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It is not often in Cornwall that you are hoping it will rain but when you are a lucky entrepreneur, you arrive in time for a heat-wave. On one day I hoped for a little rain to clear the car park and the beach so I could enjoy peace and quiet. It is amazing how many people come down to the beach on hot and sunny days. Numbers are up but many visitors to Cornwall are spending their money in the supermarkets and cutting back on going out for meals. This is not good for the many passive equity companies in Cornwall that are in the catering tradesuch as Dobles, many with second and third generations at the helm. Let us hope that they do not fulfill the old adage of clogs to clogs in three generations. Hope they all have a good business plan. You could spend your holiday seeking out active equity companies funded by Finance Cornwall but it is more fun to taste the delights of local producers (nearly all passive equity companies) such as Rodda’s Cornish Clotted Cream and St Austell Brewery. There is also the onerous task of seeking out the best Cornish pasty. Try starting with the forty members of the Cornish Pasty Association.
As in the Lake District, there is a tension between the locals who make their money from the visitors, and the incomers who are seeking a paradise of peace and quiet with incomes funded by public sector or large company pensions. The remains of the tin mines remind us all that Cornwall was a very important industrial area and a wealth creator. It is only comparatively recently that it has become a holiday and retirement county. I stayed in the village of St Agnes, on the north coast, which was split by plans to bring in the popular Beach Break Festival from Polzeath to the farm which used to host the Surfers Against Sewage Ball. The local bakery expected to sell £20,000 worth of pasties to the 10,000 festival goers. Local campsites would have been full. But others were concerned with disruption to their paradise.
The West Briton reported that “the three-day event featuring top national bands should have filled the farm fields with revellers. But that all changed when Cornwall Council’s planning committee members ignored their officers’ recommendation for approval and threw out the application”. The locals blamed recently retired in-comers with time to spare and cash to produce detailed reports (always remember the bats and newts) and then bussed in the protesters to attend the planning meeting. To add salt to the local’s wounds, one of the incomers was then elected to the local council!
You can see both points of view but as I was woken by the sound of a beach party one night, I turned over and dreamed of times long ago when I would have been “moon-walking”! (I wish. Ed). Even in Cambridge we manage with May Week and Strawberry Fair although I gather that the Jesus College Ball had to finish early.
One evening I was lucky enough to be down at Trevaunance Cove when the Nippers Club of St Agnes Surf Club ( 7-12 years old, boys and girls) had a training evening. It was very special to see nearly fifty kids and their supervisors set out for a distant cove. The nippers take their training very seriously and are taught great respect of the sea and how to help each other. The purpose of the training is to provide volunteers for the surf club, people willing to risk their lives to save others. It is them against the elements and such a very different atmosphere from watching nippers play football, tennis or rugby with parents urging their children on from the sidelines. Which sport prepares people best for the business world where team work and leadership are such valuable skills?
So the message from Cornwall is “Please do come and stay. We understand that times are tough but do make sure that some of your money is spent with local firms”. To those who wish to move to paradise, remember that Cornwall is for all. Although sometimes festivities for the young can be disruptive, it is not for long and one day those youngster will be the next older visitors to Cornwall and bring their children. And you will feel safer in paradise guarded by one of those nippers who has grown up and may even have enjoyed a beach party or two!