I’ve just come back from a lovely week in West Penwith, staying in Penzance and roaming a little around the coast and across to St Ives. As I read 8.5 books in 8 days (this included two 7 hour train journeys!) I had to replace them obviously, so there’s a book pile later, and I also wanted to draw people’s attention to a lovely bookshop and a super maker.

Edge of the World Bookshop Penzance, external view

The Edge of the World Bookshop

The Edge of the World Bookshop is a wonderful independent bookshop on the main shopping street of Penzance. You can find them online here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. They do loads of author events and signings and have a brilliant stock that’s both deep and wide. I always buy a few books here when I’m in Penzance, and I’ve never been disappointed. I was really chuffed this time to manage to pop in during Bookshop Day – something I don’t usually do as it’s always the day we’re travelling down or back – and picked up a lovely book bargain.

I took a trip to St Ives mid-week and my best friend Emma had given me a mission to find Sharon McSwiney’s shop. Sharon used to share a workshop in the Jewellery Quarter with Emma’s and my mutual friend Esther (who is also now based in Cornwall, making jewellery and automata, website here). So I found the Drill Hall, just up the hill from the sea front, and there was the charming shop and Sharon’s very nice husband, who runs the shop while Sharon makes and teaches.

Sharon McSwiney’s shop

There are so many beautiful objects in the shop – I particularly loved the autumn leaves, and there is both jewellery and larger metalwork items.  Even better, Sharon runs courses, and I bet my local friends would be interested in those. I picked up a couple of leaflets and promised to share them!

You can do full or half-day courses and all info is on Sharon’s lovely website.

I always love finding quirky and interesting shops and artists when I’m away, or returning to favourite places, and I think it’s only fair to share the loveliness – no one asked me to share these details and I’m getting nothing from this apart from the joy of sharing some lovely places and things. Do let me know if you pop to the websites or find something fun to do or buy, though!

And those books?

I always do a trawl of the charity shops when I’m somewhere different and was surprised to find only two books this time. Jo Brand’s “Born Lippy” is a book of advice that also acts as something of a memoir: it’s hilarious of course but with good advice, too. As I’d finished all the books I took with me, I read half of this on the train home. Bernadine Evaristo’s “Mr Loverman” is a novel telling the story of an elderly man, born in Antigua and living in the UK since the 60s, a husband, father and grandfather, who has secretly been in a relationship with his (male) best friend almost his whole life. I got these two from the charity shop opposite the Davy statue, the charity of which I’ve shamefully forgotten.

“On the Marsh” by Simon Barnes tells of buying and living in a slice of Norfolk including some marshland which he then rewilds, giving his son, who is living with Down’s syndrome, a place of quiet and calm in the meantime. Bought at The Works when I went in for some post-it tabs.

Then in Edge of the World I spent my book token from my friend Laura on “Homesick” by Catrina Davies – this is the book about the woman who lives in a shed on her parents’ land near St Ives after she realises she can’t afford to get on the property ladder. A very appropriate book to buy in West Penwith, and I had saved it to buy in the shop. Jonathan Gornall’s “How to Build a Boat”, which is about him learning to build a boat when his daughter is born, to sail in with her, was bought with a cheeky ‘book token’ from my friend Sian, and Isabella Tree’s “Rewilding” was in the bookshop’s Bookshop Day special offer – their favourite books for £5 each – which they are running all this week.

Have you read any of these? I know at least one person who’s just read “Homesick”. And if you have a small independent business that’s a favourite and you want to tell me about, pop a link in the comments!