Tuesday, 25 August 2009

38: Electric pastyland, the magic acorn and why we Cornish like sharing

Issue 38, summer 2004

I was at Trevithick Day munching a pasty as it was well past croust time and I hadn’t eaten yet, when a man walked up to me.

“They’re selling electric pasties down Commercial Square,” he said “Uh?” I said, splattering Trelowarren Street with bits of turnip and ’tatty. “Well,” he said dryly. “I found a piece a meat in my pasty and got a shock.”
So I pondered as to what made real Cornish produce?
Is a pasty with not much meat worthy of being called a Cornish pasty?
I’m always proud to say that Cornish World is proper Cornish. Every penny we earn and spend at Cornish World we try to keep in Cornwall.
There are some who are quite happy to take things out of Cornwall but put little back in return.
There seems to be a lot of this going on as of recent. Not eating pasties, that always happens the world over, but this notion of not wanting to share anything. This is something that the Cornish are good at; sharing.
We don’t mind sharing Cornwall, those of us who live here or used to live here (contrary to those who think we want to make the Tamar two miles longer and two miles wider). It’s a great place to share and we are happy to do this with all who move down.
When people start to tell us how, when and what we should share and don’t share anything themselves, then that’s when we can get a bit teasey. I learned about sharing in a rather odd way. I hope it was a dream but I think it was true; the way it happened seemed real.
My father used to race greyhounds and whippets and on Thursday evenings in the summer, we’d have dog racing in one of our fields on the farm.
These meets attracted around 40 people and as many dogs, and were jovial affairs. I was young, around six or seven and always got bored watching packs of dogs chasing after one of father’s dirty old vests down a field on a bit of binder twine. So I would wander around the field hedges just looking at things.
One evening I was just looking at things at the bottom of a field called Jakes, when I found an oak tree with doors and windows. It was just like one of those fairy treehouses I saw in my nursery rhyme book.
I blinked as I knew it couldn’t be true, but the doors and windows remained; there were even curtains.
As I looked closer, a voice that told me he was going to give me a magic acorn but I had to share it with my sister or he would take it back.
Then at my feet was an acorn, well quite a few acorns actually. I took the biggest one as it was the one that I thought was most likely to be magic.
I raced back to show my sister but thought that would be unwise as she was too young and wouldn’t understand. I decided I would hide the magic acorn instead. So I hid the acorn in the ashtray of my father’s Morris Minor pickup and went off to see if the magic was working yet.
When I came back some time later, after the dogs had finished chasing things, I discovered the magic acorn had gone. The little man had taken it back, because I didn’t share it and now I would never know how magic it was.

I ran and told my parents and their friends but they didn’t seem to understand. That’s the problem with having things and not sharing them, I deducted. If you don’t share things, they will soon disappear.
Have a good summer, share the good times.

Nigel Pengelly, Editor.
Pictured: Kingsley Rickard and the replica of Trevithick's Puffing Devil at Dehwelans.


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