April was the wettest on record. What better month, then, for us to holiday in a Cornish clifftop caravan?
Day one and the St Ives seagulls are thwarted by the tourists dining indoors. We, however, picnic in Gore-Tex on the sea wall.
As soon as my eldest opens her pasty, it’s like a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds. She spends the rest of the day rocking in front of CBeebies until the sight of Pingu induces a panic attack.
At dawn on day two the plastic caravan walls rattle with the howls of frostbitten children. I venture out to buy matches for the fire and am beaten back by hailstones. My sister calls from hols in Barbados.
‘You sound tired,’ she observes.
‘We were up late watching the Funstars’
‘Imagine Butlins Redcoats but more supple. They did a three-hour dance routine to a Steps compilation tape.’
‘It was quite mesmerising.’
‘I don’t think you’re drinking enough.’
On day three cabin fever sets in. My husband promises to blow our £100 kitty on a babysitter and a slap-up meal. Beforehand we venture to the beach. Unbelievably, the sun comes out and a man rolls up the shutters of a quaint beachside shop.
‘Great view from your office!’ my husband says, selecting some chocolate.
‘Time was tourists were on the beach all day whatever the weather. Now you wait all day and Johnny Come Lately wants a Kit Kat as you’re closing up.’
My beloved gulps, then takes a parasol and two bodyboards to the counter.
‘Is that a Thermos in your bag?’ the man asks.
‘Three hundred quid I invested in this espresso machine!’
‘Two Americanos please,’ I say.
‘Twenty-nine years we’ve worked here. Twenty-nine summers missed…looking at the beach but never stepping foot on it.’
My husband takes two T-shirts saying ‘I left my heart in Cornwall’ to the counter and I add a tie-dye sarong.
‘Do you want a beach bag to carry all that? Only £10.’
We nod obediently and finally he starts to smile.
‘That’ll be £100 in all please.’