A personal take on life behind the tongs.
Every summer my friends and I retreat from the muggy hectic claustrophobia of London to seek out the refreshing calmness and serenity of Cornwall shores.
Many moments stand out; rock jumping our way from Mousehole to Lamorna as the tide chased us up the rocks to the reward of a drink at the Wink, basking in the sun at Marazion’s Godolphin Arms drunkenly conjuring fairy tale fantasies of living on St Michael’s Mount, and decadent all day feasting at The Porthminster Beach Café the likes of which Bacchus would be proud. But of all the wonderful memories I shall cherish till am I truly grey and old, one stand outs head and shoulders above them all.
Late summer 2010, good weather was on the turn and our daily coastal walks had us braced and ready to retire to the warmth of our St Ives cottage at the end of each day. For all the glorious charm of surf churning into clouds brooding with the threat of thunder, we lamented not organising our getaway sooner and feared we would miss the best the West (Country) had to deliver. And yet, as we woke on the penultimate day, our prayers had been answered. The sky was clear, the wind but a breeze. So with feverish exuberance we stocked up the essential summer holiday inventory of instant barbecue, assorted meats, other delectable treats, and lest I forget, plenty of local cider!
That afternoon the beach could wait.
We set to prepping our salads, marinating our meats and counting up our Gingham blankets. As the sun began its retreat we chased it over Windsor Hill toward that (now) favourite secret spot of ours, westward along the cliffs, with the glowing sun on our faces and the warmth of friends and family in our hearts. Pitching down in the embrace of a giant granite rock cradle, we lit our barbeque and bedded in for an evening of fine food and even finer company. The hours flew by, filled with love and laughter, to a glorious panorama of an amber orange sun shimmering against a postcard perfect sea. With full bellies and glazy eyes, the most splendid of distant storm clouds swallowed the sun up, but not before one final glowing wink goodbye as it dipped below the horizon.
Long after the embers of our barbecue had burnt down we set off across beach, strolling in the wet shoreline sand, shoes in hand, toward (The Chapel of St Nicholas on) The Island, where we settled our gazes upward for a blissful eternity as each star, one by one, filled the night sky.
Later we returned to our cottage and the morning after I returned home. To this day I still often think back to that evening and swear were I ever to leave London for good, I know where it would be to.