Having left the amazing Neolithic remains at Carn Euny, we headed off to Ho’s main destination for his special half-century celebrations.
Only twenty minutes drive along the A30 from the site of the Iron Age fort, we came to a track leading to Boscawenoon Farm.
Parking in a convenient layby, (look out for a large, pointed slab of rock standing on the right of the track just outside the farm entrance) we walked through the yard and followed the marked footpath uphill between the fields, Ho carrying his large bag, the contents still a closely guarded secret.
As we reached the top of the track we spied a gate, set into a tall gorse hedge.
Entering the natural amphitheatre-shaped clearing, ringed by a high gorse-topped bank which opened to the hillside below, we came upon the spectacular sight of Boscawen stone circle.
A Bronze Age monument, consisting of a ring of 19 standing stones (18 granite and 1 quartz) and a single central granite stone, set in the ground at a steep angle.
When we arrived, a young couple were sleeping peacefully just inside the circle, right next to the quartz stone, and showed no signs of moving any time soon.
This presented a slight problem.
The one thing that Ho had told us was that he had taken some pebbles from beneath the quartz standing stone when he visited the circle on his 40th birthday, and soon after had decided that he would return them ten years hence.
So here we were, ready to witness the start of the ritual (whatever that may be) and despite some not-so-subtle stamping about around the slumbering couple, they resolutely remained undisturbed.
Ho said he’d give them half an hour, then just hoped that proceedings would awaken them.
In the meantime I took the opportunity to climb to the top of the hill above Boscawen where there is another ancient site, Creeg Tol, and took a few more photos.
Returning to the circle, I found the others still waiting for the surfacing of the inconveniently narcoleptic hikers.
Giving up any hope of them taking the hint, Ho disappeared off through the gate with his mysterious holdall, and we awaited his reappearance with no small curiosity.
We had to wait only a few minutes however, before the sound of a lone drum and the chiming of bells heralded his return.
I will say only that he was wearing a mask that I had last seen thirty years ago, at our final theatrical show together, and that he had been given a one-piece tiger suit for Christmas.
The rest will become apparent as you watch this clip. Note: legs of still-comatose hikers briefly visible.
(Apologies for wind noise on recording)
Having completed the first part, which was exceedingly entertaining to watch, (my personal favourite bit being Ho’s little jig behind the quartz stone) Ho continued with the private element to his fifty year celebration.
(having stripped off the tiger onesy of the past, he now wore the Indian Kurta-pajama of the present, a gift from a friend. – Note: I may have just made that bit up, but it was something like that)
With Elaine acting as his assistant, they toured the perimeter of the circle.
As they reached each stone, Ho read a name, or names from a bag he carried around his neck, chosen at random from the nineteen slips of paper it contained, and Elaine filled the silver challis that he carried with water from the Clootie well we’d visited earlier. He then dedicated that stone to friends or family whilst saying a few words in appreciation of them and sprinkling the stone with well water.
We were honoured to have our own stone dedicated to us. A good enough excuse, as if one were needed, to return one day soon.
The remainder of the day was spent lazing about in the sunshine at the hostel and popping into St Just “to get a paper” and possibly visit the pub for some Cornish Rattler cider.
Then dinner, and an old friend of Ho’s who lives locally visited with his birthday gift, a painting by local artist, Sarah Vivian, a beautiful sea cliff scene.
And since we had our very own cliffscape scenery just down the coast path, we rounded the evening off with a walk to the rocks above the cove.
The heather and gorse turned the hillside into a giant slab of marble cake in the setting sun..
…and we found a massive throne shaped granite outcrop at the top of the rocky headland, providing the day’s final photo opportunity.
Happy fiftieth Ho, and fifty more to come.
In case anyone is curious about the muttered “The Tiger Leaps” comment I made from behind the camera during Ho’s disrobing moment, it was in reference to some mutual friends’ band. Here is a taster…