Constantine Cornwall

A glass half full

By John Hawes, our very own voluntary ‘litter warden’

I write this piece on the first day of the new lockdown. I live with my wife in Ponjeravah, or as a good friend calls it “the swamps of the village”. I am an octogenarian.

Of course, the long haul since last March has depressed me from time to time. It was alright in the spring and the summer. It was a novelty at the time and I was happy to spend long hours outdoors. The autumn was not too bad but the shortening days of the last two months of the year and the endless succession of wet and windy days have not been good for my morale. And then there is the cumulative effect. Surely, now is the time to look on the bright side?

Yesterday, it was still quite light at 4.30 pm. Slowly, the days are lengthening. In a month or so the birds will be tuning up, certainly the blackbirds and very likely a mistle thrush. Positive points for all of us but we have different problems.

A fair number of our fellow villagers live alone; some are house-bound through lack of mobility or other reasons. There are young families with children now at home and living in restricted space. There will be teenagers worried about their GCSE’s or their A levels and desperately missing their friends. Lots of us have poor Broadband reception which is particularly difficult when working from home and studying on line. And not everybody has enough computer hardware. There are people who are unwell, not with Covid but are hesitant to seek treatment for fear of Covid . Some people have lost their jobs, have used up their savings and are now finding it very difficult to make ends meet. All these scenarios are present in our village and are common all over the United Kingdom. However, without discounting an ounce of sympathy for our fellow citizens throughout the country, I think that we should concentrate our thoughts on our village and its inhabitants.

As I wrote above our difficulties are varied, however we members of the Constantine community have our advantages in common. They are firstly of people and secondly of place. I walk up to the village several times a week and I often meet walkers down at Ponjeravah who are taking their daily exercise. They are invariably so friendly maybe brought closer together by a common enemy. We exchange a few words with each other and feel just a little bit brighter. This year, my wife, Eleanor and I have learned how to live more locally. We now appreciate the excellent service from Kevin and his team at the Spar shop. Dominique from Trebarvah farm has just delivered some of her excellent Dexter beef. Later in the week we will have the freshest fish home supplied from the Lizard fishing cooperative, Kernowsashimi. And then there is the personal side, certainly we are ‘phoning each other more often than in the past. For some life is less busy and they enjoy more time to care. For others there is perhaps more time to think and then to contact those who may be lonely.

There is less motor traffic therefore less noise and less air pollution and even the fewer overflying planes must contribute. I am told that wildlife is thriving from reduced human interference. As a village litter-picker I can confirm that there is much less about. But where we are all most fortunate, under my sub heading of place is in living in Constantine, the village, the parish, in West Cornwall. We are not restricted to exercising in a crowded local park, we have lovely country all around us, it is healthier in every way. Very soon the primroses will be in flower, we will hear the Chiffchaff by mid March and then in April the bluebells will carpet Bosahan woods. We are luckier than many. I have read this very day on the Surgery website that the first vac- cines will be delivered within a few days. By late spring most of us should have received our jabs and by June we should all be partying in the streets. Perhaps, I am being too optimistic but that is definitely better than the other way round. It will be some weeks before what I write today will be read by you all. Let us hope that my optimism is justified.