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:
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.