Sunday, 19 December 2021

Salty tales in time for Christmas .

When someone has spent a lifetime working on, living near or hanging over the sea writes about the experience you know that you too are going to feel the spray on your face as you too become immersed and share in their world.

Des Hannigan may have retired from fishing years ago but this seaman's chest of stories and poems wrought from a life lived on and at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean have an immediacy of place running through them - just as the Zawns he has climbed so often scar their way from the sea to the cliff tops. In this sometimes stormy sometimes calm trilogy recounting a lifetime lived in both sea and climbing boots, Des deftly knits together salty yarns, observations on life in prose and poetry. Inspired not only by the most powerful entity on earth, the sea, but by the people with whom he has worked, played climbed and met along the way.

As a folk-singing Scotsman his Celtic roots no doubt helped secure a home in the tiny hamlet of Trevhowan, near Morvah but he can also lay claim to fame having played his part in developing what was to become Piper's Folk club at the Count House in Botallack - his talents not quite matching those of others who raised the rafters there including the mighty Mike Chapman and Ralph McTell and others too numerous to mention. Such is the diversity of observations that make this a genuine chronicle of Cornish life in the west of Penwith at far and remotest end of Cornwall.

The power of an ocean runs deep. Feeding off this force, the poetry and prose within the covers of the Atlantic Cornwall Trilogy captures both times past and time immemorial and can be found at the Edge of the World bookshop in Penzance and the St Ives Bookseller. Go grab yourself (or someone else) a copy or all three for Christmas!