The modern-day buccaneers who plunder Cornwall’s treasure

Bad housing developments are threatening Cornwall’s landscape, culture, and its sense of community – themes which have inspired Orlando Kimber’s new novel, ‘Fightback’

Wednesday 04 August 2021 21:30
<p>Divided society: local interests must be protected</p>

Divided society: local interests must be protected

Cornwall is like a boat on the ocean: remote, independent and self-sufficient, but kept from conceit in her beauty by the Atlantic storms. My relationship with this remarkable country began when I left school and wanted to escape from London. A friend introduced me to a family who needed cheap labour for their flower nursery near Truro. We met on a cold, grey February afternoon at the Stanhope Arms on Gloucester Road and made the deal. I would stay in the semi-derelict Georgian Manor House that was the family home, and help to grow the fuchsias they cultivated in long, humid, opaque greenhouses.

I arrived a few days later in the driving rain, and this is how it stayed for a further six weeks. Yet this was to become one of the hottest summers of the 20th century, and I’d ended up in one of the best places in the country to enjoy it. The more I came to know the local people, the land, the sea, and the local produce, the more I felt I belonged.

Music has always been a great love, and while in Cornwall, I recorded some guitar pieces at a tiny studio, in a damp cold converted barn at Roche, heated by a three-bar electric fire. Friends made encouraging noises about the recording, so the guitar and I returned to the bright lights of London in January to seek our fortune. This ensured that my latest change of location would again be in unremitting rain. I was lucky enough to land a job with EMI film music, and began working in some of the best studios in the world, with wonderfully creative composers, and the cream of session musicians.

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