Friday, 10 July 2009

We bought an island (Atkins)

I mentioned picking this up from the library on Monday, and thought it would be just the thing to read last night as I've been in a bit of a literary doldrums this week (although I'm sure that'll change as soon as I get my hands on something a bit different, which I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver). It wasn't exactly a great literary read, but it was HUGELY interesting, and I'm frustrated that the sequel is at the library headquarters store and won't be here before next week.

How many of you read Enid Blyton's Famous Five, in particular Five on a treasure Island, and envied George having her own island with a castle? Or loved Swallows and Amazons and the fun that could be had with boats and camps? Evelyn Atkins and her sister Babs had always hoped to own an island. Entranced by Cornwall after a holiday there, they bought a pair of cottages and set about retiring to Looe, when the island opposite their new homes came up for sale. They bought it for £20k in 1964.

The book chronicles the process of buying the island and relocating down to Cornwall, and taking their furniture and equipment across to the island. We also hear about Evelyn's pre-island life and work, which I found fascinating as I always enjoy a good autobiography. It's very informally written, as I said earlier, but if you love Cornwall or the idea of buying an island yourself, then this is a must read.

You can read more about Looe island and its history here.

Two postscripts:
1. If any of you watch the archaeological programme Time Team, you might remember that they did a dig there on the series shown earlier this year. My Dad was one of the historical experts on it! I wish I'd read the book sooner when he was telling me about the trip.
2. If anyone can recommend any other good Cornish reads I would be most grateful. DDM is a given obviously, and I've got Zennor in darkness on my pile for this summer.


  1. R and I LOVE Time Team! Very impressed with your Dad being on the show as an historical expert. I always want to give the gentlemen on that show a haircut, except for Tony of course.

  2. Do look out for the Looe Island episode. He was also in the Winchester hospital one, but that was back in 2001. My Dad is bald BTW...

  3. Well that's alright then lol! There's a website that has past episodes of Time Team so I've made note of the two that your Dad appears in. I just have to wait until Taylor wakes up to ask her what it is!

  4. I bought this ages ago for about 20p, not sure where it is now (non-fiction is always shelved erratically in my room) but you've encouraged to dig it out next time I'm in Somerset.

    Your Dad was on Time Team?! We used to watch that every week in our family, with crumpets and syrup...

  5. there was t tv show about islands that interviewed the sisters in about 1996..can anyone remember what it was called?


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