At the bottom of the hill sits our nearest neighbour: a run of whitewashed cottages which at first sight appears to be three small farm workers’ homes but is now one large and one smaller dwelling, the latter a more recent addition. These days they form the frontage of a discreet holiday business. Six pleasant wooden chalets lie beyond, out of sight of us or passers-by. The owners are warm and friendly but keep to themselves; the guests are quiet. We couldn’t ask for better neighbours.
From the neighbours we learned that the original building was once a public house and that it was also briefly the home of the writer, Mary Wesley. I read a fair few of her books in the eighties and nineties, which I then passed along to a charity shop. I rather wish I’d kept them now. She is probably best known for her second novel: The Camomile Lawn (1984) which became, as I remember it, a slightly racy tv series.
The same thing happened to me this June as apparently happens to many when it comes to buses. Jude posted a photo so stunning that I immediately shared it with a dear friend with the entreaty that we must visit this place together next year. But a year is a long time to wait, and – here’s where the buses come in – over the next little while it seemed that all my usual online Cornish haunts were filled with fields of poppies. I had never heard about the poppies at West Pentire in previous years; now they were everywhere. I had to see for myself. Continue reading “The View from Here: poppies past and present”
“Yes, the estate remains open until dusk. But I’m afraid the bluebells are almost over.” The National Trust staff member looked genuinely crestfallen that we had perhaps made a futile journey. I wondered too. Had we left it too late? Not in the time of day – I had deliberately chosen late afternoon just as the main house and gardens were closing – but in waiting so late into the spring? The bluebells have been magnificent this year; we still had plenty at home. But had I left it too late to see them in their true glory – massed amidst spring woodlands? Continue reading “The View from Here: in nature’s cathedral”
The debate could have gone on for much longer; there are as many versions of Daphne’s relationship with Cornwall as there are people with a story to tell.
When Ali first posted about her plans to run a Daphne du Maurier Reading Week, she mentioned that she shares her birthday with Daphne – 13th May – and also that the Fowey Festival is always timed to include that date. Started in 1997, the festival was originally named after Daphne. It is now called the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature and has broadened in content although du Maurier and her work continue to be a primary focus. It seems fitting that I end my series of Daphne posts with an account of my festival experience this year, limited though it was. Continue reading “Fowey Festival 2019”
‘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”
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 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”