Napoleon, gazing at Port Eliot land from the sea as he sailed into exile, said it was the most beautiful place in England. “Enfin, cec beau pays.” (As reported by Captain Maitland of HMS Bellerophon).
Well good old Napoleon for showing such discernment and he'd have loved to come ashore for a good festival too I'm sure.
So we're on the final countdown week and I'm thrilled to be named on this year's festival poster (keep looking, you'll find it)
Our man from the Met office, who also happens to be part of Team Dovegreyreader, will have the weather forecast for us by Tuesday but quite honestly are we bothered?? What's a bit of rain between friends, and in such a beautiful setting we thought as we set off yesterday morning for a meeting over at Port Eliot with Cathy St Germans, a ride around the estate on a golf buggy to see the preparations, and time to walk up in the Walled Garden and see my tent.
I'd heard the tent was perfect but hadn't realised quite how perfect, 22ft x 11ft (thank you Bookhound) so plenty of space for the chairs and if the weather is fine we can roll up the sides of the tent and spread onto the grass. Later we rummaged around in the basement of the house where nothing has ever been thrown away for some furnishings to create a Literary Salon like no other, and we'll be adding to it with bits from the loft of another considerably smaller house where nothing has ever been thrown away either.
More tents to go up around us including the Bookshop right next door, within leaning out and reaching distance and supplied by Ron & Co from The University Bookseller who also run St Ives and Falmouth Bookseller.
The Production Office, mission control of the festival with the all-important wireless signal for some live blogging will be just to the right out of picture.
So Cathy took us on a tour around the various locations, including this site down by the river which will soon house a giant outdoor screen for Martin Scorsese's Paradiso Cinema with Isambard Kingdom Brunel's railway viaduct over the River Lynher in the background.
As soon as the sun has set (because we know it will shine down on us) we can all settle down to watch screenings of The Leopard, The Red Shoes, Murder on the Orient Express, North by Northwest, The Narrow Margin, All About Eve, Human Desire, and The River over the three evenings of the Festival.
Particularly exciting is that just over that wall to the left behind the dovegreyreader tent is another walled garden that will house the Fashion Department. There's a really nice yurt in here...
Barbara 'Biba' Hulanicki will be creating the now traditional and much sought-after space foil festival costumes ...I shall be in for a tutu fitting very early in the day, Bookhound is hoping for a waistcoat. I'm really hoping for a Meadham Kirchoff head dress with some help from milliner Nasir Mazhar who sorts Lady Gaga out for chapeaux so I shouldn't be such a problem.
There will be photography and screenprinting going on here too as well as some intriguing jewellery making with Vicki Sarge-Beamon. – 'co-founder of Erickson Beamon, one of the most respected jewellery houses in the world and a driving force in the fashion industry for over 20 years.' Everyone who was anyone wore EB to the Royal Wedding.
The plan is to turn up with all your old trinkets, beads, bracelets and those old Koh-i-noors that you've had hanging around along with the contents of the button box and turn your trash into treasure. Lady Gaga is a fan of EB too so I'm quite expecting to look like her by the end of all this.
“We’ll have some tools and a hot glue gun and also starter kits for people who are unsure what they may need. I’ll also provide some trinkets and pieces to get people started such as old bits of frames, flower pots and so on. I want to encourage people to throw themselves in at the deep end and explore their creative side in an organic and spontaneous manner – the festival is the ultimate playground."
Well all this talk of fashion was enough to send me into a complete spin...
'What on earth am I going to wear??' I wailed as we headed back to the car.
'Shall we go home via Plymouth?' said Bookhound as we drove away.
Plymouth improving with the Drake Circus shopping centre but still not noted for its high fashion stores, except needs must and nearest.
'Er yes, better had, need a frock or two that will go with my wellies ' I said, as we most appropriately headed for Monsoon.