Rosanne Hodin on her new book ‘Growing Goats and Girls’
PUBLISHED: 09:49 20 May 2020
Rosanne Hodin’s new Cornwall-set book ‘Growing Goats and Girls’ hits the shelves this month - we find out more about her favourite Cornish spots
My first impression of Cornwall was when my dashing boyfriend drove me down from London to St Ives to stay in his cliffside family home. Arriving by night my first taste of Cornwall was the taste of salt air on my tongue and the sound of waves churning below. Nothing had prepared me for the ravishing pale sky, the wind, the sea stretching far out past the lighthouse that I saw on waking. We threw on old jackets and boots from the porch and raced down the cliff to the beach below. My city boy was transformed forever in my eyes, to windswept Cornishman.
We walked the coastal paths between St Ives and Hayle, scurrying under tunnels of gorse and watching kestrels flying high; we walked to Godrevy to fly kites; we walked along Gurnard’s Head, watching seals. When we were married with small children our walks were closer to our farm and Pencarrow Head; and the twist down, down to Lantic Bay was our favourite. We swam there, sailed there, lay on the beach and slept there.
One early spring I was searching frantically for bluebells for my goddaughter’s wedding and believed I should find some there, high on the cliff. Nothing, more nothing until I spotted a faint flush of blue. I pushed though the unfurling fronds of bracken and found just a small clump of bluebells and as I slid my fingers down the stem I startled an adder. I steadied my heartbeat and tried again and this time sent two more adders thrashing into the bracken. It was obviously a sign that these bluebells were not for picking.
Beloved walks for every day and any day were the walks from our farm. A complete loop of the boundary would take me past the quick flowing river banked by alders, up through a marshy patch flaming with wild iris, up through the meadow much loved by our housecow and into the steep orchard, dodging beehives and over the hedge and down through one of the fields.
My favourite view, ever, is that of our valley, with hills each side, one thick with purplish tinged woodland and the other pastureland, and at the end a single oak tree beside the stone bridge. This view speaks to me of stillness, calm, timelessness.
For high days and holidays the best treat is a day at Watergate Bay, with surfing and sunshine and the best food at the Watergate Bay Hotel’s assorted restaurants. Or curled up there on a cold winter day, gazing at the sea with a feast ahead.
I love Cornwall’s saints, so many, with such crazy names. Our local saint St Keyne has her own precious well and a rare power that goes with it. A couple on their wedding day should race to the well to see who gets there first and ‘first of this sacred spring to drink thereby the mastery gains’ (Carew 1602). If you are a local bride or groom you could hardly ignore such an offer.
I arrived in Cornwall a stranger and made it my home. To quote Tennyson: ‘I am part of all that I have met.’