Archive for the 'Word of the week' Category

Not just a Cornish word of the week but a Cornish story of the week…

I’ve been a bit slow in the Cornish word of the week so to make up for the lack of words I’m going to have a go at a couple of sentences!

Here goes…….

Backalong (in former times) when I was a tacker (small child) I was a heller (child who plays their parents up). I ran through me mother’s kitchen with me boots stagged (muddy) in mud, ‘ Cris’ Father shouted ‘That B’y (boy) is teasey (bad-tempered). Well, I were runnin’ so fast I scat ( to hit or break) the table and me father’s denner (dinner) landed on the floor. Well, he was mazed (angry). I was running so fast I tripped hitting me head on the kitchen durns (door frame).

I picked myself up squalling (crying), I was proper screeching (crying loudly) twas (was). Me (my) brother was in the front room (lounge), came running out ‘Wasson (whats going on) me ‘ansum?  (friendly form of address).  ‘I’ve scat Dad’s denner off the table smashing his plate to larrups (pieces/bits) all over the floor. He’s mazed!’ By this time I was roaring (weeping loudly). My brother picked up his coat and shouted ‘Mother, Mark’s a squallass (crybaby) I’ll see ‘e’ (you) dreckly!

This story is not based on fact and no children were hurt in this process (although I was a bit of a heller!) 😉

p.s that was a spell checkers nightmare!

Word of the week and cheese of the week!

The word Gevrik means ‘little goat’ in Cornish and is the name given to a lovely full fat goats cheese made in Trevarrion on the North Cornwall Coast. Described by the ‘cheese critics’ to have a clean and fresh taste and a wonderful nutty flavour. We bought a couple on our way to Cornwall (in Devon – Shhhh!) and enjoyed it on some oatcakes at supper time.

a quick shot of the cheese before it got devoured

The little goats cheese is produced by Cornish Country Larder who also make Brie’s and Camembert’s which I will touch on in later posts.

In the meantime check out their website here or if you wanted to try some you may be fortunate to find it in your local supermarket as many of the top supermarkets stock it in their speciality cheese range.

If not you can but it online at Lobbs Farm Shop, Heligan.

A Donkey Shay

Just chatting to my Dad on the telephone and he was telling me about an oil painting my cousin had picked up from a car boot sale of a donkey shay, the conversation went something like this:

Dad – Francis got a picture of a donkey shay going up hillhead

Me – Sorry a donkey in the shade? I said

D – No a donkey shay! Dad replied

M – What’s a donkey shade?

D – donkey shay!

M – What S. H. A. Y.?

D – Yes!

M – Whats that?

D – You know what a donkey shay is?

M – No I don’t

D – Like a cart, but a shay.

M – Let me Google it

M- Ah a donkey shay! Ok got it

Dad – (relieved sigh)

So, for those that didn’t know what a donkey shay is here is one, photographed in Leedstown Cornwall. Special thanks to the photographer who took this image for putting my mind at rest!

Heading out for the night…

Father and Son going out fishing for the night

Recently at Cadgwith, we stood on the beach as one of the fishing boats went out, it was PZ707 with a father and son on board. On walking though the village I heard some of the locals saying ‘Danny has just taken the boy out on the boat for the night’. I wonder what they caught that night? I love the late afternoon light on the boat, just a classic looking fishing boat and not a tacker in sight! (He’s older than a tacker now!)

A Cornish Tacker

When I moved up-country some 12 years ago I worked in a photographic portrait studio in Marlow, Bucks. The main part of the business was photographing families and most of those were what was described as a FG1, a family group where the oldest child was less than 6. Quite often, on going up stairs to the offices and digital rooms your colleagues would ask how the session went. They had more often than not heard children rampaging around the studio beneath screaming at the tops of their voices for the last hour whilst they sat there retouching images, drinking coffee and listening to music.  With the sweat dripping off my brow, I would calmly say ‘fine, got some good shots’ as I downloaded my images in the hope it was not a reshoot. ‘What did you have? they asked. ‘O just a couple of tackers’ I would say.

Oblivious to what I was on about eventually one day someone said ‘Tacker? What is that?’

‘Small child!’ I said. ‘Ive never heard you say that before’ came the response. Convinced I had being using the term ‘tacker’ for year I explained that I called a small child a tacker. It turns out this is a Cornish phrase and I didn’t realise it was not part of the Queens English. Surely Prince Charles has been refered to by his parents as a little tacker!?

So, in doing a bit of research for you I have learned that a Tacker is in fact a small boy up to the age of about 10. It is now a term I have dropped from my vocabulary due to many confused looks from those up-country folk.

bit of hevva cake?

This post is killing 3 birds with one stone.

Its follows the coastal theme for the week, is a Cornish word of the week and also encompasses a recipe!

My mum has been making Heavy cake all my life and it’s not until you move away from Cornwall that you realise that heavy cake is a Cornish recipe of Cornish tradition.

Heavy cake or ‘Hevva’ cake comes from the Pilchard industry when, prior to the 20th century a ‘heur’ (person – generally fisherman’s wife, on a clifftop helping to locate shoals of pilchards) would shout ‘Hevva!’ to signal to the boats the location of the pilchards. It is also said the men would shout Hevva as they pulled the ‘heavy’ nets!

Cornish tradition states that it was the huers who would bake the Hevva cake on returning to their homes with the cake being ready for the crews on their return to land.

Heavy cake is made by rubbing the fat (lard and marg), flour and salt together, adding the sugar and currents and then mixing with milk and water. Then rolled to a thickness of 1/2″ and a criss-cross pattern scored on the top signifying the nets used by the fishermen.  Placed on a baking tray and cooked for 30 minutes at 325F.

Here is my mum’s recipe from her old recipe book


8oz plain flour


5oz lard and margarine mixed

2oz sugar

3oz currents /sultanas

milk and water to mix



1. Rub lard and marg, flour and salt to a crumbly mix

2. Add sugar and currents /sultanas

3. Mix with milk and water

4. Roll out to 1/2″, score a criss-cross pattern on top and bake for 25 mins at 220C (revised by mum on the phone!)

Wait to cool and have a slice with a cuppa tea. Ansome!

This slice didn't hang around for long...

Mum now also makes a wheat free version for Becky which she loves just substituting the flour for wheat free flour. We are also fortunate to bring one of each back to Oxfordshire which we really enjoy. The only problem is when it runs out we have to drive back to Cornwall for another! ha ha!

‘aving a bit of croust today, are ‘e’?

Well, Ess I am….

Croust is the name given to a mid morning snack with the word mainly used in West Cornwall.  Up country they call it Elevenses (taken around 11am) and would consist of the same as Croust –  generally a slice of cake or a biscuit, although I have been known to have a homemade sausage roll for crouse, end of a pasty from the night before or one of mum’s meat patties (mini pie with beef and onion).

My best memories of Croust was going up to my Papa’s (Grandfathers) and having some of my Aunt’s heavy cake and a cuppa strong tea and playing with my Papa’s crutches in the back kitchen.

Here’s a slice of Saffron Cake from Warrens the bakers in Falmouth with a cuppa tea in my favourite mug – Cornish blue of course! Next week we will be at Mum and Dad’s and I can’t wait to be sitting in front of the Rayburn with a bit of cake and even a bit of pasty.

Word of the Week – ‘dreckly’

means at some point in the future; soon, but not immediately; like “mañana”, but less urgent. Comes from the English “directly” but differs in meaning

e.g – Bex “Mark can you putting the washing in”

Mark “I’ll do it dreckly”

Result –  girlfriend shrieking ‘fercrisaeik’!!!

Word of the week ‘ansome’

Often used to describe someone to add physical attraction  – ‘He’s a luvvly boy, he’s proper ansome’

Could also be used to describe something one has enjoyed. ‘That was an ansome pasty’

Or could you used in conversation such as ‘ok me ansome’

Keep checking back for word of the week!

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