Monday, June 23, 2008

Home By The Sea

Just back from this year's early summer trip to Cornwall. For me this was my 12th year staying at West View House in Trevone (a couple of miles west of Padstow) but for Lin and her family I think this was somewhere in excess of thirty years. Despite this relative inexperience on my part, I can certainly appreciate why they've kept going back; the village is incredibly peaceful in June and my morning strolls to the village store at times reminded me of similar scenes in the Caribbean, with the expansive sky and azure blue sea. On the other hand, towards the end of the week the walk was more like trying to wind surf off Cape Horn such is the unpredictability of the Cornish weather.

One thing immediately obvious from my walk compared to previous years is the number of properties up for sale. I'm not sure if this is speculative residents trying to make some money before the market collapses or second-home owners starting to bail out already, but I spotted half a dozen "For Sale" signs for the Jackie Stanley estate agents alone. Maybe in a few years time the locals will finally be able to afford to live there again.

I can't say the holiday was particularly relaxing; with nine people including Emma, Oliver and their seven-month old cousin all in the house it was hardly peaceful (day or night), and mealtimes had to be planned with military precision to keep everybody happy. We did, however, manage to escape the chaos on a few occasions (the others prefer to stay within touching distance of the beach or the tea pot) and venture further afield. On the Monday we went to Dairyland, a few miles east of Newquay, a farm attraction recommended to us by our local vicar in Tonbridge. Cynically I could say it's a working dairy farm that supplements its income by charging the public to come in and see the cows being milked - a theme park with real cow dung, if you like. But that would be more than a little unfair; what they've done is take all the aspects of the farm and wrap them into an educational, child-friendly and, where appropriate, hands-on package. On top of that they've added the "Bull Pen", a huge indoor soft-play area with multi-level climbing activities, ball-pits and warehouse high slides.

Emma absolutely loved the whole place, and even I had a lot of fun negotiating all the Bull Pen features with her. So it was just as well that our admission ticket allowed us to re-enter free for a further seven days - we returned on Tuesday and Thursday. Perhaps our enthusiasm would be curbed a little if we had been visiting during the school holidays - judging by the size of the car park it was probably only a quarter full during our visits.

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