"I didn't like the accommodation and came back," so says Cornish legend Bert Biscoe of his recent brush with death.

A bit of a Kernewek renaissance man - politician, poet, historian and songwriter - Bert collapsed at his home in Truro at the end of May, died, was resuscitated with the help of his wife Sue and then spent ten days in a coma at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Word soon spread around Cornwall that Bert was seriously ill. I can verify from the amount of people asking if I knew how he was that the prospect of a Duchy without one of its Deputy Lord Lieutenants was akin to a pasty without the crimp or a scone without clotted cream; too terrifying to comprehend.

Thankfully after going to the other side (no, not Devon), Bert is back and looking remarkably well following the trauma his body went through. I met up with him at Flourish, one of his favourite cafés in Truro, to chat to him about the horrific experience and how the support of Cornwall's residents and the work of the staff at Treliske hospital got him through.

Bert, 70, suffered a seizure in the kitchen of his home in Truro which was so violent he broke the oven. He has since found out it was brought on due to a diabetic condition he didn't even know he had, which had developed over the previous year.

He told me: "If my missus hadn't phoned 999 and the girl on the other end hadn't said give him heart compressions and this is how you do it, then I would have died. I was dead then. I had a profound time on the other side in the dark although I didn't like the accommodation and came back.

Falmouth Packet: Bert is back and fighting fitBert is back and fighting fit (Image: Lee Trewhela)

"I was out of it for ten days - I was unconscious for a chunk of it and then they put me into a controlled coma. I had no idea of the passage of time and what was going on. As I was coming out of the coma I opened my eyes and this may have been hallucinatory but I remember looking up at a mirror and seeing myself with a green tube coming out of my mouth and doctors floating around a bit ethereally, and my wife and two daughters were there."

It's good to see that the experience hasn't affected Bert's sense of humour. "There was a moment just before leaving hospital when they said 'he's had a traumatic experience and needs some rehabilitation, we'll send him to Liskeard '. Somebody said 'you can't send a Truro boy to Liskeard, he won't get better there!'

"The ward sister said to me, what's the thing you want most in the world? I said I want to s**t in my own toilet. She said 'right answer!'

A passionate advocate of all things Cornwall and Cornish, as well a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Bert's a city councillor and former Mayor of Truro, historian, former Cornwall councillor who was head of transport among many other roles (don't mention the bus lane on Tregolls Road in Truro), poet and songwriter.

He can't recall anything about the day he collapsed. "The last thing I remember was having a conversation the day before with the Bishop of St Germans on Lemon Quay that I thought it was bad that bishops were going around saying the church wasn't responsible for 1,000-year-old churches which are the heart and soul of the parishes they lie within and not to be callous with our heritage. I haven't heard back from him!"

So God struck you down as revenge then? I joked.

"When I got out of hospital I was standing waiting to cross a road when this woman came up to me and she was among several congregations who said that they'd been praying for me. She asked me if I'd had any hallucinations or visions to which the answer is no. It was just dark. I had the same question from research people at ICU. No, sorry. I did have a good c**p though."

Bert's written a poem called A la commode! which explains in humorous verse that he knew things would be okay when he first used the bedpan after coming out of the coma.

"She said 'Do you believe?' and I said I didn't. I did tell her though that I sensed that all the prayers, all the positive vibes and thoughts, all the letters and all the cards created a kind of force of good will around me. I think it's no coincidence that 'care' rhymes with 'prayer'. The combination of all that thought and the technology, skill and innate cheerfulness of the staff at Treliske hospital is the reason I'm still here."

He added: "The other thing at Treliske which is really remarkable, which I hadn't really thought about before, is that it is populated by an international group of people. One of the consultants was Iranian, the guy in the kitchen was from New Zealand, there were a couple of Filipino nurses who came in for a chat with me, and lots of staff from Africa; people from all over the world ... and Kenwyn from Camborne who pushed me from one end of the hospital to the other.

"It is a wonderment that here we have this thing which is dedicated to the people of Cornwall, like me, who collapse in their kitchen, they pitch up in ten minutes, shove a tube down your throat and pull you back ... it's a huge thing. For it to be provided by people from all over the world says something really profound and important about the society we live in these days. That multi-national team of people is the backbone of what gives us hope for the future."

For a man who puts a hell of a lot in for the good of Cornwall, it's no surprise that he's decided to step back from certain duties after his stay in hospital. He told me: "There are one or two things that I've ditched. I've given notice on one board of trustees, I've stood down as chairman from one of my societies and I've reorganised the Old Cornwall Society so I can share the load. I've stayed on the Truro Town Deal board and the city council. I can't honestly envisage my life without being on the city council."

Bert has been an independent city councillor since 1987 and was elected on to Cornwall Council in 1995 until the last election. He was also a member of the former Carrick District Council.

Of his ordeal, he said: "What this has taught me is you do what you do and you have no idea until something happens that people actually hold you in regard and that you've affected their lives and that's quite a shock."

As someone whose life Bert has affected, I'm relieved he decided the accommodation wasn't up to much on the other side.

Another one of his multitude of roles was as editor of a free newspaper called the Truro News way back in time and as such gave me my first opportunity to write for a publication while I was still at school (my first printed piece was a review of The Cult at the Cornwall Coliseum which will give you a hint to the year). For that, I will always be indebted to the man no one calls Mr Biscuit.