It’s the first of December and a cold morning as I sit in my kitchen in Cornwall and look out at the soft orange-pink sky.
The leaves have gone from the trees after the gales that have been blowing, but the silhouetted branches of the pear tree are not bare – they are covered in lichen, soft green grey. The landscape at the start of winter is quieter in one sense and wilder in another. It’s prepared for the coming gales that will blow through with astounding regularity. But Cornwall in winter is the best. The bare bones of the landscape are on display. The bent and twisted shapes of the trees formed by the prevailing wind are like skeletons sticking out of the ground. The fields are visible over the hedges so you can see the shape of the land and the sea – well, that is fierce and wild one day and bluer than you believe possible the next.
Cornwall feels empty but not desolate. It’s during this quiet time of the year when I have the lanes to myself and I can peer into windows in the early evening before curtains are drawn that I feed the well of creativity in me as writer. No other place but Cornwall makes me sees stories around every blind corner.
At this time of the year the walking is brilliant. You see more and the landscape is more vivid. The land is raw and the history is visible. Plus at the end of the walk the pubs are so welcoming. Pubs have featured in all my books. You can’t beat the Shipwrights Arms in Helford for the view and great food. Those who have read A Cornish Stranger will remember this one in particular for the music – a regular feature all year round. This pub also features in A Cornish Affair too.
The New Inn Manaccan is now owned by a consortium in the village and visitors are sure of a warm welcome and guaranteed to meet locals. This is where Maddie first saw Gunnar in The Cornish House.
Across the river on the north side in Under A Cornish Sky you have Demi, Sam, Victoria and Sebastian going to the wonderful Trengilly Wartha, which at this time of year features delicious warming food.
The Ferryboat Inn mentioned in Under A Cornish Sky takes on a bigger role in my next book The Returning Tide. It sits just above the beach in Helford Passage. The food is great and if you are an oyster fan the landlords own the local oyster beds. Can’t get much fresher or shorter food footprint.
In the pubs do try the local cyders…and if you’ve read Under A Cornish Sky you’ll know why. The varieties of local cyders are growing, which has the wonderful knock on effect of reviving orchards long neglected. This brings me back to the view from my kitchen. Our garden was once part of an orchard. Our pear tree is massive and very old. We have three apple trees…I wonder how many were here during the house’s first hundred years…I think I feel another story coming on…
– A book set in Cornwall in the summer time would do wonders to warm you at this time of year…..mulled wine…ginger biscuits, a roaring fire and a visit to Cornwall courtesy of Liz Fenwick. –
Merry Christmas and happy reading!