GF Blog 23 – Week 16

19th May

Sunny Days bring a re-set to the mood. Ban the gloom.

I find other ways forward, based on 3 short Lessons from Lovely people.

I asked and you told me. “Not a podcast, thank you. We like words, well-written; but more than that we love pictures and colour. If you want to do sound, put it in a film.”

SO, at the end look for the first film of this season and it’s one with the beautiful landscape in the starring role!


It is highly unusual to start the blog with no Extreme Weather to look at. Very welcome to get a forecast of

warm, fine to set fair day

I love that phrase, set fair, which comes from old barometers and I believe was mostly used by sailors.  

And I love that our 3 Free Taster Days this past week enjoyed just this – not too hot, no wind, no damp. Nice! And the new layout of Landscape looks really tidy (thanks Jenn for all that weeding!) and it works so well.  😊

But there was more to those open days, which initially I wasn’t quite ready to handle! The whole purpose of inviting guests for free, was to receive feedback. But as it came at me, a stream of criticisms (however constructively presented) over a quite protracted time and from lots of different voices, I could feel myself on a slide into a bit of a downer.

Their main point was that getting your head around all this history and technical stuff, not to mention the green energy info of our times, fries your brain! And it does not feel good or hopeful.

So, I began to study people’s faces and their moods this week and saw glazed looks and exhaustion! What a relief it was to come to the last on the list, Laurence (Larry) Pears, comic, writer and actor. Our brief chat over a coffee, totally lifted me out of the doldrums. That little meet-up was worth its weight in gold. Let me see if you agree. 

3 People, 3 Pictures

First you see the Green Hero of 200 years ago, Treffry.

2nd is my son, Tom, on a visit to Cornish Lithium.

And last but not least, if you Zoom in, is Laurence and his co-conspirator at Jam First Theatre illustrating their light, laughter-based approach to life.

I could of course have put myself in there, and my present face would be very like Treffry, showing a set jaw in grim determination. There can be no doubt that this is a required quality on the journey I have embarked on, to make a difference by setting up local energy groups across Cornwall, Lo-Reg Renewables Groups or more specifically right here, Lo-Meg Mining Groups.

I could have prepped another dose of the gravity storage info, with realism/negative comments of a reader and more hopeful but gigantic and ugly examples sent by a lovely supportive neighbour (smippet below). But I just need a break from those stories, along with other bad news of the week, from Water Companies with their belated, inadequate promises to clean up their acts; and grid providers pretending they have been working hard for solutions, with no explanation why they have achieved almost nothing of value despite embarking on an upgrade we need so badly, in 1960s. Both of those are going into a drawer marked, ‘’Saved for another day!” I have had enough of the grim for a while & reckon perhaps you have too.

So, stay with me for a blog about how best to ride through the challenges and not lose heart. 

Lesson 1 – My old Mum, a Land Girl after the war

Jean Thomas had the vision and desire to plan wind energy, with 2 large turbines to be installed at our farm in the early years of the Millennium. She partnered with another farm nearby and attracted a specialist company, N-Power Renewables, to design and apply for planning permission for the project. There followed years of hate and aggression, from all sides, the extent of which she was not really prepared for. Did she give up? Not a bit of it. She kept trying, they went to Appeal but finally did not succeed. Why? I can think of 2 reasons. Because she could not put herself in the shoes of others, could not empathise with their concerns, some very valid. And I think as well, though she enjoyed it every day of her life, she didn’t appreciate that some people love the landscape as it is and cannot stomach big machinery being installed into it.

Based on Jean’s experience, I feel lucky that today, despite all the technical challenges I am facing, for the most part my neighbours are not so hostile. Indeed, some are very supportive, in the way we will need for a Local Renewable group to work. Iain from down the hill, sent me this, which is another illustration of the potential for gravity battery technology. But it assumes we will be able and willing to go to a giant scale and can live with the resulting enormous ugly structures:-

It is an interesting couple of projects, from Vault, but I hope this is not what has to be introduced to our lovely landscape. We must aim for something more elegant, on a more moderate scale. But more about that next time.

Lesson 2 – My boy, Tom

This past 10 days or so Tom has been on a deep immersion into the pros and cons of Lithium mining. The picture above shows him with Cornish Lithium team, and a slight hint in his face perhaps of being overwhelmed. Every day he was catching trains or buses down to the University and Camborne School of Mines in Penryn. Each time he returned over-dosed with knowledge and conflicting theories. We discussed over supper and quite honestly, if there were a top prize for the highest amount and quality of debate about the future of battery tech around a dinner table, we surely would have been on the shortlist!

Lucky for him, he has a small team of creative people helping with this project. I have no doubt their finished sharing will be more than palatable. It will take you on an emotional journey and illuminate the arguments using every trick in the box!  You see below the planning stage summarised and another pic at the lithium plant.

Lesson 3 – Larry and a Cream Tea

I guess very few people read the small print and dedications at the start of a book. My recent ones have a dedication to a man who was a Head Teacher and a leader of Am Dram productions in this area. I quote:-

Richard died suddenly and shockingly, in lockdown year, as you can see. Not Covid, but still a devastating hole left for his wife, family and 2 boys. I have known Sandy since he was very young, and now watch him making his way in local politics. I recall very clearly helping Laurence prep a song called ‘Luck be a Lady’ for the drama school audition, which happily set him on a career in theatre and – more recently – stand-up comedy.

It was Thursday afternoon. I paid for Larry’s drink and we exchanged a lot of chat about physiotherapy and how to keep in good shape physically. Then I told him, I am despairing of what is the best way to communicate these messages of mine. It’s getting me down.

That’s when the idea came. Maybe, I said, I should do more with my funny little rhymes, which people love … and I started off telling him one. Almost immediately I jumped in my own mind to a few of the short films Larry and his partner have produced on their phones, to share events from their little theatre organisation, ‘Jam First Theatre’. OK, the theme of whether one should put a ‘gurt dollop’ of cream on your scone initially, or plaster it with strawberry jam first, is not of world-shattering importance I must admit. However, his method of putting across facts of Cornwall and its history makes all so very light and easy.

  1. Flat and pale 2) Bit better, Cornish style 3) Down in Devon

I said to him, mine is like a scone with no raising agent – heavy, low and solid. The glue is perhaps too thick n sticky. Even with good cream it isn’t quite the right recipe! We watched his little film, and it made my mind up! (Thanks for letting me share a snippet!)

I promise I shall try to make one on slightly similar lines here, in the not-too-distant future. Not flippant but with a bit more raising agent!

For now, it is simply the lovely landscape that I will share and hope you can enjoy through a slightly longer film followed by 2 extracts from a Cornish writer, who talks about a mine-scarred landscape and gives it a sense of imagined character and voice. This is very much an up-to-date theme, as I am hearing on Any Questions, from the Highlands of Scotland, and the phone-in afterwards.

These are by Alan M. Kent, from “Saffron Bun Chapel” published 2022. Contact to find out more and see his big list of other publications.

When she got far enough away from the mine not to hear the continual judder of the bob and its connecting rods into the earth, the forest sounded different. It no longer cowered or hid away. It’s sounds became vivid again and she could hear a thousand different movements.

He explained how, without causing long-term damage, one might ultilise all that wuz on offer. If used properly the forest would offer a lasting relationship with humanity. What had been missing on Mountainside was that humanity had forgotten this pact – this lasting covenant.

Please let Humanity NOT forget this type of lasting covenant, to avoid long-term damage. View the film here or it is also available on The Meadow Barns Centre, YouTube channel

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