By Johnny O’Shea
The town of St Ives and neighbouring village of Carbis Bay are in full view of the world this week.
The G7 summit is being held in these often tranquil, and beautiful coastal communities less than 20 miles (32km) from Land’s End in Cornwall.
Preparations have been ongoing since the shock announcement in January, and now the reality has arrived.
“It is exciting and impressive, but intimidating,” Carbis Bay resident Mary Tincombe, 63, said.
She lives within the so-called ring-of-steel, a black metal fence which is about 10ft (3m) high and surrounds the village locking out all but the locals, the special guests, and lots of police.
“I walked to the post office this morning, a 15-minute walk and we must have walked past about 100 police officers.
“It is very, very real. It feels like another lockdown.”
For more than a month the police have been in the village, inspecting drains, installing CCTV and lights, but this week it has been ramped up.
Busses and lorries carrying hoarding materials frequently pass to get to the Carbis Bay Hotel, where the leaders will meet.
It is at the bottom of the one, very steep, road through the village to the beach.
Out to sea naval ships are now regularly scouring the coastline, while in the skies there has already been an impressive show of military and diplomatic planes and helicopters.
Ms Tincombe’s partner Chris drives a minibus taxi and has been taken off the rota for five days due to the difficulties of getting out of the village, and back again.
They are not planning to get in the car and leave the village until after the summit on Monday.
The Bean Inn at the top of the village has got just one booking on each of Thursday and Friday nights, “a complete contrast to normal”.
“We have had hundreds of inquiries but as soon as we are honest about the difficulties they will have getting to us, most of them are put off,” Kate Horrill said.
The scenic option for getting from Carbis Bay to St Ives would be the South West Coast Path or the train along the coast, but both have been closed off for the summit.
The town of St Ives, from this vantage point, is full of pretty buildings wedged around the harbour which, when the sun shines, glows aqua with light that makes it a haven for artists.
It is also this that attracts second home owners and tourists – and perhaps G7 summit hosts.
Its population is about 12,000, and on an average summer day an extra 15,000 people will squeeze into the narrow streets, according to Visit Cornwall.
At the harbour there are people milling about, some eating ice creams or pasties, despite the signs warning of hungry seagulls.
Although 5,500 extra police officers have been drafted in, there are not many around the harbour, and delivery vans are passing through without problems.
There are no signs up about the G7, and no real indication that seven of the world’s most powerful people will be gathering about a mile away in Carbis Bay later this week.
“It is really quiet, much quieter than it should be at this time of year,” Megan Steeds from St Ives Boat Rides says from her stand on the slip-way.
“We have had about 50 or 60% cancellations.
“We are now thinking if it is even worth staying open this weekend.
Dylan Lee, who works for her, adds “maybe we should all shut down along the harbour and try to get compensation”.