Two Slices of Cake


It’s not every day you have an epiphany in beach tent, but if you’re going to have one I suggest that there are few places better than a sunny Cornish beach, sheltering from the seagulls, pasty in hand.

Ah Cornwall, what is it about that county? I’ve lived there and know most of the pitfalls of Cornish life for the ‘up country emit’. Yet The Husband and I are drawn back time after time and Stars I and II love it. I have a file entitled ‘Cornish Dreams’ on my desktop and troll through endless details of houses for sale, and when no one’s home I play my CD ‘Sounds of the Cornish Coast’, crashing waves gusting wind and screeching gulls. An acquired taste I grant you, but it’s good to dream…

While in North Cornwall last time, I had decided that Star I and II required a bit of culture in between bouts of surfing so we set off for the glorious cliff top amphitheatre that is the Minack Theatre.

Now one of the things I had conveniently forgotten about that part of the world is navigating the labyrinth of lanes that twist this way and that, lined with lush green and wild flowers that hide unforgiving granite walls. The shortest journey can seem like an eternity, there was silence from the back seat as The Husband swung us around hairpin bends,
“ This is great! I’d forgotten about the roads!”
I’d never felt so nauseous….
but oh-so worth it to be seated at the Minack gazing out at the sunset. Yet that journey brought back memories of living in coastal Cornwall and forgetting to buy milk- a ‘short’ trip to the shop…I may be some time.

So back in the beach tent clutching my crust, I realised what I’m about is the best bits. Yes, what I would like is the perfect cottage, beach, scenery and art preferably in one place! And there on that day was exactly what we had plus a pasty!
But then on holiday, if you’re fortunate, that’s what you get, the best bits, the fantasy and of course the memories.

At that point Star I arrived with ice cream and lattes, (more best bits), and a thought occurred to me. What if we lived here and found our Market Town home on a holiday in Hampshire?
Hampshire with its rolling hills, ancient cart tracks, beech woods, crystal clear chalk streams and rivers where trout jump on cool summers evenings. Thatched villages concealing country pubs, Georgian streets, a Cathedral City and a history rich in Saxon Kings, maritime glory and ancient myth. Not forgetting the profusion of arts and pride in traditional fare.

Of course, like Cornwall, it has its bad bits – over development, the rude arrogance of new money and parking to name a few and there is no doubt that Hampshire has its social problems the same as anywhere.

But if we found our Market Town on holiday we probably wouldn’t want to leave. The truth of it is that we live in a best bit; I have all I want in a place that is in my soul. If I moved to Cornwall I know I would dream of the best bits of Hampshire because that’s what I did when I lived in a coastal cottage.

I worried about my epiphany, only wanting the best bits means I spend most of my life with my head in the sand but I guess that’s preferable to many I can think of who have theirs somewhere entirely different!

Well yes, you’re right I want my cake and eat it too but with a huge dollop of clotted cream.

Sandra Pagan