I have fond memories of holidaying in Cornwall.
Crab lines, damp socks and fish and chip dinners, Cornish holidays weren’t complete without these to excess. Not to mention the sand-on-everything situations, triple scoop ice creams and a sea so painfully cold your toes may actually fall off (but who gives a hoot – you’re on holiday!)
We went often as children, Mum, Dad, Gem, me, cousins, dogs, aunties, uncles. We’d drive in convoy to spend two weather dependant weeks in what we hoped was sunshine, but would more than likely be hail. And with an uncontainable excitement nevertheless.
Gem and I would spend our days sweeping the beaches for shells, collecting, comparing and squabbling over who picked best. Because it’s customary to inspect the beach and pocket your favourite shells, isn’t it? Like going to Blackpool without eating a stick of rock. We’d even get them back to Southampton, where they’d start a new life in the bathroom (sorry Mum – what a sport) then move to a plant pot on the patio, and end life in a garden waste bag. Just in time for us to go back and collect our next batch.
Oh, the memories.
I’ve always loved a jolly down to the Cornish coast and have been back a few times since those childhood trips. Once with an ex-boyfriend where I had noticeably more in common with the local seagulls than him, and the second to a very raucous festival in New Quay (cos, where else?). This particular jaunt involved staying in a less than a hygienic hostel, ponchos that could barely withstand a light breeze let alone the sheet-rain, and my best friend acquiring a black eye from positioning herself in the centre of a mosh pit during a particularly elbow-y gig.
Whenever I return to Cornwall, that childhood excitement remains the same. It’s almost as wonderful as the feeling I take home with me, too – a renewed sense of happiness. Like the sea air has cleansed any woe out of me and topped up the cup of my soul.
Cut to 2020 and at the grand age of 31, I’m heading back to the west country.
Joel and I packed Winnie in the car, filled the boot with all-weather gear (it pays to be over-prepared in the UK) and headed back down to the Cornish coast.
They say a change is as good as a rest, and that has to be factually correct? The further we drove from real life, the more my stress lessened. My worries turning from the usual “how will we pay off the wedding?” and “do we have enough loo roll?” to “what flavour M&S sandwich shall I have for lunch?” (Less pressing but equally as important.) No working, no Tesco meal deals, no alarms – and hopefully no signal. What sheer joy.
Because, I’ve been feeling particularly sorry for myself lately, and I’ve self-diagnosed with SAD – as you do. Ok, perhaps slightly dramatic, but winter has felt long. And this warm-blooded creature needs regular top-ups of sunshine otherwise she wilts – much like the Aloe Vera plant in my bathroom currently crying out for a dose of vitamin d.
So this staycay was just the boost I needed. And Cornwall did not disappoint.
We stayed in St. Agnes, a quaint little town on the north coast and had a great time – no, a really great time.
The lay-ins, endless hours wandering the beach, blustery hikes, chatting to locals, scones, pasties and a bed within very close proximity to tea making equipment (thank you, Airbnb) What more could a girl ask for?
It has to be said, no matter where you choose to go, staycations are a must. Not only are they a bloody brilliant on-the-doorstep adventure, but they come with a whole host of health benefits, too. Besides leaving behind the everyday anxieties of normal life – which is reason enough, of course – you can count reduced journey time, less loosening of the purse strings, and decreased travel stress (no delays, lost luggage or aeroplane food – hoorah) as reasons to embrace a staycay. Oh, and you can bring your dog. Need I say more?
As much as I love visiting exotic corners of the globe, there’s something special about exploring good old Blightly. The humble staycation can really hit that holiday spot.
And as I write, sprawled on the sofa back in homey Hursley, I can still feel the benefits from our trip. The weather-beaten, windswept look may have gone, but the feelings of peace I heartily breathed in at the beach have (more often than not) stayed. So I’ve made a pact with myself: I vow to move slower, do less, take pleasure from the simple things, and to eat more pasties.
Now that I’m older (or positively geriatric judging by how long it takes me to find my DOB in a drop-down) Cornish holidays have been less three-scoop ice cream and more bottle of Sauv, but the magic remains the same. And despite having phone signal all weekend (02 must be upping their game), I’ll be bringing a whole new level of calm with me into the month ahead – oh, that and a pocket full of seashells.