Home again after a fortnight of travelling, seeing family and celebrating my husband’s 70th birthday, today has been the first time for days that I have had chance just to’be’, to collect my thoughts and to reflect on the events of the past days.
The visit to my son was mostly positive although he is clearly stressed as he takes on a new and more responsible role at work; my daughter in law, like so many other young women, is stretched to breaking point running a home, bringing up a child and going to work, striving ceaselessly to attain perfection in all areas of life that I fear she experiences few moments of genuine pleasure and rest. My beloved grand daughter seemed worn out when we arrived, having just finished school for the Easter holidays and although we enjoyed some fun days out she seemed to be below par and it was no great surprise that she woke after a few days covered in spots and joined most of her friends with chicken pox. A classic case of the body holding out and then succumbing to illness when the pressure is off. In one way a blessing as all children need to go through the baptism of childhood illnesses, they are best caught when young, and she is now fine again.
No matter how good our relationships, how strong our affection, it is never easy to stay in close confines with one’s adult children for too long and as we reached day 5 I was reminded of the old Chines proverb : After three days both fish and visitors begin to stink!
Perhaps it is a sign of ageing that we begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of our own homes, our own bed, the quiet calm of our country home as opposed to life on the edge of a city, the sound of birdsong rather than traffic and the contentment of the small routines that punctuate our days. Whatever the reason it was good to go and equally good to come home again.
After a few days recovering we packed a small bag again and set off on a short journey, less than hour away from our home. My husband is not a party person and generally prefers low key celebrations so for his birthday I had booked us in to a quiet country house hotel overlooking the North Cornish coast. He had no idea where we were headed and we spent the day walking the coast path over The Rumps near Polzeath. There were few other walkers and for the most part we had the day to ourselves to enjoy the stunning scenery, the carpets of spring flowers: primroses, bluebells, wild garlic, squills, violets and even thrift beginning to appear. We could not have asked for a better performance.
At the end of the day we arrived at The Longcross. Miles from anywhere this lovely Victorian building is a haven of comfort, exquisite food and discreet service. The Manager had laughed gently with me when I had made the reservation as I had booked their honeymoon suite, The Love Shack, which stands alone at the far end of the beautiful gardens with views overlooking the stunning coastline, because I had also said we were coming to celebrate my husband’s 70th birthday. I suppose I can understand their surprise and amusement; from their 30 something viewpoint we must seem like ‘old people’ but as we age we come to realise that how old we are has little bearing on our feelings, emotions and desires. On discovering where we were staying John was amused, but mostly delighted and thrilled to be staying in such a special and beautiful place but also pleased that I still thought it quite normal for us to consider ourselves ‘honeymooners’.
His comment to me as we packed to leave the next day was that he would never forget his 70th birthday and never be able to hear the song, Love Shack, again without remembering this special time. So a success.
This is the view from the hotel, which takes some beating and we had only travelled an hour from home.