Slowing down to the pace of life in the fast lane

Posted on: 18th May 2011

A NOT UNUSUAL thing happened to me this week. A visitor speaking to Bert Pascoe (not his real name) a mechanic, on the forecourt of a local garage—after having his recently expired vehicle brought back to road-worthiness with courteous efficiency—dropped the idle comment into conversation that “You are so lucky down here. The pace of life is so slow.”…

… it is odd how people come to these broadbrush generalisations. Once a statement gains common currency people can tend to repeat what they hear without question. That the “pace of life is slow” in Cornwall, has become an unquestioned statement of truth just as “Cornishmen do it dreckly” can be seen on the back window of pretty well every other vehicle around these parts.

One local wag once said that the word “dreckly” was “similar to the Spanish word ‘mañana’ but without the same sense of urgency”! Stereotypes can become part of a healthy humour—especially if we are able to mock ourselves.

The fact is that the pace of life in Cornwall is pleasantly very slow indeed if you are retired, if you have come down here to retire or to semi-retire or if you are on holiday. But if you are in work or raising a family the pace of life is fast—no slower or faster than anywhere else I would imagine. Although many claim that in order to be in work and to stay in work in Cornwall you can’t afford to slow down.

– “A View from the Bottom Left-Hand Corner”, by Andrew George MP