I left home again on Thursday 23 June, after coming back to see my family. The day before I leave, our beautiful little rabbit, Sooty, gets very sick. We take him to the vets, he has fly strike. They put him on oxigen, give him an anaesthetic and do all they can for him. He comes back home a few hours later, but he is not out of the woods. Then starts all the care: trying to feed him, give medicine, keep him warm. We thought he would pull through but it was all too much of a shock for him. Sooty died on my way to St Agnes and as I write this a few days later, I still feel awful for not being there to comfort my partner who loved him dearly and my little boy who dutifully cleaned his hutch every week. It is sad losing him and as I am not at home to bury him, I just want to pay him tribute as he was a very cuddly and loving rabbit, he provided us with little joys everyday, we loved watching him in the garden. I am so grateful to Sheona who has been comforting Thomas whilst his mummy is away, losing Sooty is difficult for her.
On 23 June, I catch the national express from Bournemouth to Exeter, the train from Exeter to Par, train again from Par to Newquay. I get into Newquay at around 9:30 in the evening and I am already tired due to what happened the day before. I am also not that happy about having left home and Sheona to care for Sooty. Old demons come back to haunt me, the guilt and pain of a young carer – when you go through life as an adult, it never leaves you, it is a type of learnt behaviour that is difficult to let go off. When you think you have finally understood it and left it behind, events such as those of 2 weeks ago and now act as triggers that you just can’t control.
I arrive at the hostel hoping for a peaceful night in a bed. Instead I am greeted by a group of drunk stagnighters, one of them, a grown man, falls over me with all his weight and I am jolted against the wall, which makes my sciatica worse. An over- enthusiastic australian girl checks me in: “waow girl, awesome, you’ve checked in online! We like to party here so for you there are special offers of 2 shots for the price of 1! Bar’s open till 2 but you can party all night in the hostel!” – WAOW! Awesome dude!
With all the drunken comings and goings in the dorm I don’t get to sleep until 5 am. I get up at 8:30, which is pretty late when you have 16 miles to walk. I am just ready to go and use the bathroom when an all nighter storms in, gets to bathroom before me, and is sick everywhere. Then I find out about the result of the EU vote which just depresses me even more. Newquay vomits its hungover youngsters onto the streets and I am glad to leave this place behind.
A mile away, by the shores of the Gannel, my spirits return as I embark on the little ferry. I have a chat with my Captain who tells me that with sciatica, I shouldn’t go all the way to St Agnes. He is a wholesome guy and it is such a change from the night before. He gives me directions to catch the path after the crossing and I know then that I am back in Cornwall as I know it. The Cornwall of decent, uncomplicated, friendly people.
The coastline is beautiful thereafter and when I finally get a signal, I call home. I get the news about Sooty who died 20 minutes before and I am so relieved that Sheona was there with him so he could go peacefully, in her arms.
I feel chocked and then I reach Perran Sands. I take my boots off, the best thing I can do to help me through is to walk in the water… a few miles in the water.
And all under an immense sky mirrored by the immensity of the sea.
From Perranporth to St Agne, I start to enter my favourite Cornwall, that of the tin mines.
The path flirts indecently with the cliff face flanked with purple heather, replacing the faded salmon coloured sea pinks.
l am alone in the evening sun which leads me from Perranporth to St Agnes. And it is comforting to be alone in this beautiful landscape, to think about death and its acceptance, to think about love and its painful end, to think about the past as past and not forever present.
I find the evening’s golden rays comforting as they soften this rugged landscape. Reaching camp after a long day, I am greeted by Ginny’s beaming welcoming smile at Blue Hills campsite and she gives me a lift to the Miners Inn in a little village called Mithian and I spend a lovely evening with the locals and staff. Such a contrast to the previous evening, and I am so grateful as I felt so sad today. I am really looking forward to a night in the tent again.