Cornwall

Cornwall and why I just love it!

When I was a child reading was slightly problematic for me as an undiagnosed dyslexic, but as a teenager I discovered Daphne du Maurier and her stories of Cornwall. My parents had introduced me to the idea of reading Daphne du Maurier after a childhood visit to St Mawes and a trip to Fowey. I became fascinated with the history and the geography of Cornwall. As luck would have it, my future husband’s oldest and best school friend married a Cornishman and so started annual trips to the Lizard Peninsula to visit them and a very long-standing love affair unfolded with this beautiful part of the world. I can safely say we have been visiting that very unique part of the United Kingdom for 35 years – most years visiting twice a year in winter and summer.During May and June, the Lizard is unique with its verges and hedgerows full of wildflowers. As an artist and designer, I always feel inspired to capture what I see in the Cornish countryside but reality tells the difference story as I so rarely have time to indulge my love of capturing on paper the abundance of wildflowers I see. By June the surrounding countryside is also full of interesting birds and on my last visit it was a rare treat to see both Whitethroat and Linnets in the gorse. A few years ago, while walking the coastal path, not only did I see a range of Buntings, but I suddenly saw a Crow with orangey red legs and immediately realised it was a Chough. This bird has long been associated with Cornwall and its return to the Lizard is something of a celebration. Every September we make our summer pilgrimage to this beautiful countryside and spend many hours bobbing around on a boat in and around the Helford Estuary indulging with a bit of fishing and bird spotting – me with a camera and sometimes a mackerel rod and my husband trying for something slightly more than a mackerel but rarely succeeding!

We have discovered little beaches and inlets which are easily accessible by boat and not so accessible by foot.  Every beach has a different story and they are often covered with a mass of little shells.  I love shells and, inspired by my friend Annabel, I have taken an interest in trying to identify the ones I like to paint. I did manage to put together a “seaside” mug but now I feel, as my business prepares itself for future challenges, that it might be time to rethink these designs. I understand why artists want to come here to paint.  The colour and the light are extraordinary as the sea reflects such a vast amount of light even on a dull day.

The coastline peppered with its cottages, disused mines, wheel houses and small villages nestling around the sometimes green and sometimes-rocky inlets makes ideal material for many artists.  Interestingly and very obviously there is a thriving pottery and art industry here. Historically the home of the china clay which was used for generations to build another great British manufacturing industry in Stoke-on-Trent. It seems that quite a bit of Cornish pottery has found its way into my cupboards at home. Colourful, vibrant and very different to English bone china, it is a constant reminder of somewhere that feels like my second home.

Something that fills me with excitement is the re-introduction of the Red Squirrel. This year after many years of hard work the Red Squirrel is to be re-introduced to the Lizard Peninsula at Trelowarren. This charming and extremely lovable native species was once a common sight in these parts and now, after more than fifty years of absence, with a bit of help and support they are to return. The Lizard Peninsula has a unique and varied ecology which is perfect for much of our rarer wildlife and plant life.

Even though I often take work with me to Cornwall, I always find time to step away from the business to allow me to make decisions and plans for the future. I find walking and looking at a very different ecology and geography from that of Northamptonshire is extremely inspiring and, more importantly, very much part of who I am and what I do.

So long as the bittern boom, the nightjar call, the red squirrel survives, and I keep reading Daphne du Maurier there will always be a place in my heart for this beautiful unspoilt piece of England.