Holidaying on Home Turf
Boscastle hides within the crook of a steep wooded valley in north Cornwall at the confluence of three rivers named Valency, Jordan and Paradise. Impossibly photogenic, the small harbour is flanked by towering flower-clad cliffs, crooked fisherman’s cottages and tiny streams which trickle through the wild garlic woodland. There’s always been a ‘magic’ about the village - a place where the birds play amid the mysticism of fairies, pixies and other enchanted folk.
But for me, this postcard-perfect village is so much more than just a summer honeypot for tourists. Boscastle is where I grew up, well in a big weather-beaten farmhouse two miles north along the cliffs. It’s where I learnt to swim off the little beach in the harbour; it’s where I first fell in love as a teenager watching the sunset from the white castle; and it’s where I had my first job, freezing my fingertips scooping perfect balls of organic clotted cream ice-cream to endless queues of visitors.
Having spent very little time there since my teens, when Aphrodite joined the portfolio last year it was the most perfect excuse to visit my old haunt.
It was one of those golden-hued Autumn evenings and I zigzagged through the Cornish lanes remembering how narrow they became this time of year when the blackberries came into play. On arrival at the chapel, the sun poured through the arched window on the middle floor creating a spotlight which shifted over every detail – the creases in the crumpled pink linens, the shadows in the white-washed brickwork and the crevices in the antiquated furnishings. Each item told a story; a home full of intrigue.
That evening I pottered down to The Napolean to listen to the fishermen’s sea shanties and catch up on the village goings-on. After a night cap it was back to the warmth of Aphrodite and up the two winding staircases to the huge, dreamy master bedroom. A soft-as-clouds medley of large feather pillows and powder pink linens, those who laugh at my coinage of the term ‘marshmallow bed’ need to spend a night at Aphrodite – it really is sweet and squidgy enough to devour!
Now I write from the desk in the sitting room with a pot of ginger tea and chunk of the banana loaf from the farm shop. I wanted to be the first one in the village to wake to the the pink morning light and early sounds of the ocean, but I can see there are a few eager farmers in the distant fields that beat me to it. I've discovered these Unique Home Stays’ marshmallow beds make swift mornings quite impossible.
Today I’m going to walk up the lane to visit some old friends before rambling down the cliff path past Forrabury church to see what the fishermen have caught. My sister’s staying this evening; I'm planning to cook fish pie for an early supper then we'll walk down to Bossiney to play tennis on the outside courts and swim in the sea like we used to every day the summer we left school. Or perhaps we’ll just stay to watch the sunset from the garden wall with a bottle of fizz. I could get use to life at Aphrodite. I think it’s the quaint peculiarities and natural beauty that makes Boscastle so reliably enchanting, time after time.
Properties featured in this article: Aphrodite