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Typical summers day in Penzance 1878

Discussion in 'Penzance' started by Halfhidden, Mar 10, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Mar 10, 2016 at 8:13 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    It's the least trouble wake bright, and early of a morning, at Marine Terrace, Penzance, for about the first thing one is conscious of is the familiar cry, at this season the year of " Fresh Pilchards! Fresh Pilchards! Seven a penny; seven a penny! Here you are, woman! The finest Pilchards ever caught' If it's fine morning I feel grateful for the fishy serenade and tumble out with a light heart for my morning dip, but if it's a drizzly bad-tempered sort morning I turn over again, and bless the pilchards!

    One can always depend upon meeting the same crowd at the Battery Rocks from 6.30- 8 o'clock. It's a scramble over the rocks, a hasty peeling-off of garments, a walk over the Ward, and a fall in the water. (I never go off the board for dyer reasons: one is that it's too high and another is the water too far away!) Everybody seems to enjoy it immensely; for they swim and kick and plunge and wake the place up generally. After the bathe comes a smart trot across the Prom to get the joints in working order for the day. When the Coast-guard Station is reached the barometer is a source of interest; and such observations as, " Ah, the glass rising," or " Oh, the glass falling " may be heard. Now these remarks generally set me thinking, for "it's one of those things a fellow can’t make out," as Lord Dundreary says.
    To my certain recollection that glass has been in the very same position for years. Someone tried to explain me that it was the quicksilver that was given these extraordinary rising and falling movements. (The only quicksilver I know anything about was change for a sovereign.)

    About 9 o'clock the brakes pass across the Promenade on their way the Logan Rock and Land's End. The cheery " ra-ta-ta heralds the approach of “Jim’s " stylish four-in-hand. It stops at the Marine Retreat, Queen's, Baths, Beachfield House, &c., and picks up passengers. A brisk " pull-up, " crack of the whip, and off they go at a rapid pace; the passengers, inside and out, looking jolly, cool, and comfortable, and as if they intended putting in a good day of it.
    The beach, between 10 and 11 o'clock, presents a gay and cheerful sight. This hot weather is sent purposely, I believe, that a fellow may go down and lay on his back, prop his head on his arms, and tilt his " straw " over his eyes. It reads rather lazy but it's very nice.
    If one is tired of reading, or maybe too lazy to do so, it's very interesting to watch the different groups scattered about. There's a busy little party of youngsters, playing with spade and bucket, intent upon "a wonderful architectural contrivance that's going to be a castle in time. Over yonder is paterfamilias in a linen coat, reading the morning paper under the shade of a cotton umbrella. The mater beside him is engaged in some mysterious fancy work, from which she looks now and again to glance at her three dabbling about up to their knees the water. "Where the rocks are left bare by the receding tide some figures may be seen stooping to pick up the pretty pieces of seaweed. A crunching of feet on the sand and the sound merry chatter makes turn my head lazily, and I see a party of six or seven ladies and gentlemen, in straw hats and light dresses and sunshades, wending their way down the beach to where a boat is waiting to take them aboard a pretty little pleasure yacht. Arrived on board, the white sails are set and, catching the breeze, they glide away gracefully over the glinting waters, and I wonder to myself if any of them will get sea sick, and if they do, how they will like it.
    Another interesting sight l was going to say "amusing" but I don't like to be rude, is to watch the Ladies bathing. I've been keeping my eye on No 3 machine for some minutes, for I saw a stout, middle aged " party " enter, and I feel curious as to what she will look like, or do, in the water. Ah, I see her coming carefully over the steps, clutching the rope attached to the machine very tightly; first one foot in the water, and then the other! I fancy I can almost see her shudder! Her's is a solemn sort of wade through the water until the end of the rope is reached, and then she sat down suddenly in the water and disappeared! The rope had slipped out her hand! However, rising to the surface and after much frantic exertion, the line is secured again. Then there's a bobbing up and down, they are all doing it now, about a dozen them just for all the world like a lot of inflated black and brown bags waltzing about! How they must like it!

    The afternoon on the Promenade and beach is much the same as in the morning, except when the tide is in and then there isn't much beach to be seen. Perambulators are more plentiful in the afternoon. The maid was pushing it along and casting her eye in dreamy thought o'er the salt sea waves (thinking probably of John over the seas) and Baby Harold was sucking his thumb in a meditative mood, whilst Sister Mary was prodding him in the side with her rattle, never thinking of danger, when the front wheel went over the curb, and the handle slipped out the maid's hands, and the perambulator looked like huge black beetle on the broad of his back. When the carriage was turned right side up the pent-up agony of the occupants came bursting on the air with a whir and a scream! I left in a hurry.
    The evening, with its cool breezes, is the most enjoyable time. Between 7 and 8 o'clock the promenaders make their appearance, and the strains of the Rhine Band fill the air with beautiful melody, and everything looks gay and cheerful—pretty girls and bashful young men, strolling up and down in couples; old ladies and gentlemen trotting back and forth intent upon the proper digestion of their dinners and the enjoyment of the cool sea-breeze. The water comes in for its share of admirers, for gigs, skiffs, and sailing boats are cruising about in almost endless variety. And so the minutes and hours pass away almost imperceptibly until the Band plays- "God save the Queen," which awakens one to the fact that it's getting late and rapidly dark. The Promenaders melt away quickly and in a short time all is quiet and still, nothing seen but the lights on shore and the twinkling lamps of the craft in the Bay; nothing heard but the soft wash of the tide on the beach, or the rumbling of a passing carriage. And thus another day is passed.


Discussion in 'Penzance' started by Halfhidden, Mar 10, 2016.

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