(I don’t know the answer to that, but one of the joys of blogging is that you can chuck thoughts and ideas out of the window and, occasionally, they will get shaped, sanded down, and drop, provoked and purified, back in through the letterbox, unsolicited but the converse of junk.)
As this town (which I like, a bit, and which contains a lot of people whom I like, a lot, but all that’s been factored in to this blogdream) is slap bang in the middle of southern England, and given that I miss the sea and the coast, I only really have four options: north, south, east or west. North is out of the question. South would mean going back to where I was born. East is a foreign country. So that leaves West.
West consists of Wales and the West Country. I don’t want to live in Wales, for reasons too difficult to explain here. So that leaves the West Country. This consists of Devon and Cornwall. Devon is tempting, but it’s too expensive. So I’m left with Cornwall.
I saw a documentary the other night which purported to be about the English countryside (it looked more like a remake of ‘Coast’, but .) One of the places it covered was the far western tip of Cornwall, with some emphasis on the tin mining. It didn’t, as I’d hoped, feature the strange, creepy landscape of Bottalack – the abandoned working buildings and routes – but it did remind me of St Just.
No-one knows just who St Just was, but that doesn’t prevent him or her giving the name to two Cornish towns within a long spit of each other. I’m talking, of course, not about the one that’s called ‘St Just in Roseland’, but about the most westerly town in Great Britain. I’ve only been there a few times, but here’s a snapshot…
We’ve walked to a pub which has a Thursday folk night. About eleven musicians are crammed onto a stage big enough for three – in fact, that’s not true, you can’t tell where the stage ends and the audience begins. They’re playing guitars, banjos, fiddles, bongos, beer glasses, and in some cases just their own hearty voices. I hear a suggestion that I should get up there, grab a guitar and join in, and I’m tempted; but then someone moves in beside me. I apologise (why?), make room and look. It’s a tall blonde girl in a black leather trouser suit, carrying a banjo case. ‘I’m a bit nervous’, she says, without smiling. ‘Never been here before.’ I have no reply to that. Her minder, who turns out maybe to be her father, whispers something to one of the musicians, who nods. The girl unpacks her banjo and sits down on a hastily vacated chair. ‘Duelling?’ I overhear her mutter to the other banjoist.
Yes, I want to live where that kind of thing happens. Not every day, you understand – just sometimes.