Cornwall, Direckly

Destination: Cornwall County, England

DVD cover, Cornwall
DVD: Cornwall with Caroline Quentin (NEW, U.S. Debut November 6 2012)

Darn this DVD for adding yet another destination to my lengthy WANNAGOTHERE list.

Outside of the more obvious places–London, Stratford, uh–there must be some other ones–I admit that I am woefully ignorant of England’s counties, so I should not be totally surprised that Cornwall came as a….total surprise.

Before I saw this DVD, if I heard “Cornwall”, I’d think “mining”, “Cornish pasties”.  That’s it. But having seen the incredible scenery of the far Southwestern peninusla of England, I’m totally smitten. Plunging cliffs surpass Ireland’s famous Cliffs of Mohr. Rolling green fields could stand in for Scotland. Small picturesque villages crowded by flower boxes instantly say “England”. Miles and miles and miles of pristine white beaches would remind me of California, even if there were not surfers galore.  What’s not to love?

The county of Cornwall does a magnificent job of selling itself. And if there’s a need to close the deal, look to the cheerfully casual inhabitants, whose national byword is DRECKLY–as in, “No rush. I’ll get round to it direckly.”

Having watched all of the two DVDs in this set, Cornwall With Caroline QuentinI can highly recommend the scenery and the people to anyone looking to travel to a lesser known part of the British Isles.  But if you are going to watch the eight TV documentary episodes on these DVDs, I also recommend that you watch with the sound off after the first couple of episodes. Unfortunately, I would have preferred Cornwall without Caroline Quentin, as bubbly and enthusiastic as the award-winning comedian is.

Because these DVDs are simply the entire string of TV shows, information repeats ad naseum.  Once the producers got a good quote, they used in in every episode, meaning you’re going to hear each one about eight times.  And I thought if I heard Ms. Quentin say, “Oh, its AWESOME! Just AWESOME! one more time, I might shove her overboard. (She really did talk in capital letters and use exclamation marks. You could practically see them hanging in the air.)

St. Michael's Mount, Cornwall August Blues
St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

Quentin and her crew visit a vineyard, a chef, body surfers, a couple of regattas, a pretty village and its friendly pub, a luxury home-for-let business and St. Michael’s Mount.  (Not to be confused with Mont St. Michel in Brittany, although it is also becomes an island at high tide.)When you sit down to watch these two DVD, you are seeing a patchwork of scenes with little bits of several stories thrown together in each episode.

I can’t think of an American TV documentary that slices and dices the information and scrambles it in this annoying fashion. Certainly not Rick Steves or Andrew Bourdain! I had the same complaint over at Reel Life With Jane about The Story of Costume Drama, which also came from Acorn Media Group.

I frequently don’t get the kick out of British humor that the Brits apparently do.  The fascination with men cross-dressing as very buxom and fairly ugly females, as a rowing team does on this documentary, is one example. Perhaps my resistance to the patchwork approach is a similar failure to communicate across cultures. You’ll have to make up your own mind whether you prefer Cornwall with or without Caroline Quentin.

Meanwhile, I’ve read the little viewer guide that comes along with the DVD and found actual information presented in a coherent form, and without exclamation marks.

  • Virginia Woolf and D. H. Lawrence both spent time in Cornwall and novels set in Cornwall include those by Daphe de Maurier, Mary Wesley, Winston Grolier (Poldark) and even an episode of Harry Potter.
  • The Cornish would like to be a “home nation” like Scotland and Wales instead of a County.
  • The Cornish language is understood by about 3500 people.

Have you ever considered Cornwall as a travel destination?

Notes: The photo of St. Michael’s Mount comes from Flickr and is used with Creative Commons license. Click on the beautiful photo to learn more about the photographer.  The Acorn Media Group sent me the DVD for review, but obviously my views are my own.  There are links to Amazon in this post, because I am an Amazon affiliate, and love it when you shop there through my links. It costs you no more, but helps keep A Traveler’s Library afloat. 

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “Cornwall, Direckly

  1. Germaine: Forgot that you had been in Cornwall. And Kerry, one of the reasons I was not wild about this DVD is that it focused on things like the cross-dressing regatta race instead of historic sites. No, no mention of King Arthur. Interesting to hear about Sara McQuaid.

  2. no mention of KIng Arthur? however you feel about Arthurian legend or history (I like the Scotland ideas myself), that connection and all the sites are surely unique about Cornwall.

    there’s been a Cornwall connection here at ATL before, too. remember when I wrote about Sarah McQuaid? the songs I spoke of were set in Derbyshire, but Sarah lives in Cornwall.

  3. I have fond memories of my stay in Cornwall—isolated beaches, fresh-caught fish, and a wide array of art galleries and potteries. Best to go either shortly before or after the summer crush.

  4. i’m watching this, too, to review for our site. i concur!! although i’ve always wanted to go to cornwall, having read many books set there – and, of course, loving the water so. great review!

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