Monday, 18 April 2011
I love Cornwall, the sea and shore, coves, creeks and moor.
The air that blasts through you, spring cleaning the chock full mind.
This year I was prepared to enjoy the surroundings with some mindfulness, practiced, badly, in yoga sessions in the weeks preceding our holiday. I was looking for a cure to the mind-full of monkeys jumping around inside my head.
The remedy - the view and the outdoors. I drew the curtains every morning to a landscape of cliff and headland, hugging the village in the valley, the sea wrapped between the hills. The roads are so steep into Port Isaac, it's impossible to walk down normally, the legs wobble and arthritic knees creak, stumbling like a drunken sailor lurching back to the ship. I'm sure Squeeze Belly Alley has seen plenty of those pass through the centuries. The walk back is no easier and feels like penitence after indulging in the excellent, fresh food at The Harbour or The Mote.
I was attempting to walk down and came tumbling out of Dolphin street, right onto the set of Doc Martin. Martin Clunes smiled graciously, I'm sure it happens all the time. We watched from behind a lamppost as I scribbled the synopsis of my Cornish screenplay, 'Flow' on the back of a business card. The opportunity to hand it over slipped by as we supped a pint of Doom Bar on the quay, eyeing up the coastal path snaking over the headland.
I'd always wanted to walk part of it, and as the sign promised Port Quin, 3 miles, it seemed possible. What we didn't know was that three miles was the steepest pinch of path possible. Sheer, uneven steps staggered from one cove to the other, the path teetered over turquoise seas and rocky coves, I didn't feel the impulse to dive in from here, but I did itch to snatch my daughters Blackberry from her hands and skim it over the waves like a skipping stone. Technology doesn't help clear the mind. There was one moment when the family ahead disappeared round the next bend, the family behind lagged, and I was alone. Me, the headland and the sea, I'd reached my mindful moment.
Another opportunity came with a swim in the crystal clear waters at Harlyn Bay. Wrapped in a wetsuit, hat and boots, but I forgot the gloves, it was so cold my hands nearly fell off, just a few strokes hurt like hell. The cold did stop me thinking about anything else 'though. Maybe I'll go back in August for the Port Gaverne to Port Isaac swim, a short distance hugging the rocky coastline. However, isn't August the month the basking sharks are out? Could be something else on my mind then.