Saturday, May 24, 2008

Still Waters locations part 2

Okay, after searching two hard drives and several shoeboxes in the garage (where I also partook of a little light beating-the-crap-out-of-the-punchbag), I found the photos I was looking for. Back when I was working with an analogue camera. Ahh, the good old days of 2004.

This is the first Sophie book set entirely in England. although the Cornish might argue that fact, since Cornwall used to be regarded as a separate country, with its own language and its own flag (which is still used sometimes, as is its Cornish name, Kernow).

I also made a couple of maps (heavily borrowed from Google maps) , for those of you who haven't got a clue where in the hell I'm talking about. (If you want to see them bigger, right-click and open them in a different window--Blogger will open them in this window if you let it).

And yes, for those of you who do know where Cornwall is, I know I've included Devon in half these maps. Deal with it.

Tintagel, looking down the path to the cove. This path doesn't look so bad, but trust me when I say it's so steep my lungs were burning by the time I'd climbed back up. There is actually a Land Rover Defender service to carry tourists up and down so they can see the castle. Sophie mentions this service, which Luke reckons is for wimps, but she likes the sound of--not only because her beloved Ted is a Defender too.

Tintagel Head, seen from Port Isaac, through a typical sea fret. And yes, that is as cold as it looks. I can tell you from experience how bitterly cold it is standing up on the headland with the wind slicing through you. Imagine living in a dark age castle there (the dark ages being when King Arthur was supposedly born in that very castle, now sadly almost completely obliterated).

Tintagel cove. First look at the cave on the left--that's known as Merlin's cave (yes, that Merlin). It goes all the way through to the other side of the headland like a tunnel, and when the tide is out you can walk all the way through.

Now look further left and up at the walkway between the mainland and the 'Island'. Those tiny, tiny little dots are people. Pictures can't possibly convey how high that is, how jagged the rocks below are, how loud the crashing waves, and how completely terrifying it is to someone as frightened of heights as I am. Even once you reach hard rock again, you climb up more steps, carved into the vertical rock face, until you get to the very top of the Island.

The top of that Island is also a setting in Still Waters. Okay, I'm not really sure a helicopter could land there, but that, my friend, is what they mean by poetic licence.

Back to Port Trevan, or Port Isaac in real life. The street known as Squeeze-ee-belly Alley, which I showed a picture of below, ends by passing under a couple of cottages. This is me standing there in the narrowest part of the gap. I know I have giant man-shoulders, but they both touched the walls as I went through.

Crystalline turquoise waters, a tiny cove near Port Gaverne just around the headland from Port Isaac. This tiny little cove always reminds me of something out of the Chronicles of Narnia (I think it's the Voyage of the Dawn Treader I'm thinking of, where they find a beautiful pool with the statue of a gold man in it. When they try to hook it out with a sword, the sword turns to gold on touching the water. The statue is actually a man who dived in and turned to gold. Why I think of that when I look at this, I've no idea--but that's the power of imagery for you).

Pretty pretty views, with imminent death just behind you in the form of those falling rocks. Honestly, there are so many ways to die around here--the water and the cliff are spectacular enough--that it's a wonder I didn't pop off more characters in Still Waters.

Aha! The cave! I found the picture of the cave! The tide here is, obviously, well out, but when it's in it completely covers the floor of the cave. I truly don't know how high up it actually goes (you can only see the place by walking there when the tide is out), but in the book I had it high enough to drown someone a few feet from the ceiling.

The little dog there, by the way, is Honey, the real-life Norma Jean, trotting along behind my dad.

St Michael's Mount, on the south coast of Cornwall. The causeway here is only visible and safe to cross when the tide is out. Twice a day, the mount becomes an island, only accessible by boat. The island is inhabited by the family who own the castle at the top, and villagers in the cottages at the bottom. I took liberties with the island when I used it as the setting--both in Still Waters and Ugley Business--for the home of Angel's friend Livvy, by putting an Elizabethan palace there instead of a medieval castle. Still, I can't think of a more fantastic setting for the wedding at the end of the book, can you?

No comments:

Post a Comment