I grew up in a household where farm work and animals came first above anything else. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not complaining. I had a blessed childhood with a kind of freedom that sadly very few children experience today. It taught me not only independence but also the
importance of hard work and responsibility. However it did mean that we never went on family holidays. Days out were very few and far between.
I was, and still am, a bit of a daddy’s girl. And I hope that my father has had a strong influence on the person that I have become. One thing that I know he did instil in me from a young age was an admiration for a good piece of granite.
Those days off I mentioned were never spent on the beach making sandcastles. They were spent on the Penwith or the heights of Bodmin moor or Dartmoor tramping through undergrowth looking for ancient pieces of stone. It is a tradition that you may have noticed I still enjoy as often as possible!
In the summer of 1999 my father and I spent a whole day together driving around the west of Cornwall looking at big rocks.
We admired their size and shape. Marvelled at their probable weight. And puzzled over how ancient man had moved them and raised them up. You see my father had a plan.
He wanted his own standing stone.
Our own standing stone
Our farm is a hill and the highest point affords beautiful views across the valley and the tidal creek below. It was the ideal spot for our very own monolith.
He took himself to the local granite quarry and spent hours walking around looking at the available stones. He wanted a piece of granite that was as natural in shape as possible with no obvious signs that it had been split by drilling or handled by machinery. Like ancient man all those thousands of years ago I am sure he had a particular piece of stone in mind.
I am sure the workmen thought he was barmy. But perhaps that is where I also get my own nonchalance with regards to looking silly myself. He found his perfect stone and had it delivered to the farm.
The pit was dug and with the help of todays modern mechanised assistance our standing stone was raised to mark the year 2000.
We have never really spoken about it, my father is a man of few words. But I think he really enjoys the idea of something so lasting, so solid and unmoving marking his time on the land he loves so much. And so do I.