It would be nice to say that we did something mad or exciting on our last day, but history could have predicted that was not going to happen. My husband had not done very much fishing – as usual leaving it to the last few days. It is an activity that ensures he leaves the house early, leaving me to waste even more time than usual as I am left to my own devices.
He had found possibly the most dangerous place as his preferred spot for casting off, as it was off the end of the man-made harbour wall, which is made of large randomly piled rocks, which are razor sharp but also treacherously slippery on account of the seaweed that grows on them. The last thing I said to him was, ‘Be careful on those rocks.’ I then went back to bed fully intending to sleep until the police arrived at the cottage to ask me to identify his body.
Of course I could not sleep. I try not to over worry, but, although skinny, he is not the most athletic of people and was intending to climb down with fishing rod, net, tackle box and small esky in a pair of crocs. As a qualified Occupational Health and Safety Officer, I could easily imagine any number of situations which would result in his untimely demise, plus the day before he had revealed he had dropped his net down a crevice and almost fallen trying to retrieve it.
So I lay on the couch, reading and being uber relaxed about it all and looking at the time on my phone trying to work out what on his corpse would link him to me until I got a text just after ten from him to tell me he had finished and to bring the dogs up for a swim.
The beach we had been visiting was next to the harbour wall and so protected us from the enthusiastic wind that had built up. We spent a good couple of hours there, with Archie demonstrating a surprising ability to climb the rocks like a mountain goat in his pursuit of crabs. Lucy stuck to swimming out to retrieve her toy, or visiting whichever of us was in for a swim and despite the wind whipping clouds of sand off the top of the wall, we were protected from it where we were and finished the morning there.
Our check-out time was ten the following morning and so the afternoon was kind of taken with moving stuff into like piles ready for a speedy pack and departure the next day. By now the dogs were well into holiday routine and before I called them inside while we went for a final couple of pints, they had settled on their beds ready to be left for a couple of hours.
It was only when my husband had a shower that I noticed a series of angry swollen red scratches on his back. Alarmed, and simultaneously dismissing the possibility of an amourous mermaid, I asked him what had happened. He confessed he had slipped on the rocks and scraped his back. I dabbed antiseptic on his wounds and said a silent thanks that this was the last day he would be risking life and limb for no fish – which is exactly what he caught all holiday.
So the day passed, much like the others, but in the knowledge that the following morning would bring a packing of the car and the drive back home. All holidays, no matter how modest, are too short. Once again I filled out the comments in the guest book. I have to admit I was slightly annoyed by the comments of other guests, who had their own dogs which had raced around the big back garden and who thought of the cottage as ‘theirs’. Feeling slightly competitive, I wrote in the book of our third stay there being wonderful as usual -with the aircon an added bonus during the heatwave we had experienced during week and upon closing the book, closed yet another year on our local home away from home.