Seagulls in the Attic is my first book read in the Non-fiction November 2017 challenge. I chose this book for the HOME category in the challenge, as I live in Cornwall these days.
Having given up a high-powered job and the lifestyle to match, Tessa Hainsworth had no idea how hard she would struggle when, full of optimism, she fulfilled her dream of moving to rural Cornwall with her young family one September. In the first book Up With the Larks Tessa charted her first turbulent year with the Royal Mail, and her transformation from outsider to ‘Posh Postie’, adopted Cornishwoman and much-loved member of her new community. In Seagulls in the Attic Tessa is now a pillar of the community, or so she thinks. Life is becoming hard for her and her family as they realise that being part of a small community is not quite the idyll she had been lead to believe, as lack of money and the demands of family life take their toll. But, as with the first book, Tessa finds the fun and resilience to turn all the hardships to her advantage – eventually. The first book sold over 6,000 copies in hardcover and is rapidly becoming a must-read book for all those who hanker for an escape to the country.
Having enjoyed Up with the Larks a few years ago, I’ve actually hadSeagulls in the Attic sat on my bookshelf for years waiting to be read. My husband bought it from Amazon for me, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover it was a signed copy. As it’s Non-fiction November I thought I’d use this opportunity to finally pick this book up. I’ve chosen this book for the HOME category in the Non-fiction November 2017 challenge, seeing as I live in Cornwall these days.
Whereas the first book focuses more of just arriving in Cornwall and getting to know the locals and their way of life, this book is more about being settled in the community, but trying to embrace the Cornish way of life more, which also includes having hens, vegetable growing, foraging, living a more humble life and a very cute, but cheeky baby seagull.
In this book Tessa has hens for eggs and also starts growing her own vegetables. I love growing vegetables. I grew up with my dad growing all sorts of fruit and veg, as my parents have a large garden. He still grows vegetables to this day, and I have grown my own veg for a few years since leaving home too. However, it’s one of the things I’ve hardly done in the six years I’ve been living in West Cornwall. Just maintaining our garden is such hard work with all the brambles and nettles that insist on constantly taking over and attacking us each time we try to get rid of them. Cornish nettles are fierce! I have four raised vegetable beds, but they’re clearly not raised enough as they are almost permanently full of overgrown grass these days! It’s so much effort trying to clear them, I have to admit that over the last couple of years I’ve given up. Don’t get me wrong, I do love gardening, but I’ve taken to letting our garden do its own thing for now, with a bit of tidying up here and there. The vegetables will have to wait until I have more time, energy and motivation to face that challenge again.
I giggled at anywhere north of the Tamar River being referred to as ‘up country’. It’s true. I’m not sure some of our neighbours can comprehend us travelling seven hours in the car to visit family up in Yorkshire. It seems travelling a whole six miles to Truro is somewhat of an extravagant adventure for these parts. I’ve never thought to ask, but I bet some of my neighbours have never even left Cornwall. Can you imagine?!
I just loved Google the baby seagull. I’m afraid I’m one of those pesky outsiders who has a soft spot for seagulls and is guilty of doing the unthinkable by actually feeding them.
This was a fun, easy read that had me giggling in places, and even tears in my eyes at one point. I definitely recommend this book if you have an interest in Cornwall, especially if you’re an outsider living in Cornwall like me.
Here are some photos of seagulls I’ve taken in Cornwall 🙂
Seagulls in St. Ives 2011 – “Ooh, chips!”
Baby Seagulls in Falmouth 2011 – “Ooh, more chips!!!”
Where to find this book: