Polperro is fast becoming a favourite haunt. Today I saw it through a child’s eyes.
The final day of May dawned warm, bright and sunny, with a generous light breeze to keep us cool and refreshed. Ellie tackled the narrow back roads to Polperro without complaint and reversed where necessary like a pro. I could learn from this.
As is the case with small children, first we had to negotiate the problem of toilets. “There are toilets by the car park,” I said. There were not. Evan declared that he could wait, which is just as well. We climbed aboard Maud. Another issue with young children: they require an awful lot of paraphernalia. To be fair to the boys, we had our picnic lunch, two handbags, Ben’s changing bag and more. And they had buckets and spades. I’m maybe being a little unfair on the boys here. But the fact is that to board Maud required folding down the buggy and loading an assortment of small boys and large bags. Our driver was jolly and patient. Off we went, down the narrow street in the sunshine. In these days when every family appears to have at least one car, public transport is a source of delight and fascination for young children. I remember taking my own on bus rides just for the experience of it. Our ride on Maud was short but fun.
Boys and baggage unloaded, we cast about for toilets and found instead the entrance to the model village. This little attraction had entirely passed me by when B and I were here earlier. A child’s-eye view encourages one to notice things differently. Off we trooped. The model village has no toilets; they are back towards the car park we were told. I envisaged a trek all the way back to the top of the village but no, Ellie had spotted them on the way down and it didn’t take long to backtrack. Mothers of course, are practiced at noticing such important matters.
And so to the model village, which the boys were very keen to see. It’s charming. It’s actually a model of the village itself, complete with a model of the village within the model village if you follow. Evan grasped it quickly and was appropriately impressed. We wondered if there might be a model in the model of the model of the village.
Whilst Ben was most interested in driving the train, Evan enjoyed matching models of buildings with the buildings we could see. There’s also an interesting commentary on the floods the village has endured, and an audio/visual story of Cornish legends and history. These were beyond the boys’ attention span for today, but perhaps when they’re older we’ll try again.
We continued down to the harbour. It was lunch-time; there were plenty of tourists about, but we found a bench in the sunshine with wonderful views of the harbour.
Older boys paddled, and were crabbing. Evan was tempted – and got as far as taking off his shoes. But caution prevailed.
Picnic over, we wandered further round the harbour, past small shops and interesting doorways, with different views at every turn.
On our own we might have walked further but the boys were getting restless. They had buckets and spades and wanted some sand. This was going to be challenging. Polperro does have a small beach but the tide was in which meant it couldn’t be reached without wading through water.
I am not a bucket and spade type granny. I am not a fan of spending time on beaches at all. A stroll along the sand suits me nicely; it’s an uphill struggle to get me to agree to anything more. Fortunately the boys were persuaded that we couldn’t build sandcastles today. The carrot was that we would spend the day at the beach tomorrow. Now I think about it, I do wonder if I might have done better to wade around from the harbour after all …
B had very sweetly given the boys some money for ice creams and of course, Ellie and I had to sample them too. Mine was ginger this time – highly recommended. Ben was very set on chocolate. He enjoyed the part that found its way into his mouth rather than around it.
As we wandered slowly back towards Maud and the tram stop, Evan asked his mother quietly: “Can we come back here again tomorrow, Mummy?” Yes please, I added silently.
In the boys’ modern world of television and computers and branded toys, I was charmed by their pleasure in such a simple and traditional day out. A gaily-painted tram, fishing boats, picnics and ice cream – and they had enjoyed a super day. It’s good to think that some things span the generations. The trappings of a twenty-first-century childhood are so different from the childhoods of my children, and a world apart from my own. But for children of each generation, there are some things that will always delight. I suspect I shall be saying something very similar tomorrow. For tomorrow, the beach beckons…