We are at the cottage at last – it has been a long time since we were here. It was a turbulent summer, but for now the dust has settled and daily life resumes. Things have not resolved though – and won’t for a while – the outcome is a long way off and like Brexit we will have to live with uncertainty, until certainty gains some ground. But I firmly believe in the fact that good always comes out of bad. Just not quick enough sometimes!
I had forgotten how some very simple pleasures can ignite a feeling of well-being and here at the cottage simple is one of the great attractions. Snuggling down at night under a heavier duvet than we are used to – I like the weight of it – it would feel too stifling at home where the bedrooms retain the heat longer with better insulated walls – but here I need the extra warmth to keep away the chill in the caravan once the heating is turned off. I am reminded of my childhood long before we had central heating in the bedrooms and a sense of being wrapped up tightly against the cold night air – at the same time bringing feelings of security too.
Lying, warm and cosy in bed in the caravan I listen to the beat of the rain on the roof. Steady at first, then a sudden torrential burst, but like the roar of the sea at night, soothing in its rhythm. At other times there is absolute silence here and always, once the lights are out, an inky black darkness which is only lit on the nights we have a full moon. We have street lights at home, security lights too and any chink in the curtain throws light into the bedroom no matter how hard I try to keep it out; there is never a moment when the world is completely black to us.
Here there are no street lights – only nature lights a path. There was talk of putting solar lighting along the low road, which is a path leading into the village that runs alongside the beach – I hope not as the nesting birds and wildlife in the surrounding bushes need darkness…..we need darkness.
There are other pleasures here too – cooking by gas, the whistling of the kettle on the hob, cupboards that hold ‘just enough’ to get by and no more. There is a sparseness of decoration that brings quietness to this little temporary home – a vase of tiny sea shells, a jam jar of coloured sea glass and a display of beach pebbles or pine cones collected on our walks.
We have time here too – time to eat breakfast and read, time to ponder and collect our thoughts even managing to put them into some kind of order. We watch the rabbits scampering around and the birds foraging in the undergrowth for food – they have all day – we have all day. And I ask myself how it is once we are back at home life takes over again, demands surface and problems begin to mount up.
The Rosa rugose hedge running alongside the lane is dripping with rosehips. The abundance of nature here is wonderful – the hedgerows and woodland – the call of the cuckoo and wood pigeon mingled with the cry of the gulls – the expanse of deserted seashore.
One of my first tasks will be to pick a few herbs and flowers from the garden to bring inside, whatever is still in bloom. I am annoyed with myself that I forgot my flower press; I will have to assemble a makeshift one from a stack of heavy books and some kitchen paper. I have ideas to make some gift tags and cards from the pressed petals.
There was a huge amount of windfall apples lying on the ground – I salvaged a few and left the rest for the wild life to devour. Hopefully, the ones remaining on the tree will fall before the weeks out.
The rain continued to lunchtime so after our initial walk around to inspect the garden we decided to go for a walk to the village whilst it stayed dry. The garden will have to wait for another day – it has waited our return all summer and many of the plants have grown unchecked to dizzy heights, whilst others have been and gone leaving only a skeleton behind to suggest they had once been there at all.
For the benefit of new readers we are camping out in a caravan pending the reinstatement of our cottage after the flood – you can read our tale should you be interested in the tab Beach Cottage above.