Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cornish Independence

This week is Cornwall week in our corner of the blogosphere, with Bryan Appleyard purchasing models of Enola Gay in Mevagissey, and Monix blaming piskies for her navigational incompetence.

The idea of Cornish independence is always good for a laugh, but when you go there you realise it really is another country. The countryside blends into Devon but somehow you still know you’re there. Some quality of the light, perhaps. Certainly the place names, which mostly begin with ‘Tre’. Also the archaic rural poverty, the juxtaposition of great empty fields and Atlantic vistas with claustrophobic, single-file fishing village tourist traps. No city, its own ice cream, Wimpy restaurants, manky branches of Somerfield, deadly seagulls, the yokellest locals.

Cornwall has a better claim to independence on cultural grounds than Scotland. As does Liverpool, in fact.

17 comments:

monix said...

Navigational incompetence, eh? I won't be able to find my way to the kitchen for your next visit then!

Duck said...

If only children would declare independence, eh Monix?

monix said...

Not too much independence, Duck, I'm hoping all the chocolate cakes will earn me a bit of support in my approaching dotage.

Brit said...

Quiet, or I'll put you in a home.

Hey Skipper said...

My most memorable moment from my Devon - Cornwall trip was stopping in a pub, and noticing a porcelain jug on a shelf behind the bar.

On it was a bucolic scene.

Underneath was the motto: Cornish Scrumpy -- Legless but Smiling.

monix said...

Did you try the scrumpy? You wouldn't need piskies to lead you astray, you could get lost all by yourself.

Duck said...

I think the Cornish are just thinking of semi-independence. They'll demand that the English not speak to them when they're around cool countries, and not drop in unnanounced, but still expect that they can drop off their dirty laundry in England and be served chocolate cake.

Hey Skipper said...

Did [I] try the scrumpy?

Heavens, no.

I'm not completely daft.

Gordon McCabe said...

I think the great Clarkson recently said something similar, but the really depressing thing about a trip to Cornwall/Devon is that you think you're almost there when you reach Exeter, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

Peter Burnet said...

Brit:

You do realise that the chance of Cornish or anyone else's independence is in direct proportion to the propensity of Brights in London or Bristol or wherever to take the ideas seriously and give them credence?

Here's a little treat.

Harry Eagar said...

Does Cornwall make cheese? Is it har cheese?

North Devon cheddar showed up today in Safeway, for the first time here.

I bought some but haven't tasted it yet.

Brit said...

Very wise, Skipper, very wise.

Thanks for that, Peter. However, the presence of Mr Bean proves it must have been made by an Anglophile forriner, not a bona fide Brit. That's a popular export with no resonance in its own country, as with Bill Clinton.

Harry:

There's a famous Cornish cheese with the brilliant name of Yarg. The best cheddar comes, naturally enough, from Cheddar. That's in Somerset, but when you live in Hawaii it's as near North Devon as makes no odds.

martpol said...

Our parents used to take us on holiday to Cornwall every year. We always stayed at the same hotel, which was perfectly pleasant but had an odd habit of serving fresh fish (not kippers) for breakfast. Outside every morning stood a seagull which the hotel staff named Percy, tapping his beak on the window in the hope of a bit of locally-caught haddock. The lazy bugger.

Peter Burnet said...

Brit:

Well, seeing how you native Anglophiles seem to be completely absorbed by whether every city block in the realm has a good case for independance and its own parliament, you may need us Anglophile forriners. My goodness, even we Canadians fought harder against the Quebec separatists. Have you all overdosed on J. Alfred Prufrock?

David said...

Bit of a blogging lull, innit. Sulking over the Winehouse nuptials?

Brit said...

David: That, and also real work has recently clobbered me. But normal service will be resumed 'd'rectly' (as they say in Cornwall).

monix said...

David:
I must warn you that, as a Lancastrian, I always thought 'd'rectly' meant 'at once' but I learned to my cost that it means 'sometime between next week and 2 years hence' in Devon and Cornwall.