Q and Fowey
Q had the imaginative ability to use many different venues as settings for his stories. Quite a number were based in his beloved Cornwall …for example, Shining Ferry, about the local system of education .. but some others, novels as well as short stories, took place elsewhere in the UK. The Splendid Spur is a much loved story set in the English Civil War. Further afield, Sir John Constantine tells of the adventures of a Cornish knight in Corsica in the 18th century while Fort Amity is a North American story.
Nevertheless, it was his accounts of life in and around Fowey that are probably best known to most of his readers. Things happening in the town itself (The Astonishing History of TroyTown, The Mayor of Fowey) – in the harbour (Hocken and Hunken) – up the river (The Spinster’s Maying- in The Delectable Duchy collection of short stories) were clearly a delight to him in real life and provided potential for his fictional writing,with a strong real-life base.
So how can today’s visitors to Fowey experience some of the environment which can re-mind us of the man who was once described as “the good, kindly,courtly knight of Fowey”?
A number of possible special visits are listed below.
1: The Haven and the streets of the ancient borough of Fowey
Of course a very good place to begin any journey of homage could be at The Haven, his family home for such a large part of his life and which is located at the top of the slope leading down to the Whitehouse passenger ferry to Polruan. A plaque high upon the wall overlooking the Esplanade is a modest record of his life there. Sadly, his study facing out over the harbour is now hidden from view by a more recent extension to the house.
To think of Q while wandering through the streets of Fowey following the route of his daily walk to the shops and his much loved Yacht Club it is best to avoid the distractions of the summer crowds. However, walking through Fowey in the spring – or even in winter – one can more easily imagine Q acknowledging the locals he had known fo years as he went about his business