It doesn't seem to happen very often, that I read a book and live near enough to the locality to visit in a day, but I'm in clover with Daphne du Maurier and Justine Picardie's book was enough to cause a firing up of the chariot and a trip down to Fowey. It's a bare forty miles from here and we must have chosen the warmest sunniest day of the year to visit. The light in Cornwall is genuinely something very unique and as we approached Fowey it fair dazzled the eyes.
No wonder Dawn French and Lenny Henry have bought a fabulous clifftop house here.
St Ives is the other place to have the same effect and we'll be due our annual pre-holiday season trip down there for lunch soon. I also know there's a book coming out any minute from Oxford University Press citing all those literary places to go in the UK, it will become my vade mecum.
But Fowey was heavenly, though you do have this little sense of foreboding as you leave your car at the top car park, rope up and struggle to stay upright on the steep walk down to the town. You know the ascent is going to be painful but nothing is ever as bad as Clovelly so mustn't grumble.
Here's our first glimpse of the river as we made the descent.
Lovely narrow steep sided Cornish streets
Lunch from the deli and sat in the churchyard to eat it.
The church bathed in sunshine and displaying its stained glass to best effect.
Then without more ado it was into the bookshop Bookends and a lovely meeting with Anne who knows all there is to know about Daphne du Maurier and the local area and made me so welcome. A fantastic selection of du Maurier books, by and about, though the first edition of Rebecca could not be gazed upon as it had just sold. I settled instead for the slightly cheaper Virago edition of The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte. Anne is a bookaholic like the rest of us so if you go to Fowey be sure to pay her a visit in the shop, you will come away enthused and informed and longing to sit down and read any Daphne du Maurier book you can lay your hands on right that minute.
This was all a practice run for my trip down to the du Maurier Festival in May I can't wait. I've booked for Justine's talk on Daphne and then back a week later for David Lodge talking on his latest book Deaf Sentence. Bookends are sponsoring this event and Anne reminded me what a fascinating and humorous academic and popular writer David Lodge is. I'm already buried in Deaf Sentence and enjoying it immensely.
Nor could I resist slotting in a talk by the inimitable art critic Brian Sewell who would probably have a hissy fit at the very idea of being mentioned on a blog...a what?
I'm going to meet Justine and will take the blog with me so that you can all share in the events and meanwhile it's much more Daphne reading for me.