There is a small traditional fishing town in Cornwall called Mevagissey. I don’t know why but my mind meanders into its narrow steep streets that wrap themselves around tiny old cottages of cob and slate, maybe because it is a lovely sunny day here, and the waters of the Hudson are that calming shade of cerulean that makes you think of all things sprightly. In Mevagissey, Adi and I met a pasty lover. An English Cocker Spaniel who after bathing in the waters on a bright spring day filled with sunshine had pattered in with a pasty in his mouth, looking quite so solemn. He brought humour to that musty shop we were in, brimming with old camping junk and odd ends, old compasses, rusted lanterns, war memorabilia, grouchy old man behind the till.

Mevagissey named after two Irish saints is a modest place where you trudge up a maze of streets that taper up and down, past boutiques, cafés and chip shops. Locals still make their living from fishing, carrying on the legacy of fishing that has been part of its history like Looe which eked out a living from pilchards and smuggling. Pilchard was its backbone to the extent that pilchard oil lent electricity to Mevagissey which happened to be one of the first among the villages in the county to be thus powered up.

The surprise waiting for me in the village was a 18th century building on the harbour that turned out to be a small (and free) museum. A long time ago in that building — the roofs of which were constructed out of beams acquired from smugglers — they would have made boats for smuggling and repaired them. The passage of time has lent it a more sober personality as a museum where it documents life as it would have been in the village in times bygone. You tend to gawp at a different mode of life, a more simplistic one that you would have probably read about or imagined. Great oak beams, a big hearth that would have been warm once, cloam oven and butter churn, barley thresher and cider press. Trappings of another age and time. Oh and how delighted was I to find out that I was in the village that was home to the founder of Pears – you know that oval glycerine soap we all grew up with.

The harbour on which the museum stands is the nerve centre of all action. From it the aforementioned narrow alleys radiate into cliffs hugged by the rows of cosy cottages. Now, drama unrolls with great lucidity before the eyes if you find yourself on the harbour. Courting couples, fathers dealing with tantrums of lads aiming to challenge fearless gulls strutting around for a nibble of your meal please, families sitting along the edges of the harbour with their large polystyrene boxes stuffed with fish and chips, the motley crew of sail boats waiting patiently in the inner harbour.

The end result of the tootling around Mevagissey is that your appetite works itself up, gunning for a huge pasty or fish and chips. You know which it would be. I would peg it on peer pressure (all those people dipping into the contents of their boxes) and a heady mix of aromas wafting out of the doors of the chip shop. For along with the salty smell of the sea hanging thick in the air, you have to cope with those whiffs, or just capitulate. The tang of vinegar and lingering notes of fish frying. Surely you can smell it…


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Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

45 thoughts on “Mevagissey

  1. …post about Mevagissey. We stayed in Penzance last week and visited many lovely harbour villages and this one resembles Porthleven. Well, a bit anyway. 😉 Cornwall is gorgeous, different and you have captured the spirit very well. Please excuse my misspelling in the first comment, it went off, just like that … it should be “well written” of course …
    In St Ives, I had a sausage roll in my hand walking through the narrow streets, but not for long. The gull took it before I realized what was happening. Serves me right. A few minutes prior to the incident I made a photo of “beware of the thieves in the air!” and laughed. 😉

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    1. I sauntered around Porthleven a long time ago and it is such a pretty place. You are right, its inner harbour does make you think of Mevagissey’s. You were there last week, is it? I am envious 🙂
      Ahahaha, that was a hilarious image of you walking in St. Ives with a gull in your trail. Hmm…they are mighty thieves alright. There’s irony written large over that photo of yours then, Dina. Thank you for the generous words of appreciation. xx

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  2. Cornwall is beautiful part of UK. Few years ago I had pleasure to visit The Eden Project it’s between St Austell and Par. Near to Mevagissey you can find The Lost Gardens of Heligan, it’s interesting place and worth to see.
    Have a nice day 🙂

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    1. Thank you Nisha. Cornwall’s charm lies in these fishing and erstwhile smuggling villages that can whisk you back in time with no effort. The happiness quote is bang on, if only we could remember it. 🙂 xx

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      1. I’m quite behind in reading and posting also. I became a new grandma four months ago. I’ve been busy with my granddaughter. I used to do two posts a day, now I only do two or three posts a week.

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  3. British seaside villages are always so quaint and atmospheric – I’ve never been to Cornwall before, but your photos and description are drawing me in for a short break. And of course, what’s not to love about that adorable pup with his pasty! Fantastic post as always xx

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  4. I could just smell the briny sea air and the oily fish fry! All of your photos are marvelous but the one I love the most is the pooch with it’s little greedy mouth filled with a pasty ;-). Didn’t know that Pears soap is from there. We have them here too. Great post – Neek

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew everyone would get Pears 😉 One of those well-travelled soaps.
      Thank you Neek, for imagining it all, the food, the briny sea smell and the little boy with the pasty! He was our favourite too.
      I hope the flu has fled. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you AJ. I do hope you will make it to Cornwall one day for it has an immeasurable charm that is its own. We watch a lot of travel shows, do research before getting out of the door, and sometimes, we just go with the flow. Take lanes and bylanes spontaneously. xx

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  5. Such a cheerful shot of the rows of houses on the cliff, and the harbor with its many-colored boats is cheerful as well! Thanks for the lovely travel view of another small place in Cornwall!

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