Friday, 14 October 2011

The Christmas Angel and clouds with silver linings

Pete (our regular postman) dropped off a parcel from Transworld the other day containing the advance copy of the hardback edition of The Christmas Angel. This moment always takes both of us back to the time we spent researching the landscape in which the book was set. Here are some of the photographs that I then took, many of which I turned into montages which Marcia had beside her while she was actually writing.
The book is set on the north coast of Cornwall a few miles from the village of Trevone which sits above a beach which is typical for this area.

Like so many of the beaches in this area, this is a favourite for all: from those who wish to lie around quietly snoozing to the more energetic who wish build sand fortifications or have come here for the surfing.
Take the coastal footpath north from Trevone and you will be walking above spectacular cliffs, home to hundreds of sea birds, If you are lucky you may see seals on the rocks below.

Once on the tops, it is as if sky and sea stretch to infinity. The imaginary village of Peneglos which tumbles down to the sea in a narrow valley is set in the cove you can see in the centre of the photograph.
Although Peneglos is an imaginary village it is, of course, typical of the area. These pictures of Port Isaac may give you some idea.

 One of the hard facts of life these days is the speed at which small - and some not so small - bookshops are being closed down. This came home rather forcibly because two of the shops on the preliminary list for Marcia to visit in order to meet her readers and sign some books have or are about to be closed. The Harbour Bookshop in Dartmouth closed last month. Putting aside this is my home town, it was for a time owned by Christopher Robin Milne who was our near neighbour for a while and one of the nicest men you could meet. However, the real shock was when Waterstone's announced that they would be closing their Tiverton branch in the near future.

Quite a few of the shops in which Marcia has signed books are no longer with us including The Mitre in Newton Abbot, Ivybridge Book Shop and the one in Bovey Tracey.

On a somewhat jollier note, the weather over the last few weeks has been extraordinary. One morning about ten days ago it was so lovely that the sun streaming into the bedroom forced us to rise a little earlier than usual. While Marcia was making the tea, I took this picture from just outside the kitchen.
The sky is not always so benign - here is one taken as a front was crossing over Dartmoor from almost exactly the same spot.
I must admit that I have a thing about clouds and taken well over a thousand photographs taken in all sorts of locations around the south west. Here, by way of contrast, is an evening sky - this one taken from our terrace.
That's it for this week. I hope to see you again next Friday.

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