Flick. And just like that the switch has been flicked and Cornwall has swelled to twice the size. You queue to get into Asda, you queue to get out again, you watch in bemusement as caravans get stuck. You notice that Tesco’s has started to stock Pesto again and that your local newspaper has sold out before you get to it. Half term always seems to catch us on the back foot but like the migrating geese, instinct kicks in and we start to adapt. Back onto the back roads, up a bit earlier for the morning paper, going to Asda in the sunshine (everyone else is on the beach).
My bookshop is in Mevagissey, the lane outside my shop is cobbled and within 10 yards is the sea. In winter I listen to the gales, the rain, the seagulls, the peace and the quiet. In summer I listen to the laughter, the shouts, and of course the seagulls. I love this village and I love my life, I too, would come on holiday here but I can’t help but feel sorry for those poor holiday makers who’ve spent 4 hours stuck on the M5 engines humming, fumes swirling, temperatures rising, spirits falling. Who would enjoy that? Eye spy becomes tedious after 30 minutes, even a teenager can’t text for a whole 4 hours. Your 6 year old boy who is a restless chap at the best of times has already attempted to chew his way out of the car after the third hour. Then having sat on the M5 in a heat wave you arrive in Cornwall 5 minutes after the heavens open for 6 days non stop rain. The sun comes out on the seventh day – just in time for the drive home.
I know some holiday makers are determined that every second counts and wake up and drag their fractious, fed up children back into the car in search of character building exercises. If children knew who Torquemada was they might think he was alive and well and building cars. But I think the ones that have got it right are the ones that just arrive and stop. They stay where they are and spend the first day resting. Either kicking a football around the field, wandering down to the beach and jumping over the waves or just grabbing a book to read. There’s so much to explore and do in Cornwall but one of the truly marvellous things about it is how very, very relaxed it can be just so long as I can get my paper, don’t have to queue in ASDA and don’t get stuck behind a caravan on the back road to Pentewan.
All this talk of holidays has made me want to start planning mine. I bet the boys would enjoy climbing Ben Nevis. It’ll be good for them. Especially after a 10 hour car journey!
• This week I’ve been reading Of Mist and Bees, a bewitching fairy tale of family secrets, drinking Explorers Marlborough Sauvignon 2009 and listening to Story by Leddra Chapman. All excellent.