Monday, 10 November 2008


I’ve always associated the word Shamrock with the colour green, Leprechauns and eager, American genealogists whose enthusiasm for ancestry and being one eighth anything, preferably Irish, is better than just coming from Queens or wherever.
Not so anymore. From now on ‘Shamrock’ will be synonymous with perfection. As Hubby and I picked our way down the cliffs of Whitsand Bay last weekend, I saw from the chimney of our chalet, smoke spiral its way heavenward.
“There it is”, I pointed to Hubby, my excitement barely contained, “There’s Shamrock”. Running the last 20 yards or so, we undid the little wooden gate which forms part of the picket fence that encircles the chalet and somehow adds to the mystical effect that you are cutting yourself off from the rest of the world. Hubby found the keys and we let ourselves in. If at all possible, given the extraordinary 360 degree view afforded from every, myriad window, the inside was as gorgeous as the outside.
The wood-burner had been lit in anticipation of our arrival and so, although bitterly cold outside, inside it was as warm as toast. Our every need had been catered for and whereas in the past, ‘self-catering’ has literally meant, ‘if feasible, then please bring your kitchen sink’, here they’d thought of everything our little hearts could desire to, well engender, desire.
“Look they’ve even thought of some games”, I said to Hubby, lifting the Trivial Pursuit.
“There’s only one game I want to play”, said Hubby, chasing me around the rooms as I tried to dodge his lustful embraces.
“Look, we’ve only just arrived”, I laughed, “And I know you. If I submit to you immediately, you’ll be out for the count for the rest of the day. Let’s go for a walk first” and chucking his scarf in his direction I made him take in the sea air.
The tide was out and the space was vast and wide and gave me a feeling of extraordinary freedom. I ran and jumped puddles and wrote ‘Hubby and Alice Band forever’ in the sand with a vacated razor clam shell. There was only the two of us on the beach and it did occur to me that I could strip all my clothes off and lie provocatively against a mussel encrusted rock. But to be honest, not only is Hubby too old for shocks like that but it really was freezing and besides, the idea of having a mussel accidentally wedged in my bottom was not something I wanted to explain at A&E (emergency room). We made do with a lot of kissing instead and when I say a lot of kissing, I mean it and the proper stuff too that makes you giddy, your knees buckle and your face raw. It was fantastic and there was no-one to stop us. No wise cracking teenager or loudly protesting small child.
Eventually, our toes and lips equally numb, we had to consider returning up the cliff and, as is well documented, I am far from as nimble as a mountain goat and, whilst getting to the beach was no big deal, getting back up was torturous. At one point I wondered whether if I started to cry, Hubby might give me a fireman’s lift, but to be honest I didn’t even have the puff left in me to emit a single, strangled sob. So, stoically I continued, my previous, aroused warm glow being replaced by rivulets of unsexy sweat. I took my coat off, my jumper, my hat and my gloves and was not unaware of the hilarious irony that only minutes earlier I’d considered taking these off for totally different reasons.
“I’m starving”, called down Hubby, who being fitter than I, was ahead of me by a few grassy knolls, “Shall we go to the Cliff Top Cafe?”
I just about managed a thumbs up sign and eventually arrived, struggling into my jumper lest my arrival should beg the question, “Who the hell is that old stripper?”
Hubby was already ensconced with a newspaper, “Hiya love. I’m having a big breakfast. What do you fancy?”
“A big breakfast?”, I asked appalled, “it’s 3.20 in the afternoon. We’re going out to dinner tonight. You’d better leave room to eat it”. I sipped a weak tea and picked at a ham salad as I watched Hubby devour every farmyard animal’s flesh and foetus. He gave me his grilled tomato.
“Right then”, he said, putting his cutlery together on an empty plate before rubbing his hands together, fortified, “No more fannying around. I don’t get you on my own that often.” And rising, he took my hand.
“ Is this you being masterful?”, I smiled.
“You betcha”. If this were a film, this is the bit where you’d see footage of crashing waves accompanied by the sound of a vigorous symphonic orchestra ...
Later, after a wonderful dinner at The View restaurant, we giggled like teenagers back to the chalet due in part to an excellent bottle of wine, being thoroughly loved up, a sense of freedom; oh and the fact that we’d forgotten a torch (flash-light) and out there, not only is there utterly no sound pollution but no light pollution either and we had no idea when the next boulder would trip us up and send us crashing down the cliff. And as they say, on Whitsand Bay, no-one can hear you scream. Evidently we made it eventually and fell into a warm, comfortable bed, cocooned by a thick, heavy feather duvet. I awoke to the most sublime view in the south west of England and after tea and toast, literally had to be dragged kicking and screaming home to relieve my poor dad of his overnight babysitting duties.
It was a faultless weekend: no passport control, no queues, no delays, no cancellations. It took ten minutes to get there; my kids weren’t sick, nothing caught fire and no ceilings fell down. Perfect.


It's just me said...

sounds perfect. Am jealous!

Mary Alice said...

Perfect. Now you are under orders to go at least once a quarter...enjoy the sea air in every season.

Jane said...

Me too!

Late said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally said...

Totally perfect!

sally's hubby said...

Just looked at the Shamrock website... Want to go there!

D. :-)

Alice Band said...

Sally's Hubby - Come on down! Leave your small ones with us!

Anonymous said...

It sounds absolutely wonderful!
Your story-telling skills make me smile. I'm right there with you on the stripper act! lol

sally's hubby said...

Thank you AB!

We should love to. And it would be really nice to meet you both, after all this time, as well.

Trouble is, finding a weekend when we could slink away for a couple of days without our children's respective worlds coming crashing to an end.

But thank you anyway, and we'll certainly keep the idea ticking over...

Best wishes,