Up and Coming In Cornwall – Alex from On Serpentine Shores

I love all the Cornish B’s – Beaches, Beers, Bands and Blogs. When it comes to Cornish blogs,
On Serpentine Shores has got to be one of my favourites. I asked Alex from On Serpentine Shores a few
questions to find out a little bit more about her and her blog:

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Tell us a little bit of your back story?

alex2Until adulthood I lived on the same road, in the same house, in the same bedroom, in Birmingham. I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood but by around the age of 13 I started to question where I lived and how I lived. In later years I began to feel quite strongly like a caged animal; on some intrinsic level I did not feel designed to live in a city.
At 18 I fell in love with Cornwall and moved down to study Human Geography at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. Interestingly on my course I have been able to study something referred to by academics as the ‘Back to the Land Movement’ – where every 30-40 years humans return to living in ‘deep rurals’ often growing their own food and sourcing their own energy. It is thought to be happening at the moment due to issues such as climate change, poverty and resource distribution + exploitation. Such issues are intimately linked with western lifestyles; what we choose to eat or wear or consume. Yet others and my own research reveals humans are hardwired to live in nature and flourish when they do so.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging on 11th November 2013. It was reading week. I was procrastinating and my housemates pretty much talked me into it. Yet coincidentally 7 years ago something dark and devastating happened on 11th Nov. It’s always been one of those days that you remember despite your best efforts not to; always 24 hours that you pass feeling not altogether there. However in 2013 I didn’t even notice it had passed until a few days later. Upon this revelation I decided blogging was somehow good for me and something I potentially needed more of in my life. So despite not knowing anything about it I continued.

Why did you choose that name for your blog and what do you blog about?

alex4I am something of a collector of words; words that express things I did not know could be expressed in a single word – such as balter (to dance gracelessly, without art or skill, but perhaps with some enjoyment) or alexithymia (a difficulty in describing one’s feelings to other people) – as well as words that just sound right to me. Serpentine is one of these. I came across it through my partner who studies geology, particularly the geology of the Lizard. Serpentine is a rare, beautiful green rock exclusive to the shores on the Lizard in Cornwall. ‘On Serpentine Shores’ just seemed to roll nicely of the tongue and express reasonably well what I want to blog about. Which leads nicely to…

This is something I’ve been exploring in my resolution to ‘Develop my blogs identity and image’ but I intend to blog about something along the lines of conscious living, care for the environment, the poor and the marginalised, health and well-being, sustainable practice, simple wisdom, promoting great Cornish SME’s and places that just sell great coffee, outdoor pursuits and other reasons why I love living in Cornwall.

What makes your blog different from others?

I’d say I’m different because I don’t neatly fit into any current niche. I’m certainly no #Fblogger or #Bblogger that’s for sure! Don’t get me wrong I applaud creative, sartorial expression; but I’d say my blog has more substance than style. Although completely by default – I love men’s flannel shirts too much! But seriously, there are green blogs and political blogs and spiritual/well-being blogs and even Cornish blogs – maybe I’m looking in all the wrong places – but I cannot find a blog that covers it all. So many of these issues are intimately connected and irrevocably tangled that I don’t quite see how I can blog about just one. Still I know I haven’t exactly covered these things myself.
I guess when it boils down to it I’m an #Lblogger as I’m blogging about how I’m attempting to live; simply, sustainably and healthily.

Where is your favourite place in Cornwall?

alex3This is so hard you’ll have to allow for a top three!! My favourite beach is probably Prussia Cove; small and secluded and once home to smugglers it’s definitely got a certain charm to it. Although you can’t surf there, the water is just divine for swimming. There’s a multitude of crystal clear, deep turquoise blue lagoons carved out by the rock that heat up in the sun; it’s just incredible. Last time I swam there I shared the water with a bright blackcurrant coloured jellyfish.

Second is probably my partner’s parent’s garden – partly ‘cause I get to ride a mini motorbike around it without the fear of killing myself! But also for what you’ll find in the trees! When he was child his Father collected old fishing nets off the beach and hoisted them into the trees to create canopies. He also put in some rope bridges, a treehouse and swinging sofa – I was actually completely speechless for about 10 minutes the first time I went up. It’s like Neverland. On warmer summer nights we camp out and fill a smaller canopy/hammock with lots of duvets and pillows – with streetlamps far away we often see shooting stars.

Third and final is Frenchmen’s Creek – another beautiful spot for camping complete with bonfire pit and tree swing. I discovered it with M by accident one summer when we were rowing down the Helford to find a camping spot. It was without a doubt the most sublimely beautiful and enchanting night of my life. I later discovered Du Maurier’s novel by the same name; about a lady from the city, who moves to Cornwall and falls in love with a pirate hiding in the creek! I felt slightly like someone had written a novel about my former 300 year-old self and just felt an even deeper connection with the place.

What are a few of your favourite things?

alex*Sung to the tune of Favourite Things from The Sound of Music*

Fresh mornings of sunshine and very strong coffee
Reading a book in the branch of an oak tree
Spreading my arms out, on the bike they’re my wings
These are a few of my favourite things

Going barefoot and bare back to explore
Riding a wave right on into the shore
Leaning right back as I soar on the swing
These are a few of my favourite things


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