To Lamorna, home of the Lamorna artists Laura and Harold Knight and AJ Munnings, and perhaps one of the more ruggedly evocative stretches of coastline in Cornwall.
Laura Knight is a personal art-hero. She was the first female artist to become a Royal Academician, the first to have her own exhibition at the RA, the only British artist to win official commissions as war artist in WW1 and WW2. I thought that she was the first woman to have a self-portrait at the National Portrait Gallery but I can’t verify that. She also spent her later years in Colwall so I like to think she was a fan of Malvern water. There is something so brilliantly bohemian about succeeding as a woman artist in the 1920s and 1930s, a time when female freedom was for most a dream rather than a reality.
It is easy to understand why artists congregated to Larmorna. This is a wild pre-historic landscape, set away from the rest of the world. Vast monoliths of rock seem to be carved with ancient faces, and the bracken appeared burnished against the October sun.
Food Bingo update: Crab has been struck off the list. We took a wrong-turn around Newlyn and ended up at the quayside, where you can still buy slabs of fish pretty much directly off the boat. Having grown up in land-locked Tamworth Matt is an expert crab picker (really) so chose the biggest, ugliest one to take home.
Meanwhile I regaled stories of the 1896 Newlyn Fish Riot, in which the local fishing population were so outraged by outsiders (i.e. the non-Cornish) taking their boats out on Sunday, the day of rest, that a full blown riot ensued. They are God-fearing people around these parts – plus fish landed on the Sabbath reached a better price at market. Fishing boats were seized, 100,000 mackerel chucked overboard and the fish wives beat the interlopers up with haddock. (I may have embellished the last point, but the fish wives were definitely involved.) Which begs the question, is it better to be bashed with a stiff fresh haddock, or a floppy stinky one?
For dinner, holiday crab linguine, for two:
In a large pan, sweat a fat clove of garlic and finely chopped red chilli, to taste, in olive oil and butter.
Add one large chopped tomato and a good dollop of brown and white crabmeat and heat through – the intention is to warm rather than cook. Squeeze in lemon juice and season.
Pile cooked linguine on top and fork through the crab mixture, alongside a good handful of chopped herbs (parsley, Greek basil) and check the seasoning. You might need an extra glug of pasta water to get everything sticking together.
Serve. No parmesan needed.