The Apple Store
Yes. The rain. But for all its dreariness, autumn happens to be my favourite time of year; October, which is when we got married last year, my favourite month. For every sharp wind, there’s a warm fire waiting. For every raindrop, a hot chocolate with whipped cream. For each ominous grey cloud spreading across the sky, a burnt orange fire of falling leaves.
And so, packed with wellies, jumpers and scarves, off we went for our week away, driving a long five hours from London to arrive in a tiny four-house, two-dog village about 10 miles or so from St Ives. Our home for the week was The Apple Store, a former barn converted into an open-plan cottage, tucked up a rambling narrow lane a mile and a half long and far away from everything. It was simple and subtle: all whitewashed stone with big windows and wooden beams, with cosy throws and a wood burner to keep us warm. It felt like home.
We quickly settled into a simple routine. I started knitting for the first time in years. R made his way through all the back copies of his favourite magazines. I finally curled up with my latest stash from the library, books I’d been itching to lose myself in. We made lazy big breakfasts in the morning whenever we got up, with fresh farm eggs and bread left out for us when we arrived. We ventured out in the afternoons, driving wherever we fancied with no real plan – into St Ives, Penzance and, my favourite, Porthleven, where we walked through thick fog and damp mist along the coast and up on high, taking photos, feeling raindrops in the air which promised to burst but didn’t quite on our tongues, in our eyes and on our hair.
My breath literally got swept away one incredibly windy afternoon at The Lizard, the most southerly point of England. All I could keep thinking was how we were stood on what was the bottom of the map, tracing the outline of the coast in my mind and with my feet as we walked along the edge of the rocky peninsula.
Most days, on our way home we stopped at the farm shop in the local village, picking up whatever assortment of ingredients we could find to make unfussy, hearty dinners. We stewed vegetables, big fat peppers, mushrooms and courgettes, and baked chunky potatoes. We ate easily, indulgently; cheese on toast became R’s speciality and scones with homemade jam and clotted cream my dangerous snack addiction. We’d packed our coffee maker, grinder, beans and all – we came prepared.
We stayed ‘home’ and chimed in our first anniversary with sparkling elderflower and enormous bowls of pasta, exchanging little gifts (much rather this, than Valentine’s). I felt completely far away without actually leaving the country. One night, I stood out in the fresh dark air and felt what it was like to be in the absolute still of the night – not a lamppost, not a car engine, not a noisy neighbour. Absolutely. Still. I wouldn’t have swapped this break for sunny shores or five star luxury. This was magical.
Properties featured in this article: The Apple Store