By Way of an Introduction
It’s Midsummer in Treddoch Harbour, the time of the year when daylight seems to want to run on forever and night is just an unwanted and unwarranted intrusion.
It’s that time of year when the blackbird can still be heard singing far into the evening and children are resentful of going to bed, for daylight, somehow, manages to worm its way through even the tightest of drawn curtains.
Grown-ups too are tempted to stay awake just that little bit longer, even though they know they shouldn’t; work lurks behind the coming morning’s alarm. Sitting out of doors though in the soft, warm air with a glass of something or other is always a preferable alternative. Winter, with its sharp nights and damp days will come and confine them soon enough they know.
Midsummer Dreams is a short, lyrical novel of literary fiction.
It’s presented in something of a whimsical, play-like format; an Under Milk Wood in prose.
The story tells of the lives, loves and, most particularly, the dreams of a selection of the inhabitants of Treddoch Harbour, a fictional village, on Cornwall’s southern shore. The pacing and simplicity of style are designed to enhance the relatively uncomplicated way in which the characters live out their lives in this quiet backwater.
The action is set, in the present tense, on one, particular day, Midsummer’s Day, beginning as day dawns and ending with nightfall. The story is narrated by the tour guide whilst the reader is one of the tourists of a coach tour visiting Treddoch.
As the day unfolds the visitor is introduced to a variety of villagers starting, in the very early morning, with Johnny Polmayne, potentially an ‘artist of prodigious proportions’ though a drinker and a wastrel to boot. At the time of visiting, Johnny’s wife, Abi, is about to terminate their marriage of several ‘wasted years’. It can only be saved by a major u-turn on Johnny’s part. Bastet, a cat, proves to be the catalyst (!) that helps Johnny make the change.
The reader then meets, in turn, the Nancarrow twins, who run the bakery, together with their helper, ‘Old’ Bill Pascoe, Jack, the butcher, locked in a loveless marriage and The Captain, who isn’t. The Captain is owner of ‘The Captain’s Table’ restaurant, the place where the coach’s occupants are to have lunch today.
Other major players include Molly Pendarritt, Head Teacher of the local primary school and hopeless romantic, Lizzy a single mother of two, who’s daily visits to the butcher’s shop are beginning to set Jack’s pulse racing and Jason Henley who arrived in Treddoch, many years past, in a rusty old camper van with a surf-board on top and a dream in his heart.
Tom Penhale, an elderly, retired fisherman and long-time widower, now at the very end of days, mooches his way through the book.