Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Whitesand Bay

Q2. The Minack Theatre

внимание друзья! For question two, the theatre is also called 'The Minack Open Air Theatre' on some maps.

Quite tricky this week, I found several artists who have crafted paintings called 'A Cornish Valley' but the one who seems to fit the bill is called David Farquharson, born c 1839 at Lochside, Blairgowrie in Perthshire. According to some of his biographies, he lived for a time next to two bays, Balcary Bay in Kircudbright and Sennen Cove in Cornwall, which lies adjacent to Whitesand Bay. I couldn't find any references to a rogue and pretender to the throne or doctors' heads relating to Balcary Bay but did find rocks named Dr Syntax's Head and Doctor Johnson's head, in the vicinity of the village of Sennen Cove. Dr Syntax seems to have been a popular school teacher character, from a series of books written between 1812 and 1821 by William Coombe and Thomas Rowlandson (a caricaturist), if some of the references on this are to be believed. There is a sketch (c 1811) of the first doctor's head viewed from the second, by Joseph William Mallord Turner, in the Tate Gallery. A possible candidate for 'a rogue and claimant to the throne', who landed at Whitesand bay c seventh of September 1497, is Perkin Warbeck. Seems to have gotten himself into a bit of bother with a ruler called Henry VII, when keeping it real on a regime changing operation went a bit too far.

A lighthouse which stands a mile and a half or so offshore from Dr Johnson's head, is likely The Longship's lighthouse, which stands on the rock of Carn Bras. The first version of this appears to have been built c 1795 and was subsequently upgraded, c 1875 by one Sir James Douglass. The height of this lighthouse is given by some sources as thirty five metres or one hundred and fifteen feet, in old money. A lighthouse nine miles southwest of the Longship's light could be the Wolf Rock Lighthouse, upgraded c 1861 by James Walker, who was at one time inspector general of the lights.

A theatre in the vicinity, which was created by Rowena Cade (born c 1893) and her gardener who constructed an open air terrace facing a spectacular stage with the sea and cliffs for a backdrop c 1932 ( a very beautiful location indeed), is The Minack Theatre (aka The Minack Open Air Theatre). The venue opened that year for a performance of one of the Eastender's favourite plays by the bard, though he cannot decide whether he likes the 1956 version with Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen better than the c 2010 version with Helen Mirren, Russel Brand and the fiery rottweilers. The words "Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not" are from Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest', which seems to be about the struggle between the ego 'Prospero', the superego 'Ariel' and the monster from the id/Jungian shadow (Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano) played out on the mysterious island of the unconscious. The Eastender floats the theory that Prospero is possibly based upon Tycho Brahe, a celebrity mage who lived on the island of Hven, in the Oresund Strait  and was contemporaneous with Shakespeare.

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