Proper Cakey Tea
I’m the parish clerk in Menheniot and I took on some work in Liskeard at the start of the year as part of the regeneration of the town centre. One of the things I said to the people managing it is that Liskeard needs to think about how Cornish it wants to be. There’s something unique about Cornwall and we should promote the things that make it distinctive and different from England. A lot of them were horrified at that. They said, “If we start to go that way we’re going to have people burning down second homes like they did in Wales.” I don’t think that reflects the views of most people who live in Liskeard and are proud of Cornwall. They would like there to be some acknowledgement that they are Cornish and have a long heritage.
What I’m going to be doing in the future is working with the shopkeepers to do more to promote the town. We have sixteen junk shops, bric-a-brac and charity shops in Liskeard – really nice interesting browsy shops. I’d like to introduce a walking tour of the town that takes in all those shops. Have you ever been to Lostwithiel? It’s very pretty, a bit twee, and there are all these smart expensive antique shops. If you go to Lostwithiel with a tenner you might just get a cup of tea and a piece of cake in one of those lovely tea rooms, but you can’t buy anything else. If you come to Liskeard with a tenner you can have one of our proper Cornish Cakey Teas and you can go round some of those sixteen bric-a-brac shops and buy something to take home with you.
Sadly, the people I was working for didn’t quite see it in the same way I did because a lot of the traders look down on the charity shops as a waste of space. But there’s a lot of really interesting ‘junk’ which makes for fascinating browsing – even the clothing is interesting. So I have been talking to a couple of tour companies about setting up some sort of tour of the bric-a-brac shops. We need to find the right way to describe the shops – maybe ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ – and then go for a cakey tea afterwards. I’m working on it.
What we HAVE done this summer is latch on to the Poldark popularity and introduce the idea of the Proper Cakey Tea all through the town. It started with some guy called Tony Goodman dubbing Poldark episodes on YouTube with his own story – basically that Ross wants his Cakey Tea.
A proper Cakey Tea consists of Thunder and Lightning, Saffron Cake and Hevva Cake and there’s only one place at the moment selling it properly – that’s The Globe in Fowey. But starting in June for National Cream Tea Day thirty shops in Liskeard began selling merchandise linked to the theme. Eight or nine cafes are doing different variations of Cakey Tea – one’s doing a Cakey Tea milkshake, one’s doing the full-on sandwiches and things and somebody else is doing a takeaway, for example. The bookshop is doing recipes, the library is doing history, the local hardware shop is doing preserving equipment and one of the pubs is doing strawberry daiquiris. Each of the thirty businesses are doing some thing different but connected. A really interesting one is the lady who runs Cornish Soap Cakes and she’s done a little pack of a strawberry scented bath bomb with slivers of vanilla soap. It’s just using the imagination.
We’re doing this until the end of August so there’s only a few weeks to go, but if you look on our Proper Cakey Tea Facebook page you can see what’s going on.