charles and Diana - or rather I don't remember a lot - but my husband never lets me forget it!!
cheers (!)

We might have known Mistress Agnes would prick up her ears at the mention of 'brews'!
Mistress Agnes, living as she does in the year 1646, does a fair bit of brewing. She doesn't recommend drinking water (she bleaches her shift in urine then rinses it in the river, so she probably right about this one!). Tea and coffee haven't come to England yet so its mostly small beer for her - mind you she can do a proper strong brew if required.
Janet in darkest Devon - on behalf of Mistress Agnes

Michael Lightfoot has a suggestion
OK.  Helston is where my RALPH family originated so I'm happy to furry along with everyone...

We can also visit St Keverne for a bit of real brass band music and Lis Arth for a Geology lesson.
Here's the St Keverne Brass Band with a lovely rendition of the Furry Dance

And Janet thinks it's a good one
Oh great I have a trombone in the loft that I can bring. I can't actually play it (it was my daughter's) but I'm sure in a virtual band that won't matter. At worst it will be something for the parrots to perch on. Can we find any traditional local carols?
Janet in darkest Devon

Each year a group of villagers known as Canoryon Trewoon with some friends sing carols around the village of Troon, Nr. Camborne in Cornwall, UK. This event has taken place on Christmas morning since 1880 passed down from one generation to the next. There was a short break during World War II. The Carols are not the ones you usually hear and some have been written by local men some times you may recognise the words being sung to a a local tune. This one is called "Sound sound your instruments of joy", I hope you enjoy it. &
The Holman Climax Male Voice Choir performing 'The St Day Carol'. One of the verses is sung in Cornish. From the series 'The First Noels'
And couldn't resist putting a plug in for the St Buryan Male Choir

Catherine develops the idea
Not knocking St Keverne band - they are a lovely bunch and good players (much better than me, when we did a joint concert, a few years back) but Helston Town are also top notch!  Just saying...!  Let's have a massed bands session - St Keverne, Constantine, Gweek, Helston all in easy reach!
Catherine (busy polishing the tuba and baritone!)
Just loved this little clip of the Helston Band at the Lismore Proms in August this year!  Thanks Catherine!



  1. Hope you all have a great party and go to for lots of Cornish Carols plus information on Christmas in Cornwall in times past.


  2. Thanks so much George .... I meant to put a link to your site on the blog when the old carols request came up and got side tracked with YouTube! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas - possibly white this year? judging by the weather recently in your part of the world.