This short piece by Tony Mansell first appeared in the Western Morning News series “My Favourite Place”. Looe features in Tony’s early life and his memories of it will long remain.
Happiness is transient, fleeting, ephemeral, but was it always so? Weren’t we once able to trap it in the palm of our hand; to capture the moment and make it last for ever?
When I was young, I stood on the quayside at Pennyland and fished with a line baited with mackerel. That was happiness itself. Didn’t the sun always shine and wasn’t the box by my side always brimming with crabs?
I was so proud when folk came to watch and then, as if making my peace with nature, I’d carry the creatures safely down the steps where I released them, unharmed, back to their home in the calm blue-grey waters of that wonderful river.
Time does play tricks with our memories but that was real and the pleasure lasted for ever. I would tell my family of my fishing expedition and when I returned to school from the glorious long holiday, I would relate it to my friends who would listen with envy to the tales of the old fisherman.
We all need a Pennyland. Mine is very real but it also resides in my heart. I’m told that you should never return to the place you love because you will always be disappointed. But I have returned; I have stood on the quayside and remembered the time long ago when I was a Looe fisherman.
Tony Mansell is the author of a variety of books, stories and articles on a wide range of aspects of Cornish history. He was made a Bardh Kernow (Cornish Bard) for his writing and research, taking the name, Skrifer Istori. He is a sub-editor with Cornish Story and a researcher with the Cornish National Music Archive specialising in Cornish Brass Bands and their music.