Cornwall, ‘Rebecca’ and a Homecoming

Well, Thanksgiving has been and gone (I hope you all had a good one!), my son Nicky celebrated his birthday in style and we spent a wonderful weekend with some very special people at their lovely home in Cornwall.

To my American friends reading this, Cornwall is part of what we Brits call ‘The West Country’, lying as the name suggests in the furthest south-western part of the British Isles. A very popular place for families to spend their summer hols but also for just about anyone to visit at any time of year.

I’m in the process of catching up with you all since I’ve been away from my laptop for a few days but meanwhile I thought you might like to see a few photos as Hubby and I were able to squeeze in a visit to the delightful fishing town of Looe and then the beautiful harbour of Fowey:

Looe, Cornwall

Looe, Cornwall
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Views of Fowey (2)

A view of the harbour at Fowey, Cornwall. A very long walk down and an even longer walk
back up the hill to the car park! But we did it!
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews

Views of Fowey (11)

A view of the waterside at Fowey, Cornwall
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Views of Fowey (13)

Palm trees growing in Fowey, Cornwall
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Church at Fowey with Poppy Wreaths still very much in evidence from Rememberance Sunday (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Church at Fowey with Poppy Wreaths still very much in evidence from Rememberance Sunday
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

You can see from these photos that despite it being the very end of November, and yes, it was quite chilly, the sun shone brightly giving rise to one of those beautifully crisp winter days so that you can walk about in a jacket and feel warm and cosy but not so overdressed that as soon as you start exerting any energy, as in walking, you want to rip your jacket off again!

These are my favourite kind of days.

The day we visited Fowey there was a Christmas market and it was very busy but it was lovely to stroll around the unique boutique-style shops and sample the food and wines on offer at various marquees.  That, and also trying to avoid being hounded by the local ‘pirates’ who were rather exhuberant in their well-intentioned efforts to take up a collection for the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI).  A very good cause though it be!

For me, however, Cornwall (and particularly Fowey), has long-held a deep fascination as it was the home of the incomparable Daphne du Maurier, she the wonderful author of one of my all-time favourite books, ‘Rebecca’.  Although I have visited Cornwall several times before over the years, I had never been to Fowey which of course is where she lived.

Visits to Cornwall always remind me of my last few years spent living in California.  My marriage was in a very bad way and my ex-husband and I, by that point, were  nothing more than passing ships and all that.  My life was primarily spent with my children and my friends.  I didn’t want it to be that way but there it was, there it is, the reality of the way my life was back then.

It was during that time that reading Rebecca gave me the escape that I longed for, lost as I was as I walked the long road to Manderley, took tea in the drawing-room, the cups and silverware laid out on crisp, white linens and all the while trying to avoid the icy stares of Mrs Danvers.

Or perhaps it would be while strolling along the wild,  coastal path leading me down to the troubled sea and eventually to the fisherman’s hut on the beach where dark and mysterious secrets lay hidden, awaiting eventual discovery and the desperately sought-for answers to Maxim’s brooding turmoil.

This story of unrequited love, betrayal, murderous accusations, and then the unconditional love of a young innocent girl for her older, complicated and haunted husband took me far away from my own dark sea of hopelessness and empty longing for a  happier life.  I could live out another’s story of helpless misunderstanding while all the while trying to do the right thing yet never quite able to, or so it seemed.

Perhaps then, it is no coincidence that so many years later, and certainly not imagined in my mixed-up thoughts for a single moment, that during one of our very first conversations having met only once or twice, I happened to ask my now-husband what his favourite film and/or book was.  Just out of curiosity.

Knowing him a little by then and so thinking he would come back with something like The Italian Job (the original), The Battle of Britain or Withnail & I (all of which he did, by-the-way), the defining moment came when he answered, without any pre-knowledge or the slightest understanding of the gravity of his words,

“It has to be Rebecca”.

I knew then that I was home.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, Current Affairs, Family Life, Musings, My California, Photos, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Cornwall, ‘Rebecca’ and a Homecoming

  1. TBM says:

    I still haven’t been to Cornwall, but after reading Rebecca last year, I’ve been dying to go. Glad you two are such a good fit. And thanks for guest posting on my blog today!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      You must TB, you simply must go!! Thanks to you, and looking forward to it being your turn here 🙂

      Like

      • TBM says:

        I’m excited. However, I hope it isn’t the last time I see you guest posting on my blog. You tell me when you want to appear again. I find your writing so inspirational and heartfelt.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          I would love to guest post again on your blog TB, thanks so much, you have been an amazing encouragement to me from day one 🙂

          I will make an announcement here tomorrow morning first thing to link into the guest post if that’s ok?

          Like

  2. Cornwall looks like an absolutely lovely town! The pictures have me wishing that I could be sitting inside gazing out over the water. I haven’t seen or read Rebecca, but your story compels me to add it to my list!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Cornwall is a beautiful place Heather, but also quite dark and mysterious, unlike any other here in the UK. I could have said so much more about it but I would be here all day! Look out for Rebecca (I didn’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read it!). The classic film is with Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, the 1940 version. That is the one to watch! 🙂

      Like

  3. What a lovely place to celebrate Nicky’s birthday, Sherri. Thank you for sharing your stunning photos! I want to be there now!!!!!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Glad you enjoyed the photos Jill, I’m glad that the sun was shining, at least on one of the days! Actually Nicky wasn’t with us in Cornwall, we say him the day before and then he was busy partying with his mates in Brighton, the other side of the south coast (by a couple of hundred miles!) but we are seeing him this weekend 🙂

      Like

  4. Rachel says:

    I’ve never read the book but I just love, love, love Hitchcock’s Rebecca and have seen it numerous times. When I saw the title of your post I hoped it was going to be about this Rebecca and it was!

    I love the photos of the harbour at Fowey. What a gorgeous place!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Rachel, so glad you enjoyed this post and the photos and that you weren’t disappointed when you read ‘Rebecca’! Yes, the 1940 film with Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine is the best ever, I’ve seen it so many times and absolutely love it each time!! (Hubby loves it too, goes without saying 😉 )

      Like

  5. jennypellett says:

    ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again’ has to be one of the most famous first lines in recent literature. I loved Rebecca too, as well as Frenchman’s Creek. Cornwall is a truly inspirational place, very mystical, creative and quirky. Glad you had such good weather – we are off down that way soon after Christmas. Can’t wait to wrap up warm and have a good long walk along the beach.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh that line, the finest ever! Actually thanks Jenny, I just realised that when I spell checked I reverted to the incorrect spelling of Manderley for some reason, but thought I had put it right and was horrified to see that I hadn’t (but which I now have!!!)

      What a lovely time of year to visit Cornwall. We haven’t been for some time, but we were visiting people who live near Looe so it was the perfect little escape 🙂 You must be really looking forward to your break there after Christmas!

      Like

      • jennypellett says:

        I’ve been rediscovering Cornwall recently. We used to go regularly as children but there has been far too wide a gap in our visits as we’ve explored further afield and the lure of ‘abroad.’ Quite simply, there is nowhere else like it – at least, nowhere else I’ve ever been. I think it is magical.

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          It is magical, that is the word for it. There is something very special about revisiting a place after taking a long gap and seeing other sights far away. I think it makes us appreciate it in a completely different way, more even than the first time perhaps:-)

          Like

  6. Believe it or not, I’ve never read Rebecca. I’m ordering it right now!

    Gorgeous photos, Sherri. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  7. Heyjude says:

    This post took me back Sherri – when I was a teenager I devoured Daphne du Maurier books – had a collection of Penguins with their orange spines – wonder what happened to them? Glad you had a good holiday; I’ve yet to return to Looe, but hope to one day. Fowey is lovely, but gets so crowded I wouldn’t want to live there, also there is nowhere to walk around the waterside which is such a shame. But it’s interesting
    Jude xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, those wonderful Penguin books, love them! I still have Wuthering Heights, Tess of the Durbevilles as well as Rebecca (somewhere!)
      I totally agree with you about Fowey, we found this too but then when we were there it was exceptionally busy with the Christmas market but we were baffled as to the lack of waterside walking.
      Looe is delightful, we loved it.
      BTW did you know that Dawn French lives in Fowey? We didn’t see her of course….
      PS I thought of you when I wrote this post 😉

      Like

      • Heyjude says:

        I like your post – you should write more travel related posts. You must have some tales to tell about places in the US too that you can weave into your family tales (like the Crazy Grandma stuff)
        xx

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Coming from you Jude, who I think has the market cornered with your terrific travel posts, I take this as a huge compliment, thank you so much! It is certainly something I enjoy doing so yes, you have given me some great ideas as we certainly did have many ‘travel’ adventures over the years! Watch this space 🙂 xx

          Like

  8. Quaint houses in a harbour setting make my heart sing. I grew up by water and miss it every day. These pictures are wonderful.
    I must find my copy of Rebecca if I still have it and re-read now that you’ve brought her up. I wonder what I will feel reading it at this age. The last time, I was young and knew less than nothing about life.

    Like

  9. bulldog says:

    Having just read your guest post on TBMs blog I shimmied over here to have a quiet look, but I do love what I read so you have one more follower… me…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Bulldog, how lovely for you to come over from TB’s blog and visit! I am very grateful that you took the time to read not only my guest post but also to come over here and then to follow, thank you so much!

      I hope that you will continue to enjoy reading what you find here at my cyber summerhouse and I also look forward to visiting your blog. It’s a pleaure to meet you 🙂

      Like

  10. Steve Rebus says:

    Fantastic post Sherri! Love the photos of Cornwall, still as beautiful as i remembered as a child on holiday! 🙂
    So pleased everyone enjoyed themselves, such a loving blessed family and an inspiration to us all! Take care 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Steve, really glad you enjoyed reading this post and also the pics! Cornwall really is a wonderful place isn’t it?
      I hope that things are going well for you and Sarah 🙂

      Like

  11. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:

    Wow. What a post! Loved the story and the ending. Never read “Rebecca” but now I want to

    Your final words touched me. Thank you for sharing this!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Aww, thanks so much Lorraine, I’m really glad that you enjoyed reading this post and for your lovely comment, I really appreciate it. As I’ve said to those here who haven’t read Rebecca, I would highly recommend it, it is a really evocative, powerful and thrilling story, I’m sure you will just love it 🙂

      Like

  12. I’ve always wanted to visit Cornwall, largely because of the romantic image I have of it from du Maurier’s novels, which I love. It has such an air of atmosphere.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Cornwall really does have an atmosphere, dark, mysterious, mystical and unlike any other place that I’ve ever visited. It really is a world of its own. The scenery is stunning and wild and the fishing villages a delight to visit. I hope that you get to visit oneday Andrea 🙂

      Like

  13. Beautiful photos. Closest I’ve been was at RAF St. Mawgan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_St_Mawgan back in the day, if memory serves me.

    Like

  14. musingmar says:

    Cornwall looks so beautiful. I’ve never visited England, but when I do a trip to the West Country will definitely be on the agenda. Love the story of you and your husband’s connection over the story of Rebecca.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Marlene, so glad that you enjoyed reading this post.

      If you ever do visit don’t forget to stop by on your way in another part of the West Country right here in Somerset 🙂

      Like

  15. mvschulze says:

    Not surprising, what a wonderful story you’ve told – both in style and content of course. My wife and I love the shore, and harbors of all kinds. These places you mention (and so well depicted in the photos,) are the kind where we would wander, and maybe stop to sip a refreshment, or have a light meal – with view…. and savor. Yours is even more captivating, owing to the ties and circumstances worthy of a novel in itself! M

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed reading M, thanks so much!

      Yes, that is precisely what we did, managing to find a delightful pub right on the waterside and have a drink in the sunshine while soaking up the magnificent view!

      There is something hauntingly beautiful about harbours and the shore and being able to stop and take time out just to enjoy and really unwind. No wonder so many people visit these places!

      Like

  16. mvschulze says:

    Another thought…. Speaking of harbors, we have never been to the United Kingdom (yet) but were about 350km away from Looe last fall: walking around La Havre, France.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      That is really interesting, thanks for sharing M, I had no idea that there is a Looe in France!!

      I hope that you and you wife do get to visit the UK one of these days, and if you do , be sure to visit the West Country and stop by to visit us here in Somerset too 🙂

      Like

  17. Wonderful pictures, Sherri! While I loved the harbors and views, I was especially touched by the poppy wreaths in front of the church. You are a natural story teller!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      So glad that you enjoyed this read and the photos Marylin, thank you!

      Yes, in all our towns these memorials are covered in poppy wreaths for many months to come until the weather batters them to nothing. There are also little wooden crosses everywhere so that the rememberance goes on long after November 11th.

      Like

  18. Your Max DeWinter is hopefully not so dark!!
    A beautiful piece – and i’m seeing Cornwall as an enchanting and brooding place in turn.

    Like

  19. Such beautiful pictures Sherri. Rebecca was my favourite book too – love Daphne du Maurier. It’s lovely reading about your life and how you found your love.

    Like

  20. simplyilka says:

    Oh Sherri, Cornwall is so beautiful! I am glad you and your husband had such a relaxing time there. I do love ‘Rebecca’ as well. And I hope after all that time you are happy and in peace you did such an important decision while reading ‘Rebecca’. Thank you my friend for sharing another memory 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ilka, I am so happy to know that you enjoyed reading just a tiny bit about Cornwall, but also that you love Rebecca too!

      I do have a measure of peace in my life now that was certainly missing for a long time but I think too that so much of that has to come from within as much as from the wonderful people we know and love. I realised long ago that it is impossible to fix anyone other than ourselves!

      Bless you my friend and thank you so much for your lovely words 🙂

      Like

  21. Glynis Jolly says:

    What a beautiful real love story! As I was reading this, before I got to the end, I was wondering if you felt that going back to the UK was a good move. Obviously it was. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Glynis, how lovely of you to say! They were very tumultous times and it was very hard to leave my home and the life that I had built up for myself and my children over in California but I always knew that I needed to return ‘home’ here when everything fell apart.

      I never expected to meet my husband in a million years 🙂

      Like

  22. Denise says:

    Cornwall and California – would never have linked the two but now I always will.

    Lovely pictures.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Yes, since you put it that way, who would have thought?? Wow. Cornwall and California…darn it Denise, you’ve done it again, got me thinking even deeper about all of this… 😉
      Glad you enjoyed the pics, thank you 🙂
      PS The strange thing is that I never really had a particular closeness to Cornwall having never visited it until I first moved back here and not having any family ties there or anything until very recently, yet it had such a strong pull on me because of ‘Rebecca’.

      Like

  23. Pat says:

    Absolutely loved this, Sherri. I feel like you’ve taken me on an adventure with you. Thank you for sharing your story and what it means to you and especially the photos. 🙂

    Like

  24. Pat says:

    Hi Sherri – just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award” at http://plaintalkandordinarywisdom.com/oh-boy-got-more-awards-for-which-to-give-thanks-and-share/.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh wow Pat, I don’t know what to say!! Thank you so, so much, I am really thrilled and so very humbled to receive this fantastic award. You are such a lovely lady for always thinking of me. I will come over right now to your blog to read all about it… 🙂

      Like

  25. Hi Sherri! I’m glad our blogging paths met today. I wasn’t expecting to come here and find a post about my home region – now I’m feeling all nostalgic. I’m proud of my region, and every time I go back I go to the coast, breath in the sea air, look at the crashing grey waves and listen to my favourite sound ever: seagulls.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Who knew? It is a small world isn’t it? Thanks so much for visiting and reading and I’m really glad to know that you enjoyed this post, especially as it is all about your ‘home’. There is nothing like being beside the sea and breathing in that sea air, I quite agree…

      Like

  26. mumblypeg says:

    Loved this blog Sherri, You are a born storyteller. Keep up the great work which gives such pleasure to so many. Your travel tale and the connection with Rebecca is so emotive of one of my favourite places and book for atmosphere and mystery. Not so good in the summer with the crowds though!You chose a great time to visit. The photos were lovely. Much love M xxx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you so much M, I thought you would like this post, knowing how much you enjoyed your stay at Fowey! I wish I could go and stay in Daphne du Maurier’s house and write a novel lol 🙂

      It was a really lovely time of year to visit and to have the sun come out too was a real blessing.

      It was busy enough with the Christmas market so in the summer it must be pretty bad, that’s the only downside ;-(

      Love & hugs xxx

      Like

  27. This looks like a beautiful place to visit. Your photos are lovely also!

    Like

  28. True love!!! Wonderful to have a soul mate to journey through life’s many roads & trails, dips, turns and curves! Pretty amazing that he said Rebecca. It certainly was one of my favorites. The photos were so beautiful, I can only imagine what it must be like to be there. I agree with mumblypeg you were born to tell stories! xoxoxo di di

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Diane, sorry, only just saw this! So glad that you enjoyed reading and the pics too. Yes, Cornwall is a very beautiful yet rugged place. You would love it, I know it!!

      I was shocked when he said Rebecca, he had no idea that it was my favourite! Thank you as always for visiting me at my summerhouse my dear friend 🙂

      Like

  29. Steven says:

    Wow, I love the Rebecca story – yours that is, I haven’t read the novel myself (sorry!). How perfect. I am angry at myself that I have never taken the time to holiday in Cornwall. I have always thought it looked like such a lovely, charming and diverse place. The photos back me up here, the view of the harbour is breathtaking – worth the trek! You won’t find much like that in Norfolk. Great stuff!

    Like

Lovely to chat...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s