Anna Martins: aged thirty. A nurse. Lives in London. Married to Stephen for ten years.
Stephen Martins: aged thirty-two. Works for an advertising agency. Lives in London. Married to Anna for ten years.
Tristan Goddard: early thirties. Lives and works in Polreath as a fisherman. Runs boat trips for visitors in the summer. The owner of Dolphin Cottage.
Jill: Tristan's girlfriend. Used to live in Polreath, now lives in London.
Chapter 1 The city heat
'When we get to Polreath on Saturday, I'm going to do nothing,' said Anna. ĎI just want to sit and have cool drinks and read and watch the world go by.'
'Me too,' replied Stephen.
It was the hottest summer for twenty years. It had started at the end of May. Everyone thought the heat would only last for a few days and then the rain would return, but this summer was different.
'And don't expect any intelligent conversation from me,'
Anna continued. 'It'll take a day or two for me to become a member of the human race again!'
'Mm,' said Stephen, not really listening. 'What about this cottage we've booked, do you think it's going to be all right? To be honest, I'm a bit worried about it - we were so late making our decision and it was still available. Why didn't anyone else want it? It makes me think there must be something wrong with it.'
'Don't worry. I'm sure it'll be fine. And even if it's not, we'll still be away from here. Just think - three weeks by the sea, without any work. It sounds wonderful.'
In the city the heat was uncomfortable. People were not used to high temperatures day after day. Journeys to work became hot and sweaty, and increasingly bad-tempered in the crowded trains and buses. By the beginning of July, nobody could remember when it had last rained. Every- where you looked seemed to be brown - the grass in the parks was burnt and most of the flowers had died. The sun was burning hot and the air seemed to be getting thicker and thicker. At the weekends, the place was empty as many people left for the countryside.
But Stephen and Anna couldn't leave - not until the weekend anyway.
* * *
Stephen was thirty-two with dark, curly hair. He had noticed a few grey hairs that morning when he was drying it after his shower. But he didn't mind too much; in fact, he rather liked the idea of a few which might make him look serious. But his face showed signs of stress and worry.
Stephen left the flat just before seven. He was earlier than usual this morning because he wanted to avoid the rush hour, but it seemed as if everyone else had had the same idea ó the roads were busy and there had been an accident half way along Sussex Gardens. He waited impatiently while the police sorted out the chaos but by the time he arrived at work, he was late and not in a very good mood.
He locked the Saab and went into the cool building.
The offices of Jardine and Makepeace, advertising agents, were on the fourteenth floor of a modern block with wonderful views over Regent's Park. But this morning, when Stephen found himself climbing the stairs (the lift was out of order again!), he would happily have given up the views for an office on the ground floor.
'Please let everything go smoothly today,' he said to himself as he made his way up the stairs.
Stephen was worried about work - the agency had lost an important client that week. He felt that Charlie Jardine, the agency boss, blamed him. A couple of days before, he'd passed by Charlie's office and had heard him saying on the phone, 'Yes, well, I'll have to talk to Stephen about that.
He was the one working on their new advertisement.'
Stephen hadn't heard any more but he thought that Charlie sounded a bit angry.
He wondered if it was a bad time to go on holiday - perhaps his job would disappear when he was away. But he didn't want to miss this break - and in any case, Anna would kill him if he suggested cancelling. So he said nothing to her about his worries. He often found it hard to talk about his problems, even with Anna. God knows why, she was usually willing to listen.
In his mind, he would think through different ways of opening the conversation with her, but everything he thought of sounded so obvious - 'I'm worried about work' or 'I'd like to talk to you about something'. In any case, he really preferred to work things out himself. But he knew he was not easy to live with when he didn't talk much. 'Morning Mark. Another lovely day,' panted Stephen, and sat down to get his breath back. His shirt was wet and sticking to his back.
'Morning, Stephen,' said Mark. 'I'm not sure if it is a lovely day. Clare's away - she's got food poisoning or something - so between us we've got to do her work as well as our own.
''Oh hell! Just what I needed to hear!' replied Stephen.
Anna's last day began even earlier. At 6.30 that morning she yawned as she walked across to St Phillips Hospital. It was another beautiful morning - for her the best time of the day when the air was still fresh and the day was still full of promise.
Her nurse's cap sat comfortably on her short blond hair.
She looked fresh and efficient in her blue uniform. She loved her job as a nurse but it was hard. There always seemed to be so much to do - more than ever since the new manager had arrived.
'This weekend, when we're away,' she thought, 'Iím going to get up early and walk along the beach before anyone else is awake.' Then she laughed at the idea of getting up early when she didn't have to! Well, maybe she would - who knows, holidays can change people. Maybe thatís what she needed - change. She was thirty and had been working at St Phillips since she'd finished her training- perhaps it was time to move on.
Later in the day she went to say goodbye to Michael Barton, a favourite patient who was recovering from a major operation.
'Have a wonderful holiday!' he said.
'Thanks, I will. And I hope I won't see you when I get back,' replied Anna. And as soon as she said it, she realized what a stupid thing it was to say.
'I mean, I hope you won't still be in hospital, you know, youíll be back at home,' she said quickly.
'It's all right, love. I know you weren't talking about me dying! I hope I don't see you either - although I'll miss you looking after me. Bye - all the best.'
She left the ward knowing that this time tomorrow she would be in a different world. She got off the hospital bus at the end of her street and walked slowly home, thinking about a cool beer in the back garden. They were lucky.
Their flat was on the ground floor of a nineteenth-century house and the garden at the back was theirs. The garden wasnít big but it was a wonderful place to escape to in the summer. She wondered what sort of day Stephen had had.
She knew something was worrying him but was too tired to do anything about it. Anyway, she knew from past experience that it was no use asking directly. He'd once told her that he could only talk about difficult things after they were past and no longer difficult. 'I'll find out what it is on holiday,' she thought. 'When we've got more time and energy.'
As Stephen was about to leave the office that evening, Charlie Jardine called him into his office and told him that there were going to be some changes in the next month, that probably one member of staff would have to go - 'be made redundant' was how Charlie said it, but Stephen thought 'sacked . . . fired . . . dismissed' was what he really wanted to say. Then Charlie said, 'But of course, I donít want to lose you.' Why didn't that make Stephen feel better? He left work with a heavy heart.
Chapter 2 On the way
'Got everything?' asked Anna.
'I don't care if we haven't!' said Stephen. 'Let's go! You drive.'
'OK. We've got to stop at Rebecca's to leave our keys with her,' said Anna, shutting the front door quietly behind her. 'She said she'd come in and make sure everything is
OK while we're away. Remember? Oh, and did you write down our holiday address for her - she said she wanted it in case of emergencies. Though I don't think I want to know if there are any emergencies, do you? Now where did I put the car keys?'
'You always think you've lost the keys, and you never have,' said Stephen. 'I think you just say it to annoy me.
Get in and drive! I've got the address for Rebecca, I've got the map, I've got the address of the cottage and you've got enough bottles of suntan cream to protect an army. Now, come on! We're wasting valuable holiday time!'
'Right. I'll drive first. Why don't you go to sleep? I'll wake you when it's your turn to drive,' said Anna.
London looked a bit like a ghost town at seven o'clock that Saturday morning. Either everybody had left it for their own holidays or they were still in bed. It was good to leave the city behind as Anna set off west along the M4 on the 500 kilometre drive to Polreath. Polreath was a small, quiet fishing village on the north-west coast of Cornwall with a few holiday cottages, two hotels, and the usual shops, bars and restaurants. It was famous for its seafood restaurants - lobsters, prawns, crabs - and relatively unspoilt - a great place to relax.
It would take most of the day to get there but Anna was happy to drive. It gave her time to think about last night when Stephen had come home from work. He had looked almost ill - he said it was only the heat and the traffic, and he just needed some peace and quiet. He had gone into the garden with a bottle of beer and walked around looking as if he was interested in the flowers (which she knew he wasn't). She had left him alone and after a while he came in for dinner, seeming a bit more cheerful. They had had a perfectly pleasant evening talking about arrangements for the next day and had gone to bed without mentioning work. But later, she had woken up and heard him in the kitchen, talking to someone on the telephone. When he had come back to bed, she had pretended to be asleep. In the morning, neither of them had mentioned it. 'Oh well, when we've both relaxed, perhaps he'll talk about it,' thought Anna.
The sun was behind her and she could feel its warmth on her shoulders. There wasn't much traffic about so she put her foot down, and as the kilometres passed, she felt her head begin to clear of all the worries, the questions. She put a cassette on quietly - a little Mozart for company, perfect - and started to enjoy the drive.
'Where are we?' asked Stephen sleepily.
'We've just passed Bristol, so I suppose we're doing well,' said Anna. 'Your turn to drive.'
'OK. Let's stop and have a cup of coffee first.'
Anna turned into the next service area where they had to queue for a fairly awful cup of coffee. Half an hour later they were back on the road, this time with Stephen driving.
He changed the music to an Ella Fitzgerald tape and Anna attempted to sing along with her.
'I think I prefer Ella Fitzgerald to you, if you don't mind,' joked Stephen.
'Sorry, this song always makes me want to sing,' replied Anna. 'Don't worry, I'll go to sleep in a minute.'
Stephen turned off the motorway. He reckoned it would take about another three hours to get to Polreath. Anna was asleep. 'She wasn't last night, though, when I came back to bed after that phone call, I know. She's not very good at pretending.' Stephen looked at her lovingly. 'Perhaps it was a mistake to ring Mark, but I wanted to tell him what
Charlie had said about making someone redundant. Now all I've done is make Mark feel bad, too. I must be going mad. Why did I tell him? He'll find out soon enough if he's going to lose his job.'
Anna moved beside him.
'Not long now,' said Stephen, trying to forget about work.
'I'll be really happy to get out of this hot car, won't you?'
'First thing I'm going to do is have a swim,' he said.
'What about unpacking the car, and buying a few things like milk and bread for tomorrow's breakfast?' said Anna.
'To hell with that. We're on holiday and we're going to do what we want to do, not what we should. No more planning, no more thinking ahead, no more worrying.'
'I'll remember you said that. This sounds as if it's going to be an interesting three weeks.'
Chapter 3 Polreath
Their first view of Polreath was from the top of a hill.
'Oh look, Stephen! The sea! And lots of little boats. It looks wonderful,' said Anna.
There was a big sign at the side of the road telling motorists not to drive into the village, that they must leave their cars in the car park. 'Right. Let's leave everything here. I'm going for a swim,' said Stephen.
'Me too,' replied Anna.
They walked hand in hand down the steep, narrow street to the beach below. The water wasn't wonderfully warm - this was the Atlantic after all - but even so that first swim was almost magical. Stephen lay on his back, looking at the sky and enjoying the first taste of freedom. Anna had swum quite a long way out but was now coming up towards him.
He turned towards her and they managed a salty kiss.
'Hello, love. Welcome to our new world,' said Anna softly.
'Hi, little one,' he said.
'You look ten years younger already. And that's after only one swim!'
They kissed again.
'Come on,' said Stephen, 'that's enough for now.'
'What, swimming or kissing?' asked Anna.
'Both,' he smiled, and kissed her again.
They swam slowly back to the beach. The sun still felt warm, so they sat on the sand for a few minutes with their towels wrapped round them. Outside a pub people were sitting with drinks and watching them in a leisurely way.
Anna and Stephen - the only ones on the beach at that time suddenly realised that everyone's eyes were on them, so they picked up their things and left.
'We'd better go and introduce ourselves to Mr Goddard and get the key for the cottage,' Stephen said. 'He said to come to his house. What was it called, Anna?'
'Seahorses,' she replied. 'We passed it on the way down the hill. Look, you go. I want to change my clothes.
'I don't know, one look at you in your swimsuit and he might put the price down,' he replied.
'Very funny! I'll wait on the corner over there,' she said, giving him a little push.
Anna watched as Stephen knocked on the door of Seahorses. A youngish man appeared and she could hear Stephen introduce himself.
'Mr Goddard? Hello, I'm Stephen Martins. Sorry about my appearance but we got so hot travelling down here that we had to have a quick swim,' he said.
He looked over Stephen's shoulder and saw Anna standing at the corner. She gave a small wave and smiled.
'That's Anna,' said Stephen. 'She said she'd come and introduce herself when she's changed.'
'Fine. Well look, this is the key for Dolphin Cottage. Go down to the harbour, turn right and follow that little road until you come to a stone cottage. You can't miss it, it's the only one with a green door.'
Thanks. By the way, what about cars in the village?'
Stephen asked. 'Can I bring the car down? It's in the car park at the top of the hill at the moment.'
'Yeah,' replied Tristan. 'You can bring it down to unpack everything, but then you'll have to take it back up to the car park. We're trying to keep the village free of cars as much as possible. It used to be a real problem with the fishermen trying to get up and down to the harbour in their vans, and visitors parking on the streets. So now no visitors' cars are allowed. Sorry.'
'That's OK,' Stephen said, 'I'll be perfectly happy without it.'
'Fine. I'll come down a bit later then to see that everything's OK,' said Tristan.
Tristan stood on the step and watched Stephen join Anna. As they walked down the street holding hands, he couldn't help noticing how good she looked in her swim suit. They seemed very comfortable with each other, he thought, and wondered how long they'd been together.
Half-smiling, he turned and went back into the house, with the picture of Stephen and Anna still in his head.
Then the picture changed to him and Jill last summer when they'd been so happy. Now she was in London and God knows when they were going to be together again, if ever. She refused to live in Polreath - she said it was 'too dead in the winter', and he knew he couldn't live in London. In fact, he had no wish to live anywhere but Polreath. To him it had everything. For seven months of the year, the visitors brought life and work to the village and for the remaining five months the locals had the place to themselves. He loved it in the middle of winter when the sea was rough and the waves crashed over the harbour wall.
It was impossible then for any of the fishermen to go to sea. And the village had the feeling of being an island with no way of escape.
Jill had wanted to leave as soon as the summer had finished, to go back to the bright lights. This summer, she'd been down and for a few weeks they'd got on as well together as last year. But soon he had seen that she was getting bored. And then the telephone call with the promise of a new, exciting job had pulled her back to London. They still spoke on the phone, but in his heart he knew that the whole thing was over.
He sighed sadly and sat down to plan his work for tomorrow. During the summer months he took visitors in his boat to Skellig - the island off the headland Ė on fishing trips and on day-long trips along the coast, and anything else they wanted to do. And he still managed to do a bit of fishing between trips. His first trip was at 9.30 - ten people to take to Skellig.
He left the front door open to get a bit more air into the house and walked down the narrow streets to Dolphin Cottage.
'Hello, anyone at home?' called Tristan.
'Oh hello. I'm Anna. Come in.'
Anna led the way into the kitchen. Tristan followed and thought she looked good in jeans, too. Stephen was putting things away in cupboards.
'Is everything OK? Have you found your way around?' asked Tristan.
Stephen smiled, 'Yes, everything's just perfect. And thank you for buying the bread and milk and things. How much do we owe you for that?'
'Don't worry about it now, you can pay me at the end. I thought you might arrive after the shop had closed so I just bought a few essentials.'
'Thanks a lot,' said Anna.
Stephen had told Anna that Tristan seemed 'very nice', and she had to agree. She found herself almost staring at him. He had the most amazing eyes - sort of strong blue - that seemed to look through you. She thought he must be in his early thirties, about the same age as Stephen, but taller and slimmer, and with those wonderful eyes! He was saying something to Stephen but she wasn't really listening.
'What do you think, Anna? Shall we go?' said Stephen.
'What? Sorry, I wasn't listening. Shall we go where?'
'Tristan was just saying that he was running a boat trip to a little island at half past nine tomorrow morning and would we like to go?' said Stephen.
Anna said, 'Really? Do you often do boat trips?'
'Yes, there's something happening every day. In fact, you should find a list of trips on the wall by the back door.'
Tristan pointed, 'Yes, look, there it is.'
She made herself turn round to look.
'I'd really quite like to explore Polreath tomorrow morning,' Anna said. 'It seems funny to go on a trip before we've had a look round here first. We can go on the boat any day'
'True. We'll do that then, Tristan,' said Stephen. 'Have a day wandering around the village and then come with you later in the week.'
'OK. Well, I'll be off now and leave you to it,' Tristan said, moving towards the door. 'If you've got any problems, you know where I live. Bye for now.'
Half an hour later, Stephen and Anna were sitting outside drinking coffee in the front garden. The cottage was exactly how they'd imagined it - a traditional fisherman's cottage built of stone with very thick walls to keep out the wind. The tiny garden at the front looked over the harbour.
'I can't believe our luck. Can you imagine anything more ideal than this?' asked Anna. 'And what about Tristan?í
ĎDon't you think he's got the most amazing eyes. I couldn't stop looking at him.'
'I noticed! Actually, you're right, his eyes are interesting. I'd like eyes like that.'
'So would I. And I wouldn't mind his hair either. It's all curly like yours is when you've just had a shower, except his is really blond.'
'OK, that's enough about Tristan,' laughed Stephen. 'I might get jealous. Anyway, he can't be so good-looking and a really nice person - there's probably something wrong with him!'
Later, Stephen came into the bedroom drying his hair after a cool shower. Anna looked at him and smiled. She wondered if he remembered the conversation about Tristan's hair. Had he come in with wet hair deliberately, just to remind her that she'd always liked his hair?
They lay there, side by side, touching, with the sound of the sea coming through the open window.
Chapter 4 Exploring the village
The next day, Anna woke up not long after dawn. She could hear seagulls crying. She thought about an early morning walk. Maybe tomorrow, she decided, and turned over for a bit more sleep. She didn't notice that Stephen wasn't lying beside her.
Stephen had woken up even earlier and had heard the sounds of the birds. He lay there for a time, listening, but slowly his mind started to fill up with memories of his last conversation with his boss. 'Oh no,' he thought, 'I don't want to start thinking about that now. I'm on holiday, I need a break.' But the problems of the last few weeks at work wouldn't go away. He could feel his stomach begin to get tight - a sure sign that he was getting worried. 'It's no good,' he thought, 'I'll have to get up and do something.'
Quietly, he got dressed and left the cottage. The sun had just risen and the air already felt warm. He started jogging up the hill out of the village, hoping that some physical activity would help. By the time he reached the top he was a bit out of breath. He looked into the car park to make sure the car was still there, then carried on walking. There was a signpost saying "Footpath" so he went along it. It led to the edge of the cliff. At this point he was standing about a hundred metres above the sea, looking back down onto Polreath harbour. It was a wonderful view - one he felt he'd always remember. There were one or two people on their boats in the harbour, including a blond-haired man. 'I wonder if that's Tristan,' thought Stephen. He watched the activity in the harbour and slowly the tightness in his stomach started to go away. He felt calmer. He realised that the problems at work were not going to disappear; he was going to have to think about his job clearly and carefully, and decide what he really wanted to do. And try and talk to Anna about it. Once or twice recently he had seen her looking at him almost angrily. 'Poor Anna,' he thought.
'She must get fed up with me sometimes.'
He had started to walk back along the path when he heard voices from the harbour below. He turned and saw a dark-haired man standing at the front of a fishing boat, shouting at the blond man. They seemed to be having some sort of argument. The dark-haired man kept pointing at the blond man's boat. Stephen enjoyed the fact that other people seemed to have problems at work, too, not just him!
And he watched as the two small boats left the harbour.
When he got back to Dolphin Cottage with some fresh bread, Anna was sitting in the front garden with a cup of coffee. She looked at him closely and said,
'Hello, are you all right?'
'Yes, I'm fine. I woke up early and decided to get some exercise . . . and some fresh bread. Here, smell it, straight from the baker's.' 'Mm, delicious. Let's have breakfast out here. You can tell me what the village is like.'
Stephen told her about the argument in the harbour, and how he was sure one of the men was Tristan, but he didn't tell her what had made him get up so early. Time to get serious later, not now.
Stephen and Anna spent the rest of the morning wandering round the village. They walked up and down the narrow streets and paths, looking at everything. Most of the houses near the harbour were like theirs - old stone cottages. There were one or two which were obviously holiday cottages but most of them still seemed to be lived in by local people. A bit further away from the harbour, it seemed to be more mixed - some more modern houses and one or two very fine ones which had probably been built when it had first become fashionable for city people to take their holidays by the sea.
In one of the small side-streets, they found Philpots, a restaurant specialising in seafood. The menu promised lobster, crab and fish, all freshly caught.
'This looks wonderful.'
'And look at the prices! This lot would cost twice as much in London.'
Stephen felt a hand on his shoulder.
'Morning.' Tristan was standing behind them in shorts and a T-shirt. 'You were up early today, Stephen. I saw you leaving the cottage.'
'Yes, I went jogging,' replied Stephen. 'I didn't see you, though.'
'I was on the boat - just going out for an hour or two's fishing,' said Tristan.
'Ah, so it was him,' thought Stephen. 'Did you catch anything?' he asked Tristan.
'I just put down the lobster pots. I'll go back later and pull them up. I usually get a few and then sell them to this place. So if you eat here tonight, they might be serving my lobsters,' said Tristan, looking at Anna.
'Great,' said Anna. 'How was the trip to the island?'
'Oh fine. I left the people there for the day. There's not much to do, but that's what's attractive, I suppose. They just walk round, look at the few people who actually live there and think how wonderful it'd be to have a house on a small island. They see it on a wonderful, sunny day like today and don't think about the times in the winter when it's cut off for days by the storms. But it's a very special place and you need to be a special kind of person to be able to enjoy it!'
For some reason, Stephen felt Tristan was that special kind of person - a man who would be happy with his own company.
'Well, see you later. Have a good day,' said Tristan, and walked off in the direction of the harbour.
'Let's go and have lunch in that pub by the beach, and plan the rest of the day,' said Anna.
'OK,' replied Stephen. 'Well, we now know two things about Tristan. One, not everybody here likes him - remember I told you about that argument in the harbor this morning - and two, he seems to have strong feelings about the island.'
ĎAnd three, he's got nice legs!' said Anna as she watched him climb onto his boat.
ĎAnna! Can't you think of anything except his eyes and legs? Honestly! And they say it's men who think about sex all the time!'
Stephen's voice sounded half-serious. Actually, he was a bit surprised. He'd never known Anna talk so openly about a man's physical appearance. He didn't quite know whether to be worried about it.
'Itís all right. I'm only joking. I'm sure he's a very interesting person . . . as well as good to look at!'
At the Fisherman's Arms they had crab salads and icecold beer. They sat outside in friendly silence and watched the activity on the beach.
'Shall we walk over in that direction this afternoon?'
Stephen pointed to the left. 'We could go along the coast path - see what there is over the hill.'
'OK, but let's not hurry off just yet,' said Anna.
They got some more drinks. Anna stretched out her long legs in the sun and started to read the guide book for the area. Stephen watched her while drinking his beer. Everything about her seemed so familiar. 'She looks so happy sitting there, like a cat in the sun,' he thought. 'She's got a lovely face, so full of life and smiles - except when I worry her with my silences.' He suddenly heard a loud voice behind him.
'Bloody Tristan,' said a man at another table. 'He thinks he owns the village. Why does he want to buy another house? He's already got two. How many more does he want?'
'Ssh. Not so loud, Jack. In any case, you don't know if he does yet,' said the man sitting with him in a low voice.
'Well, you heard him asking about how much the cottage was being sold for. He wants it, I'm sure,' said Jack.
'Then he'll rent it out as a holiday place, just like he's done with Dolphin Cottage.'
Anna and Stephen sat there, pretending not to listen.
'Come on, he's got to rent Dolphin Cottage out, he can't live in two places at once, can he? In any case, that woman, what's her name, Jane . . . Jill, has been living there,' the other man said.
'Well, she doesn't live there now, does she?' replied Jack.
'I don't know, he talks a lot about trying to keep the village the same - "unspoilt", that's what he says - but if you ask me, it'll be ruined in a few years' time.'
'This place has stood here for a few hundred years, I'm sure it'll go on a bit longer. Anyway, I don't believe Tristan'll buy another cottage ó why should he?'
'I asked him this morning, and he didn't say no,' Jack answered.
'Knowing you, you probably didn't give him time to answer your question before you got angry with him,' the other man replied.
The man called Jack left the pub, still complaining about 'bloody Tristan'. The other man stayed at the bar, staring into his beer.
'Help!' whispered Anna. 'I'm glad he didn't realise we were the people renting Dolphin Cottage.'
'Come on,' said Stephen, standing up. 'Let's go for our walk.' They walked out of the village along the coast path.
Although they talked about what they'd heard in the bar, they were not really worried ó just interested in the life of the village and what part Tristan Goddard played in it.
They knew that over the next three weeks they'd probably discover what it was all about.
They followed the path through some trees, happy to escape from the hot sun for a while. Eventually, they walked round a corner and came to a wide bay with people surfing on beautiful, white waves.
'Hey, that looks fun,' said Stephen. 'I've always wanted to try it.'
'I did it once when I was about fifteen,' said Anna. 'I wasn't very good at it. Every time I stood up, I fell off. But I'll have another go. Age might have improved my balance.'
A woman in the beach shop told them they could hire surfboards there and, if they wanted, they could also have lessons.
'Right. So, there's no reason why we shouldn't try, then.
Thanks for the information. We'll be back another day,' Stephen smiled.
They walked slowly back towards Polreath, changed into their swimming things at the cottage and went down to the beach. The sand was warm from the day's sun and Stephen fell asleep lying there. Anna continued reading her local guide book. This was always the first thing she bought when she went to a new place, and a map of the area. She enjoyed getting information which she'd then pass on to
Stephen - who, actually, didn't always want to know! In fact, she sometimes annoyed him with her facts.
Stephen woke up, saw Anna with her nose in the book and knew that tonight in the restaurant she was going to say, 'I read in the guide book that . . . ' many times! He turned over quietly and ran his finger down her back.
'Oh, hello! Had a good sleep? You probably needed it after your early start this morning.'
'Mmm.' He stood up and stretched. 'Time for a swim?'
'Why not,' she replied. 'Then I'm going home for a quick sleep before dinner.'