I write this sitting on the edge of a cliff, watching the sun go down and listening to the waves lap the shore on the beach down below. It’s the last night of our “staycation” – our holiday down in West Cornwall. Tuesday 3rd July marks 1 year living in Cornwall and as such I’m feeling all reflective. A year a go we packed up our home up north and moved 300 miles down south without any friends, any jobs or anywhere to live (our house was still being finished!)
Even though I lived in Cheshire for 5 years, it never really felt like “home”. I originally only intended to live there for a year but one thing led to another and before I knew it I was living there with my husband and two children! When the opportunity arose for us to move to Cornwall I was immediately over the moon. Not only was it where my parents were based but it also meant an entirely fresh start which was something I really craved. Now, I grew up in Essex but I definitely consider myself at least part Cornish. My maiden name (now middle name) is Trevelyan and my family have lived in Cornwall since the domesday day book (basically nearly 1000 years) or longer. I have Cornish blood in my veins that’s for sure! And incidentally, my husband was actually conceived in Cornwall! So we definitely feel like locals rather than outsiders. I think that’s why moving to Cornwall felt like coming home in a lot of ways and whilst there have been some challenges the move was on the whole extremely positive for all of us.
Cornwall is like nowhere else I’ve ever known. It is a law unto itself and honestly it kind of feels like a different country all together from the rest of the UK (in fact there has recently been a campaign to consider Cornish an ethnic minority!). The pace of life is so much slower down here, sometimes frustratingly so as everything runs on “cornish time” and will happen “dreckly” rather than any specific time or date (a fact that frustrated my parents to no end when renovating their house). But all in all I love how relaxed things are down here – whether it’s down the single track lanes when drivers go out of there way to be kind and reverse miles to a passing point or the fact the cashier in Aldi actually helps you get your bags straight before throwing everything in. It really feels very chilled and enjoyable. I think it helps that there aren’t lots of big town centres with high street shops around- I have to drive nearly an hour to find shops that used to be on my doorstep. This can be frustrating but I also think it means people are are so much less materialistic and driven by “things”.
Cornwall is extremely patriotic. Everything is “cornish this, cornish that” – cornish people proudly display their black and white flag on their driveway, their car, some people even have it tattooed!! I recently was in a cafe where they advertised that they served “cornish tap water” which really amused me. It’s a good thing though as it encourages people to shop locally and let’s face it you can’t beat a cornish cream tea can you (#jamfirst). Cornwall even has its own radio station, Pirate FM who’s tag line is “love Cornwall, love music, love pirate FM” and if you don’t listen to it you may as well leave the county now… anyway how else would you find out about Trago’s latest deals (you’ll always find a better deal at Trago… crap it’s in my head now).
One thing I find myself saying in my head a lot these days is “bloody tourists”. I didn’t notice it last summer as I was new here but Cornwall’s population doubles during the summer months. The beaches that we were once the only people on are now rammed with people and the parking prices triple in the summer! It can be frustrating when you are a local but ultimately tourism is what brings money to Cornwall and it can feel a bit depressing walking round a seaside town like Looe in the winter when it’s like a ghost town! The beaches are pretty spectacular in the winter though and Cornwall is a pretty rainy place most of the time so make the most of the sunshine whilst you can!
People seem way more friendly down here too although those with broad accents can take some getting used to! I made more friends in the first few months living here than I did for the five years I lived up north. It can be very lonely moving to a new place and there are still times where I feel I don’t quite fit but for the most part I feel so lucky to have met the people that I have.
Josh and I have given up making long term plans for the future as they never pan out anyway. Cornwall may not be forever for us – after all we are still in our early twenties – but definitely for the foreseeable future Cornwall is home. And even if we do eventually move away years down the line, I think it always will be.
So here’s to our first wonderful year in Cornwall – the highs, the lows, the beaches, the country lanes and the memories our girls are making here.