All posts by kernowsmith

About kernowsmith

I have been a Piano/Keyboard teacher for over 30 years.Like Sadie Smith once said,and I quote"I write to stop myself sleepwalking through Life".

“It’s that white stuff again”!

It’s that white stuff again,

Oh no,not again,we don’t know what to do,

Don’t get me wrong,I never do fully know,but surely those clever bods at the council gritting station do!

So,the A31seems to be clear,the trains have beer and crisps,what more could we want,

It’s Sunday,it’s always slow I hear your refrain,

My chorus line around the district line is sublime,

It’s that white stuff again,so mind the gap!

That’s a good chap.


How can!

How can a mere man know what’s its like :

Even so called modern man with his paid maternity,

Granted,he changes a few nappies now(Tells us all so we don’t forget),

He rocks up at antenatal classes,learns a few terms,becomes “an expert”

So,it’s Mother’s Day!So what I hear you say,you Quirky Kernowsmith!

Granted,I totally get that I haven’t got a clue really what it’s like to be a mother,how could I?

You see,biologically,a man isn’t hard wired for pain,I mean real pain that comes with childbirth.

Yes,he might turn up for antenatal classes,discuss “the birthing Plan”,become an expert along with curling and football.

But really,we don’t have a womb,we just don’t,we don’t pass go ,we don’t collect the birthing crown.

So,Mother’s ,this is your day so to speak,and wherever you are,who ever is your son and or daughter,

Mother’s,as you spare a thought for what you have done for them,for without them ,you would have never started along the road.

Well,that’s me done,and thank you on this week of international Women’s day for all the Women in the world who make it go around .

Why,just a week ago!

Why,but a week ago,the population of our small town was gripped in a carpet of snow,with many of the roads rendered impassable,and our hearts were missing a beat at the thought of traversing them.Just like for many the excitement of x-mas,snow ,when it arrives,especially in the South here had different affects.As the excitement of the silent fall seems very much akin to Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.As the initial joy of the moment of the snow fall sinks in,we begin to release that needed supplies that we were confident would be available even at the local store,only to witness empty Milk storage shelves and bread not rising ,or yeast not fermenting in the delivery lorries.Just like X-mas,that initial joy begins to West off as we realise our relatives really are annoying ,and we are fed up with that feeling of having to do everything.So,the sins,and it’s attendant affects on our life begins to wear thin on our routines,and we give way to that age old default ,moaning.

Tv images of worse areas of the country,usually Scotland,of the Lake District,Darling nt cut it for us,as we wish the snow would just go away like the stale carols from the B and Q ad that has us threatening to throw a shoe at the box.We are,after all only human,aren’t we?

So,was it barely a week ago that we were snowed in?why yes,but a week can appear a very long time in our late winter,early spring forecasts,and we really do feel that we’ve said good bye to the snow for another year.In many ways,I wish I hadn’t moaned so much,you know ,how is it that I can be beaten to the last pint of milk at the co-op by a 90year old sporting a Zimmer frame,there really is no justice!!!!!!

Oh well,roll on X-mas ,eh.


Mass Atlantic Exodus!

Each wave forms a white crust,a firmament from the deep,the deep impact of the Atlantic Ocean.Thats the affect of the spring high tides lashing against the coves,the small seaside towns nestled in the vortex of the Atlantic hinterland Tonight.My memories intact,I penetrate them with my mind the tributaries of their wave directions,the journey from the basin from the East from Washington,from the seaboard where the Cornish forefathers set sail when the price of tin fell through the floor,when free enterprise was immigration to that New World.That world that Anton Dvorak wrote about in his New World symphony in such wondrous symphony it textures delighting us ,transfixing us to hope,to hope for our ancestors that there might be something better to hold unto.

If you’ve never known mass redundancy fear not,if it’s happened to you,it would have changed you,you might have felt that absolute rejection that “your surplus to requirements,you didn’t quite measure up”.So,that personal redundancy would have hurt.Now,just imagine your whole community in a heart beat being made redundant,surplus to requirements.Can you blame them for plying their trade in a new country,that is what so many Cornish did wth their families causing the great diaspora of people from Kernow.If we were to focus on it for too long,that leaving of parents,grandparents,never to return,took a courage beyond the comprehension of so many of us,My including.Sometimes,that “get on your bike and find a job,” really doesn’t wash when your whole community is in the same boat,that is quite a quake ,a perverseness that is stark,a trauma so to speak.

As they left the Atlantic,they braved the seas,the storms,the fragility of broken visions,only to create their own,their beacon of light so to speak was their faith in themselves.If the sloops that ferried them to Alice Island allowed for the realisation of their dreams,then the Atlantic was their friend and their deftly enemy .As is the case with the Atlantic,so breathtaking and,at the same time,so imposing,the Leviathan inside the Atlantic ready to toss the innocents into the sea.Its those courageous people ,many whom had never ventured beyond the county boundaries of Cornwall,these were now sailing towards their own life enigmas.It demonstrates the victory f the human spirit,and enfuses me when I think absolutely tune it.It fires my belly ,not to emulate these folk-really,how could I-but it imells me never ever to forget the pull of the sea,but the respect that it should afford us.

Nowadays,because of the dominance f air traffic,it’s so easy to forget the prominence of sea voyages enjoyed,and almost exclusive dominance for so long.With the emergence of the industrial sea cruises though,many are dediscovery their love for the sea,all be it aboard floating hotels that,unlike the Titanic,are truly unsinkable.Nowadays,from Southampton the sayings across the Atlantic is a routine for anyone to enjoy,but in 5 star comfort.Now,those Cornish immigrants didn’t enjoy such luxury,and their vessels were dicing we th death crossing the Atlantic as the storms,legendary as we know,could break most of these vessels at that time.

As links with the New World will always chime with the Cornish,so too will the respect for that restless Atlantic too as you are brought up with the cruel sea and it’s affects from childhood. You h yes,the still of the Atlantic is a joy to witness,but she has many facets to her personality,and these traits manifest themselves to us as we observe them firsthand.My k owledge of the Atlantic,it’s white crust and firmament started as a very small boy and has continued well into my sixtieth year of life.

So,if you visit Cornwall soon along it’s North Cornish coast,spare a thought for those who left due to mass redundancy.


The soul of the village!

What followed might only be described as a car crash,both of intent and of accident.You See,the effort he put into his speech seemed to be completely lost on his audience who just couldn’t believe what they were hearing.In that small Cornish village in East Cornwall mothered was a proud tradition of brass band boasting representation in each of the competition sections .So why had Denzil Polmounter caused such a stir?What could this quiet,normally unassuming man of 30 possibly have done to cause audible gasps from the audience?

That last sentence might have been an enigma to you for any number of reasons,but if you were from a culture used to its roots being perpetuated,you might find this unfolding shocking too.As you take time to process the proposal,the very word in modern day parlance seems to be part of everyday life,particularly in the business world.That word was :MERGER!

Picture if you may indigenous brass bands from the clay villages of the St Austell area ,with their proud heritage stretching back decades :Their very lifeblood was the village band .It provided the entertainment for the village carnivals,the teatreats, in fact,every village wheeled out its members to entertain the inhabitants ,all proud of their singular heritage,their autonomy.

Now,Denzil Polmounter,That local boy made good ,having studied music at the Royal academy in that there Lo don as the locals affectionately called it had returned to the county to take up a music teaching post at the local sixth form college.Upon arriving,he quickly got snapped up as a soprano Cornet player for the Indian Queens band,as well as helping out with the training band too.Denzil had intelligence drive and ambition,all admirable qualities.He was an exceptional musician who could have continued working in music in the city,but chose to return to the county of his birth,and also to the Eastern part of the county.His father ,Albert,had been a fine trombone player ,so much so that he could have played for the Black Dyke Mills band but instead stayed in his beloved Cornwall,seeing out his days there as a respected member of the community.Denzil had a sister,Gwen ,who had shown promise as a musician too,but ,like so many of her peers,had married a local boy,settling Darling wn in the village near her mum and dad.It was Denzil who had spread his wings as such,and it showed in his ideas about life and in his wanting for things to be better.

To understand the culture of Cornish village life is to respect its musical traditions,but maybe more importantly,it is to understand that village life is at the centre of what they did back in the 1970s when Denzil made this speech,or his pitch for change ,as they say.Why,each village seemed more than able to support a brass band of some standard,and although they might be rivals in competition,there was never a thought about merging ,in fact that would have been abhorrent.So there was poor Denzil,an exceptional musician himself,but a person for whom the status quo meant little because of his training and emphasis on excellence,trying to persuade his own people ,those whom he had grown up with,to think about fracturing their institution,their centrepiece,their heritage if you like.His intentions were so noble,the formation of a Cornish band to rival the best in the country:Denzil wanted a Cornish band to be spoken of in the same company as Brighouse and Rasteick,GUS footwear,and the sainted Black Dyke Mills Band.

Having sounded out Mr Williams from the Dennis Band,and having made a visit to Malcolm Arnold at Padstow,he felt confident that the feeling among the musical elite of Cornwall might be such as to realistically move forward with the venture.He felt that his approach to Geoff Richards to compose a special March fr the band might spur on new members,and the promise of sponsorship from English China clay to purchase new instruments,seemed to be energising many of the talented younger players.

From these soundings ,he had received positive feedback from the county music advisor regarding a possible venue for rehearsing .Denzil had worked so hard with every ounce of ability he had to get things going,but this meeting tonight that promised oh so much,was fast becoming a disaster.As he spoke about his vision for the band,he could see that his audience were suspicious of the vision of a super band that Denzil had put forward.Many were menand women who had been in the same band for decades.You See,it was as much a social occasion for them as it was a musical one.They loved to play in the old band room,but they didn’t want to practice too much,and were wanting to retire to the pub .Now Denzil,although a king and warm man,wasn’t the most ebullient,preferring to arrange music toning out with the lads to the pub.In many ways,it was a battle that had to be fought on two fronts,you had to win their minds to the concept,but not only that,you had to have touched their hearts .They had to feel the need to make changes .

Denzil was to learn a lesson that education and talent are one thing,but a village community runs on its cohesion ,it’s soul.


Before the baton goes down or the child lets out that scream!

When stillness inhabits the atmosphere,I think of that time just before the baton goes down on the orchestral performance:Those golden seconds before the tutti,or that period when you know a toddler has fallen but not yet exhaled the air from its lungs to let out that huge scream.This is now the silence that I feel.Yes,I know that it will be followed by activity ,either of the mind or the body but as the day hasn’t fully arrived of its Sunday textures I wonder wether it will last longer.

To me,the greatest of all art and music comes from silence and thought.

That’s my blog post for today.

Thank you so very much for reading my musings.


Parkrun cancelled because of bad weather!

“Sorry dad,”said Jack,”I didn’t quite catch what you said”:”Parkrun is cancelled tomorrow because of the snow”

Jack seemed sad,he liked those special times with his dad each week.At first,he Had found it difficult to even complete the 5k and he had wondered wether his dad was getting frustrated with him for constantly getting a stitch.On one of the runs,he was told that he would have to run with with mum and Carly his sister as they liked to run at a more leisurely pace.Jack knew that his dad liked running,and tended to push him to complete the run at a faster pace.Although Jack was just 9,he took it seriously and listened to his dad as he always talked to him along the route as they ran.

Their fatHer and son times were pressurised as Jacks dad worked hard all week at PWC in the city,leaving for work before Jack was up in the mor img and arriving home long after his bedtime,so you see,their Saturday mornings together were so important to him.During the week,Jack would often go out after school to build his stamina,trying to avoid the dreaded stitch.He knew that the rules of Parkrun meant that you had to keep close to your parent or cared ,otherwise they could stop you from doing it.Jacks dad often ran of a lunchtime in London and to him he was his absolute hero.Sometimes,his dad might be short with him,but his mum would say that he didn’t mean it ,but that he was just tired.Jack sort of understood,but it hurt him when his dad got so angry and it hurt his sister too.

Jacks mum also worked,but tended to be around more for him and his sister.As her job meant that she could work from home more,she always appeared less tense.Jack struggled with concentration at school and had been bullied,but mostly he told his mum as his dad often found it hard to deal with those type of problems.When Jack kept up with his dad at the Parkrun,he was so very proud of him,telling him what a good boy he had been.Jack loved to make his dad proud of him,in fact,he loved nothing more.Although running had become something he looked forward too of a Saturday,something else about it was more important.You See,when his dad was running,Jack could see that his dad was happy looking,without the tension on his face and that meant the world to Jack.

Jacks dad looked at him after telling him that the Parkrun was cancelled because Jack looked sad:”Are you alright son.?

“Yes,Dad,I’m alright,it’s just that I will miss running and hearing you laugh and seeing your smile of a Saturday”

Children notice far more than we ever give them credit for.



“I’m talking to the man in the mirror”

From being stranded on our main thoroughfare here along the A31,to just realising that the snow with its biting wind chill,I’m counting my blessings this morning that I haven’t been caught up in this horrendous weather.To say that we were prepared for it would be completely erroneous,but just having the basics in life at a time like this tends to focus our minds on our own positives.Why,what does it matter if we don’t have the latest material thing gadget or otherwise when we have food,clothing,heat and shelter.News stories from our area regarding the homeless ,especially in these bitter cold temperatures have the affect on all of us in that we start to count our blessings because life can’t just be about us!From the heated bungalow from which I write this blog post,my basic needs have been met,but I fear that the casualties of the homeless might not be so easily remedied.

Only the other day,I read a piece in the huffington post-so,I would say wouldn’t be a candidate for fake news-about the number of young people who sofa surf!Why ,the very phrase has an acceptable ,almost bizarre feel,but as the writer correctly placed the words in inverted commas,going on to rightly explain that these people were ,in fact,homeless,it made me think that in a country such as ours we still have much to do in the way of looking after our citizens from the basic level.It appears that the issue of not having anywhere on a permanent basis to sleep,rather than diminishing in our society ,appears to be proliferating.Sometimes by just employing terms for serious issues like sofa surfing for homelessness we might be inadvertently implying that these people might somehow prefer this situation to the reality which is that they don’t have anywhere to live.Wether there is a more sinister motive I don’t know,but what I know is that when temperatures during the day and at night reach sub artic conditions,then people are very much in danger.

We surely can’t be Islands ,devoid of compassion at times such as these:while I agree with the current narrative that the issues are complicated,just because they are ,shouldn’t stop us from sparing a thought and giving our time or our efforts if we can.By way of a shout out to our young people in the community here,they have an excellent attitude in wanting to do something to those who are homeless,and it lifts me to think that younger people,who often get a jaundice press ,especially from the tabloids are ,getting out there,raising funds,volunteering,using their younger years to support those who are vulnerable.That,to me and so many of my generation is truly wonderful to observe and it generates a feeling that their parents have instilled good values,selfless traits far removed from the gutter press that loves to paint our country as broken.

That said,it bothers me that as the mature ones in society,we accept the status quo too often in our society,often believing that there is nothing that can be done.Recently,one of our local councils,apparently driven by members of the public and the business community,placed bars on benches in our local town of Bournemouth to “deter rough sleepers”.It so heartened me that a counter narrative of local citizens appealed to the humanity of the council and maybe via the negative social media coverage too,were encouraged to remove them from the selected benches in the town centre area.That happened at week or so ago when the temperatures were mild compared to what they are now.It was interesting to view the treatment that the majority of people wanted to give to those less fortunate ,and to know that the vast majority of people have humanity and are willing to manifest it.

So,my blog post entitled :”Spare a thought” might be a candidate for my thinking more myself as the words of the MJ son rings out in my ears”I’m talking to the man in the mirror,I’m asking him to change his ways”,appears to be the salient thing today.

Thank you for you time,but thank you the young people out there showing us that they have already looked into their mirror.


Hold that thought.

Odd thing to say,

Not what I’d say,

Odd thing to say,

Perhaps I’m wrong,

It could be a song title!

“Hold that thought”

Like a title from that difficult second album!

Who would write such a song?

Oh,not me,but maybe others with great talent could,

Would Gerry Rafferty write a song with that title?

Maybe he would have,but there again,he could have sung the phone book,

Would Carly Simon ?

Nobody would have done it better!

How about Neil Young?

Crosby ,Stiles,or Nash!

But ,look what I’ve done,

I’m holding that thought now,

Granted,I’ve changed the terms of reference,

I’ve reverted to my “go too comforts “:Music!

But really,”Hold that thought”!

To the great thinkers yes,

But not to me,

It would be like that other three word imperative:”Stop that bus”

Ever said that?

I’ve heard it in films produced in Pinewood studios,mostly Carry on ones with Syd James,Kenneth Williams and Barbera Windsor,

But no,not in real life,not me mate,not ever.

Like the “apple and pears”,never heard that ,ever in real life!!

Is hold that thought real life?

Or just a figment of our minds


My childhood adventure revisited!

Drawing on every inch of strength,he reached the ledge of the cliff.Exhausted from his exertions,he rested there perched precariously in this isolated spot.For what seemed like an age he surveyed his options,hoping to regain his poise.Mentally,he had become cut adrift from his usual safe and secure moorings,It had been out of character So to speak for him to have acted like this.Luckily ,the weather hadn’t deteriorated anymore than it had an hour ago,and the rain clouds had See I goy changed direction away from the vicinity of the cliff.Down below,he could still see the foreshore,the sunbathers and swimmers seemed oblivious to him really as if it had been quite normal for an eleven year old boy to have climbed up the cliffs at Watergate bay,but he knew that it wasn’t.He knew that he had achieved something,that adventure hadn’t gone horribly wrong ,far from it.He thought of how he might tell his uncle Richard when he next saw him,yes,he honestly thought that he would be very proud of him.

He became engrossed in the cheek of his climb now,preferring to bask in the glory of his exploits.He he of course,quite forgotten that his sisters were at the other end of the bay and whom had ,by now,noticed that he wasn’t with them,and were frantically trying to locate him.if youth identified itself with exuberance,it didn’t seem to go hand in hand with common sense,and Adrian lacked the insight and experience to realise the worry that he had caused,Althought he had reached the top of the cliffs ,he was still lyeleven years of age and by now he knew that his time for explanations were fast co in into view.

Watergate bay hasn’t really changed much since the 1970s and although there have been one or two pleasant hotels built some nice then,it remains largely as it was now as then.On a sunny day,it is breathtaking as it is flanked on that North coast by Porth beach towards the edge of Newquay,and Mawgan Porth towards the North.On that day,the water was a deep blue colour,and the cliff was warm to my touch,and it didn’t seem treacherous.My climb invigorated me and I felt free,but of course it had worried my sisters and I was scolded upon my return ,but they never told my mother for fear the reprocussions would have been grave.

Sometimes,I feel like that eleven year old boy,wanting the freedom to climb cliffs ,to do my own thing as it were without the shackles of adult life and maybe you do too,but the knowledge that others were worried about me because they loved me was a very sobering but comforting thing at the same time,and it made me think again about going off on my own without telling anyone