Tuesday 3rd October 2017
The view from this window is like a moving postcard. I watch the blue horizon and the low waves that are queueing up to break on Porthminster Beach, where the morning dog-walkers are scuttling back and forth.
The town of St Ives looks small from here, stretching out onto the peninsula, and I wonder what sort of wave could… No, don’t think about that. Everything is perfect today.
I had some deep sleep last night, only waking twice – yes, that’s good for me. Each time I turned over I thought for a moment that I was at home. Don’t tell my Duvet that I’ve formed such a close bond with another!
Aunty has gone to Tesco to buy ‘real’ coffee. I’m guzzling instant coffee while I wait! Instant coffee, ‘real’ coffee, decaf coffee (okay, scrap the last one) …I’ll have it. Perhaps I should have suggested she buy some cream as well; we are on holiday after all.
Once we’ve woken up properly (which takes us a good few hours), we will be heading down into the town, to look in shops, eat ice cream, and whatever else we want to do. I would go and get ready, but I’m comfortable where I’m sat in the window alcove. Ah, Aunty’s back. Croissants for breakfast…
Aunty has just rung the doctors on behalf of great-uncle William. She’s spent her whole life spelling out R-E-T-A-L-L-I-C-K, but down in Cornwall there’s no problem – another layer to our sense of belonging. However, they did need to know the spelling of ‘Carolyn’!
We’ve reached The Malakoff, with Porthminster Beach to the right, the harbour to the left, and Hayle Beach stretching out in the distance. Everything’s as turquoise as the nail varnish that I applied in anticipation. There’s hardly anyone around up here, as we look out over St Ives; the perfect time of year. My hair is blowing in many directions! Aunty is concerned that I don’t have my coat, but I’m always too warm and the sun is bright today.
Godrevy Lighthouse is across the bay. Aunty loves lighthouses. ‘Looking at them makes me want to write a poem,’ she said earlier. My words won’t order themselves in that way, so I’ll content myself with looking.
‘That’s where your great-grandad used to bring in his fish,’ she said, pointing.
Down in the town, St Ives feels full to bursting, even though we’ve passed the busy season – I’m sure it splits at its seams in the summer.
We went into Roly’s Fudge Shop and the smell nearly knocked us off our feet! A lady was preparing some (accompanied by the Mamma Mia soundtrack), spreading the sweet caramelly mixture across the worksurface – I would’ve loved to have stuck my face in that! Rows of mouth-watering, crumbling brown blocks…Rum and raisin, chocolate orange, butterscotch, maple and pecan… No, Vanilla Clotted Cream is the only one for us. We bought two packets.
The bustle of people was tiring as we walked along the wharf. We’re now sitting by the harbour in a restaurant, ‘Caffe Pasta and Pizzeria’, at a two-person table, having walked through the town.
‘I can’t believe you gave out first!’ said Aunty. Well, she wasn’t much better – her legs were aching badly. ‘You not happy around lots of people?’
‘You’re just like me.’
Our lattes have just arrived. Hand roasted in Cornwall claims the mug with pride in black print. Cornish Coffee since 1966. I took a co-codamol to stave off a headache, sipping water from a glass that had the remnants of someone else’s lipstick on the rim opposite. A nice shade, but it wouldn’t suit me. I put down the glass.
‘Funny how we’re from here, we belong here…And yet we don’t. We’re visitors,’ Aunty mused.
And we are. We’re visitors, just like everyone else.
Chicken Caesar salad, topped with a poached egg, croutons, and garnished with slithers of cheese and anchovies. I’ve eaten mine and am doing my best to eat the rest of Aunty’s too, because I can’t bear food going to waste – it’s like a disease.
‘Oh, we’ve got postcards to write sometime…’ she said. ‘But perhaps not here. We’ll have to stop and have another drink.’
‘Oh, what a shame,’ I replied.
‘I know…Or maybe even a Kelly’s ice cream.’ When in Cornwall…
There is a man with tattooed arms and neck, and ginger hair, like a walking piece of art – not to my taste (the tattoos, that is, not the ginger hair). I don’t ‘get’ the large piece of abstract art on the wall either, but it’s bright orange with a splash of yellow, so I can live with it.
We’re now sitting in Bumbles Tearoom, with its red-checked plastic tablecloths and artificial flowers.
‘They always used to have proper tablecloths,’ whispered Aunty.
Everything changes, and not always for the better – although, based on this millionaire’s shortbread, things haven’t become too bad yet.
We’re sitting next to a German couple, who have just given a generous tip by the looks of things.
‘Cheers.’ Aunty raised her cup of tea. ‘To absent friends.’
The small sensation of panic that I was developing down by the harbour has fully subsided, thanks to these beautifully-quiet cobbled streets. We found the house where Grandma was born, 73 Back Road East, with its forest-green door. I tried to imagine what it would have been like when Grandma was a little girl. It’s a holiday home now.
Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ is playing quietly in the background. This latte’s too watery. We took the postcards, which were 5-for-£1, from our bags and are about to write them. I’ve chosen one that says, ‘Thanks for looking after the house’ for Mum – my sarcasm is clearly alive and well, you’ll be very pleased to know.
We’ve just got ‘home’. We called for a cab to take us up the hill, as Aunty’s legs would not have held out, and the man took the roads at a crazy speed! Jewellery off, pyjama bottoms on… Time for some serious relaxing.