I return – with, incredibly, a tan. I don’t think I’ve actually had a proper tan in about five years. I also return with far less money, but having had an absolutely wonderful week of sun, sand, good food, good drink, good culture and the most glorious of company. I feel compelled to tell you all about it.
We set off on Friday 11th, at half past seven in the morning, having confirmed the existence of some form of god.
J.D. is late. Always. Even when Clare is around to give him a gentle nudge – and, indeed, when she’s the one driving the car. Fliss and I have been told (um – people who read this blog will be largely split into three types: people who know me and my friends in real life, people who know me but not my friends, and people who know me through my work. As far as naming goes, I’ll assume you’re in the first category, but if you’re not, just prefix everything with “my friend”, since that kinda works) that we absolutely must be ready to lock the door and board the car at 7am. It’s half past, and we’re exhausted, and, remarkably, Fliss doesn’t drink coffee so I haven’t been able to either. We’ve been talking about various philosophical topics because, quite frankly, we’re so bloody exhausted that it seems like a good idea. “Is there a god?” I ask, jokingly. “If there is, then please let J.D. and Clare arrive right now,” faux-prays Fliss.
J.D. and Clare pull around the corner of the road literally a second later.
Then we’re in the car and we discover that playing Trauma Center games while in a moving vehicle is absolutely impossible, and playing Mario Kart gives you travel sickness.
J.D. is absolutely adamant that the drive will take around seven hours with stops. I’m absolutely certain it won’t. Six hours fifty without stops, says Google Maps. We’re going, essentially, as far away as you can go without leaving the country. As the crow flies, it’s a substantially longer distance than driving to France. But no. Seven hours, says J.D.
We arrive, having set off at half seven, at bang-on 5pm.
The outbound journey’s surprisingly enjoyable, though I suspect Clare may think differently. The sun’s shining. We spend much time laughing at the weather forecast for being absolutely atrociously inaccurate (at one point, stopped somewhere in the Midlands, Fliss checks the BBC’s weather “in this location” on an iPhone app, which tells us it’s raining and windy, despite our being sitting on a grassy bank drinking Fanta in tha absolute baking sunshine with barely a cloud in the sky). We spot bizarre half-mountains in the distance, and weird chimney things. Clare and I drink a lot of coffee.
We arrive, and the cottage is wonderful.
We’re staying in Madron. It’s around two miles north of Penzance, less a village and more a T-junction with a few houses and a pub. What this means is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, and, set in the Cornwall countryside, utterly beautiful. It’s also more gargantuan than you could possibly imagine (as a guide, there’s twelve of us staying there, and very frequently we find ourselves having to search the house to see where people actually are), and has the most extraordinary view of Penzance, the Channel, and St. Michael’s Mount in the distance. I wholeheartedly recommend you stay at Tregoddick Farm, to which the pictures beyond that link do absolutely no justice.
And we have horsey neighbours. They’re the best of all the animals. The white one is especially tame. We quickly name him Ted. He is, unfortunately, not pictured.
Gradually, people arrive. The group, all flocking to Cornwall for J.D.’s suddenly becoming ten years older (which, as we all know, is what happens when you enter a new decade of your life), is split between Leeds-, London- and Brighton-based comrades. Some people are driving, others are speeding along in a train. The Brighton contingent arrive in Emma’s car (there’s a whole other story about that which is probably best left untold). Before even greeting anyone, Emma’s on the trampoline, as one absolutely should be.
Quickly we order a curry from a takeaway which, despite being the only one listed in the Welcome guide left on the table, has absolutely no idea where Tregoddick Farm is, and has to be very carefully directed. Curry eaten, we turn to booze, which becomes a stalwart for the week.
I genuinely daren’t post the picture of J.D. with a candelabra crown on his head, as midnight rolls around and his birthday arrives.
Next: Penzance, the rules about football, and more booze.