Saturday, 1 October 2011


Seven years ago, this village was devastated by flooding: you wouldn’t know it from seeing it now, particularly on an October afternoon with the thermometer showing record temperatures. The National Trust shop and coffee house – I ordered latte and was served cappuccino – also has an exhibition area, with a harrowing video sequence showing. The events that 16th August unfold grimly, cars and caravans swept over the main road bridge and out to sea, as if our grandchildren were playing with my old Dinky toys. It seems a miracle that no lives were lost.

Today Boscastle was en fête, exhibitions in all its public (and some private) buildings, and a vast food tent with cookery demonstrations by would-be celebrity chefs. We walked down into the village from the direction of Willapark coastguard station, the harbour entrance unfolding before us like a sequence from Pirates of the Caribbean. After lunch, sitting by the river (today, hardly more than a babbling brook), we struggled up the steep High Street to see Carole Vincent’s garden, with its curiously antiseptic concrete sculptures.

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