Carenza came with me to visit her grandparents in Cornwall. In the car she asked if we could go for a walk on the cliffs.
Of course I said “Yes”.
Over the next few days, she helped me to research my novel set in Newlyn. She took notes in the archive and photos in the streets.
She helped me to shop and cook for my parents.
She listened to their reminiscences with attention, even when they had a somewhat familiar feel to them.
Over the whole time, the weather had been hostile. Sleet on the journey down, icy rain as we plodded the streets of Newlyn, and an East wind like a bone-handled knife.
“Are you sure you want to go up on the cliffs? Could be blowy.”
This was British understatement for “Himalayan” or “Baffin Island”.
But she still wanted to go.
So we went.
There was a baby seal on the beach.
Hundreds of gannets were diving like spectacular skewers onto a shoal of fish beneath the cliffs.
On the cliff path, a bold pair of stonechats hopped just ahead of us, and a raven cruised past.
As we returned, the sun came out and a skylark sang high above.
Back at the car, rock pipits hopped round our ankles as we drank hot chocolate.
So it was worth it really.
But it was still a bloody cold wind.