From Liskeard Writers Group prompt ‘A Journey from Liskeard to the Cornish Coast’.
A journey from Liskerrett to Pensande – Graeme Sandford
We set out early on that long ago Thursday morning on our journey from Liskeard to Penzance – although, as this was such a long time ago, the two towns were then called Liskerrett and Pensande, respectively – and furthermore to this, we travelled by camel, which camel, seemingly, having no name at all, we called her Daphne.
Our choice of steed
was one of need
and the availability of mammal;
hence, the camel.
Uncomfortable to ride, as Daphne the camel was, we made steady progress through the scenic Kernovian valleys, and then across the juxtapositioned aridity of the nearby desert, until, by happenstance, just outside of Bock-a-Nock, we met an old tinker, who, itinerant by nurture, and irritant by nature, took great troubles in telling us of the folly of our wandering ways.
The tinker, was a stinker,
in language and in garb;
foul-mouthed and reeking,
his words they had a barb.
He told us of a strangely unbelievable monster that lived in the midst of the arid desert. Many wayfarers travelling near there, hearing of the strange beast, had been eaten up with a desire to see the creature, then, having met the foul monster, they were seen to be eaten up by it!
We believed not a word
that he said, that we heard;
bid him ”Good day!”
and continued on our way.
I must just stop here and explain my company, and our reasons for setting forth across the land
to the fair destination of old Pensande.
There were just the three of us: myself, Robert de Lunchpack, Lord of somewhere or other, recently ousted in favour of one Mr. Norman Barronialtype – well, I think that’s what his name was; there was also my page, Frontispiece, a dour lad, paid by the hour; and my son, also named Robert de Lunchpack – this particular nomenclature did cause an uncertain degree of confusion amongst the company, so we decided to call him Bob.
And, before we continue, I must explain here, as I talk, that, as a camel can only comfortably seat one, we all took it in turns to walk.
Our quest was to become pirates; and, Pensande, being renowned for its piratical ways, seemed to be the ideal place for our destinies to be found.
On a ship of the desert
we headed due West;
then turned left at Bodmine,
we hoped, for the best.
It was hard going,
and we really should have taken a train;
but with only enough money to buy one camel
that option was in vain.
Saddle-sore and hungry, dusty, thirsty and tired, we eventually reached the inland port of Stozzle-quite-near-to-the-Sea. We had almost expired.
Seeking food and lodgings for the night, we asked at a local inn; Butt the landlord was out. Luckily, Mrs. Butt, the landlord’s wife, said that we could stable our strange mule in the stable, and ourselves in there, too. We were extremely glad of the simple sanctuary of the simple stable at the welcoming Welcome Inn. Though, saying that, Daphne took up most of the room, so we left her warm within, and camped ourselves out under the rain clouds that hid the stars.
The next morning, waking recuperated and refreshed, Daphne looked like she could cross another vast desert or two; we, on the other hand, looked like we couldn’t even cross an unmade road safely.
But, on we went, through the marsh lands of Port TreHilly, and the pilchard-growing village of Pol-Chard-Sup – although, I could easily have mixed, or made, the names of those two up.
Places and faces,
all looked the same;
we travelled a way
and forgot ev’ry name.
Tre and Pol
again and again;
and pronouncing them…
that almost drove us insane.
We fained to cross a mighty river; we nearly died; but, gladly, we didn’t; we reached the other side, all a-quiver;
and, there, was a ragged ferryman, collecting of coin.
We nodded a welcome, he ne’er did rejoin, we shouted ’Halloo!” he ignored us the more. We left him standing there upon the shore all tattered and torn, scaring the crows who were eating his scorn.
On, and on, and on,
forwards, we went, and on again;
through the land of occasional Sun, and interminable rain.
Reaching an area of far off Kernow known locally as Karrek Loos yn Koos, we spent an evening encamped upon that holy island off the coast from the village of Marhasyow.
Misjudging the tides, we then spent the next three nights also encamped upon that holiest of holy isles, ourselves soon becoming wholly fed up with the lack of progress towards our goal. It was only when we saw Daphne wading in twelve inches of water that we realised that our path wasn’t as blocked by the English Channel as we had surmised.
Through a dozen inches depth
of Cornish water
we travelled easily;
Bob, becoming sea-sick,
travelled rather queazily.
On we went;
with bold intent,
to reach Pensende town.
To be pirates there,
We had a care;
To sail the oceans brown –
I was yet to find
that I was slightly colour-blind.
Pensende grew near, so we upped our pace; and, although we’d trod a weary way, the smiles of a journey’s completion were upon our face… well, upon our faces, I should say
The two short miles to pierless Pensende were eaten up in less than a day from start to end – it took that long because Daphne was on a go-slow from having only had for her breakfast the dampest of hay – which was more than we had had, so I don’t know why she was so grumpy about it – we’ll, that’s camels for you, as they say.
Pensende, now reached, was all that we could have asked for, and more – and then a little bit more than that. We soon signed on for a twelve-year tour of duty, strode proudly onto the good ship Lallypop, a beauty – and, after all departure checks, set sail with a will to scrubbing the decks.
A life on the ocean wave,
Is all that a pirate should crave;
under the Roger so jolly,
unaware of his folly,
for pirates be never so brave.
Spoken: A life on the ocean wave.
Twelve years later, we returned to the magical shore of Kernow once more; having travelled all six oceans – twice; fourteen seas, one or two canals and a very, very long river just to the north of the Arctic Circle.
We were certainly wiser and much the richer in experience; and older by twelve years or so (apart from Bob who seemingly had aged not a day, he was still smooth-chinned without the need to shave) and we were truly knowledgeable in all the piratey things that a properly professional pirate should know.
Three travelled pirates
returned to their home –
back in Liskerret,
which was nothing like Rome;
they had tales to tell
of sails, and golden treasure –
of which they had some;
but, an amount too small to measure.
”Arrr!” they would call
in answer to many a question;
and ”My lad!” or ”Avast, yee!”
would hail from their direction.
They did have a few momentoes of some small worth;
there was a sabre all curved;
a flat map of the flat Earth;
and some quick-growing tales of how they had served
under Captain PurpleBeard –
all the other colours being taken –
how they had sailed around the Indies
and we’re almost, nearly; but, not quite, forsaken.
Robert de Lunchpack, Bob and Frontispiece
All heroes so Galant;
and Daphne the Camel,
the Bactrian talent
who became the ship’s mascot
and inspired the crew
to ’shiver the timbers’
from Pensende to Peru –
which is not that farrrr!
In a pirate’s nautical destinations dictionary,