We have a lot of winter birthdays in my family, there are four of them between January 3rd and February 2nd. Coming from the side of the family that has nearly all summer birthdays (Jim, Theo and mine are all in August) I feel quite a lot of sympathy for those who celebrate at the darkest dampest time of the year when everyone is still struggling to work up enthusiasm after Christmas.
This year my sister celebrates a big birthday, so we decided to mark it by decamping en masse to St Mawes in Cornwall for the weekend, where we expected nothing less than cold blustery weather, open fires and a cosy January weekend.
The west country weather did deliver on that promise, but between arrival day and departure day (when it was cold and wet) we also had one glorious day of sunshine when we were able to take the foot ferry over to Falmouth and enjoy being on the water and exploring the town… and one day of lovely weather at this time of year is more than you dare hope for.
We all stayed together at the lovely St Mawes Hotel on the waterfront. It has just nine rooms, but is decked out in a beautiful beach house style, serves lovely food and has a hidden cinema with reclining leather seats and a popcorn machine.
Jim, Alice, Theo and I shared a family room on the top floor with a view over the rooftops towards the sea, immensely comfortable beds (up there on my top 5 hotel beds ever) and a mezzanine level child’s sleeping space.
The journey down was long, even longer when you have two kids coughing in the back of the car and we broke it up on the return by diving into the tank museum at Bovington for an hour of respite, but it was completely worth it. Jim used to have a flat in Falmouth and as he so accurately said, the great thing about coming to Cornwall is that you really feel like you are away and have left everything else behind. Despite the rain and the hours in the car, my only complaint at the end of it was that we couldn’t stay longer…