Posted on: Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Eighteen years ago, after visiting my late grandmother on the outskirts of the New Forest, I travelled to Cornwall with my husband for a little holiday. We took our time heading west; I was in the first trimester of my first pregnancy and suffering from a constant nausea that was only relieved by constantly nibbling on Graham crackers. In fact, if the big cheeses at Graham headquarters noticed a distinct increase in their sales in the autumn of 1991, I’d like them to know that it was all thanks to me. Anyway, nausea notwithstanding, we had a lovely time in Cornwall, staying at the Abbey hotel in Penzance, owned by former model Jean Shrimpton.
The weather was impressively polite during our stay enabling us to make the most of our stay. We went for long walks, visited famous landmarks and enjoyed great seafood in smile-enticing towns and villages. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to spend more time in that part of the world. There’s just something about the narrow lanes, the patchworks of bright green fields edged with hedges, the meandering streams, the bold and beautiful beaches, not to mention all the pretty little cottages (actually, some aren’t so little!) with lush, higgledy-piggledy gardens. From my romantically inclined perspective, it’s England the way it should be.
I’ve often fantasized about going back for a holiday in Cornwall but never had the opportunity; as far as my husband is concerned, summer holidays are better spent in environments offering a little more meteorological stability than the south coast of England. You see, Mr. Prescott doesn’t really get the appeal of Wellington boots, chunky sweaters and Barbour jackets. It’s just not in his ultra-Swiss genes. As for me, my conflicting northern and southern roots battle it out, but, in the end, my southern desperados usually get the better of me.
However, things might change.
I don’t know whether the fact that my daughter Olivia visited Cornwall before she was born has anything to do with her attraction to Falmouth University, but if all goes well, Mr. Prescott and I will be returning to Cornwall quite regularly in the next couple of years. My daughter will be graduating from school in May next year, and having attended Falmouth University’s Open Day last weekend, is hoping to secure a place in their Arts Foundation course starting next autumn. I was with her, and I can see why. The campus is beautiful, the environment picture perfect and the atmosphere both laid-back and stimulating. In fact, I’d like to take a course there, too!
Even the weather was on its best behavior for our mini Cornish escapade; having driven from Bristol airport to Falmouth on Friday afternoon through all shades of drizzly grey, we woke up on Saturday morning to the cries of gulls celebrating a bright blue sky. The sun shone, the temperature was perfect, and our enthusiasm soared to further heights as, later in the day, we strolled through Falmouth’s cobbled streets, nipping in and out of funky little shops. Hundreds of students roamed the streets dressed in colorful clothes. Cool dudes in battered old bangers cruised the streets with surfboards strapped to rusty roof racks, eyeing up pretty girls. Nonchalant skateboarders rolled through car-parks, launching themselves off stairs and hand-rails, executing hair-raising tricks without batting an eyelid. People bustled about with fishing rods and shopping baskets and friendly dogs, making the most of the sunshine and the fresh air. We loved it all.
As the sun began to set, we got back into the car and promptly got lost in a maze of minuscule country lanes flanked by trees and hedges. We ooh-ed and ah-ed at candy-cane cottages with breathtaking sea-views, then drove back to Falmouth for a hearty seafood dinner in a pretty little restaurant.
It would be great if Olivia went to University there. You see, I quite fancy renting a secluded rose-pink cottage for a couple of months. I’d pack my jeans and my wooly jumpers, buy a pair of floral welly boots and a Barbour, and let my creative juices marinate in Cornwall’s bracing flavours. Who knows what stories might come to me.
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