Hidden Stories: Hidden Places


Hidden Stories Flyer

Over the past few months I have been working with my colleague Derek on recording some stories that will become part of an audio trail for a hidden cemetery in Falmouth. The Ponsharden Burial ground is a dissenters graveyard that runs alongside a Jewish cemetery and on Sunday September 10th it will be open between 2-4pm. This is in conjunction with the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage. Prior to the opening Derek and I will be giving a presentation at the Falmouth Poly about the wider project called Hidden Stories; Hidden Places, how some stories we have found have connections that run across and through the eighteenth and nineteenth century Jewish communities that were scattered across the south west of England. On the same day [the 10th]we will also have audios playing in the Exeter synagogue that are about people buried in the old cemetery at Bull Meadow and there will be an accompanying film.

For more information go to https://rippletheatreco.com

Hidden Stories: Hidden Places is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Exeter City Council’s small grants scheme and FEAST, a programme to make great art happen across Cornwall.

FEAST harnesses the talents and energy of Cornwall’s artists and communities, generating new opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. The focus is on bringing people together to share experiences as audiences or participants, and on animating local celebrations and cultural life.

For the link to book your place at the Falmouth Poly see below


For information on the September 10th open days




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Dam the plastic flood

‘The EU wants to fight the waste problem, but behind the scenes, the plastic lobby is fighting for its interests – for example, against bans on single-use plastic. It’s up to us to tip the balance.’ [WeMove.EU]


photo by Chris Jordan

This is a petition to the EU commission to reduce the production and use of plastic. Over the next month or so the commission is reviewing it’s plastic strategy, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that plastic is clogging up our seas. With one click you could sign a petition to make the EU take notice of us. Plastic is getting into our rivers and seas at an alarming rate and is tipping the eco balance of the waters, eventually coming back into our food chain.

By 2050, our oceans will have more plastic trash than fish.

In 2015  Rame Peninsula Beach Care did a call out and these were the items they felt were most relevant – they still are so we need to keep talking about it.

1) The need for plastics packaging producers to accept greater responsibility for their disposable products. We need a bottle deposit scheme for plastic bottles. Systems like this have reduced plastic bottle litter by up to 90% in countries where they are in place. We currently discard 15 million plastic bottles in the UK each day, of which over half are landfilled or littered.
2) A small surcharge on disposable plastic packaging. A 1p tax on bottles alone could raise £1 million a week. This could be spent (for example) on (a) a major nationwide online and media awareness campaign, (b) environmental warning labels on disposable plastic packaging and (c) a redesign of disposable plastic packaging to ensure it is 100% recycling.
3) An extension of the forthcoming charge on plastic shopping bags to all businesses rather than just stores with over 250 employees, as in the other countries of the UK.
4) Providing better disposal and recycling facilities for fishermen,
5) Banning all plastic micro-beads in cosmetics and taking stronger action on plastic sewage-related debris
6) Classifying balloon releases as littering, and therefore a criminal offence.’

Here’s the petition https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/plastics-strategy-INT-EN

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Summer in the back lane


Above is the back lane at the height of summer with Tregantle Fort in the background.

Many times as you drive down you will see a buzzard sitting on the pole looking down into the verges, or a dragon fly flit by with the countless butterflies. Sometimes you may encounter a pheasant who will waddle along until it decides to hop aside. Then, as the light goes you may have to swerve for the occasional rabbit and once we stopped to watch a young deer stare at us and then in one push jump over the hedge. Of course those are the sort of encounters you look forward to but most times it will be an encounter with another four wheeled engine, cars are okay as long as you make a mental note of the passing places along the route and it’s pretty democratic who will pull in for the other but tractors you have to back up for no matter what.

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Port Elliot 2017


This years Port Elliot festival was a wet one, after a few years of glorious weather at the festival it was bound to happen one year. A highlight is to watch folk swimming in the river and getting muddy, but this year it was hard to see the difference between the banks of the river at low tide and the state of the paths and grounds in general.

Unable to see the larger picture because of a mizzly haze made me pay attention to the smaller details and escaping the rain you could be surprised at the impromptu talk you might have happened upon. Marked up timetables went out of the window as performers cancelled or went up late and venues plus times got changed. This sounds far worse than it was in actuality, I felt far more connected to the talks and interviews this year than sometimes in the past when, to catch the sun you would sit somewhat further away lapping up the rays.

A favourite hour was spent listening to half a dozen folk [comprising of a poet, writer, businessman/gardener, actor, & conservationists] discussing the US poet W S Merwin and his garden on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Merwin believes that mans separation from nature is, and will be, disastrous for the world; he made his garden in an old pineapple plantation and in doing so has restored the land to its original rainforest, which has one of the most extensive palm collections known to exist on earth.

It is now on my list of must see places. https://merwinconservancy.org/open-garden-days/

And then on the final day the sun returned reminding us what a special weekend it can be when the weather shines. This is certainly a place where we get a glimpse of nature, here’s hoping the grass will return… as will we.


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Landscape Theatre


Normally at the beginning of the summer holidays I am heading to the Lost Gardens of Heligan for Kneehigh’s Asylum which I mentioned previously here and here. This year is a barren year for the Asylum but although that sounds harsh I think it’s to allow the field to re coop. So, we headed off to see Cornish based Wildworks’ production Wolf’s Child [originally commissioned for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival] that has now returned to the company’s home county. The performance is landscape theatre, which isn’t normally specific to the site but a performance placed within an outdoor space and yet, they have found the most perfect landscape in the Trelowarren Estate. that it almost feels site specific. A lawned amphitheatre, a wild meadow with lines of washing and the woods themselves, which almost become a character in themselves. The audience, get taken through the grounds to watch the performance; sometimes we chance upon a happening in a glade and sometimes we are asked to sit on the makeshift log seats. As the evening draws in and as we get taken further into the woods there are torches and flames to light our way. It is a mythical, magical story, a grown up fairytale which fits Trelowarren like a glove. I am not a theatre critic and will not write about the content but I think its one of the nicest ways to spend a summer’s evening, whether you are on your holiday or not. You will need good stout footwear and some insect repellent and be prepared for all kinds of weather, I mean come on, its the UK and the school holidays, it’s bound to rain!

Unfortunately we were told not to take any photographs so I can’t illustrate the magical quality, but here’s one from the postcard that was handed out, image by Steve Tanner/Wildworks.


At Trelowarren Estate from 11th to 30th July 2017.

Daily (except Mondays) at 7.30pm, 7pm on Sundays.

Matinees on Sat 15th, Sat 22nd and Sat 29th at 2pm.

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cabin envy artist studio

This artist’s studio in Norfolk was designed by Threefold Architects and the north facing back looks out onto the changing wheat field [no P.M jokes]. I really like the cabin’s carbon neutral status with sheep’s wool insulation, rain water harvesting and ethically sourced building materials. The row of windows are placed so that once inside you can see the changing scene between the horizon and the sky with the emphasis on the latter.

All photos from http://www.threefoldarchitects.com/projects/the-long-studio/

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microfibres & plastic


Occasionally I mention on here the increasingly high levels of pollution in our seas and share online forums and campaigns which we may [or may not] believe help. Everyone can help in their own little way especially when visiting the beach and taking home their rubbish. Yet there are all sorts of ways plastic can enter the waters. If you have a fleece jacket for example and wash it, are you amazed how its almost dry when its gone through the wash? But did you know what it leaves behind in the waste water that eventually gets back into our seas? Tiny little microfibres, plastic microfibres that do not biodegrade and are so small they get through the sewage system undetected.                 And this is just one example of micro plastic.

Read more about microfibres here…



Cornish artist Rob Arnold often goes to the beach to collect plastic for art projects but the last time he went he was greeted by so much he had to get help to collect. Luckily he has a homemade separator that sifts the plastic from the sand which he then dries to start sifting again. He cleaned and sifted and dried in the sun  until he had approx 19,600 per litre which equals over 3 million bits of micro plastic. His journey is documented here

This is some of the plastic he sorted [all photos courtesy of Rob Arnold]


Above are sets of lego flippers, there are 240 here and they come from a Lego container spill in 1997, there were 418,000 in the container. Twenty years on and they look like new. Top right are a selection of children’s car and truck wheels and bottom right the remains of Remembrance Day poppies.


Here are mostly children’s toy soldiers and other playful ephemera along with lots of Smartie tops and here’s the thing, the tops were discontinued in 2005 so these have been hanging around in the ocean for 12 years.

Now we have some household items…the ends of cotton buds, again not biodegradable like the cotton. Top right, the tops of sealant tubes and bottom right, fishing beads that are often eaten by fish as they look like fish eggs. Most household items enter the ocean via drains and rivers.


Finally we have golf tees on the left, here is an initiative that produces biodegradable ones and to the right we have that ubiquitous item…the cigarette holder. From the comments under the photo it seems they are popular on the continent!!

This is just a small amount of Rob’s find and the sorry fact is that he found it all at the western end of Whitsand Bay. This though isn’t just about taking your rubbish home so it doesn’t end up in the sea, its also about what’s already in the sea that’s being washed up on beaches all over the world.

Lastly, a great initiative from Plymouth University – an all female crew heading out to test ocean waters for plastic pollution and running awareness events at the same time.



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