Jamaica Inn

I have just come back from my summer holiday, which is the excuse I am sticking to for not posting recently. I went to Cornwall, again with the lovely boyfriend, a land with more history than you can shake a stick at.

I will probably be milking this for all it is worth in the days to come, but sadly the most disappointing things in life always leave the greatest impact on you, and this leads me to speak of Jamaica Inn. For those of you who are not familiar with Daphne Du Marier’s book of the same name, it is a story of smugglers and murderers, and the bleakness of the cornish moors which surround the inn. It is a really, really good story, so (unlike the Inn itself) I won’t spoil anything for you.

Whatever you do, if you like Jamaica Inn the book, don’t visit Jamaica Inn the place.

Don’t.

It is truly saddening. The pub itself is dingy (which does, I’ll admit, go with the feel of the book) and contains, in some corners, mannequins dressed supposedly as some of the characters from the book. These are hideous things, of the sort which you find in old and dusty museums, and which “speak” if you press a button. The other object of note is the placard on the floor, which revealed to my boyfriend an element of the story which he did not already know, and was, I think, incorrectly placed in any case.There was nothing else related to the story in the bar, and so we left it there.

Neither of us were hungry, and so we headed round to the gift shop.

It was the tackiest thing in the world. There were sweets with “Jamaica Inn” fixed to them, torches, and t-shirts. There were many different types of alcohol in little glass bottles, one called “Smuggler’s Joy” while another was called “Smuggler’s Pride” or some such. There were a multitude of personalised gifts and those magnets which say “A Home Without a Cat is Just a House”. Don’t take me the wrong way, I have no issue with these things in moderation. But when there are hundreds of them, all crowded into a tiny space? Also, nearly anything which could have a pirate sticker affixed to it did, which raised a further question in my mind. Since when was Jamaica Inn a story of pirates? They are never mentioned in the book. And yet the pictures of Joss Merlyn the innkeeper have him done up in a manner which would make Blackbeard blush, and the pub’s sign is a pirate with a parrot on his shoulder.

In any case, whenever you should choose to cross Bodmin moor, I would advise you to do as the coachdriver in the story, to whip your horses on and not slow until you reach the safety of Launceston.

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