We were in the audience at Plymouth Pavillions last night laughing with Billy Connolly when he started singing a song about the flowers of Devon. Devon! Why on earth was he going on about Devon and then the penny had dropped, we had left God’s own country and crossed the border. I know that Plymouth has special dispensation for all those unfortunate Cornish children that had to go there to be born but in all honesty it isn’t Cornwall.
Isn’t it funny how each county gets proprietorial? Some counties seem rather relaxed about their identity but we know that’s not the case here. It’s not just those living in Cornwall that seem rightly fascinated with the county or country depending on your leaning but so does the rest of England. The media is full of Cornwall, every five seconds there seems to be another show based in Cornwall, recently we had Caroline Quentin frolicking around in holiday homes and the River Cottage boys foraging along the highways and byways. Next week Monty Hall is down at Penzance, Claire Balding is Rambling in Looe on Radio 4 and so it goes on. I can’t think of another county that receives such constant attention. It’s not just TV and radio though, every time I pick up a magazine you might be forgiven for think that the only stretch of coastline in the UK is down here. I’ve moved around a lot and whilst Cornwall does have jaw droppingly beautiful beaches we’re not the only one.
I’m not complaining and all the free publicity is great but the upshot is that everyone heads for Cornwall. Like I said not complaining and I love the variety of people it brings into the county – you have to admit we’re not the most diverse bunch of people but I just wish that it didn’t cause so many issues. I was driving into Newquay last week and someone has posted a sign on one of the main welcome boards that reads “Be nice or go home.” Now, I know that doesn’t seem hugely friendly on first glance but is it that different to “Please drive carefully through our village”? It’s just some local asking for their home to be treated with respect and courtesy – god knows Newquay is suffering at the moment although it’s not just visitors and Councillors should really look at their decisions to allow so many clubs and bars and topless joints to open up. Those are problems of our own making.
Half term has passed us by and we all noticed that the roads seemed a bit busier than usual, Tescos was running out of stock faster than usual, on Saturday the queues at the petrol pumps were silly and gradually the county felt that little bit fuller. Now it’s emptied out again but we all know that Easter is just around the corner and along with the visitors comes the good weather (well sometimes) the outdoor concerts, the plays in the park, the festivals, the events and shows which we all love. So even if I have to reverse 500 yards uphill every other day and never find anywhere to park I still love the start of spring and everything and everyone else that comes with it.