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‘Four pairs of feet shuffled under the stress of deep emotion.’

Pen McClymont

Posted on September 11 2018

Looe Lugger 'Erin'

My favourite line from my favourite short story by Charles Lee.  I can’t pretend to be an expert, mind, but many years ago was inspired to buy a beautifully bound edition of a selection of his works, ‘Chasing Tales’ published by Giss ‘On Books of Callington.  We had just stumbled across some Cornish dialect storytellers – I wish it hadn’t been so long ago, I might have been able to recollect who they were! – and were amused and totally charmed by what we heard.  For me, it was like stepping through time and listening to my grandfather and uncles re-telling the tall tales that used to captivate us as children, all delivered in (to my ear) the soft tones and particular cadence of the Cornish accent.  What was omitted and underplayed was almost as important as what was said, and with this sentence all of that rich storytelling comes flooding back.

Why am I thinking about the words of Charles Lee, nigh on a century after he wrote them?  Because an extract of this short story features on the first page of the 2019 Evocative Cornwall calendar, setting the scene as it were, alongside an image of the Looe Lugger ‘Erin’ pictured above, of much the same era.  There is so much cultural richness in Cornwall, besides the beauty of the landscape, that we do our best to squeeze some of that in as well.  In fact ‘squeeze’ is the word … at certain times of the year there is almost too much to fit on to the calendar, although we do our best to include all the big festivals that you would expect to find in a Cornish publication, alongside a generous sprinkling of events that you might not have stumbled across otherwise.  Suggestions for other items for inclusion, particularly during the quieter months, always gratefully received.

If, like me, you’re a sucker for a good old Cornish yarn, I can highly recommend the writing of Charles Lee who, although not Cornish himself, had a knack for capturing the dialect on paper. And if in the meantime you’d like to read just a little bit more, well it’s right here in the calendar (shameless plug!)

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