Thursday, May 2, 2019
The One In The Middle
It's funny how one thing leads to another, when you least expect that it will.
I was looking for a perfect beach cottage in St Ives. It needed to be quaint, and old - perhaps an old fisherman's cottage - and it needed to be smack dab on the sea. This was 2014, and I hadn't had much experience yet. I just knew I would know it when I saw it.
And then, I saw it. It was, actually, three cottages together, wall to wall, and in front of the one in the middle sat a group of three, having afternoon tea. The cottage at that time had been freshly painted white, and was all pristine and lovely. Their scones and their pot of tea were arranged on a tablecloth; three tea cups were raised, and three mouths in mid-visit, when we came around the corner. We were just as surprised to see them as they were to see us.
"Oh, hello!" said the man. The other two were women, equally interested in the new visitors. The man had white hair, but was not of white hair age. I would say he was prematurely white. The women were maturely white.
"Hello!" said I, back. "What a wonderful cottage. Is it yours?"
The man said it was his, and that he was there just to enjoy afternoon tea with the people who had booked it for the week. Oooh, "booked it" had only one meaning for me. It could BE booked!
"I would love to book it, one day..." I murmured.
"Well, it can be booked but not until next year, I'm afraid. It's all filled up with reservations for now." I could understand why, it being smack dab at the edge of the sea where the sun would rise upon one's doorstep. "Would you like to see inside of it?"
It was very sweet. The kitchen, decorated in red, was on the ground floor, then a sitting room above it and a bedroom above that. 1+1+1! And a bathroom, somewhere - I have forgotten where. It would be nice and cozy, for just the two of us. Hmm...
"I have another cottage," said the man, "if you are interested..."
Two cottages? Of course we were interested, and he said, "Follow me, then. It's just round the corner."
This one was a much bigger affair, with 3 flights of stairs, and 4 floors! Workmen were in the midst of painting and refurbishing, and I could tell it would be fabulous. We thanked him, and I walked away hoping that one day, maybe, we could stay there.
It didn't happen right away, but in 2017 when we brought with us three grandchildren and their parents, I dug up the man's phone number, and we booked it! You can see it pictured here, pale yellow with blue trim sitting above the little Italian coffee shop. For one week, the cottage was our "home", all the way up to the tippy-top room where one boy had a view of the massive sea, miles out to the horizon. The younger ones had bunks, and with the sand just down a few steps, they dug holes and built sandcastles almost until the cows came home. It was hard to come away.
Every once in a while, I walk past that little, sort-of-white cottage smack dab on the sea, wondering if there will be a tablecloth laden with scones, and tea, and three people with white hair, smiling. It hasn't happened yet, but one day I'll stay there, and have a tea party all my own.
See you along the way!