To avoid the Summer throng of holiday makers in England means planning a holiday after the schools have returned and putting a date in the diary long after any chance of the sun appearing has passed... we did both... by choosing late September

We knew we would successfully avoid the mad rush that inhabits the English Summer holiday season and equally, we took the chance that any sun would be well on its way to the Southern Hemisphere... despite a distinct lack of sun and as a consequence, an autumnal nip in the air - we were more than charmed and delighted to find the quirky nook of Cornwall that is the tiny fishing village of Mousehole... home to numerous fishing boats, coastal walks, art galleries, upbeat cafes, browsing shops filled with the local creative arts and The Ships Inn, the one Pub in the village which boasts the unbeatable combination of a friendly atmosphere with good, honest pub food - fish and shellfish being centre of attention on the menu, locally caught and as fresh as you can get.

The locals extol the unique Christmas Lights, turned on each December to crowds who journey to Mousehole every year to witness the apparently stupendous lighting display. A date to put in the diary! We´ve walked miles along the Coastal Path to Lamorna Cove, home to probably a dozen inhabitants and where, ruggedly beautiful though it is, you would have to love your own company to endure a Winter and we have walked miles in the opposite direction - with the sparkling beauty of the ocean on our right. We have sat on the old wooden bench with a glass of our favourite wine and watched the fishing boats go out in the evening, when the only sound is the rather oversized gulls calling to each other and we have found exquisite shells sold at an honesty box collected from these very shores.

Surely though, the highlight of this break is The Old Pilchard Press, come upon by word of mouth as part of Unique Homestays....from its painted floors, floppy leather sofa, cosy and comfortable mattress under a turquoise mohair blanket and the delightful barbecue courtyard - it has been a haven to renew the batteries, read long awaited books, watch films, talk and remind ourselves that time away from routine life is not only desirable but downright necessary... As a native New Zealander, used to living by the sea... the joy of being in Mousehole is superseded only by the joy of being once again near the ocean and being able to wake up with that particular and familiar echo of the sea air coming in through the window.