Fowey looking radiantly nay dazzlingly beautiful in that hazy, misty Cornish coastal way yesterday, and very warm. The river sparkled, all the boats were heading for their summer moorings and soon it will be that time of year when those of us who live down here stay in the garden and let everyone else come down and enjoy it.
But not this weekend.
It was so good to meet Justine Picardie, especially taking into account her responsibility for my resurgent bout of Daphneitis and we'll be meeting up at a couple more events in the coming months. News on those soon, but it was fascinating to talk to Justine about Daphne, the vast amount of work the book involved, and also the fact that we are witnessing the myth evolve and shape around a writer's life. All keeping Daphne's memory alive and her books in print.
The question is why, in all these years, have I never really committed to the du Maurier Literary Festival before?
Perhaps it's taken a few years, but it has now most certainly built up into a solid venue to put on the calendar. A fine and broad range of speakers and not just Daphne-related events, plus the bonus of clement weather a blessing which undoubtedly improves the ambience. It doesn't just rain in Fowey, the one year we did go 'just to look around' it was pounding down so heavily we didn't even get out of the car. Just sat and waited and eventually drove home again fully expecting to find dents in the roof.
I'll write a fuller account of Justine's event later in the week because I want to do it justice, it was that good.
Impeccably and very skilfully chaired by Helen Taylor with Justine, Rupert Towers and Henrietta Llewellyn Davies speaking and then discussing so many facets of Justine's book and Daphne's life. Then off to the reading group on My Cousin Rachel which Justine chaired. This took place in the Fowey Hall Hotel which has a fascinating literary connection of its own.
Kenneth Graham was a frequent guest and it is reputedly here that he found his inspiration for The Wind in the Willows. Locally it's fondly known as Toad Hall and I'll take more pictures today. I also hope you all enjoyed the strawberries and Cornish clotted cream that we had yesterday out on the terrace whilst taking in the view. I know that was rather a lot of cream, but this is Cornwall where we are allowed to ignore our arteries and our gall bladders for a day or so.
Meanwhile a few glimpses of Fowey in the sun and today I'm planning to walk off our lunch and get some pictures of Ferryside, Daphne's early home across the River Fowey at Bodinnick and where she wrote The Loving Spirit. We have a packed day and I've already transgressed enough for all of us in the book-buying department. Those Virago Special edition classics are beautiful, I have caved in and bought one, plus a few more Daphne's to fill the gaps and another academic book on her writing Daphne du Maurier Haunted Heiress by Nina Auerbach which looked way too interesting to ignore.
A closer look at the war memorial and I spotted a famous local literary family name
The view from Fowey Hall Hotel quite breathtaking and those trees spectacularly atmospheric and frantic with very noisy crows all ready to bless you with luck as you walk beneath, I'm taking an umbrella today.
PS Top Tip, for those super-bonded price labels, no serious bookaholic should ever be without a can of Lighter Fluid. Not for sniffing or lighting a match nearby, but poured carefully onto the centre of a label we find it soaks through, dissolves the glue and evaporates, leaving no trace. This is doubtless an Elf and Safety NO NO and still doesn't explain why publishers (and my local indie) can't use low-tack labels,but there'll be many a ruined Virago Birthday Classic out there without it.