TV presenter and author Judy Finnigan shares her passion for Talland Bay in Cornwall, where she and husband Richard Madeley have their second family home. Interview: Alex Reece
When Richard and I first got together, back in 1984, I had two little boys from my first marriage (they were twins, seven years old), and we thought a good way to start before we actually moved in with each other was to take them away on a little break.
On the spur of the moment, we chose Cornwall. We had a wonderful week – every day was sunny and hot – and at the end of the holiday we didn’t want to go home, so we booked into the Talland Bay Hotel for a couple more days. That was the start of our love affair with this particular part of Cornwall, which has continued ever since.
We’ve had a house in Talland Bay for many years now. My novel, Eloise, is actually set here. The book is partly a ghost story and partly a thriller, and this is the kind of area where you can imagine it being haunted by ghosts and strange things happening. It does make you feel very close to the spiritual – it’s something to do with the landscape and, of course, the sea.
Now we’re not doing the daily TV stuff, Richard and I probably manage to spend about 30-40 per cent of our time in Cornwall. I find it easier to write here. You can see the sea from the top of our lawn and it does help tremendously. The atmosphere is calming and enabling. It’s a complete change from London and it encourages you to think more deeply and creatively, and just relax, really. But London is still where the work that we do is based. Also, three of our four grown-up children live with us there.
When we bought our Cornish house, we had our wedding blessed. We’d been married for years by then, but we’d had a registry office wedding in Manchester. In Cornwall, we’ve got a beautiful ancient church. It’s kind of the centrepiece of our little hamlet, and we had our two youngest children christened here as well. We had a big lobster party afterwards (we got some fresh lobsters from Fowey). That was a lovely day, a lovely night.
'You can see the sea from the top of our lawn and it does help tremendously. The atmosphere is calming and enabling'