It was particularly poignant when Henry Darke sent me these polaroids of his father playwright and poet Nick Darke who also died on June 10th in 2005. I am sorry it has taken me nearly a week to post them.
They were taken during a holiday Nick went on in Scotland with Henry’s mum Jane.
Henry writes about Nick.
“Nick Darke grew up in a Cornwall very different to the one that now exists. When he was a boy everyone had a Cornish accent and was in some way connected to the land. From this base Nick developed an intimate understanding of how the land and sea worked – information which was handed down from generation to generation.
Nick loved to walk all the beaches of North Cornwall looking for wreck wood and fishing for lobster and bass on the North coast. But the Cornwall he grew up in has changed out of all recognition, time and man having reshaped the landscape into a holiday park, an ‘escape’. Many of the people that live in and visit Porthcothan and the North Coast have no connection to it. Over the years people have come and gone and the wilderness has become suburbia. A way of life has been lost, community has become fragmented, kept alive now only by a few. Looking for identity in North Cornwall is like hunting for an Amazonian seabean on the strand line, you have to search long and hard to find it, but the rewards are priceless. This is why Nick loved Scotland and specifically the Outer Hebrides. Wild and largely uninhabited, the few people that live there have a shared sense of identity and way of life, and depend on each other out of necessity. Nick would frequently joke ‘Scotland is empty, why don’t they all go on holiday and buy holiday homes there instead of Cornwall!
Nick is always smiling in the images; he had a childlike sense of fun – he said he liked to think there was a part of him that was always seven years old.
One of Nick’s favourite books was Desert Solitaire by Edward Abby (Henry made me read it before my Arizona trip), here is a quote: “A man or woman on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”‘”
Henry came on holiday here a few weeks ago and saw clearly the paralells between what has happened in Cornwall and what is happening in the highlands of Scotland. It is possible Nick Darke joked a little too soon.
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