There is something special about a holiday break when you park the car on arrival and do not restart it until it is time to leave one week later. And so it was when we stayed at The Old Pilchard Press in Mousehole, Cornwall during September 2012.
The cottage was lovely, very central, spacious for only two people, and oh so quiet. Beautifully decorated and furnished, well equipped too, it was everything we wanted for a relaxing, soul searching and peaceful recharge. Essential ingredients in these financially ravaged times!
But the star of the week was Mousehole. Even by Cornish standards it is a remote place, remote enough to deter all but the most determined tourist, but oh so worth the effort. It is a proper gem. Traditional in so many senses, a heritage of fishing, smuggling, and community spirit, its houses hugging the hills leading to the tidal harbour. A heritage in tragedy too, all eight of the Penlee lifeboat crew were from Mousehole. A tragedy recognised every year on December 18th when the Mousehole Christmas lights are turned off at 8pm for one hour in dark and silent tribute.
You sense this heritage in every street, in the local shop, in The Ship public house. But there is nowhere better to witness the heartbeat of this wonderful community than from the bench.
There were two benches in fact; one wooden, the other in stone, 100 yards from the front door to The Old Pilchard Press. Our bench of choice was the wooden one. Sitting above the harbour we could witness every aspect of this historic community. The tide, at one moment filling the harbour, opening the sea to the small fishing vessels, and the next sucking the harbour dry, leaving the working and pleasure vessels high and dry. The seagulls ever present, the local bus service from Penzance regular, the customers at The Ship transient, local artists occasional, fishermen tidal. All of this captured from the comfort of our bench.
Always equipped with single malt and French red our regular evening chats on the bench, watching village life unfold, were indeed the highlight of our week's holiday, but Mousehole will for ever be the star.
Properties featured in this article: Old Pilchard Press