Hello, dear reader.
I am absolutely obsessed with Daphne DuMaurier. Obsessed, I tell you.
We spent the last week in Cornwall with DM's charming adult children, in the most beautiful little stone house with big grey windows overlooking the St Austell Bay. A tiny harbor had been created with large slate rocks, and so at high tide, you could dive into a balmy turquoise lagoon. It was cold, I suppose, but then again, I'm not half Norwegian for nothing. We brace ourselves, we Vikings, and we pound our chests, and we dive straight in. "Wait for the glow! Wait for the glow!" said DM. "It will come!" He is referring to the numbing sensation that overcomes you when you are in cold seawater, when suddenly your whole body begins to tingle with warmth. The house is big with lovely old wide panels of wood on the floors, heated stone tile in the bathrooms (I mean, how spoiling!), Egyptian cotton sheets, big fluffy white towels and more than a splash of Farrow & Ball. The sitting room contained huge grey linen sofas with pale blue velvet cushions. So comfortable! There were cupboards full of games, and shelves full of books, and a little lawn area just to the south of the house where you could take advantage of the sun after it had gone behind the hill. The trek down to the house from the little lane where we parked the car was about 10 minutes, so you can imagine, there weren't a lot of people about. A little barbecue was built into the slate cliff in the walled garden, and we spent many lazy evenings grilling and drinking pinot grigio.
The best part was the morning. The sound of the waves and the sun blazing in the bedroom window at 4.30am, an orange ball of light reaching out towards us like an illuminated runway; a Munch sun, I thought. That magic time that only comes at this time of year, right around the solstice, when every creature is marveling and no-one gets enough sleep because they cannot bear to close their eyes when the light is so beautiful.
And Charlie has the most amazing knack of finding the best walks. Up and down the South West Coastal Path we went. The first day was best, and I suppose it always is, because everything was new. We walked from the house up and down steep hills and cliffs in the woods and emerged on a path that followed a hay field, overgrown, blowsy, full of nettles, foxgloves, bindweed, tiny pink flowers I still can't identify, hanging oak branches, the end of the gorse, still yellow in parts. The path is a narrow channel and you have to watch your feet. Thistle did best because she's closest to the ground, but I can't imagine it must've felt very nice to be whipped in the face like that (she's only about half a foot tall). And on the left of us was the sea. Dramatic and turquoise and big and crashing. Above us, blue skies, no clouds, seabirds. And to the right cattle, big fat heifers with long eyelashes and lazily inquisitive. The path took us to Black Head, past a plaque commemorating the life of Cornish historian and poet A.L. Rowse and then up a hill laden with blue and pink flowers, clover, buttercups, wild cornflower and on to the cliff top. There we stopped and marveled. There is no other word for it. The wind was blowing us, the sun was shining down of us, the seabirds were calling, and two fisherman were balanced on a rock far below us, their picnic satchel propped up next to them, a flask of tea on a flat pad of grass. It was a place of communion. A place to rejoice and give thanks, to pray, to meditate, to tune in, to feel at one with the world. He said something like "With all the tumult on earth, this will still be here. The sea, the flowers, the wind blowing through it. It reminds us of what the world can be." There was so much beauty that I cried.
But then I discovered Rebecca. And, dear reader, I could not put it down.
I am happy I have a plane journey on Thursday, because I shall be starting Jamaica Inn.
Love to you all, and apologies for being such a sporadic writer.