We’ve booked a holiday house at Polzeath and although the drive proves to be nightmaringly tortuous for some, because this is the first day of the school holidays, midnight finds us convened at a house which sleeps the full complement – 17. There’s fish pie and French cheese which we eat in relay, at intervals as people arrive. The 7 children roar around the ground floor, finally being shoved off to bed at 1a.m. Some adults have already caved in!
On Saturday morning the kitchen is a hub. Starting with croissants, pain au chocolat, local bread and lemon curd we each break our fast and during the course of a morning Daniel puts in a lengthy stint with the omelette pan. Ems is in training for her half marathon, Joel starts to prepare for our Japanese feast. The children organise a fashion show complete with make-up and then excursions are made to the beach to fly a kite, frolic in the water draining onto the beach 😦 and then repair to the house for hot showers, cookies, Madeleines, hot chocolate. I look at the clock. It is only 1p.m!
A pleasant interlude on my bed with my current Booker title is followed by a leisurely afternoon, the lull before the food preparation session which will be supervised by our chef for the evening, Joel. During this lull CJ puts in the hours she needs to fulfil a working day. Dan snoozes, Barns and Nick sort out potential activities for the week, the children visit the local shop with Ems to buy supplies for the midnight feast and then play hide and seek.
At this point my blogging schedule – if there is one – goes to pot. On Sunday many of us walk the coast to Rock. This is a very pleasant amble with small children and takes in cliff top, upper shore rock platform, sand flats at low water. Arriving at Rock we find a bar for a drink and order portions of chips to dip. Then it’s back to the house except I make a detour via the White Stuff shop to look for the dotty jumper which Anne P wants to buy but is no longer available online. When I come out everyone has walked on so I hasten in their footsteps, as I think, but then realise that I have lost everyone. I climb to high ground and Sam who has lingered spots me and tells me Nick came back to find me. It takes some minutes to locate him then together we three make it back to the house. In the event we are the first to arrive at the house as the others have stopped in The Oystercatcher to have a bevvy and play some pool.
During the week we aim to keep the children active and we also enjoy cooking for each other. Lukie cooks a great beef and dumpling stew, CJ and Ry bbq some chicken and then she cooks us Persian lamb which is a triumph. We loved the sushi and Teriyaki chicken Joel cooked with sous-chef help. The treasure hunt which I have lovingly organised is well received and leads into a flash egg and rabbit hunt in the large garden. The large garden really is a boon, the children rehearse over and over again a dance sequence that they perform just before we leave on Friday morning.
In order to relive some Cornish memories of yore we make a musselling foray to the shore one morning. I select Constantine Bay as a likely locus for our gathering and sure enough we do find plentiful supplies on the rocks there. Leaving the beach I notice that there is extensive algal cover of Porphyra. I have made laverbread in the past but only with the raw material bought from a fishmongers. But I gather some as it seems a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity and after consulting the internet I see it is not big chore to wash and simmer the weed for a good long time after which you sieve and liquidise the resulting gleep. I make batches of laverbread patties with bacon pieces and we eat this for breakfast with black pudding and poached eggs garnished with spinach and a basil leaf, prepared by Dan. This is his gastronomic contribution. Always goes for a bit of style.
It is Barns’ and Dan’s idea to make this an electronic device-free week. The children are allowed no interaction with i-phones, i-pads, i-pods. They play games and the adults play with them. Ruby notices this because she tells her father he is awesome for playing with the kids and not going on his computer! You couldn’t ask for better affirmation.