After a few hours’ work yesterday, exhaustion set in. We were both tired, an understandable reaction perhaps, after the intensity of recent days. The rain continued and we settled into a comfortable slump for the rest of the day. I dozed on the sofa; I dozed in the bath; I dozed in front of the tv. And still I slept deeply when bedtime finally arrived. Much-needed rest.
This morning I woke late – after B; and had my first cup of tea brought to me in bed. Lovely! Energy levels were restored, even if the weather was not. The rain continues. We both made progress unpacking and sorting. B’s progress is spectacular. The garage is tidy and accessible; the barn equally so. There is lots of stuff that will be stored in one or other, so clearing both is a means to clearing the house itself. I have finished the first pass of the kitchen boxes; we have a tidy, functioning, albeit basic kitchen; our bedroom is as good as it can be for the moment, as are the bathrooms. On reflection in fact, I’ve done quite well. I finally found the washing liquid and managed my first load of washing. The washing machine is in the garage. Light levels are low there, and it’s dusty, but I think it will work very well, tucked out of the way and close to the garden for drying. B has offered to have the machine plumbed in elsewhere but I think not. In our upside-down house tasks need to be re-thought. I’d rather carry dry, dirty laundry down to the machine than carry wet, clean laundry down to the washing line. (I love our mug: a new home present from a creative friend. Thank you, K!)
After a morning of unpacking and sorting and creating a semblance of order from widespread chaos, we ventured the short distance down the hill to introduce ourselves to our nearest neighbours. Valleybrook is a lovely-looking holiday rental business. It’s small and discreet; the chalets are tucked away behind the main house and it doesn’t impact on us at all. I love seeing their lights on after dark, or early in the morning before dawn. The lights are soft and old-fashioned: not window-sized and not electricity-bright. I find them a comforting and welcoming presence and not at all intrusive. Our view remains timeless despite modern trappings. No light pollution here.
But back to meeting the neighbours. Keith is the son of Brian and Denise – who are away at the moment – and together they run the business. Keith seems lovely. He reminded me of a near neighbour we once had at Mixbury. We also met Dean, who is a gardener and has a smallholding a few miles away. He works regularly at Valleybrook. Clearly local, and another lovely chap. It turns out that he helped to build Highfield, which is fantastic as we’ve been debating the initial intention behind its design. We look forward to learning more about our house from Dean. And I can see him being very useful when we start thinking about how to battle the brambles that lurk around most of our boundaries!
Late afternoon we went to Lansallos, resurrecting the abandoned plan from yesterday. Lansallos is our nearest village and forms part of our address. We surely should go and see it. I drove, and decided not to ask Dora’s help. Having carefully studied the road atlas beforehand, I felt confident of managing this short drive unaided. But in my eagerness I turned left too soon. We got thoroughly lost: struggling along several miles of single track roads (which I think I tackled rather well). The view from here is picture-postcard pretty: tangles of tiny lanes criss-crossing between burgeoning banks of primroses and spring greenery and tiny, tumbling waterfalls. It amazes me that this myriad of tiny lanes exists. They go nowhere really, just intersect with each other in intricate patterns. Indeed, many of them don’t really exist: the grass growing out of them and the broken tarmac is testament to how rarely they’re used. So the motoring tangent was very lovely – but it yielded no village. Finally, I mentally apologized to Dora, she deigned to help out, and very soon we entered the small hamlet of Lansallos – dwarfed by its impressive church, dedicated to St Ildierna, what a wonderful name!
Lansallos is sleepy, small and neat. It boasts a few properties – several are obviously holiday rentals – the church, and very little else. But there is a good-sized National Trust car park, for Lansallos Cove is renowned and is owned by the NT. The sign in the car park proclaimed it was just a short walk to the cove. I hadn’t thought about seeing the cove today. Which is just as well because we didn’t see it. We tried: we set off – I couldn’t resist the opportunity now we were so close – but I didn’t read the sign properly and we marched straight past the proper route and walked more than twice the distance required in totally the wrong direction before giving up and turning round. So sadly, the lovely late-afternoon sunshine was spent marching along an unremarkable road and back again. B had been fairly ambivalent anyway, which was not particularly conducive to a romantic first sighting of a beautiful beach. And I suppose I must accept my share of karma after yesterday’s debacle with Dora. We’ll revisit and get it right next time.