All good things must come to an end, they say. We left Newquay–Newquay’s a very good thing–on Monday aboard a Flybe flight to Stansted Airport in London, scheduled to depart at 5:00 PM. We actually left closer to 5:45. (Are you detecting a familiar theme here? It’s been quite awhile since we have in fact lifted off on time. It is our fault? We try to be good.) To that delay was added the confusion at the London airport, where we and our ordered taxi had trouble connecting, causing another delay. By the time we got to the Ohanessians, even the dinner crumbs had been consumed. Ah, the joys of travel. The truth is, though, once underway we had a good flight and a happy reunion at our little abode on the Thames.
This post has two simple objectives: 1) to help you become a little better acquainted with our temporary Newquay home, and 2) to report on some of my reading.
Let’s take the second first: my reading. It rains here frequently in the summer. A rainy day is almost always a great reading day. As a result I could devote several happy hours to a couple of native writers. I mentioned Daphne du Maurier in an earlier post. I read her most famous book, the blockbuster Rebecca, a long time ago, probably the early 1960s. Alfred Hitchcock’s movie added to the book’s reputation–and his. Last week I read the novels written on either side of Rebecca, namely Jamaica Inn and Frenchman’s Creek. She’s a master storyteller, recreating the feel and fascinating facts 0f her beloved Cornwall, including insight into the fishing, copper- and tin-mining industries, class divisions, wars and rumors of wars and so much more. My favorite du Maurier read, though, was her non-fiction Vanishing Cornwall in which she blends her own early memories in the last century into a rich retelling of much of the area’s history.
I didn’t mention Winston Graham in my earlier post because I had never heard of him, which is evidence that we’re foreigners here. The natives know him well because Poldark, the currently very popular TV series of the same name, is based on Graham’s twelve Poldark novels. The eponymous hero Ross Poldark left Cornwall to fight for England in the American Revolutionary War. Wounded, he returned home after England’s defeat to face his own personal losses. His father has died and left his virtually worthless land and copper mines to Ross; Elizabeth, the love of his life, is betrothed to marry Ross’s cousin Francis; and his father’s servants have neglected his house and farm almost beyond recovery. Joy and I watched an episode of the current series in Newquay. It reminded me of an earlier, more rural, less refined but equally compelling Downtown Abby.
Winston’s books have been so popular the BBC adapted them for television twice, first in the 1970s and now with the current series which has been running since 2015.
Now to the second objective. What follows is a selection of photos of Newquay. We came knowing little of Cornwall and nothing at all of Newquay. We couldn’t have made a happier choice. We hope these pictures will help you understand our feelings.
Our landlady Evie is a single, young (thirty-ish) surfer-cum-chef from Chestershire who has adopted Newquay as her home. Here she pursues her first love, surfing, and her vocation as a chef in an upscale Thai restaurant in town. Our only disappointment was not being able to spend more time with her. She’s a charmer. Her apartment fits her personality: enthusiastic about life, eclectic in her decorating tastes, youthful and creative. We loved living here. If you look out our living room window you’ll see the golf course across the street.
Newquay’s golfers are a dedicated bunch. The wind blows and the rains pelt but these intrepid would-be champions can’t be stopped by such obstacles. Even the sand trap can be conquered if you have a proper umbrella.
Out of one window we watched the golfers. Out of another Evie can check every morning whether the surf’s up.
During the season surfers flock by our apartment to Fistral Beach. We didn’t know before coming that Newquay is a surfer’s paradise. We often thought of Brandy and Brenton Jacob back in Tillamook. They’d be so much at home here. The picture above is Fistral Beach. Below is Towan Beach, usually teeming with people, especially young people. Joy took this picture on a quiet day.
You’re looking at Joy’s barbecued beef taco at Gilmore’s, one of Evie’s favorite restaurants. We only located it on our last day in town. Our lunch (I had a fish taco which, I’m persuaded, was even better than Joy’s beef one) was as good as it looks here.
We’ll conclude our retrospective of Newquay with this paved walkway between Newquay’s downtown to the right and the beaches to the left, an example of the civic pride and beauty that characterize this town.
We’ve concluded the local photos but can’t sign off without sharing a bit of wisdom we picked up not in Newquay but in Gurnard’s Head, where we stopped for lunch a couple of weeks ago. We try to enhance the value of this blog by passing on to you, dear reader, the lessons we’ve been learning along the way. Here’s a bit of local reasoning we hadn’t heard of before reading this sign: