I like surprises. Laetitia however is not so keen on them. She likes to know what’s happening, when and where. This can make events like birthdays and the like somewhat predictable. This is why it was such a delight for me when a few days ago on my 73rd birthday I was informed that we were to be spending a night away at an unknown destination and to take my best bib and tucker with me. I was intrigued and excited!
The first part of the journey was through a rather brutalist industrial landscape in Cornwall which I found slightly dispiriting – but I had faith that I was maybe being taken via a deliberately misleading route. Fortunately after about 30 minutes the scenery gradually transformed into something more pastoral and it wasn’t too long until we emerged at the pretty fishing village of Mevagissey.
We made an interesting but unnerving unintentional detour along the quayside hoping there would be room enough to turn around our 4×4 vehicle when we ran out of road – fortunately there was. Once we figured out how to find the right road, we drove up the steep hill to where we were staying the night – Honeycombe House.
This turned out to be a delightful guest house situated right up the top of Mevagissey which had uninterrupted views of the harbour and the sea. Our room also had a balcony so we were soon out there with the ubiquitous glass of Cornish mead. Fabulous! 🙂
Our host was a fascinating woman who with her husband and family had been abroad in many different countries in the diplomatic service. This meant that there were many different and wonderful artefacts decorating their house which I couldn’t stop exploring and asking about as everything had a story. You could tell by the furnishings and décor that she had exquisite taste and this extended itself into some lovely little touches as part of the hospitality. The home baked shortbread biscuits on our drinks tray were delicious!
It was so good to get away from it all and just relax and admire the view, watching the fishing boats coming and going. However, this visit meant something quite special to Laetitia as well. Honeycombe House had a meaningful memory from her past. She stayed in the guest house when she was in her teens and there was a very interesting synchronicity that occurred between her and my younger self during that holiday. I won’t spoil the story as you can find it in her book, Be Careful What You Wish For published by Crossed Crow Books.
By this time we were getting quite hungry so we put on our glad rags and walked down the hill to the restaurant where we had a table booked for dinner. We ate at the Shark’s Fin which was right on the waterfront and fortunately we had a table right by the window.
We started with a cocktail made around the theme of passion fruit which we both loved. It had been years since I’d been treated to one of those and I had forgotten how wonderfully potent they can be. It was a bit like being given a warm, well intentioned shove, alcoholically speaking – which is a considerable improvement upon the swipe round the chops that some alcoholic beverages can produce!
Dinner was scrumptious. I had lemon sole fillets with sea herbs and root vegetables, followed by green apple and gin & lemon sorbets all washed down with a crisp Pinot Grigio.
After a wander around the harbour and realising the night was too cold to hang about in, we made our slow ascent back up the hill to our hotel. I had to do this in stages but there was plenty to take in as the Full Moon was shining down adding its own unique magic to our surroundings.
It was the perfect end to an exciting day – and so to sleep, perchance to dream… but I didn’t – dream that is. Now anyone that knows me well realises that I am definitely not a morning person, however I was keen not to waste the opportunity of witnessing the sunrise across the sea from the ‘room with a view’ that we were occupying at that time. I’m so glad I followed my impulse and here are the results of my vigil:
After I had taken all the photos I wanted I returned to the bedroom and watched the whole panorama unfold from the comfort of my bed together with the first cup of tea of the day. Bliss!
Following a shower we traipsed down the stairs for our breakfast – yet another delightful experience as you can see.
Then it was time to pack up the car and say our goodbyes to our lovely host. This is a place where we will definitely visit again and I would highly recommend for the more informed traveller. Then we drove down the hill, parked up and indulged in a few hours of retail therapy and networking, before setting off for home once more.
I’ve reached the time of life when making memories is far more important than the accumulation of possessions. It was a wonderful birthday surprise and I simply loved the experience. Thank you so much Laetitia! 🙂