A week in Cornwall

I just spent a week in St. Agnes in a smallish cottage in Rosemundy with my mum and nearly 2 year old daughter. I went to get away from the falling down ceiling in the bedroom which builders had arrived to stick back up and my mum so she could have a very much needed half term break.

It was a tough week. Not only was it really freezing cold and wet, but Winni my daughter was ill more or less the whole time. Apart from being scary at times; her coughing through the night, temperature rises and her general lethargy it also affected her behaviour towards me and my mum. She became super clingy to me and if I looked away for a moment or tried to have a conversation she would raise a small hand and say ‘hit!’ towards my mum. If not hit then it would be a whispered ‘kick!’. Fortunately, my mum didn’t take it personally but by the end of the week even she was finding it slightly unnerving. This was odd and tiring. She is back to her cheerful self, my daughter that is – still with snotty nose but then I think that’s here to stay at least until summer.

In the midst of illness we did make it to two table top sales and I went to a jumble sale in the Scouts Hut. What a great idea to have a jumble sale on a Friday evening! There wasn’t much stuff to be had and anyway I am not as good as I once was at spotting it! I used to go to jumbles every Saturday religiously. Especially as a kid with my mum and then again when I was at University and trying to support myself with a stall at Camden Market. Jumble sales and charity shops were a necessity. In those days coming home with a black sack brimming over with 5p purchases was the norm.

I went to a jumble sale first one in ages a couple of weeks ago with my friend Jo in a village just outside Brighton called Ditchling. It was £1 to get in and then everything was 50p. I thought this was a bit much but then we did get some good bits and pieces. I had glimmers of the old excitement and nerves standing in the queue and watching it grow slowly as the minutes ticked by. Sussing out the potential competition and making judgements about what people nearer the front of the queue might be going for. In the early days I was very single minded. I knew what to look for and in what order to sweep the stalls. I could spot an interesting fabric from across the room. Also, if you had made the decision that people ahead of you were not dealers then the whole thing was quite leisurely however, if there were others with ‘an eye’ then it all became a much more extreme sport.

We went to The Tate in St.Ives, the Eden Project, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan (although we didn’t actually go in – it would have been £8.50 each and really Winni was not at all up to it. We had the good fortune of asking a gardener what there was to see and he said not a lot at this time of the year). I managed to get a wheel clamp in St. Ives and even my spontaneous bursting into distraught teariness were not enough to appeal to the human beingness in the humourless man who silently took £74 off me. I did ask him if, human being to human being there was any way he could let up with this clamping? He was not a human being and could not be appealed to! It did cross my mind to beg as possibly my only real chance of getting any sympathy – but I just could not bring myself to. I had left Winni and my mum down by the harbour eating chips. When I finally got back to pick them up in the van we all got so caught up in my rage against the inhumanity of the car park mafia that I drove off and left the buggy in the middle of the road!

Rosemundy, is a two way street. St. Agnes is incredibly well connected by bus to all areas and Rosemundy is very much on the bus route (as we found out!) even though it’s really steep and cars park in what turns out to be a particularly key spot on the hill. Every other bus that charges up this little lane is foiled by the row of cars parked on the right half way up. I went out one evening to have a look.

Mum and I had got a little freaked out by the passengers on the lower deck staring at us in our sitting room and those on top into our bedroom. The bus had come to a halt because it couldn’t get through the narrow gap left by the parked cars. The driver called the depot to let them know. Everyone on the bus got more and more grumpy. Soon, the passengers abandoned their travelling plans and got off the bus. Then the bus driver starts to reverse down the hill to find an alternative route. Not an easy thing to do. I really wanted to have a conversation with someone about how this tiny little road ever came to be a carrier of buses – both ways. At least make it one way! Maybe I should speak to the owner of the cottage about getting some more heavy duty nets curtains and triple double glazing?

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