I will confess from the outset that I am a keen fan of my mother’s blog. It’s a way of keeping up to date (when she posts) of what she is up to, and more importantly, the progress that the wee dog that she has adopted is making.... he has revolutionalised her life in so many ways since the departure of what was for sure the most astonishing canine evolution that was Zac. Zac was an adored family member; totally human and entirely dog - a truly winning combination for all of us, who is sorely missed. Benji is worlds apart and yet, he has won our hearts so it was with joy that we spent a week with him and Mum in January in a cottage on the north coast of Cornwall.
“We” consists of me; middle son, aged 42 (thanks for the Spider-Man birthday card Mummy!), based mainly in Kabul, Afghanistan and my lovely wife Sheeja, three years older (though I am not allowed to mention that) who until very recently has been working with Rolls Royce and Siemens as a Project Manager. Our 17 year old son was absent - he doesn’t really do rural Cornwall (internet is not up to scratch) but in fairness, he is also away at boarding school....
We were joined for the first couple of days by my baby brother’s children Leo and Eleanor (11 and 7) which made for much hilarity as we enjoyed chocolate pizzas and ice cream pancakes and played football tennis ( if you haven’t tried it you should) in the rain.... I rarely get time in the UK so a couple of days with them, and a day with my brother and his partner was fantastic. I get to be the indulgent uncle agreeing to all sorts of bad habits, but taking none of the blame as the parents have to deal with the fall out.....
The weather was shocking - no real surprise for north Cornwall in the depths of winter but after Afghanistan, the rain and cloud and fog were so refreshing. We had a lovely cottage - a converted barn from which we saw absolutely nobody (bliss) at the top of a deserted lane.
The drive from the cottage was flooded on one especially wet day, but that's when the countless games of Uno passed the time.
Benji kept us very entertained dashing around the place (and keeping a lookout for marauders from the window seat) and we enjoyed lots of cooking and card games, all accompanied by medicinal amounts of wine....
On a rare day of sunshine, or rather sky that was not raining, we set off intrepidly for the beach. ** He didn't mention the howling gale!**
Being an eco warrior, and influenced by the recent Blue Planet David Attenborough series, Mum started collecting plastic from Sandymouth Cove where we ended up. The great thing was the fact that fairly soon, we were all at it and we collected an enormous amount. The downside? No one was looking at the sea anymore - collecting plastic is seriously addictive but perhaps that is no bad thing.... Sheeja amused us all by forgetting her walking shoes. It turns out that walking in boots with heels on a rocky foreshore is quite difficult - eventually the boots came off and she hopped from rock to rock in her socks - and stuffed her boots with plastic rubbish!
Eventually, growling stomachs needed to be sated so we headed off for lunch. There is, if you ever visit Bude, an absolutely superb cafe at the top of Crooklets Beach serving excellent lunches and mind blowing coffee (the coffee did not contain illicit substances as far as I know, it was just very good and quite unexpected). This became our regular haunt over the course of the week and Benji took to staring at my face, without blinking or moving whenever food was served, leaving me to christen him “Devil Dog” - obviously Mum did not approve of this moniker.
** A note from 'Mum' here to explain that Benji stared at David because he had a habit of 'accidentally' dropping pieces of food for him!**
Leo and Uncle David bracing themselves against the fierce wind on Crooklets Beach
Sheeja and I had planned to stay for 2 nights leaving Mum to enjoy the cottage for a few days before heading home, but it was so nice to relax together and just enjoy, that we ended up staying for the week (sorry Mum!) but I have no doubt that we all had a really good break. My mother is one of the smartest people I have ever met and even at the ripe old age of 73 still gives me good advice. Being based away from home certainly teaches you to appreciate what you have, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time together for the entire time we were there.
At some point I must have agreed to write a guest entry for this blog, so apologies that there are no flowers, no gardens and no musings on rare plants. I also love to garden but I thought that on this occasion it would be nice to simply express my thankfulness that I have a great family, and that I am very lucky. The week in Cornwall was something I will treasure and even here, in the middle of the night in Kabul as I write, I am still smiling when I think about our holiday. Isn’t that what holidays are all about?
**Relaxing holidays are also inspirational and one early morning, when I was up and about before anyone else, I shared Benji's window seat and drew the tree at the top of the drive: it's the only 'plant' you'll see in David's post!!!**