Thursday, 17 May 2007

Maria McCarthy - Du Maurier festival

Husband had sufficiently recovered to accompany me on the jaunt up to Fowey today, so we headed straight to see what had happened to Jane's cottage. To our surprise it hadn't been renovated (or sold, by the look of it), but looks as it was last time we saw it - falling down. Someone has smashed the kitchen window which is now boarded up at the back and it looked so so sad and decrepit, with lace curtains at the windows (Jane must be turning in her grave) - not at all like the friendly refuge it's always been in my time. Such a shame that it's not lived in. But presumably the children have decided to hang on to it for a while and are paying an agent to look after it.
Fowey itself looks posher every time we go with more designer boutiques everywhere - a far cry from the days of recession when I lived there. Good for the town, possibly, but I wonder what the locals think. The only person I saw that I knew was Richard Kittow, the butcher (and a distant relative).
Maria's talk was in the town hall and well attended - she gave loads of information, and is a very dynamic lady who talks just like my friend V from Exeter. Maria's a very good speaker and as a result, I've had more ideas for future articles which is encouraging. I also bought a copy of her book - The Girls' Guide to Losing Your L Plates - how to pass your driving test, which I'm looking forward to reading. It's 25 years since I passed my test, and I'm sure it's much more difficult (and expensive) now so it will be interesting to read it.
The talk finished half an hour later than I'd thought, so I legged it back up the steep hill to the top car park where Pip and Mollie were sitting out on a patch of grass in the sunshine. God, I'd forgotten how steep that hill is, but we drove round to the Rashleigh at Polkerris in beautiful sunshine driving through leafy lanes down to the beach and a wonderful view of St Austell Bay. Having got to the pub, we were told that they don't allow dogs inside so we got a table outside (in howling gale) and I went in to see what food was on offer. Himself is on this yeast free diet for this month in order to determine if he's allergic to yeast and I had a nasty feeling it could be tricky eating out for him. I did suggest that we took some ryvita but that idea was vetoed as he thought I was trying to get out of buying lunch. As if!
Sure enough, I could see nothing suitable for him on the menu. 'Don't be silly, Pop,' he said and went in to check. Five minutes later he came out with bottom lip protruding. 'There's nothing I can eat, Pop,' he said.
I managed not to say Told You So, and we went opposite to a beach cafe that used to be a takeaway place but now calls itself an Italian restaurant, but looks the same as it did 15 years ago. It was suspiciously empty (the pub was heaving) but they said Mollie could come in and as they had jacket potatoes on the menu (that HImself could eat), we ordered and sat down inside and passed the time looking at three flies, dive bombing the window. Several of my friends wouldn't have gone near the place on the grounds of hygiene but with blood sugar like mine I wasn't being fussy.
We were joined by an army of walkers who ordered tea and food and disappeared outside with much hilarity. After about half an hour later (how long does it take to make a sandwich and microwave a jacket spud?) by which time my blood sugar level was on the floor and I was ready to eat the table, I watched the chef disappear outside with Our Food. He looked somewhat bemused when I legged it outside, waving and screaming, wrenched it out of his hands and hurried inside. So much for my offer of lunch.
By the time we left, the sun was blazing and we headed over to Par Beach where Mollie and I had a wonderful scamper along the beach for an hour while Himself dozed in the car. (He's still very weak poor fellow so I'm not bullying him just yet.) I'd forgotten how huge the beach is - a vast expanse of sand which was ribbed yesterday and full of salt water pools that were warm to paddle in. Mollie had a grand time charging in and out of the water, chasing seagulls and playing with any other dog that would let her, and arrived back wet and happy.
As I write, Himself and Mollie are stretched out on the sofa, fast asleep. So much emotion for one day, and it's only four thirty.....

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