May 28 2013
We’ve been on holiday for three days making home out of a static caravan nestled in the low lying hills of Holywell Bay near Newquay, Cornwall. We are positioned in a spot which is devoid of any possibility to communicate with the outside world, our mobiles displaying absolutely no telephone reception or 3G connection signs. That’s ok – I’m taking it as a good thing, an opportunity to lessen my dependence on incoming and outgoing digital messaging of all kinds and to concentrate on real life for a few days.
Strangely enough I haven’t missed Twitter or Facebook or even text messaging in any way. The absolute removal of its availability has resulted in my resignation of living how we did last time I came to this caravan park eleven years ago when mobiles hadn’t yet taken over our lives, my eldest daughter was just three, I was married to her Dad, I was a heavy drinker and life was, in almost every way, completely different.
The caravan park is set at the foot of a long winding road away from passing traffic. Holywell Bay itself is a short walk across sand dunes and is a calm haven of old-fashioned seaside postcard imagery; boogie boarders and surfers, toddlers and windshields, coffee and ice cream huts, Atlantic rollers and small pools, enormous hulks of rock jutting from the waves and miles and miles of deep blue-green ocean stretching back to the sky.
On our first day at the beach the sun is out and the wind cuts a fresh breeze casting a healthy-looking tan on our faces. The baby is in her element, on hands and knees and overwhelmed with the vast expanse of trillions of ‘bits’ as far as her eyes can see. She grabs handfuls of sand and small shrapnel of seashells and attempts to wolf them down, only to be intercepted by our hands pulling her fist away from her open mouth over and over again. We sit and watch the world go by and take photographs of the baby in her sunhat and flowery playsuit.
There is simplicity in living in a caravan with no internet connection. I find myself contemplating situations and mulling over the factors of my life back home – my relationships and friendships, my weaknesses and strengths. I am spending hours doing nothing in particular; a drive to Fistral Beach, sitting next to the baby in her pram, watching as she gazes curiously at the seagulls whirling in the sky above us, flicking through magazines, perusing the bikinis and hairstyles worn by models and film stars with my teenage daughter, assessing the selection of leaflets left out on the coffee table in order to plan our activities for the next few days, nipping out for an ice cream, taking the baby for a play on the swings and slides in the caravan park.
It reminds me of being young – you fill your time with pleasant pastimes and in between the trips out there is a sense of relaxation, contentment and none of the hectic pin-balling from chore to chore, appointment to appointment, work piling up around your ears and demands placed on you relentlessly, all of which define your existence at home.
It is as though the channels that deliver all the busyness into my life have been barricaded, preventing any of the usual grating stress factors from reaching me and creating a quiet blue space of calm. And I’m just floating here in a different existence where all that matters is the present. Days have become long once again; time has stopped pouring so rapidly through the egg timer, falling through the slim glass neck with increasing speed, slipping out of my grasp.
This afternoon we are visiting the Eden Project. Last time I was there it was newly opened, full to bursting with hoards of interested visitors and I had the hangover from hell which ruined the experience completely. Today’s visit to the alien white biomes at St. Austell will, I hope, be somewhat more enjoyable.