I’ve wanted to go to Cornwall for a really long time and finally managed to get away to St Ives for a few days last week. I was completely misled about the weather in Cornwall: I was told the climate was similar to that in France but it was overcast and rained a good bit. The first day I was there was incredibly hot. I had planned to have a picnic on the beach but I ended up taking my sandwich back to the youth hostel because I couldn’t bear sitting outside in the sun and because the seagulls – some of which were the size of small dogs – were giving me shifty looks.
I’m glad I chose to go to the Barbara Hepworth Museum on that first day; the sculpture garden on the roof would not have been nearly so enjoyable in the rain. As it was I was able to practice taking photographs, trying to catch the reflected light from pools of water dancing on curved bronze surfaces and capturing circles of the St Ives skyline framed by the holes in the sculptures. My favourite thing in the museum though, which made me chuckle out loud, was the book of postcards written by children to Barbara Hepworth, thanking her for her sculptures, suggesting alternative names for some of them and drawing pictures of their favourites. One astute child noted Dear Barbara, I’m sorry you are ded. There were also lots of interesting variations on the word sculpture: sulcher, scorcha, sculper.
The streets of St Ives were choked with tourists. As long as you didn’t want to go anywhere fast it was fine and most of the time I was content to shuffle along and gaze in the shop windows. There were loads of boutiques filled with beautiful clothes and jewellery and knick knacks, so the whole time I was racking my brain thinking, who can I buy this for? In the end I bought one necklace for me.
In the evenings when the surfers and sunbathers had trickled away from the beach I sat on the promenade hunched over my fish and chips and watched the tide come in – keeping one eye on the seagulls at all times, of course!