Thursday, December 24, 2009


In Cornwall many of the seaside towns have a tradition of decorating around the harbour and seafront with nautical themed Christmas lights. The town where my parents live, Newlyn, is no exception. The little local fish monger has it's own decorations.

As does the local net locker.

One of the boats in the harbour is decorated

And the Fisherman's Chapel looks quite beautiful.

Along the sea-front a little Santa plays definite second fiddle to King Neptune with his trident in hand.

But I think my personal favorite is the big lobster out on the south pier.

In the next town over, Mousehole (pronounced Mowzul!) the lights have a different tale to tell. December 23rd is Tom Bowcocks Eve and, so the story goes, one winter, many years ago, the village of Mousehole was near starvation because constant storms had kept all the fishing boats in the harbour. Tom Bowcock set sail with a few intrepid men and his cat 'Mowzer' who, says the legend, sung the storm to sleep and enabled the men to make a fine catch of seven different kinds of fish. As Tom returned towards the harbour the sky darkened and the storm returned but he was guided back to safety by the people of the village, each holding a lantern. Tom Bowcock's Eve is still celebrated every year and 'Starr Gazy pie' is baked and eaten by hungry visitors. A delightful book called ‘The Mousehole Cat’ is based on the legend.
Pride of place amongst the Mousehole Lights is Mowzer the cat

And the somewhat bizarre Starr Gazey Pie

The deep religious strength that held these small fishing communities together in times past is also reflected in the light display on the pier.

The remaining lights have a more standard Christmas theme.

The cracker at the bottom of the slipway being a favorite

With an acknowledgment to the 'monsters of the deep,' Mobey Dick puts in an appearance

And, rather puzzlingly, so does the Loch Ness Monster! She must have strayed rather far from home!

We spent a perfect Christmas Eve walking around the harbour, enjoying the lights and the atmosphere. There was even a mulled wine vendor on the street, just to add to the festive spirit so it really was the perfect way to begin Christmas.

Photo Credits - CJT

1 comment:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! I so love the creative local twists to the holiday themed lights. So festive!

And mulled wine while enjoying Christmas lights on wharf sounds just perfect!