As I write this week's blog, we are half way through a 2 week holiday in the delightful fishing village of Polperro on the south coast of Polperro.
Like many, we love spending time in the UK, with long weekends visiting different parts of the country when we can, and day trips to those places, both in our beautiful county of Norfolk, and within a couple of hours drive or train journey, when we just need to escape for a few hours.
But our main 2 week holiday has always involved passports, and a trip abroad, where sunshine is pretty much guaranteed. A supply of books, sun cream and a sunbed by the pool (and bar) is what we opt for in order to give ourselves an opportunity to switch off a bit, recharge our batteries, and get ready to go back to the office for the second half of the working year.
These last two summers, of course, have been different. Although there has been limited scope for travel abroad, we have chosen not to take the risk, and have stayed "at home", rarely venturing from our home county.
But the novelty of working from home is wearing thin. Don't get me wrong, working from home has its benefits and I don't necessarily want to rush back to the office 5 days a week, but the feeling of spending all day, every day in the house, with the less defined workday boundaries, takes its toll. Some weeks I don't set foot outside the house - I have no need to, and the number of steps I take each day between the kitchen, my home office, and the lounge is never going to get me marathon-ready!
So, a few weeks ago, we found ourselves putting "Dog Friendly Cottages" in Google, and came up with Toad Hall Cottages. Initially we thought it was quite expensive for a UK holiday, but it has proved to be anything but, and I am so glad we grabbed one of the few remaining properties and got ready to pack our bags.
We dusted down our long-forgotten suitcases, checked the weather forecast and packed everything from ski jackets to bikinis, and set off to make the long journey from just about the most Easterly point in the UK, to just about the most Westerly!
And, boy, has it been worth the drive. We are staying in an old fisherman's cottage in Polperro. Quintessentially Cornish, and very much still a working fishing village. The streets are narrow, the hills are steep, the people are friendly, and there are proper pubs, cornish pasties, cream teas and ice-creams galore, the air is fresh, and the peace is only shattered by the seagulls.
We have a dog, a 3 year old Cocker Spaniel called Honey, and I don't think we could have found a more dog friendly village in the whole of the UK (I am happy to be challenged on this, and we will happily add suggestions to the future holiday list). Almost every establishment welcomes dogs - shops, boat trips, pubs, restaurants, so there is never a worry about having to leave her outside. Where we go, she goes, and that's just the way we like it.
And, even though we had a long 11 hour drive to get here, and will doubtless have a similar amount of time in the car on the way home, we have truly been able to switch off and recharge our batteries just as much, if not more, than we would have done on a sunbed abroad.
I'm loving the coastal walks (well, most of me is, my legs are protesting a bit!), the fresh air, and just the fact that we can spend time together and just "be". The cottage has everything we need, and the village has too - not a single chain in sight, so we know that every penny we spend goes into the local economy too - something that post lockdown is incredibly important.
And, although I initially thought it was expensive, we've not had to pay for Kennels for the dog, we've not had to get covid tests before and after travelling, there are no expensive airport car park costs, no need to renew the passport and so on and so on. These additional costs all add up, and we haven't had to find them, so I'm happy.
As for the weather, well it is a bit hit and miss - but we're in the UK in July, and you can't expect anything different. But we came prepared for all weathers, and we are glad it's not too hot as it would prevent us from doing the coastal walks with the dog so much.
So I am a UK 2 week holiday convert. I'm looking forward to travelling again, but I am certainly going to be looking at spending longer than a weekend in the UK and travelling further afield than the 2 hour window that we generally stick to.
If it hadn't been for the ongoing covid related restrictions, we wouldn't have considered this for our main holiday, so for once I am going to say that I am grateful for the opportunity that lockdown has given me, to discover new places, and new people.
My eyes, and my heart (and definitely my lungs as I tackle walking up the hills) have been opened. Cornwall, thank you for this amazing experience.
Now, which ice-cream flavour shall I go for next?
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