I feel a little bad for having been so mean to Jamaica Inn in my last post. Not bad enough to take it down, since it is all perfectly true, but bad enough to want to make it up to whoever may read this blog in the future by tempering it with another, happier tale of places connected with Daphne Du Marier.
This last holiday was the second time I have been to Cornwall. The first time, the lady who supervised our campsite had seen that I was reading Rebecca, and had told us – somewhat mysteriously – that she lived just down the coast. We truly planned to go, but could find no tourist information on where it was, what time it opened, and so on, so gave up. This time, however, we had a car, and my boyfriend had checked where she had lived online beforehand. He still couldn’t find exactly where she lived, but he got the name of a village – Fowey – and so we set off, in hope that there would be some indication when we got there.
There was not. However, gathering all my courage, I went into the pub on the beach, where a helpful barlady informed me that Daphne du Marier’s house belonged to Lord and Lady something-or-other, who “wouldn’t have anything to do with it” – by which she meant it was closed to the public. Luckily, she gave me a piece of advise on how to see something related to Daphne du Maurier.
It emerges that if you drive past Menabilly, Daphne du Maurier’s house, from Fowey, and keep going, you eventually reach a path and a car park. The car park costs 50p, which you are asked to put in a milk pail next to a farm a little way down the path, and this is charming in itself. Keeping going down the path, and following it to the left, you will find yourself facing a rocky cove. This is the place which Rebecca’s cottage by the sea was inspired by. It is exactly the way I pictured it (and maybe the way you’ve pictured it too) except that for some reason I’d always thought the first beach, the one Maxim wanted to show his wife without her finding the cottage, was on the left facing out to sea, whereas it is actually on the right.
We were not permitted to enter the cottage itself, or the boat house, but this was fine as they’d probably been done up and wouldn’t really be exciting anyway. The sea and its noted contrast with the countryside it breaks onto is fantastic in itself, besides which there was a person collecting stones onthe shore who looked like he could be mad Tom (from a distance, at least)
Anyhow, I hope this wave of positivity outweighs my complaints of last time, and means no-one is discouraged from Cornwall itself. It is, after all, a lovely place.