So today hasn’t exactly been a beauty regarding weather in Cornwall. Still undeterred I turned on the Christmas tunes, nommed a mince pie or two and used this afternoon to wrap up all the goodies I got yesterday in Truro. Now as much as I want to share what I got, my family and friends read this blog so I can’t. Still one present I can share is this beautiful edition of Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. This is one of my all-time favourite reads, one of the few I keep a copy of because I know I will return to it throughout my life. This edition is for my boyfriend/best friend/partner in crime, Matt. He chose it and it means a lot to us.
It all started in the summer of 2012, when Matt and I loaded up the row boat with camping equipment and headed out from Helford village to camp at Tremayne Quay. After discovering someone else had beaten us to it we turned around to find somewhere else. Still I wasn’t too disheartened. Irrespective of circumstances the Helford is stunning and simple at the same time; an entity in itself. It was bliss to simply be there. In the words of Kenneth Grahame “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
To the left of Tremayne Quay was an opening off the river which we decided to explore. There we found a small, circular bank of grass with a canopy of trees above it – from which a rope swing hung. I jumped ashore, helped Matt bring the boat in and whilst he started the fire I swung. It was divine.
As we prepared and ate our dinner the sun set slowly over the water. The moon came out to a clear night sky; bright and bold and the biggest I’ve ever seen it. And so, cuddled by the firelight the world was silent and still and sublime. To date that was the most beautiful and magical night of my life.
Upon return we looked up this inlet on a map; it was Frenchman’s Creek. Almost a year later I read the novel; a story of lords, ladies and pirates, of hidden coves and horses ridden bareback, of a thirst for adventure and a secret romance in a creek – I immediately fell in love with it.
So now on this wet and windy day, as I wrap up this copy of the novel, I think back to calmer waters and sweeter winds; to this timeless river and this most magical memory.