For my wife and I the county of Cornwall was an ideal holiday location. Situated in the far west of England, its rugged shores and spectacular beaches had always produced the most memorable times for us. Like many other tourists, part of our affection for Cornwall lay in its wild frontier spirit. There was the aire of an outpost here, an atmosphere that reluctant city dwellers found quite irresistible.
The natives here fell into two quite distinct categories. On the coast there existed a colourful mix of entrepreneur, sixth generation fishermen and dropouts. Inland there was an unchanged, indeed an unchangeable and ancient agricultural breed. At a point of about two miles inland was a kind of no-mans land belonging to neither sect.
Being used to the more cosmopolitan and liberal life-style exhibited by the coastal fraternity, it was at locations nearest to the sea that we found our niche when staying here. Occasional sorties into "The Bush" of the interior, whilst not hostile, left us feeling like intruders. In fact the word used here to describe such tourists as us was "Immits", which translated into ants.
It was impossible to ignore the weight of history bearing down upon this enchanted wilderness. Every event, building or place-name was a part of folklore and seemed predestined to be so. Being here felt like performing in an ever-running and ancient play. There was a timelessness that generated a sensation that the sequence of events could not be altered. Strangely co-existent within this fixed scenario however, remained a feeling of spontaneity.
There were of course imperfections to this paradise. In some ways the adult mind demanded it. The choice for us and for many others as the focus of all displeasure was the weather. To say that conditions here were changeable would be a gross understatement. Indeed the very word "Changeable", although official English "Speak" for the meteorology hereabouts, was invariably substituted by a string of more colourful and altogether more accurate words.
Another and perhaps more personal drawback to holidays in Cornwall was the distance. For anybody on my salary to even think of embarking on the miles that this journey entailed, and to do so in a vehicle suitably prehistoric and in keeping with that income, was nothing less than foolhardy.
For accommodation in "The Holy-Land" as I affectionately called it, we found caravans the most desirable option. The regimented formalities of hotels mixed in with the presence of other humans, detracted from the Cornish dream as perceived by us. Caravans, or trailers to use the global term, offered the right balance between luxury and roughing it to permit complete integration with the surrounding countryside.
Over the years, and we'd been here for seventeen consecutive seasons, the quality of trailers available here had slowly risen. Whilst at first we were reluctant to sell out by utilising these luxury vans, eventually we were forced to conform. It was in such homely splendour one year that a cost comparison exercise revealed that for an equal sum we could have taken our holidays in the ever-present sun of the Canary Islands.
Tempted by such delights as guaranteed good weather and the charms of a foreign land, our next five holidays were indeed taken in Spain.