Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Visitor

We have a dear friend staying, who has fled the confines of a small Devon village to be with us for her birthday. She started to come down here on holiday ten years ago with her daughter, who was then 11, and everyone in the village was amazed because Gwen never went anywhere. (She doesn’t drive so life is a little claustrophobic, the nearest town being 7 miles away.)

The first visit was a great success despite our TV having blown up. Unlike most 11 year olds, her daughter was quite happy sitting in our front window looking out on the harbour, the boats and the fields opposite, and they spent the days walking through the town exploring the shops, and logging incoming and outgoing boats. Since then they have been down every year and with each visit, Gwen’s confidence has grown. One year she got the bus to Truro and this opened up her horizons. The next time she and her daughter took several boat trips. Soon she decided that she would come down here by train instead of one of her offspring driving her.

The next year she lost weight, had a haircut and looked a different woman. Her daughter is now 19 and has a boyfriend so holidays with Mum are Off, but Gwen is part of our family and greatly welcomed by Mollie, who can smell a sucker a mile off and welcomes any addition to our walks. We now have a very good arrangement – Gwen pleases herself in the mornings while I write, then we meet for lunch, come back and pick up Hyperactive Dog and do a different (and very long) walk each day. Yesterday we walked through the long grassed fields of the Helford area, had tea at Trebah with the twittering sparrows and walked back, dodging the half term families making the most of their holiday lets.

Durgan is a hamlet of old schoolhouses, quaint cottages and old boat sheds that have now been tarted up so that no one can live there. They provide holidays for the affluent and deprive Cornish people of homes. We had an amiable rant as we walked yesterday, dreaming up policies to stop people buying second homes. How would they feel if it was their son or daughter unable to get their foot on the first rung of the housing ladder?

End of rant. I’m to finish editing the morning’s part of the book, then this afternoon we’re walking at Carwinion possibly, Porthleven or St Mawes – the possiblities are endless.

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