I hope you had a good Easter, and managed to do at least a little of what makes you happy. I took three days off work just before Easter, and enjoyed a few days in Cornwall with Olley and our lovely dog Barney.
It was the first time in years that we'd had so long away together on our own, and was planned around Billy going skiing for a week with the family of a school friend. I decided that as I would worry about him wherever I was, I may as well go somewhere nice to take my mind off the dangers of what he was doing without me.
Needless to say, he arrived home in one piece at the end of the week, only to head to the snow again, this time with friends to Bulgaria. His snowboarding will probably be the subject of a future blog – he's decided to follow his passion as a career – but that is another story for another day. So while I find myself waiting for the daily call to tell me he has survived another day on the slopes, I can tell you about our little trip to the West Country.
When I met Olley, almost 30 years ago, he and some friends usually spent a week over Christmas or New Year in a self-catering cottage in a Cornish village called Polruan, which sits opposite Fowey on the Fowey estuary. I became part of the group for several years, enjoying wonderful winter breaks together. We took long coastal walks and indulged in pub lunches and cream teas. Growing families and different plans meant the holidays petered out and we hadn't been for years – it was about time we returned to see how much had changed.
We found a dog-welcoming bed and breakfast in the main street which runs down to a small quay where a little boat ferries passengers across the river to Fowey. It was the perfect position and we were offered a lovely room. It turned out to be a gem of a place, run by a very friendly woman who cooked the most amazing breakfasts!
The weather was forecast to turn colder and cloudier after the recent spell of summer weather we'd enjoyed. It was certainly cooler, but we were treated to glorious blue skies. The perfect weather to explore old haunts and just what I needed to unwind and recharge batteries. It was also a chance to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes – eating. I do enjoy good food, especially when I haven't cooked it myself.
I've been really restrained lately, and have managed to lose almost a stone since November (which is about half what needs to go) but I can only do it by allowing myself regular days off. And a trip away is all the excuse I need – after the delicious breakfasts we would walk and walk, then share a couple of lunchtime Cornish pasties with Barney. Dinner was in the local pub, The Lugger, where we used to play darts and drink beer. Now it's travelled a little up-market and serves delicious meals made from local produce. Yum yum!
There was an impressive sight in the boatyard on the quayside – a replica of a medieval ship called the Matthew. (I thought boat names should be female?) It has appeared in films and will take part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla planned to sail up the River Thames in June. It was in dock for some minor repairs but we saw it launched back into the water and and set sail to Falmouth. Hope you like the photo!
After three nights in Polruan we had to head towards home, but had time to stop off on Dartmoor for Barney to stretch his legs. The weather had changed but somehow, dark gloomy skies suit the atmosphere of the landscape and it was an exhilarating feeling to climb to the top of a tor and feel the wind in my hair.
Then it was home to reality, but only one day of work (on Good Friday) before the holiday weekend – and more food! I roasted the most amazing pice of rib of beef for family and friends, and realised how much I like to play at being mother hen, and gather everyone together for a festive meal.
Everything was perfect (except for Billy not being with us, but Bex and Charlie are home at the moment) right down to the horseradish jam that I'd bought in a collection of speciality foods from Cook's Essentials. I'd bought them as a birthday gift for a friend, but was intrigued about how this would taste so gave the rest but kept this jar. It was delicious with the beef, and even better next day in beef sandwiches!
So a blog that was meant to tell you about my short holiday has turned out to be more about food. Many of us have a complicated relationship with food – it's not just something we eat to thrive. I know I eat when I'm bored, or looking for comfort, and I suppose that's why I'm trying not to eat so much at the moment – I've overdone it a bit over the years!! But that doesn't take away the pleasure of a good meal enjoyed in good company. Or the delights of a few days rest and relaxation in a beautiful part of our country. And I only had one cream tea. (Honest!)
Talk to you soon…