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Back down to Cornwall

Yes, I know that I’ve only recently been on holiday to Cornwall, but after I’d booked the trip to St Austell over Easter, it became clear that I’d be going back just a few weeks later. This wasn’t such a happy occasion – it was for a family funeral. Cousin Stephanie was Christopher’s mother’s cousin, but due to the fact that his mother died before we got married, Stephanie was pretty much a surrogate mother-in-law to me. Christopher was absolutely determined that she should attend our wedding, but she lived in the USA at the time. So we took the show on the road, and actually got married from her house in upstate New York.

Several years later, Stephanie retired back to the UK, and stayed with us for a bit while she house-hunted for somewhere to buy down in Cornwall. Her parents had owned a house there for many years, which all the extended family including Christopher and his sister used to go to on holiday. Christopher used to reminisce about piling into the family’s clapped-out car (a mini I think) and driving all the way from Kent to near Penzance, before the motorways were built.

Even after Christopher died, Stephanie always kept in contact. Over the last few years, she got increasingly ill with Parkinson’s Disease. She and her two sons (who I reckon would be Christopher’s second cousins) came to stay here about two years ago, and it was apparent then that she was seriously ill. So it wasn’t at all surprising when I got a phone call at work saying that she’d died. There was a very small private cremation service, but the sons wanted to gather her family and closest friends together to scatter the ashes. That was easier said than done, as the cousins are scattered all around the globe – USA, UK, Australia and Singapore – and I don’t think they’ve ever all been in the same place at the same time before! But it was decided that they would all meet up on May Bank Holiday in Mullion on the Lizard peninsula, which is where the family home had been. I was invited, and felt that I most definitely owed it both to Stephanie and to Christopher to attend. 

I made a long weekend of it, with short stays in Penzance on the way down, Mullion itself, and then Exeter on the way home. The countryside was gorgeous,  and I can quite see why the entire family had such good memories of their holidays there. Photos will follow when I’ve had time to look at them myself. For now, I’ve got tons of laundry to do before I go back to work tomorrow!