Today is a really exciting day for me. Many years ago, when I was living in Australia and dreaming of being in Cornwall, I had two ways of connecting with that far-away part of the UK. First, when I got home from my busy job as a Publicist at the Seven Network in Sydney, I’d quickly log onto BBC Radio Cornwall and listen to the breakfast programme James Churchfield and Pam Spriggs (yes I really did this and yes I’ve confessed it – under duress – to James). The other way I’d get a dose of my favourite Duchy was by subscribing to the award-winning magazine, Cornwall Today.
This gorgeous, glossy mag was chock-full of interesting articles and tempting tidbits, making me long for my ancestral home even more than usual. So it is with great pleasure (and quite a bit of disbelief) that today I can say that I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor to the magazine. My brief is to write about Heritage – specifically local events and revived traditions – and this suits me down to the ground. Since I moved to the UK nine years ago, I’ve immersed myself in all kinds of events in Cornwall, from the mainstream to the downright weird and wacky.
For my first article, I was privileged to speak with Dr Garry Tregidga, passionate Clay Country man and Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter’s Falmouth Campus. Garry is also a staunch supporter of the Rescorla Centre, a cultural hub near St Austell which aims to promote and develop the study and celebration of Cornish culture. As part of this, a project to revive an unusual dance called the “Snail Creep” was launched (if you want to know more about it, you’ll have to buy Cornwall Today!). Having been an important part of local celebrations for generations, the Snail Creep died out after World War Two and was in danger of being lost forever. But after consultation with the local community and with assistance from Cornish dance and music experts, Merv and Alison Davey (of the Cornish Folk Project, An Daras), the tradition was revived and is now practised at the Rescorla Festival every year.
This year’s Rescorla Festival will be held on Sunday 19th July at the Rescorla Centre. The Snail Creep will be held at 4:00pm and an afternoon of music and dance will follow. There will also be an evening of Cornish music the night before (Saturday 18th July) at the Kings Arms in Luxulyan. If you’d like to get involved, do let me know and I’ll put you in touch.
So I’m looking forward to learning even more about Cornwall and its traditions, both new and revived. If you’ve got an event coming up that you’d like to tell me about, do get in touch via this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have the feeling this is going to be a very enjoyable journey.