Tuesday 15th July 2014
After visiting the grave, it was time for lunch. When one comes to Cornwall, it is a gastronomic rule that they must eat a pasty. Pasties to Cornwall are like pasta is to Italy. Outside the place of origin, it often disappoints. Pasties in train stations in London, Birmingham and Manchester especially. For Hondurans who are not sure what a pasty is, think of empanadas, but bigger, tastier and better. They have a similar pastry (though pasties are thicker and have a bigger crust. They were made like that for miners down in the pits. They would hold the pasty by the crust so they didn’t poision the contents with mucky fingers) but the fillings are with more peppers, spices, and larger chunks of meat and veggies. I have a feeling the ideas were inspired by one or the other. British miners were often sent to Latin America. I’m sure they’re interlinked.
Nan knew all the best places to get pasties. The pasty community was very close knit, almost like the masonry. If standards dropped somewhere, news would get round. New fangled pasties were rejected and mocked, while commercial pasties were despised. If bakers got a bit big for his boots, he would lose customers rapidly. We got ours in Hayle, then took ourselves off to Godrevy to eat it.
Godrevy is another place that holds such great memories for our family. Before my grandmother died, she would often ask to be taken there. The family would go down to the beach, but she would be content with just looking out to sea from the front seat, basking in the sun or rain. What she thought or felt as she sat there, I don’t know and never will. But she seemed more at peace, especially after being made a widow for a second time. We decided to send a wreath of flowers on the rocks in memory of her.
The views are immense, right across St. Ives Bay. The lighthouse we used to think was Fraggle Rock, and the waves that would batter it made ohh and ahh and shudder. Among the humdreds of annoying seagulls scavenging the area, you can frequently see birds of prey, and on even luckier days, seals. Like all rocky beaches, the rock pools have their own mini bioversities, until the tide comes in and restarts it all over again. As kids, we would throw in wrinkles or bread to see crabs fighting over it. Great amusement.
We sat on a cliff top eating our pasties and saffron bun. We were extremely lucky with the weather, taking advantage of every ray of sun, like the nearby young gull took advantage of every loose or thrown crumb.
During this time, I was nervous. I knew that I would be popping that all important question, making Godrevy an even more special place for our family. I had the ring in a box in my bag. Ben and Liz knew what I was up to. I felt butterflies. Not of doubt. I knew I wanted Pamela as my wife and I was 99.9% sure she would answer yes. I suppose it was just the weight of the question. We made our way down to the beach. I was wearing shorts while Ben and Liz decided to be pussies and wear wetsuits. Having touched the water with my toe a couple of times, I felt that I had been spoilt by the lush warmth of the Caribbean Sea. Ben and Liz decided that I needed a dunking, and I got on. Cold needles, that’s all I can say.
The next bit was amusing. I wanted to take a little walk with Pamela, for a certain purpose. Mum, however, also wanted to come. I obviously wanted to do this alone, but getting this across to mum without hurting her feelings and not letting Pam know proved a little difficult. Liz managed to sway mum from going, but mum then wanted to take my bag with the ring in it. I said I had to carry it with me at all times, like an obsessed man. I’m pretty sure mum was winding me up at this point. But she let me go, thankfully with my bag.
I then had to take an avalanche of questions from Pamela as we walked along.
“Where are you taking me?”
A special place to take photos.
“Is it safe?”
“Why can’t your mum come?”
I want to do perverted things to you.
“Can you take my camera?”
“Are you sure it’s safe?”
“Are you going to kill me?”
Depends, are you going to ask more questions?
I then chose a rock to climb up to get a good view of Godrevy Lighthouse so Pamela could actually take a picture. Some of the rocks were jagged and difficult to climb, which I heard muffled insults thrown in my direction like “puta” and “loco”. I doubt it’s the same rock we left Gran’s wreath on, as they all pretty much look the same. But we came to a great vantage point which had a man made seat for Pamela to catch her breath. Any more steps and I’m pretty sure Pamela would have just been done with it and pushed me to my death.
“Take a pic, then!” I said, which made her sigh frustratedly.
While Pamela was lining up the camera, I fiddled in my bag and tried to get the ring out of the box trying not to let her notice, nervous and the sun blazing while trying to keep my balance on a rock. She turned her head and didn’t even let me finish the question or go down on one knee.
“Siiiiiiii,” she screamed to the world (and me of course). Tears, kisses and hugs commenced.
“This is perfect,” she confirmed. She didn’t need to. I knew it was. I made sure it was perfect. Planned it for months. Sun. Sea. Lighthouse. Ring. Woman. If you want something in life, you have to fight for it, be patient, but make sure you do anything to get it. That’s what I’m learning in life. It’s taken a long time. And I’ll be launching this attitude in my career now. I have worth. I want to be a success. I’m willing to put in the hard work. I have the best woman in the world (when she’s not moaning). I have the best family in the world. Now I’m after the best job; one that brings happiness and financial security. Pamela has made me very happy, and I’ve made her happy. My father said the same when we announced it to the family when we got down from the rock.
Surprise, surprise, my sister pulled a bottle of Prosecco out of thin air when we returned to the car. Smiles with wine flowed. Happiness was in the air, and I like to believe that Nan was in one of the cars on the cliff top watching on, smiling. If she was with us, I’m without doubt that she would it would have made her happy, Pamela too.