autumn is
coming again


Summertime blues

That's it. Another summer is fading. The sun is warm and there are plenty of holiday makers enjoying the last week of the summer holidays; it's more of an awareness; the dew lasts longer in the morning, the trees have lost their vibrancy and the leaves are muddied with a dab of black subduing the green to a darker shade, the sun's sloping towards the equinox, swallows are practising their aerobatics before navigating to Africa and shabby posters around the village that no-one has bothered to take down, advertise fetes, fairs and barbecues with August dates.

If we are to believe everything we read in the papers, Cornwall could now be the year round destination that the tourist trade have been hoping for so desperately. Living in Cornwall has become fashionable and we have A list celebs staying in chic hotels, buying homes and eating in amazing restaurants; Madonna, Kate Moss, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, even the Prime Minister's wife inadvertently had their new baby in a local hospital. Florence Rose Endellion Cameron - an odd name when she could have had a beautiful Cornish name such as Kerenza, Senara, Kerra or Tegan, translating into love, joy and pretty little thing- Endellion is either a 5th century saint who came from Wales to convert the local pagans to Christianity or a kind of Cornish Brie made from double cream. The positive side of this is that when Cornwall is mentioned in anything political, he just may think of us in a favourable light.

Cornwall being described as the new Tuscany or Umbria is journalists running out of metaphors. Cornwall is Cornwall and 'going to Cornwall' is as random as saying you're going to Scotland or London. Cornwall is vaguely divided into areas and can be defined by drink and footwear. Around the Camel estuary - FitFlops and Pimms, at Newquay - 'snakebite' and vomit splattered trainers, in the south, messing about in boats, deck shoes and several pints of a fantastic local beer, in the far west - artists and sandal wearing hippies linger, their hair and beards more grey, sparse and straggly.

As the last of holiday makers make their home, some will cross the Tamar going back to life as usual, some will be feeling a tug backwards and wishing, 'If only..."some, not just the rich and famous, will actually be brave enough to discover what Cornwall really is about, embracing the difference in culture and traditions and understand the pulse of the 'countries' beating heart , but, please not try to change things unless it's for the better!

This was pretty much summed up at the annual village horticultural show. A class in the domestic section is a Victoria sponge with jam filling; quite straightforward, beat up the eggs, butter, sugar and add the flour, put in sandwich tins, cook and stick together with strawberry jam. One entry was from a visitor, she had the sponge stuck together with jam and oozing cream, cream all over the top, decorated with an outer ring of fresh strawberries... lovely as a strawberry gateau but as the judge decreed, "Not as schedule". The exhibitor wasn't happy being disqualified; the conversation went... "I'm from London", she ranted (should I feel pity or be impressed?) and continued, "I know what people like to eat", (triple cheeseburgers and pies by her jumbo size T-shirt), and I'm left trying to explain why, "The judge's decision has to be final", as she continued muttering at anyone bothering to listen!

What has changed for the better is that restaurant food has metamorphosed. When I first came to Cornwall you couldn't buy fresh fish or find a restaurant that could cook it properly. and the fishermen who caught it didn't sell it locally, it was auctioned at market and sent to London or France and Spain. I remember having ling and chips and wondering what I was eating, it was simply that ling and pollock wasn't an accepted species for the table. I have a friend who picks crab and any scallops caught in the pots are thrown to her cat as she wouldn't eat them. Without a doubt we owe much to chefs who have a come to Cornwall and recognised that fish is a treasured resource and doesn't have to travel upcountry. Thanks to initially George Perry-Smith, then Keith Floyd, and later Rick, and Jamie, fish is on every menu from pubs to posh restaurants and its fabulous, fresh and imaginatively cooked. The Newlyn Fish Festival is now a major event and is celebration of the sea, fish and fishermen.

Which leads me onto our day at the Festival and meeting the charming, round-the world yachtsman, Pete Goss and his boat, ' Spirit of Mystery', a replica of the Newlyn lugger, that sailed to Melborne on 1854. and the serendipitous connection with the Brenda Wootton CD, 'All Of Me', which is being released next month!

Here are a few pictures from the Newlyn Fish Festival.

Newlyn Harbour Newlyn Fish festival Traditional boat Pete Goss The Mystery Jets skis at festival




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