The guide book warned that a crossing of Gillan Creek was only possible an hour either side of low tide and this knowledge hurried us along the southern bank of the luxuriant Helford River estuary. We found the first set of stepping stones in time and negotiated the treacherous steps across onto a central sandbar where we squelched through soggy bladderwrack searching for the second set whilst fast moving water filled the spaces all around us. These next stones were equally lethal but with a mixture of ballerina balancing and desperate lunges we arrived at the opposite bank, saving ourselves two long additional miles at the end of the day.
Helford was sumptuous, close clumps of thatched buildings, and our landlady was straight from Tory Central Casting. She took us up the steps to the converted loft above the garage.
‘Lucky to get it. Son usually home this week, comes for the sailing. Been out there myself today. Perfect conditions. Should book for food at the pub. Gets crowded. Any trouble, mention my name. Everything you need’s here, towels, soap, usual stuff. Breakfast’s in the fridge. Eggs, bacon, it’s all there. Anyway. Must dash. Tennis club. Anything you need, Brian’s about somewhere. Just shout.’
But the loft had a perfect calm. We lay out along the padded window bench, evening light outside on Frenchman’s Creek, a late flickering warmth on homeland waters, lingering sunlight tucked away among redundant jetties and slipways.
(nb. 'While Giants Sleep' does not contain photographs. These have been included only for the purposes of this blog.)