My recent trip to Cornwall reminded me of those hazy, lazy summer days of my youth when it seemed to be wall to wall sunshine and I had nothing better to do than go off exploring.
This trip didn’t disappoint either, it was glorious blue skies for the entire week and the locals were just as warm. We even made friends with a pair of swans who bobbed beside the garden gate on the river’s edge, waiting for breakfast.
Within minutes we were surrounded by whirling and wheeling gulls, so many in fact, it reminded me of a scene from the movie thriller “The Birds”.
“Many people think of ‘The Birds’ as a film set in America, but it’s actually a short story by Daphne du Maurier,” Ann Willmore who runs Bookends bookshop in Fowey along with her husband, David, explained to me. “The storyline is set just outside Fowey in the area around the farmland behind the Gribbin Head, and very close to Menabilly, where Daphne was living when she wrote the book so atmospherically brought to life by Hitchcock for the big screen.
“We try to have available in stock everything that Daphne wrote from novels through to short stories and we occasionally find signed copies of Daphne’s books or even letters, which are also well received by our customers. Some people come into Bookends hardly aware of who Daphne du Maurier is, while others are serious collectors of her work.
“No matter what, everyone can leave with something to increase their interest in her.”
Isla, The “Rook With A Book”
Fowey also welcomed a statue to commemorate the writer in the shape of Isla, the “Rook With A Book”, which was made locally at Thrussells workshop. Since it’s unveiling a few months ago, it’s been a big hit with locals and tourists alike, with people fittingly flocking to see it.
It was the creation of father and son team, Thomas and Gary Thrussell. They explained that the bird emerged slowly in their studio, starting with a cross section, a beak, a few feathers here and there. Finally, the finished sculpture was unveiled by none other than Daphne du Maurier’s son, Kit Browning.