By Daisy Game, Travel Editor
The Croft Magazine // Daisy Game muses on what it means to travel somewhere familiar.
Perched on the lesser-crowded Roseland Peninsula, the fishing village of Portloe remains unflustered by the normal summer time crowds. There are no shops; phone reception is sketchy to nill. Ducking down side streets, the nosy potterer finds just a few doorsteps - each busy with its own personal mob of sandy, holiday-time shoes. In back gardens, couples nurse wine glasses a-glow with summer light, whilst a hardy swimmer dips her toe and squeals at the water’s edge. This is an undemanding place: a clutch of cottages, lobster pots, fishing boats. All daubed with salt and sun.
Since I was small, I have spent many of my summer weeks in a cottage which crouches out in the village’s periphery. It belongs to a very old and wonderful friend of mine, and throughout the years she and her mother have shared their home with generosity. Together, Chloe - my little-to-larger accomplice - and I have grown leaner in this yellow-and-white house. Our families have spent Easter, New Year, and July birthdays here. Wetsuits and hot chocolate in winter, sun cream and strawberries in summer.
a clutch of cottages, lobster pots, fishing boats - all daubed with salt and sun
When we were of pocket-money age, we growing girls would trot - flip flop shod and towel robed - down to the harbour’s fringe, in search of shells. Not just shells - Portloe’s Giant Urchin Shells. The porcelain skeletons could be found sitting in an offcast fishing crate beside the barnacled boats: a stony crowd of soft blues and pinks and greens. Plunking sticky-with-salt-and-sun-cream pound coins into the honesty box, Chlo and I set about picking the perfect souvenir. Not too big - not too blue. Muted and modest is best. On more adventurous afternoons, we skipped the streets of neighbouring towns - Truro, Port Isaac - rifling corner store baskets loaded with sea-side themed tat of the most spectacular kind: thread bracelets. Homemade bunting.
Our Portloe rituals have shifted focus a little since the Early Days. We now go to bed tipsy not on sugar and sunshine-whipped air, but on wine and small hour buzz. We spend the days dragging kayaks to the water’s edge and nudging our way along blue coast and coves, and evenings tucked in a pub-side-sun-trap, feasting on crisps and soft ales.
For me, Cornwall is a miraculous place in the most literal sense of the word - somewhere in which I might exist as two people at once: both little and large. Tottering and striding. Alice in Wonderland - Daisy in Portloe. And in these strange, shallow-breathed times, my summer weeks by the sea seem all the more vital. They feel elating - look! A world! A world out there! - and yet utterly undemanding. ‘Slow and steady’ the cottage chimes; ‘all tortoises welcome’.
Gathering myself to leave behind these Cornish summer weeks for yet another year, I take my habitual ‘moment’. The breeze is sharper than it was when I arrived. Soon sandy back-door flip flops will bulk out into the rubber of a wellington boot, and T-shirts will fledge into thick knit jumpers. When I am back in this gentle place, I will doze beneath white cotton sheets - skin hot and fizzy not with summer sun, but with the graze of a winter wind.
I look forward to those days. To travel home is a wonderful thing.
Featured Image : Epigram / Daisy Game