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Hidden Chapter – The Cornish Hideaway by SJV
2022/02/21  |  By:   |  Features  |  

Here at @TeamBATC we LOVE hidden chapters, secret sneaky peaks and access to exclusive content, and we know you do too, so, as a special treat, Jennifer Bibby has kindly shared this moment from The Cornish Hideway, that doesn’t appear in the book, when Alf first visits Lola’s Cafe! And, she’s even shared some of the photo inspiration too!


Alf thought about removing his tie but straightened it instead. His Ma had always stressed the importance of making a good first impression. He glanced down at Scruff, his faithful companion, and shook his head. There wasn’t much he could do to tidy the old dog up; he’d have to do as he was.

‘Come on, boy, let’s get going, don’t want to miss the grand opening.’ Alf clipped Scruff’s lead into place and opened the front door of his tiny fisherman’s cottage, the same one he’d been born in eighty-nine years earlier, and stepped out into the cool early spring air.

Ambling down to the seafront, Alf allowed Scruff to sniff his way along the harbour wall giving Alf the opportunity to take in the view of Polcarrow Bay, a sight he would never grow tired of. Who needed to jet around the globe when you already lived in perfection? Polcarrow was hugged on both sides by the sweeping Cornish headland. Alf mourned the loss of the fishing trade, but he admired the way people still left boats bobbing in the small harbour, a faded reminder of the village’s sea-faring past. Descended from a long line of fisherman, Alf had sea salt in his blood and had made his living out on the waves, hauling in the catch each day.

They reached the small parade of shops and Alf tugged Scruff away from a seagull dropping the dog was far too interested in. ‘Come on, boy, there’s better treats than that.’ Alf pulled him away and across the road to where the new café had opened its doors for the first time that morning. Alf had expected to find a queue outside, after all, the new owner had caused quite a stir with her brightly coloured arrival in the village. There had been lots of whisperings and not so quiet outrage doing the rounds. Alf didn’t understand what anyone’s issue was, it was about time Polcarrow had something to look forward to.

The outside of the café had been transformed from worn dark wood into a smooth symphony of pale grey and white. The sign on the door had been flicked to open. Alf and Scruff exchanged a look and Alf pushed open the door.

‘Is it all right for me to bring him in? Only he’ll whine to high heaven if I leave him outside alone, big baby that he is,’ Alf asked as Scruff let out a bark.

‘Of course, as long as he’s well behaved,’ the woman behind the counter replied, a look of relief spreading across her expertly made-up face. With her vintage-style bright red hair and floral apron, she looked as if she’d been transported into Polcarrow from the nineteen forties.

‘Well, I don’t know about that.’ Alf turned to address Scruff, ‘Now, do you think you can behave yourself for the lady?’

Scruff gave a whimper and lay down sulkily. Alf made his way over to the counter and took in the tempting array of cakes and scones. ‘My! We’ve not had anything like this here, well, I think in forever. How’s your first morning going?’

The woman sagged. ‘Not as well as I’d hoped. I’ve had a lot of people walk past and look in the window, and when I say a lot of people, I think the whole village has come for a gander.’ She sighed. ‘But no one has come in.’

‘Well, they don’t know what they’re missing, do they?’ Alf gave her a beaming smile, his blue eyes twinkling like the sea. ‘Nosey parkers the lot of them, don’t like change either. Don’t worry, they’ll come round. I’m Alf by the way, I’ve lived here my entire life, used to fish off those shores until people lost interest in fishing. Life changes and moves on, like the tide, we have to just go with it.’

‘Yes, it does, rather, I always believe that. The circle of life, moving for ever round, always changing. I’m Lola.’ She held her hand out and Alf shook it. ‘And your dog?’

‘Scruff. As you can see, the name suits him.’

Lola laughed as Scruff let out another bark. ‘Well, since you are my first customer, what would you like? You can have it on the house.’

‘You don’t need to do that.’

‘Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping you’d go around and tell everyone how wonderful Lola’s café was.’ She winked.

Alf laughed. ‘Oh yes, make them all jealous. As we’re in Cornwall, I think I’d better try one of your scones, see if they pass muster. And a mug of tea, strong enough to stand a spoon in. I’ll be at that table by the window.’ Alf made his way over, calling to Scruff to join him. Settling down he gazed out at the view of the harbour. It was the perfect spot to watch the world go by.

Lola brought over the cream tea and carefully laid it out in front of him.

‘That looks smashing!’

‘I gave you the biggest scone,’ she confided.

‘Cor! In that case we’re going to get on just fine. Get yourself a cuppa and you can tell me all about why you’ve come to Polcarrow.’ Alf beamed. From the relief on Lola’s face, he knew the right thing to do would be to take her under his wing.

afternoon tea (002)

cafe detail (002)

scones (002)

The Cornish Hideaway, the debut #DigitalOriginals novel by Jennifer Bibby is out now in eBook.

A beautiful village. An artist who’s lost her spark. And a community who help her find it again.

‘Charming and romantic, sweet and sunny. I loved it’ MILLY JOHNSON
‘A warm and charm-filled story about community, passion and following your heart, The Cornish Hideaway is a feel-good delight. Its dreamy seaside setting and cast of loveable characters quickly became a world I didn’t want to leave. A holiday romance in book form – I adored it!’ HOLLY MILLER
‘I absolutely loved the gorgeous seaside setting and the wonderful sense of community!’ HOLLY MARTIN
‘A sun-drenched delight, an absolute joy!’ HEIDI SWAIN
A wonderfully charming debut’ JACKIE FRASER
‘A sun-drenched summer in picture-perfect Polcarrow – I didn’t want it to end’ HOLLY HEPBURN

All Freya has ever wanted to do is paint. So when she fails her Master’s Degree in Art, on the same day that her boyfriend decides he needs a ‘more serious’ partner, to Freya it feels like the end of the world.

Luckily, she has a saviour in the shape of best friend Lola, who invites her to the sleepy Cornish village of Polcarrow, to work in her café. With nothing keeping her in London, Freya jumps at the chance of a summer by the sea.

Freya needs time to focus on herself. But then dark and mysterious biker Angelo blows into town on a stormy afternoon, with his own artistic dreams and a secretive past, and Freya’s plans of a romance-free summer fly straight out of the window…

Heart-warming, heartfelt and romantic, The Cornish Hideaway is a novel of community, friendship and learning to love again, for fans of Jenny Colgan, Cathy Bramley and Heidi Swain.