Back to the Village

Christmas is over, Boxing Day is done, and the flat is still strewn with tinsel, many surfaces padded with cards, and the fridge full of rich left-overs to be munched when appetite returns.

So, time to resume where I left off, in the beautiful St Mawes.

Looking out over the rooftops, towards the inlet

It is really such a lovely place, cluttered up streets tucking in on themselves, tiny houses tressed in ivy and climbing plants, and those subtropical species that seem to endure quite well on the mild westerly coast of the UK.

A pink cottage with palm trees leaning in close

A thatched house on the road up to the castle

Ye Olde Petrol Pumps

It has been so well preserved I think because of its location, at the tip end of the Roseland peninsula. Hard to get to by car, along those single-track roads (hairpin bends, obscured further by high hedgerows), the quickest way to get there is by special chain-boat ferry.

The Ferry, decked out for Christmas (I love the little man watching over the cars)

The ferry leaves from a small hamlet with the docking point, that wonderfully appears on the map under the name of King Harry Ferry. As you can see, it’s more of a flat platform, and is ported across the river Fal by the use of chains, rather than an engine on the boat itself.

Despite the small difficulties of getting there, the village (or perhaps it is a town) doesn’t feel isolated or in any way dead, even in the depths of winter.

All the cottages have names, some descriptive of those who used to live there, others a bit fanciful (like 'Pirate cottage') and then there was this one

This cottage has a pretty sensible name, considering its location..

...quite close to this, the Holy Well of St Mawes (dating from around the 6th Century, and sadly locked behind this tiny door)

I really wanted to open the door and peer down into the well underneath. A grotto of ferns around a dark, stone pool – or perhaps less impressive, and better imagined than seen.

With all these sights to fire the mind, I plan to start back later today on the draft of The Millennial, hoping to bring something of the spark of the place into Aida’s memories, to wind the ivy and the smell of salt air around her (inland, American) loneliness.



Filed under Planning, The Millenial, The Now

23 responses to “Back to the Village

  1. Beautiful photos…I love the old architecture with the slabbed rocks…reminds me of old cities and towns in Germany…rich in history. Thank you.

    • Thank you – I haven’t been to Germany (not yet) so that is something to look forward to. Sometimes the houses in Cornwall seem to be emerging from the land itself – I think this is because when they were built, the stone came from local quarries, creating a sense of harmony between geology and construction.

      • You are very welcome…I think it would be well-worth the effort of going to Germany, beautiful countryside, full of history (not always wonderful, but interesting and intriguing), and very similar with the buildings coming out of the land itself…all the castles and ruins and walls.

  2. I lived in Germany for a year or so, and these photos definitely remind me of the villages we visited. We used to go to Idar-Oberstein a lot, which has an amazing church carved right into the cliff, and a cobbled street crammed with yummy shops. I still have the nutcrackers I bought there.

  3. CJ

    inland American loneliness —-I hear you.

    • Not to say St Mawes is a place free of loneliness…but perhaps being in a village built so close together changes the shape of that sensation. I’ll have to think about this for Aida.

      • CJ

        An important and complicated question–what absolves loneliness
        I have a hunch it is nothing money can buy.

  4. CJ – only solace absolves it, though that’s like saying a little koan, I know.

  5. CJ

    I take solace in the unexpected gift of understanding. Comes usually and only when I step out of my lonely circle.

  6. Wonderful images of the area. I love that the cottages have names and such personality. And that little door to the well is magical. An entrance for little fairies or something.
    Images and places waiting for your lyrical words.
    Helen is your novel available for purchase? I would love to read it. 🙂

    • They really do seem to have personalities! I had this name in mind for Aida’s house, then found that there was a house of a similar size that shared part of the name I thought I’d pulled out of the air. It’s dissimilar enough that I think I can use it.

      Thank you so much for wanting to read Kilea, I am hugely flattered.

      My novel is currently being bandied about publishers, and there has been a very good piece of news about it – but I can’t say much more than that here right now. I sound very mysterious. When I am free to clear things up a little I definitely will.

  7. CJ

    Yes, Helen, I would like to read your novel also. Where can I find it?

    • For more vagueness about Kilea – This Post Has a little tiny bit more information. I’m meeting my agent soon, and hope to have some more information to share. Or maybe not, depending on fate.

      Thank you so much for asking about it. I am really touched.

  8. There is something so romantic about cottage names. I want my house to have a name, but alas it doesn’t have the history nor the charm. “Nonsuch Cottage” is just fantastic.

    • When my parents moved into their brand-new bungalow on Skye, they decided to call it ‘Schiehallion’, I’m not quite sure why – the mountain it was named for ( see here ) is in a totally different part of the country. And is a mountain, not a one-floor house. As you can probably guess, the name is part of the inspiration behind the name of this blog.

      I say just go for it, if you’d like to!

  9. Beautiful post you have here. I especially like the thatched house — nice!

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