Monday 25.3.19. Train from St Ives to London
The day before I’m due to fly, St Ives mocks me. Yesterday she played her weather hand, and with a trump card, showed her true colours. Typical. I’ve suffered since I came home from Hong Kong, weather wise. Day after day of dreary grey mist and pelting rain, that makes me me stay under the duvet long after I would normally rise, bleating to myself ‘will this never end?’.
So on Sunday St Ives puts on all her finery. She’s not going anywhere, but seems to know I am. As if she’s saying “why would you ever want to leave me? Don’t you want to stay here with me, your gorgeous Cornish Rose. No rain today to hinder your lofty viewing. Look outward Laura. Stop your gloomy introspective ponderings. See my award winning creamy beaches, my azure shimmering sea and baby blue sky, perfectly smattered with soft and fluffy clouds. See all the people, their little silhouettes of black, the odd smattering of sou’wester yellow and nautical stripes. A small child squatting to dig with a tiny red bucket and spade. The stuff of picture postcards. See all these people who have travelled miles to this fine and safe harbour of ours. Even without binoculars you can see their little figures criss crossing the shoreline, making their marks on the tide washed, tide out, expansive clean slate of sand. See the dogs, racing to and fro, in and out the water, wet dog shenanigans interspersed with random vertical bounces, sometimes solo and sometimes with new found canine friends.”
And surprised by her unexpected sunny disposition I stop my packing and my cleaning for five minutes and gaze out across the sea to an opposite shore sitting neatly on the horizon. It is so bright today, that every image has shadow, a double delight of impeccable seaside views.
And gazing on, of course I have to ask myself why anyone in their right mind would want to leave the jewel in Cornwall’s crown. Was the weather really that harsh, go on so long that I felt I had to leave her and rush back into the arms of my new love. Hong Kong. Sky scraping dizziness. Heart stopping
pace. Babble of incomprehensible tongues. The city where I, a small town, city phobic, woman unravel and lose myself. And find myself all over again. This strange and familiar country where I have to take the MTR to escape to islands that remind me of my Cornish home, travel wider afield to gulp down fresh air and frown upon lackluster seas and beaches. What madness is this? What attraction lies within a windowless 8 bed dormitory where good sleep seems an unlikely event? Do I really want to trade the promise of a perky Cornish Spring for a hot and humid, make you sticky all over climate, where the only respite is to travel by subways or head into the ‘free’ air conditioned spaces where I’ll likely become prey to Hong Kong’s consumer madness?
St Ives, you’ve played your trump cards. Location and climate. But you cannot win. For today we are not playing weather trumps. Today we’re playing that old childhood game of Happy Families. A game I never used to win. Never enough cards in my infant hands. And then as my palms grew bigger, I fashioned myself a special few cards, but so precious I dare not really show my true hand for fear of losing them all.
But look now St Ives, see, how confidently I lay down my winning hand. Cards tumbling and falling from my open outstretched hands.