Friday, 12 September 2008

Cream Teas and memories.....

I have done a lot of reminiscing this week and my thoughts have turned to my youth and the heady days that I spent in Cornwall for a significant part of my childhood and adolescence.
My mother being a bit of a shrewd lass..was always on the look out for a bargain and this presented itself in the shape of a pretty little coastguard cottage in the village of Coverack .. ...located on the south east corner of the Lizard point.. the most southerly peninsula of Cornwall..
This was way back in the early 1960's and from my rather hazy memory .. I think the cottage cost the grand sum of £2,000 or in the region of.. My mother single-handedly refurbished the cottage with her trademark furnishings and flair.. I like to believe that my talented mother was the Cath Kidston of her day.. by using beautiful fabrics that came from her father's textile factory in Belgium.. linens and gingham and chintz's.. my mother transformed the dingy cottage .. into a delightful chocolate box home that we retreated to at every opportunity. School holidays meant a trip to Cornwall and a reunion with this beloved home of ours..
My mother intended for this to be an investment and so it was rented out as a holiday cottage and always seemed to be fully booked as the position overlooking a quiet idyllic bay and headland was it's drawing point..
These days so vividly etched on my memory as some of the happiest of my life .. frolicking in the endless sunny days where blue skies and seas met without divide.

I have many, many memories of golden days down on the beach and walks across the cliff paths picking bunches of wild garlic and sea thrift..and putting them in a jam jar on the kitchen table to fill the room with the pungent smell that I always associate with Wyndleshore.. our cottage..
Then the unspeakable happened... my parents sold the cottage and my precious sanctuary was out of bounds.. something I still find hard to accept on my sporadic visits to this almost mythical village of my past..
It is to this day a holiday rental cottage and still houses remnants of our time there.. the chintz lampshade that my mother lovingly made still hangs in one of the bedrooms ...the Rayburn cooker.. and the ceramic plaque above the lintel of the stooped kitchen door that we had made to say..Duck or Grouse!
Coverack still holds a very special place in my heart for all sorts of reasons..Cornish pasties, Cornish blue and white china, fishing for mackerel, ferreting amongst the plentiful rock pools, salty sea air, bright ochre of lichen on serpentine rocks, lifeboat day, bunting around the harbour on Regatta day, vinegar soaked fish and chips, the cry of seagulls, basking sharks in the bay, skinny dipping, barbeque's on the beach, brightly painted fishing boats in the harbour, adders basking in the hot sun, thick clotted cream teas, and falling in love for the first time at the tender age of 15 ......with this lad who eventually became Mr Custard....
someone to share these precious memories with..

36 comments:

pebbledash said...

What a wonderful romantic post....and so lovely to see old photos of Coverack. I think parts of the village were used in the film 'Ladies in Lavender' though the main house in the film was Cliff Cottage at Prussia Cove. And two teenage sweethearts (great pics!)...how I bet you wish your family still had the cottage.
D x

Vintage Amethyst said...

Aaahhh such a sweet sweet post.
How lovely that your mother bought the cottage and renovated it all herself, oohh I can only imagine how you felt when it was sold.
I love Cornwall too and of course Devon and we used to spend lots of time there when I was a child too, I'm very excited as we are all going back next weekend for a week. Yay.
Have a lovely Sunday
love Alison x

Leisa said...

Oooohhhh thank you for sharing that lovely post with us. Such wonderful memories..... You must have been sad when your family sold the beach cottage.

Lucy Bloom said...

A precious post, Michele, great pics of you and Mr. Custard!
Lucy x

funkymonkey said...

I've so enjoyed reading about Coverack and looking at your photos. It's a great place for little boys to explore rock pools and has lots of pretty cottages for us Mums to admire and imagine living in. I can well understand your fondness for the place.

Gigi said...

Oh I can relate so well to your post. Our family had a little farmhouse by a river where we retreated for weekends and holidays when I was young. I loved it so much -- riding horses all day, swimmming in the river, lying in the sun, long lazy breakfasts and evenings spent on the screened in porch watching thuderstorms roll through or the brilliant West Texas sunsets. When my parents sold it, I was devasted. When I'm in that part of the country, I still occasionally drive by to see if it might be for sale. Oh well -- many many good memories.
Georganna

Ragged Roses said...

That is the best story Michele.
Mx

Sandra said...

It's my first time leaving a comment and I have to say that I just loved this post, it was so sweet and so filled with wonderful memories for you. It made me feel like I was right there with you.

Have a wonderful day,
Sandra

Kitschen Pink said...

Well you might have warned me I'd need a box of tissues and a bar of chocolate before I sat down to read this post! Just beautiful - and a romantic happy ending too...oooh where are those tissues! t.xx

Hen said...

What a lovely story. Are you ever tempted to re t it for a break? It looks a beautiful place.

Hen x

Sal said...

I would definitely rent it for a weekend break!
My dream is to buy a small cottage and do great things with it!!
Lovely photos, Michele ;-)

Garden Girl said...

Well there lies a novel, me thinks. You totally captured some of my own fond childhood memories of Cornwall. The most fabulous place ever, surely?
My Uncle owns a cottage not far from there, and is planning his retirement as I type! I would move there tomorrow given the chance. And spiders don't like the sea either, which is a bonus...x

Simone said...

Fantastic photos and wonderful memories. I would have loved to have had childhood memories of such a lovely place as the cottage. I don't know how much of my childhood is real or imagined.

Paper Roses said...

Love your post....how romantic.. to share your memories with your first love.
Debbie

Cocoa and blankets said...

I feel all gooey inside after reading your post and I also want to go to Cornmall again, we have only been once - it rained and rained unfortunately we stayed near Padstow. You paint a beautiul pictur of the area, the lovely house and your mother.

LiLi M. said...

Wonderful memories! You have written them down in a way a painter does. I saw that cottage and I felt sad when you told us it was sold too. Oooh these wonderful summers back then! I spent most of them with my grandmother on the Belgium border..the sun was always shining and there were always ripe cherries too! I thought you were working to the climax: and now we have bought the cottage again, but your climax is even better! The Love of your life. Someone wrote that you have to warn us before reading; chocolate and tissue alert, I totally agree!
Have a great week!

Emma Herian said...

Ah, bless - how sad and yet so sweet at the same time. You both look so young and innocent of what life is about to bring you. Sweet sweet yummy memories.
Emx

Redwoodhouse said...

What a wonderful post, you took us all for a nostalgic and romantic trip.
jan

BusyLizzie said...

fabulous memories! So good to meet you yesterday. busylizzie x

Country Cottage Chic said...

What a lovely post! I especially enjoyed the photos of you & Mr C from way back when....

Rosie said...

I loved this post and what lovely memories you have of your holidays and such a romantic ending.

Alchamillamolly said...

Look at you two - you have been together for so long............
I was shattered after reading about the cottage to find it had gone from your family. I have not posted the books yet as we are thinking about coming down for the do!

kristina said...

Such a beautiful post. I got terribly misty eyed in the middle. So lovely. I do wish the cottage were still in your family though...K x

Petticoat Lane said...

What a lovely, lovely post and what beautiful memories you have of such happy times. I've never been to Coverack but it looks beautiful and if it inspired you to write such a beautiful post then it's certainly worth a visit.
Went to Edwina's exhibition yesterday at the Black Swan, it's lovely, I'm taking Imogen back tomorrow as she wants to see it again.
Jane. x

Joanna said...

What alot of posts to catch up and some lovely memories. I love your dolls house story, I have always loved dolls houses and something i also try and encapsulate in my paintings

Katherines Dream said...

This is such a lovely story Michele....you were made for each other.
How wonderful to have memories like these of your very beautiful Mothers little cottage. Such a lovley place Cornwall. And the sun always seemed to shine - in those days! - remember that thing called the Sun? Michele....hehhehehe
Love,
Carol xxx

janelove said...

Hi
Loved your Coverack pictures. I am a relative newcomer to holidays there (only the last 10 years) we stay in Ben's field in our VW campers with loads of friends who also spent their childhood holidays there. It is a small world. But remember to keep Coverack a secret!
Jane

janelove said...

Hi
Loved your Coverack pictures. I am a relative newcomer to holidays there (only the last 10 years) we stay in Ben's field in our VW campers with loads of friends who also spent their childhood holidays there. It is a small world. But remember to keep Coverack a secret!
Jane

janelove said...

Hi
Loved your Coverack pictures. I am a relative newcomer to holidays there (only the last 10 years) we stay in Ben's field in our VW campers with loads of friends who also spent their childhood holidays there. It is a small world. But remember to keep Coverack a secret!
Jane

girlywirly said...

Hi, janelove forwarded me your blog as I am a long time coverack lover. Is that peter M in the picture?? My Grandparents lived in mill yard too!! I started holidays there in 1966 and now take our children to this magical place. Your memories made me smile!! Check out my mackerel pictures inspired by coverack and fishing with the lovely local man Harold at girlywirly.etsy.com

Cowboys and Custard said...

Hello Jane Love and Girly Wirly..
I am really curious now to know whether we know each other through our association with Coverack.
I holidayed there from the mid 1960's to the late 1970's and then returned with my son in the 90's..
Yes it is Pete M in the photo...
How do I get on to your blogs..???

Michele

Curlew Country said...

Oh such a wonderful tale but bittersweet - such a shame it's not still in the family. Lovely memories though. I'm madly in love with Cornwall but don't get to go nearly enough, thanks for the lovely reminder.
Stephx

Claudie said...

Love Cream Teas and Memories Post
I must share something with you.
I have always heard of Cornwall in other parts of the world and here you are in my computer talking about it.
I come from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, a mill town that no longer exists (the mill that is) and it sits on the St. Lawrence River. It's nothing like your Cornwall but it is my home.
I met my husband in Van. B.C., raised our 3 children there, moved to the U.S. (with them of course) and now reside outside of Ottawa, our nation's Capital in a little cottage on the river that we call home.
Just wanted to say hi
Claudie

Rachel said...

Beautifully evocative - I could feel your sadness at its sale!!

Thank you for sharing

Rachel

janelove said...

Hi Michele
Me and Girlywirly don't have blogs but girly does have an etsy site.
Girly's girly brother Mark knew straight away that the picture was Pete M. You are more likely to know him than me although i am sure our paths must have crossed over the past ten years in lovely Coverack.
Jane

Dana Jones said...

Michele, you haven't changed a bit! ...a little more wise only, but still beautiful in spirit as ever, as can be seen in your eyes!