As many of you will know I love the Isles of Scilly – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been but it must be approaching 40, I’ve been once this year already and have two more trips planned. I love the wildlife, the scenery, the people and the myths and legends. I could write about the Island’s future but I’m not going to …… yet. Instead I’m going to write about a new book about the place written by the Devon and Cornwall Police Sergeant, Colin Taylor, who has been the ‘Chief Constable’ of the Isles of Scilly for the past few years.
I have seen Colin Taylor many times over the years, have nodded and said hello, but I have never needed his services nor he mine! Colin is also a bit of a ‘celebrity’ as he runs the very popular Isles of Scilly Police Facebook site (he is however about to re-locate back to the ‘mainland’) and has 4 times as many followers on Twitter as I do @ t. His reputation is built around a fabulous sense of humour which he uses to ensure the law of the land prevails on the Isles of Scilly.
The book is well written , very funny and recounts various exploits that he has been involved with. These range from the attempted murder of goldfish, the re-habilitation of a song thrush in the police station cells, the apprehension of a drunken quad bike rider on Bryher, the detonation of a wartime missile moments before a wedding – the list goes on. It is not often I sit down and read a book from cover to cover in 3 sittings but this engaging memoir is one example.
I was also delighted to read the section in the first chapter ‘Dear Reader‘ entitled ‘Isles of Scilly, Scilly, Scilly Isles, Scillies‘. I have known this linguistic law since my very first visit in the late 1980s but I am afraid my friends in the Exmouth Gig Club do not and are serial offenders. So with the help of Colin I will spell it out for them in the hope that in future this law will be adhered to when they next attend the World Pilot Gig Championships.
“This is where the uninitiated could really trip up …….If you want to blend in like a native, refer to the archipelago as the Isles of Scilly ….. It is generally recognised that this can be a bit of a mouthful …. so it is acceptable to refer to the islands as just plain Scilly…… Referring to this place as the ‘Scilly Isles’ is considered poor form and draws a sharp intake of breath. Worse still is to call the islands the ‘Scillies’ You might as well start a war. Get this right from the offset and you have a chance of blending in and going unnoticed.”
If you love The Isles of Scilly you will love this book.
p.s. This is my 1000th blog on this site!