I’m not, by a million miles, the first person to fall in love with St Ives, but maybe I’m the only one for some time who has no claim to adore its surf, its art, its beaches, its dinky shops or even its New Year’s Day parade, though I did really enjoy all those things (well, maybe not the surfing so much). I just loved the pasties.
Not all pasties are created equal. We had one that looked as though it was really going to be the business – we could see the cooks working away with authentic looking pastry and raw ingredients, hand-crimping under our beady eyes – and it turned out quite lumpen and heavy. Another one, in a far less artisanal shop, was absolutely perfect, with hot golden pastry, delicious fillings and lots of pepper. Best yet, the wild seas came up over the harbour as we feasted and all but washed our feet for us. Then brewing storm Eleanor showed off the edges of her building temper-tantrum as we went for a seal-spotting walk along the coast, exfoliating our faces and leaving us with salty lips.
I was expecting to spend large slices of the time concocting novel number four in my series, after Death in Dulwich, The Girl in the Gallery and Calamity in Camberwell (coming soon), but I’m afraid I was much too busy sampling the many pasties on offer. We did have a look at the Tate, which has a very curious entrance blocking out a magnificent view of the sea with a deadly dull wall, though there is a curved glass window higher up in the building where you can see what you’re missing on the ground floor. Is the carpark-style lower wall a flood defence? You can see why they might need it, in weather like this, but it’s not gorgeous. Maybe it was designed by whoever cobbled together the Tate Modern extension in London.
There’s a nice collection of paintings inside, including a Rothko at the end of a blind corridor, and a beautiful Braque still life. Nothing beats the beauty of a perfectly-cooked pasty, though. Yum. Works of art.