A couple of Saturdays ago we caught a very early train west to deepest Cornwall. D.'s sister Carolyn, who lives just down the road from St Ives, was turning 40 and we'd come to celebrate with her. After a six hour journey (we slept most of the way) and a restorative lunch of roast chicken at Carolyn's, we drove to Godrevy and walked along its rugged cliffs in the rain.
I've been listening to a pretty rare song about Godrevy by Patrick Wolf for years and years (take a listen - it's one of my favourite Wolf songs), but funnily enough I never knew where it was. Imagine my surprise! It was delightful to be able to connect a song I love to the place that inspired it.
Across the bay the white octagonal tower of Godrevy Lighthouse glistened against the grey clouds and murky sea. The lighthouse is said to have inspired Virginia Woolf to write To the Lighthouse, although she located her lighthouse in the Hebrides. We drove back to Carolyn's, well and truly soaked to the skin, and slept for a while. Saturday night saw us and a group of locals staying up late to celebrate the big Birthday. It was lots of fun.
By Sunday morning the clouds had disappeared, so with sore heads and bacon sandwiches, we headed over to St Ives. First of all D. and I went to check out the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. I'd been wanting to visit for quite some time and it didn't disappoint. Hepworth first came to live in Cornwall with her husband Ben Nicholson and their young family at the outbreak of war in 1939. She lived and worked in Trewyn studios – now the Barbara Hepworth Museum – from 1949 until her death in 1975.
'Finding Trewyn Studio was a sort of magic', wrote Barbara Hepworth. 'Here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.' Sculptures in bronze, stone and wood are on display in the museum and garden, along with paintings, drawings and archive material. It's a really special place - from the garden you can look out through the plants, across the roofs of St Ives and spot the sea sparkling in the distance. I felt so calm there.
Afterwards we had lunch at the very good Porthminster Beach Cafe. We ate oysters and squid and drank rosé from carafes and for the first time this year it felt like summer might be on its way...
Look at that. Ignore the clouds and it's practically the Caribbean. Before long however we were back on a train, bound for London. One night in Cornwall - it was perfect and I can't wait to return.