The sun shone bright today, and it has been most gorgeous in St Ives. It's been a little while since we've had a day like this, and I wanted to be part of it for a while. I should have gone swimming. I flirted with a dip in the sea, but settled for a wander around town instead. It's quiet in St Ives at the moment. There are few, if any holidaymakers in town. The coach tours visit on a Tuesday or a Wednesday., so there were no groups wandering around with a pasty (and yes, people eat pasties at 9 in the morning. Even I couldn't eat one at that time of day). I wandered up to a favourite view, and looked out at the sea. She was calm and resplendent.
Honey and I meandered through the back streets, along the harbour front, past the de-commissioned life boat and onto the old slipway. There were two fishermen mending their nets. It's not something you see these days. There is only one net mending loft in St Ives. The rest of them have been turned into holiday lets. A friend of mine's Dad is one of the last mending the nets with traditional methods here. The town's fishing trade is very small. Back in the day the men would be mending their nets outside of their homes, or all along the harbour. It's all part of the town's past, only glimpsed in the photos contained in the books in the town's remaining bookshop.
I love living here. I really do. But sometimes the beauty feels like a veneer spread very thin over a town that has somehow lost it's way. Very few people live in the centre of town. Most live in the new estates that have been built on the way out. There is an uneasy alliance between many of the locals, and the holiday makers that come here. The town depends upon them, and yet they are disliked for the most part.
I stand to one side of that. The fishing trade collapsed a long time ago, and the town would be struggling financially were it not for the money generated by tourism. And I think that St Ives has capitalised successfully on it's beautiful beaches, the quirky feel of the place and it's artistic heritage.
There are many coastal towns that haven't fared as well. But being one of the most desirable places in the UK to live, has pushed up house prices to a ridiculous degree. Many homes are owned by so called second owners. This makes local people angry. They feel as if the town no longer belongs to them. There were four butchers when I moved here fourteen years ago. Now there is one. There were three book shops. Now there is only one. There were two hardware stores. Now there are none. The main street is lined with surf shops and high end retail. An ice cream costs a fortune.
I don't get involved in any of the heated discussions in the playground about all of the above. I don't feel as if I have the right to be honest. Sometimes I feel like an incomer too, even though I am an integrated part of this community. I have my own views on the complex issues that often divide the town. I'm not sure how a post about a morning walk has turned into something else. I guess I felt a kind of relief about town, even though there was no-one buying.
It's a beautiful place. And there is sadness around the edges. It's part of the town.
Have a great week, lovely people.