Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Thoughts on Cornwall from the Book Community - Cornish Week

A couple of weeks ago I asked my friends in the Book Connectors facebook group, to send me any thoughts they had on Cornwall, for this Cornish week. I have had a lovely response to this, and so without further ado, here are various bloggers and authors thoughts on Cornwall.

Anne Williams from Being Anne - Twitter - Facebook

I haven't been to Cornwall in many years - it's such an almighty trek from Yorkshire! But I must admit I've been googling accommodation recently - I've never been to the Eden Project or the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and watching Poldark has reminded me how very beautiful it is. I might just leave it until after the school holidays though, let the car park that is the M5 clear a little.

One of my favourite reads set in Cornwall is Somewhere Beyond The Sea by Mandy (Amanda) James. Her time traveller books - A Stitch In Time and Cross Stitch - have since stolen the spotlight a bit, but this one's still my personal favourite. With an idyllic Cornish setting, it deals with blackmail, abuse, death and betrayal - a real page-turner, never losing its gentle touches of humour, and I really loved it. 

Katey Lovell from Books with Bunny - Twitter

"When I was a child my Mum, Gran and I often took our annual holiday in Cornwall.  I remember knickerbocker glories in a little cafĂ©, sitting on the rocks at St Ives and paddling in the sea at Newquay.  However, one of my favourite memories is of visiting Jamaica Inn.  They had a lairy parrot that I found scary and yet wouldn't stop going to see!

I didn't read any of Daphne du Maurier's books until I was in my twenties, but now I class her as one of my favourite authors.  Rebecca is an absolute classic read, so full of tension and intrigue, and du Maurier herself seems an interesting character.  I'm hoping to return to Cornwall one day soon because it holds so many special memories from my childhood summers."

Sarah Jasmon, author of The Summer of Secrets - Twitter - Website

My eldest daughter was born in Cornwall. We were very young parents, and moved down on a whim because my sister in law and her boyfriend had gone to live there because of the surfing. I remember driving down with them straight after our wedding, finding a house to rent, and then hitching back up to Southport to pack (I was about six months pregnant at the time!). We rented a converted barn as a winter let in a tiny village outside of Penzance. My daughter was born at home (the midwives were a fiercely independent bunch, which suited us just fine), and the day after she was born, we were due an inspection by the letting agents. They knew about the baby, but not the home birth, so it was as well they turned up the day after. When they heard, they immediately said they'd come back another time, but my husband had cleaned ferociously and wasn't letting them get away with that. They crept in to say hello, had a tiny look round, and the next day sent us flowers and chocolates. We stayed in the area for about a year. It was such a relaxed place to be a new parent, everyone just popping in and out whenever. In our next house, the neighbour was a retired farm worker who'd go round his old fields picking cauliflowers and leaving them on our doorstep, and he'd take our washing in when it looked like rain. Then we moved on again, to Eastbourne, and suddenly needed to make a real effort to meet people, and then book visits in advance. Everyone had proper jobs and mortgages and grown-up stuff like that. It was lovely in the end, but that Cornish year is a very special one in my memory. My marriage ended some 15 years later, and it's funny now to look back at this time, when everything seemed so easy!

I have a real soft spot for Derek Tangye's books, collectively known as The Minack Chronicles. I read them first as a teenager, having picked a couple up at a jumble sale. (I also loved Lillian Beckwith, and still have a tiny fancy to run away to the edge of the world!). They relate the true story of an idealistic couple from London who move to the Cornish coast and try to make a daffodil and potato farm work. There's an incredible sense of place, and Tangye writes beautifully about the locals, and the oddballs who turn up in their day to day life. The farm is always just about to go under, but they always pull through in the end, and the land is now a nature trust.

Joanna Lambert, author, Website - Twitter - Facebook

When I think of Cornwall it’s all about holidays which started in my teens and never seem to have stopped.   In those days it was all about packing a tent and sleeping bags into the car and a six hour - yes six hour – journey to reach our destination.  Today we can achieve it in three and have swapped canvas for a comfortable bed and a proper roof over our heads.  To me Cornwall was, and still is, all about small fishing villages, sea mist and mystic places like Tintagel.  And if I’m asked to make a connection between Cornwall and reading then there is only one book for me - Susan Howatch’s Penmarric. Published in 1971 and eventually turned into TV drama, it was a huge best seller.   Conflict, jealousy, infidelity and betrayal, it has all the ingredients of a great read:-

 ‘When Mark Castallack sees his longed-for inheritance Penmarric, a gothic mansion on the bleak cliffs of Cornwall, and the mysterious, mesmerising Janna, he knows that he will make them his and nothing will stand in his way. Spanning the Victorian era to the Second World War, this gripping story of one man and his two feuding families chronicles the tempestuous clashes between warring sons, wives and mistresses, and between a house divided against itself.’

This is a book I would definitely recommend adding to your TBR pile…

I would like to thanks all four contributors for taking the time out of their busy lives to send me their thoughts about Cornwall. I hope you have all enjoyed reading this. 

1 comment:

  1. When my 4 children were younger we always went to Cornwall for our annual holiday. When they were really young we went with my mum and dad and my sister, we always said it was so we could afford 2 weeks (they paid for the first week and we paid for the second!) . We always stayed around the St ives area as we found this was ideal to visit what became our favourite places such as Porthleven, St Michaels mount, Gwithian, mousehole, Peranuthno and of course St lives.
    Our absolute favourite place for the beach was Godrevy nr Hayle. It is a huge National Trust beach with miles of sand and lots of rocks and rock pools to explore. The best thing was that even if the tide was in you could play on one of the fields/car parks. We used to play French cricket for hours on them fields, before getting an ice cream from the van.
    One year we went in October and saw baby seals when looking over the cliffs. We always went to a little cafe down the road called 'Hells mouth cafe' ,they did a great cream tea lol .
    Now that the kids are all grown up we go to Spain every year but we still miss Cornwall so much. We are planning a trip down there at new year so we are really excited. Cornwall will always be special to all of us.


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