Dylan Thomas called Mousehole “one of the loveliest villages in England.” Here is a portrait of Dylan T that we saw in the National Portrait Gallery. He certainly looks like a handsome boy who knows what he is talking about!
We agree with Dylan T. I could not stop taking photos of “our” darling village!
First you might wonder where in the world it got its name. Apparently the villagers got tired of their landing harbor getting lashed by winds and pounding waves, so they built this sheltered harbor.
To get in the harbor, you have to pass through the little mousehole.
The tide still manages to rise and fall through the mousehole (and you can see the amazing St. Michael’s Mount from here! More about that later . . . )
It was fun to see if the tide was in . . .
Or the tide was out . . .
Whole families gather to sit on the sand in the sheltered harbor and have picnics while the kids run around having fun in the sand.
The Brits call going to the seaside for vacation “a bucket and spade holiday” and you can see these for sale everywhere!
This is a heavenly place for kids.
You can just sit and look at the boats and the birds and the sea all day long!
Or you can wander the streets and gaze at the cottages and gardens.
Flowers are bursting out all over Cornwall.
Lots of people put decorations in their windows.
Some are even live!
And it is so neat to see how the Cornish beach pebbles are being used for decoration.
My favorite welcome mat!
As I was wandering down this street, a nice grandfatherly man told me all about how this building was his grandfather’s pilchard shop. They salted and pressed the pilchards, put them in barrels, and then stenciled the destination on top of the barrel. This fisherman’s barrels went to Naples quite a bit, his grandson reported.
There is quite a bit of history in Mousehole. It was one of the big capitals of Cornish commerce until Penzance gained precedence. Then (according to Rick Steves), Mousehole residents became quite wily. They put up lights on the cliffs to lure ships toward the harbor, where the ships would run aground on rocks like that little Saint Clements island just outside the hard. Then the residents would take the booty from the ships.
Contemporary residents are much friendlier to foreigners, and we like the commerce that is present in Mousehole today! There are some lovely shops and galleries to explore. Pretty glassware and colorful wood sculptures . . .
Pretty pottery . . .
Lots of paintings (not a good shot, but loved this one!).
This whole Penwith peninsula was a haven for artists in the early 1900s and has continued to be a place for creative folks to come and produce their artwork.
I love this shop, Seawitch, right on our street.
I went here the first time I came to Mousehole and loved visiting with the owner, Danielle. She (and Hannah) and I share a love of Mr. Darcy! Danielle wasn’t in her shop on this visit, but we found out she is now making her own candles! They have wonderful Cornish scents, and a Cornish shell on each one.
And look at this little gathering of shops!
I knew Mousehole was for me when I saw this!
And here’s one of our favorites (with the stone welcome mat).
It has the most wonderful books all about Cornwall!
And . . . the most wonderful cat, Matilda.
She likes hanging out by the Cornish chocolate bars.
And she liked following us around outside.
She lives in all the different shops and she has a bed with cat door inside the little parking hut on the harbor, one of the shopkeepers told us. That shopkeeper has a pillow on the table by the cash register for Matilda. Matilda is quite the well-fed wanderer!
Jagger is another famous Mousehole cat.
He likes to hang out by this store, which is named for Tom Bawcock’s cat, Mowzer, the most famous Mousehole cat of all.
There is even a book about her.
When the Mousehole villagers were starving, Tom Bawcock and Mowzer went out in a dreadful storm to bring back fish for the village. To this day, on December 23rd every year, the village commemorates Tom and Mowzer by baking a big Stargazy Pie.
Yes – it’s the pie with the pilchards poking out, gazing at the stars! You can come to our village and enjoy it!
So many stories about this little village!
I love the layers upon layers of history in Mousehole. Apparently, the Spanish Armada blasted the village with cannonballs (and burned many of the houses) back in 1595, and you can still see cannonballs in some of the homes and gardens today. I didn’t see any – more to investigate the next time we come back to Mousehole. I hope it is soon . . .