Archive for April 12, 2013

Clotted Cream, The Grey Lady , The Iron Lady, The lost gardens

As most readers are already aware my brain, since the death of my son, has taken various detours from the norm. I seem to be on a memory hyperdrive although most of my recent memories are harder to pull up. It is like I am no longer part of their making- robotic actions and going through the motions seemingly haven’t imprinted on my little grey cells.

devon ceram com[pany Fragmented as I am sights, smells objects can send me on a journey and to places long forgotten; such a journey was “triggered” yesterday by my husband bringing in a jar of Devonshire Clotted Cream from Giant Eagle. He must have been in a particularly loving mood as it cost $9.00 for this 6 oz jar. A rare extravagant for one who preaches to us daily about the cost of bread and milk .

He had remembered a holiday in England where we were driving through country roads from London to Devon. We were off the beaten path thanks to my mother’s remembered direction. The weather was beautiful but the petrol was running low. All the way along mum had wanted to make sure we would stop for a Devonshire Cream Tea but thanks to her directions we knew not where we were.

Finally, a little old-fashioned petrol station came into view with a lovely cottage tea room off to the side . Gratefully we filled the tank and made our way to The Grey Lady Tea Room.

My mother, happy at last, enquired to the lady running the tea room –

Oh I can’t wait for some “real devon” clotted cream

“Madam “

said the lady with a tone that could freeze tea water solid-

” you will not find “Devonshire” Clotted cream HERE- YOU are in CORNWALL!!!

My mother had well and truly put her foot in it as there is quite a rivalry between whose clotted cream is best – that of the county of Devon or that of Cornwall –

To change the subject and to ease ruffled Cornish feathers I asked about the name of the tea room.

original artwork 1859  Daniel Macnee

original artwork 1859 Daniel Macnee

Apparently the “grey lady” referred to was a ghostly inhabitant of the old cottage whose lover was lost ( in the sense of missing on a battlefield) so his fiancée, the lady in question, never went into mourning black until she had received confirmation of his death- but always wore grey. He never returned to her and apparently she still waited patiently by the fireplace for news long, long years after her death.

I tried to find the tea room on the internet this morning but I suppose, like most things, it has long since closed ; not many would find their way off the major highways to support its existence.

However, my mind soon segued from the Grey Lady to The Iron Lady and the news that Maggie Thatcher had died.

Margaret Thatcher in 1982.
Ah! Maggie love her or hate her but you knew she was there

In politics, if you want something said, ask a man; if you want to get something done, ask a woman.”

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.

Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.


The lamp sitting on the desk in my living room is a poignant reminder of her policies. It is nothing special to the onlooker just an old-fashioned oil lamp ( except it is not so old) . My father purchased the lamp due to the miners strike, Maggie Thatcher and the trade unions , you never quite knew when the lights would go out in London.

As I looked at the lamp this morning, I thought of Maggie Thatcher, the people who are apparently rejoicing in her death . Maggie’s position on the Falklands War. I was at home that year on another trip I watched the patriotism, the news and the young men going to their death. I was proud of the land of my birth, she gave us that pride.

I know most of us thought the Falklands was some island off the coast of Scotland – the association with the dreaded French – errrrrrrrrK the French ( cringing with disdain) well the thoughts about the French will have to wait for another post.

Maggie, who was “our council person” at one time in Finchley, who dared opine council meetings should be open to the public . Maggie who alway took a long beat/ pause before answering an interview question. No ! you may not have liked her , you may not have agreed with her policies but you knew who she was and for that I admire her.

My internet search for the Grey Lady took me on another journey and another “lost” only this time the grey lady was in a lost garden – The Lost gardens of Heligan
where giants, sleeping ladies and legends can be found in amongst the ancient woodlands in Cornwall. You can even stop for tea but remember don’t ask for Devonshire Clotted Cream 😉
Lost gardens

April 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm 2 comments



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April 2013