The weather in Cornwall recently has been grim. I would describe it as ‘violently damp’. Like, you step out of the front door to go to work at it’s immediately like you’ve been slapped in the face with a bucket of water. You were dry, now you are wet. There is absolutely no middle ground. I actually don’t mind it because it’s much more interesting than the dreary drizzle we always used to have in London, which you could mostly swerve until an arsehole couldn’t control their umbrella on a rush hour tube. But it’s hardly an incentive to get out of the house because it takes ages to tool up with wellies and waterproof trousers and all the other accoutrements that come with living in an environment where a brolly wouldn’t last five seconds.
But at the weekend we had one glorious day of calm. Since I’m about to have a bit of medically-necessary ‘sitting on the sofa watching TV time’, and since I recently bought my first ever pair of walking shoes, and since I had a list of chores as long as my arm to work through and absolutely no desire to do so, I headed for the coast path.
I always tend to head west and walk along to Maenporth, because the alternative involves catching a boat if you want to stay on the official path. It doesn’t take long before you’re in the midst of the kind of beautiful scenery I’ve waxed lyrical and/or bragged about before.
I quite often see birds I’ve never seen before while I’m out anywhere, and in particular out in the sticks. In Cornwall there’s often slightly more variety than London’s wide array of gammy pigeons. I quite often come home reciting descriptions of birds I’ve seen and then spend ages on the RSPB website identifying them.
So with that in mind, I chucked my little bird book in my bag this time. I’ve had it since I was a little eight-year-old birdwatcher (I feel like, given the rest of this post, that shouldn’t be a particularly surprising revelation). One side of it is stained with blood from where I cut my knee while running up the garden path, because they teach you about scissors as a kid, but they never teach you the dangers of being a baby geek.
And then as I sat on the roof of a second world war pillbox, swinging my walking boots, looking up birds, and having opinions (wrong and completely unqualified) about the techniques being employed by the surfers, I realised – I think I’ve hit peak Countryfile. I am here to say that I do not hate it.