Blak­eney Bites

Sy­billa Hart re­flects on her new life in the Es­sex coun­try­side af­ter mov­ing up from Lon­don

Essex Life - - COUNTY LIFE - @hart_sy­billa In­sta­gram sybil­la_hart

Ev­ery year I nearly book a sum­mer hol­i­day, but then find some rea­son not to. I usu­ally tell my­self just as I am about to pay the hol­i­day bal­ance that the cur­tains in some room or other re­ally do need re­plac­ing and the car has just had a ser­vice bill the price of a small, err, car. I had to ask my­self as I made these in­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tions, am I in my thir­ties or seven­ties? Ex­actly.

This year I vowed to over­come my fear and booked not one but two hol­i­days, nearly knock­ing my­self out in the process. Good­bye Mrs Sen­si­ble, hello Mrs Ra­tio­nal. This year we are go­ing to Blak­eney in Nor­folk and Cadg­with on the Lizard penin­sula in Corn­wall. I had to try and bat away cir­cum­spect com­ments such as, ‘There’s not a lot go­ing on in Blak­eney for chil­dren’ and, ‘Have you ac­tu­ally been three be­fore?’ along with my own reser­va­tions about the mass flood­ing that prac­ti­cally washed away the next door vil­lage in Corn­wall last year.

We are now in Blak­eney and hav­ing a glo­ri­ous time. We could do without the mos­qui­tos, or rather I could as they al­ways seem to make a B line for me. The dogs are not be­ing as civilised as I would have liked ei­ther, but hey ho. As Char­lie keeps ex­plain­ing to any­one who will lis­ten, they are ‘farm dogs’ and ‘not so­cialised’. Per­haps they are not the only mem­bers of the party who could fall into this cat­e­gory?

Char­lie and I, not at all used to the no­tion of a hol­i­day, re­spond in dif­fer­ent ways. He col­lapsed in a heap on the sofa and I de­cided to phone up the cot­tage com­pany and ask if we could stay on an ex­tra week. The chil­dren and dogs cov­ered them­selves in mud, which seemed in­nocu­ous the first few times. We had gone a bit dolally. Was it the novel ex­pe­ri­ence of not be­ing at home, or the heat, or both?

Af­ter mak­ing the de­ci­sion to en­joy the week I had booked as op­posed to greed­ily grab­bing an­other one, I re­laxed and went for an evening swim with the el­der chil­dren. All was go­ing well un­til I wiped out in my silk shorts and match­ing top on the slip­pery mud. I was now go­ing to have a pretty hefty bruise as well as no less than 27 mos­quito bites all over my body. Still, we had had a change of scene and seen the seals — wasn’t that worth all the scratches and bites? To be hon­est, I would say so.

Char­lie, while phys­i­cally un­harmed, re­mained scep­ti­cal. When we ar­rived back in Es­sex he said he was more ex­hausted than be­fore he left. When I men­tioned to him by way of re­as­sur­ance that he had three weeks un­til the next hol­i­day in Corn­wall to re­cover, he raised his eye­brows. Per­suad­ing him to go to the Man o’ War cot­tage in Cadg­with may be more dif­fi­cult than I orig­i­nally thought.

‘I was now go­ing to have a pretty hefty bruise as well as no less than 27 mos­quito bites all over my body’

Sy­billa Hart is a free­lance writer and mother of four. She lives at Peverels Farm near Colne En­gaine and tries to stay on top of things with four chil­dren un­der the age of ten

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