St. Piran’s Day, Sunday 5th March 2017 was fantastic for a number of reasons. The wind was blowing which as you know is a big plus for me. Actually the wind was really blowing, howling! At times it was well over gale force which is when things get exciting. When I was younger I’d have been beside myself with excitement on a day like this but I think with age I’ve learnt to go with the flow a bit more and not build things up too much in case plans fall through. So once I hit the water in the late afternoon with a combination of strong wind, clean surf and no time pressures I really enjoyed my sail. As always, I was on the wrong size kit but hey, I’m used to that and everyone else is used to hearing about it. Regardless, I enjoyed busting out my full repertoire of windsurfing tricks – i.e the odd jump (some landed) and the occasional gybe punctuated by plenty of failed attempts. I always make a note to self that I should get a bit fitter in preparation for these days but somehow never quite get around to it. The day didn’t start at the beach (and it didn’t finish there either but more of that in a minute). We started in Truro with The St. Piran’s Day Parade. St. Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and this day is a celebration of the saint. My son Tom is in The Beavers which is like Cubs and Scouts but for younger children. The Beavers joined the St. Piran’s day parade through the City of Truro and Tom was at the front of a large Cornish flag of St. Piran which a number of the children carried through the streets to the steps of the cathedral where there were rousing speeches by local dignitaries. There were shouts of OGGY! OGGY! OGGY! OI! OI! OI! and occasional shrieks of KERNOW BYS VYKEN! (Cornwall Forever) as we marched through the streets. I got to tag along waving the Cornish flag and
feeling a patriotic love for my home (albeit not my birthplace). This county is a place where people feel a kinship, a common love of our surroundings and the myriad of special things to do right on our doorstep if you just go in search. Maybe its the same elsewhere, after all, the whole of the British Isles is coastal really, I think they say the furthest you can get from the sea is 70 miles. But somehow it feels a bit different here. Maybe its because we are a Celtic land of legends and traditions that these things get under your skin and non locals (Emmets) start after a while to feel like locals. Like part of the clan or tribe. Maybe thats why I (Alex from Aldershot) felt quite comfortable waving the flag of St Piran and celebrating his day.
If parading was fun, and windsurfing was more fun then what followed was the highlight of the day…
As many of these good evenings begin, we were heading home from the beach when I got a group message on messenger. The gist being the local choir will be singing Cornish songs in our lovely local pub The Rising Sun, Mitchell Hill, Truro to round off St. Piran’s Day. Old favourites such The Song Of The Western Men AKA Trelawney would reverberate around the packed pub until late in the night. I wasn’t going to go at first. I was far too tired having had lung fulls of sea air and mouthfuls of salt water I was feeling sleepy. So, before heading back to Truro we did the sensible thing when in Penzance and popped into KFC for a three piece meal! I was in two minds about the prospect of an evening in the pub which on the one hand sounded very appealing but my sensible head was telling me that Sunday evening drinking before a busy Monday may not be the most productive way to start the week. It was Claire, my patient and lovely wife who persuaded me to pop out for “one or two”. This immediately made me suspicious but I decided to go with it and man was I glad I did. Apart from a being great to be in the pub with mates drinking Skinners Betty Stogs (Truro Real Ale) I was instantly transported with a rush of nostalgia back to my late teens when I was a Gig Rower. In those days there was a certain amount of rowing and a greater amount of drinking. Those drinking sessions inevitably ended in a pub where a scratch choir of locals would sing all the songs that The Truro Male Voice Choir entertained the pub with on St. Piran’s Day. They started with Trelawney and went on to Lamorna(which I wasn’t quick enough to film). Then the evening continued with a whole song book of tunes divided up with a number of little breaks for the singers to get to the bar. What a way to round off a superb day. I made my excuses a bit after 11pm and marched the five minutes home to bed thoroughly happy with a truly fantastic St. Piran’s Day! KERNOW BYS VYKEN!