Tuesday, 31 August 2010


I am relaxed. I mean really relaxed. The sort of relaxed that involves the hedonistic pleasure of reading a few chapters of a novel. In the afternoon. On a lounger. The sun may be playing hide and seek but nevertheless, even its elusiveness has not put the dampeners on things. We are on holiday and we are having a good time!
Hubby to his credit had a surprise in store for us. I had only just emptied the suitcases from our consequently abortive attempt at camping and was filling the washing machine.
Hubby came up behind me and slapped my bottom, “Quick turn around on all this laundry love. We need to pack again”.
“Pack again? What do you mean?”
“You didn’t think our summer holiday was going to be two nights in a dingy campsite did you?”
“If I’m honest, I didn’t even expect that”.
“Now, now Alice love, don’t be spiteful”, Hubby replied, a little hurt.
“For someone who doesn’t do holidays as a rule, I find it hard to believe that you’ve got yet another one up your sleeve.”
“Well neh-neh-neh-neh-neh, I have”.
“God Dad, you are sooo mature”, said a passing daughter rather haughtily.
“Before you criticise your father too severely he has just dropped the bombshell that he is taking us on another holiday”.
“Will it require a passport, inoculations, litres of factor 25 and foreign currency?”
“Um, no”
“Knew it. Something lame and water logged and British. As usual.” And off the ungrateful little Miss sloped.
“Really? Are we going somewhere in this country? Don’t tell me it involves the bloody tent again?”. I genuinely couldn’t face wading through a shower-block full of verrucas for a second time in a week.
“No, No tent required”
“A hotel? All inclusive?”
“No, I can’t promise that either”.
“A gorgeous cottage with sea views?”
“Bingo!” The sly old fox. He’d spent the last fortnight, moaning on and on about money and all along he’d booked a self catering holiday for his family. I was so touched. Immediately I gathered ever more armfuls of laundry, made a few more lists, planned menus, went shopping for the ingredients, vacuumed and, organised Dad to feed the cats and water and harvest my tomatoes. The following morning I was ready and raring to go.
“Right then. Where are we going? Suffolk, we’ve never been there..”
“Bit closer to home than that Alice”, Hubby answered, squeezing my sun lounger through gritted teeth on top of a pile of stuff in the boot.
“Not Cornwall again dad?” groaned the 14 year old, slapping her forehead, “Don’t tell me I’m going to spend my 15th birthday in Cornwall again”.
“Afraid so”. Curiouser and curiouser. Where on earth was he taking us? Fifteen minutes later we found out.
“Cawsand?” asked my eldest daughter.
“Pier Cellars?” was all I was capable of.
Hubby hopped out of the car and withdrew a set of keys so enormous that they would have made even the most sadistic jailer lose heart. He unlocked an enormous padlock, pushed open the metal gates with an ominous rusty, scraping sound, drove the car forward, jumped out again to shut the gates and drove down to the cottage. We were going to spend a week in accommodation generally reserved for young, Royal Naval recruits whilst undergoing outward bound training. Had Hubby finally lost his marbles?
“The trainees stay in the long huts Alice”, said Hubby, once more fiddling with the set of keys, “Whereas we are here. In the Senior Rates cottage”. I tentatively stepped inside. It wasn’t bad. A bit municipal what with various memorandums on the walls and pussers old married quarters furniture but, you know what? I was instantly charmed.
The view is magnificent. My lounger, once erected, looks out to Plymouth Sound. It affords seclusion that A-list celebrities can only dream of. The children love it, they have their own exclusive little harbour, even the soon to be 15 year old, judging by her Facebook page is having an ‘awesome’ time, helped along by the company of her best friend. They’ve even built rafts. Rafts for God’s sake. It’s like being in a chapter of Swallows and Amazons.
Friends, desperate for a nose around, have dropped by in their droves every evening and they too have been captivated by the place.
“Jammy buggers” said one teasingly “perks of the job Commander?” Hubby is more aware than most of the brutal cuts in the MOD and was immediately defensive.
“Perks of the job? You have to be joking. I have paid the going rate to rent this place for a week and it’s been worth every penny”. He topped up our friend’s wine glass, threw another log on the bonfire and settled back in his folding chair. For the first time in a long time his forehead looks as though it has been ironed out. He has, to coin our son’s retro vernacular, ‘taken a chill pill’. It has a far reaching effect, which is why, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my book.

1 comment:

DL said...

How lovely!

I like the book plan. I managed to put away three quarters of a novel during our six days in France. Not sure when I'll deal with the final quarter.