Reading rambles: reading in situ

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

‘Superb description of a haunting, blighted landscape.
His best book so far’

I am not a connoisseur of crime novels, though I have read a book by C J Sansom, whose praise it is that adorns my library copy of The Birdwatcher.  I don’t understand the distinction between thriller, psychological thriller, crime novel, detective novel, police procedural.  Perhaps there is no distinction; perhaps they are all terms for a wide umbrella of popular fiction, which, if what I read is correct, is currently booming.  Whatever it’s called, I have been standing out in the rain for quite some years, not particularly drawn to the genre however it might be described, and not really sure what the fuss is about.  But recently, I’ve read a couple of crime novels: the first as an early reviewer, because the book was based in Cornwall and the second because it was based in Dungeness.  And I might just be taking the bait.  But I’ve also been bitten by another bug. Continue reading “Reading rambles: reading in situ”

Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry

This was once a lonely, forgotten place and people who came here did so because they wanted the lifestyle that went with it: private and elemental

Under the looming geometry of the power station, small shacks were dotted about untidily, as if they’d been dropped accidentally from the back of a lorry.  In recent years, the millionaires had arrived.  Some huts had been rebuilt as luxury houses with big glass doors and shiny flues.  Others still looked like they were made from scraps pilfered from a tip.

The Birdwatcher (William Shaw) Continue reading “Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry”

The View from Here: Dungeness

The panorama is surreal, alien, unique
The view from here is harsh and it takes no prisoners

I may have been eager for what has seemed like an especially long winter to end, but a small part of me has been glad we have had to wait for a run of reliable spring days, because I have been writing about Dungeness in winter.  A task which doesn’t sit easily among vistas of skipping lambs and primroses, soft blue skies and playful breezes. Continue reading “The View from Here: Dungeness”

The Lost Gardens of Heligan: an afternoon of history, tranquility and delight

Everywhere there are signs of productivity, passion, history and love

Yesterday Bernie & I visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  I have wanted to go there for years – since well before the notion of moving here came into being.  I’ve come close once or twice and it’s never quite happened.  Finally, we’ve managed it – on a balmy afternoon in mid-September when everything colluded to give me an experience to treasure. Continue reading “The Lost Gardens of Heligan: an afternoon of history, tranquility and delight”

Half of the Hall Walk

I wonder what thoughts were passing through her mind: what hopes, dreams and expectations. She probably didn’t huff and puff as much as I did

Karina arrived last night.  A whirlwind of enthusiasm and energy, ours is a friendship of opposites.  We met when she enrolled her son at the school where I taught; and in time she became a member of staff herself. When the school closed our friendship continued to blossom.  I like and admire her for her forthrightness, her spirited independence and her passion.  Where I am reticent in revealing my feelings, Karina wears her heart on her sleeve and can be no other way.  It was a joy to welcome her to Highfield. Continue reading “Half of the Hall Walk”

Festival Talks and Festival Walks (iii)

I did have a naïve, romantic expectation of seeing something “like I’d see on the telly”

Our second guided walk was more for B although I had high hopes for it too.  We travelled to Charlestown – a little place west of Fowey – which is a purpose-built and perfectly preserved Georgian harbour and has been used in many films and tv productions.  Continue reading “Festival Talks and Festival Walks (iii)”

Festival Talks and Festival Walks (ii)

I did worry slightly about whether discovering pleasure in a guided walk puts me even more firmly into a certain age bracket. And then I thought: so what?

One talk down: next came the guided walks.  Guided walks have never been my thing.  Communal events in general are not my thing.  But in this new chapter of life I really do want to embrace the traditions and the history of our adopted home, and to do that properly you need to participate and experience – even if only as a member of the audience.  Reading about an event is just not enough.  Continue reading “Festival Talks and Festival Walks (ii)”