Friday, 19 September 2014
Wake up the next morning to the sound of a cockerel in the distance, the chirping of birds and the stirring of geese, realise that this is rather pleasing and resolve not to be waylaid today and 'focus' on getting to the Highertown Quay, should be achievable I thought. Popped into the Island Bakery and purchased a newly baked white chocolate chip cookie and then whilst I was in the vicinity the North Farm Gallery. All hugely distracting and wildly photogenic at every turn. Am prepared to admit to 'chatting' and then inviting myself into a field filled with purple sprouting broccoli and courgettes. Securely putting my newly acquired 'bounty' into my Father's 70's rucksack, without realising I was sporting 'old skool' till told pushed my bike with determination towards my destination.
Spotted a rather fetching little deserted beach and trundled down with my bike through the thick ferns where I promptly lay down on the glittering sand and fell asleep. Visited the St.Martins information centre where I learnt that the wretched occupants of the island had to be rescued from near starvation in the 17th century and evacuated to St.Mary's.
Promised to bring in washing but failed miserably as trotted to hotel to thank friends for such a lovely evening and ended up discussing how prettily our feet shone in the evening after wriggling our toes in the glistening fine sand, lost track of time.....
Achieved nothing, gained everything.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Time to leave the beautiful hotel of Karma St.Martins, what a fabulous experience on every level, and move slightly inland to a different location. 'Goodbye' I say cheerily whilst all the other departing guests look very forlorn indeed. 'Time for the boat Sally' they say. 'I'm not leaving' I trill, and I swear the staff are so professional that not one flicker of dismay or alarm showed on their faces.
Decide to take a trip to St Mary's and as I step off the boat it all begins to feel surreal. The video's on YouTube that I have been soaking up for weeks, the webcams I have on, the weather forecast I watch with a wry smile from 619.58 miles away in Carcassonne. I know the roads from years gone by. I make my way to our first holiday cottage overlooking the sweep of Porthcressa Beach, I am there on the same seat shelling peas with my Father early one evening . Cut through a connecting path and I am on Church Street and there before me is the tall house we came to every year with the large graceful bow window. The Agapanthus blue plants were poking their heads out of the gaps of the freshly painted wrought iron fence, I had to turn the knob on the gate and it squeaked just as it had always done. I felt terribly self concious, what was I doing here ? The house silently regarded me and I wondered what it saw in the woman that now stood before it rather than the small child peering without a care in the world from the upstairs window. And I am so stunned that I take no pictures, not that it has changed drastically from the outside it's just an image I want to retain privately in my mind.
Nearly missed the boat going back to the island. I wondered who was calling my name along the quayside. 'Will Sally please make her way to the boat where everyone is awaiting her' Honestly, you couldn't make it up.
As I return 'home' to St.Martins I sternly remind myself that it is people and places not possessions that are important in life.
Three beautiful children pass by with their Father. 'Stop stop' I shout. 'Would you mind terribly if I took their photographs' ? The picture encapsulates the rare ingredient of happiness and contentment that no amount of money can buy.
You either have it or you don't, but as visitors to these islands will happily confirm, and whom return time and time again, the magic will stealthily creep unseen into your heart.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
After meeting a group of hearty Frenchmen who were sailing round the islands as their Fathers and Grandfathers had done before them a day of tranquillity beckoned. Celebrating that the hotel was re-opened with bottles of rosé from the St.Martins vineyard their laughter and delight was infectious. Frenchmen or a drop dead gorgeous sunset ? Don't be fooled for one moment that this is a far flung dot of islands with little to do, the time goes quicker here than it does 'back home' and yet it stands still. Remarkable.
I was now faced with a dilemma, did I go and count my blessings on the islands church and support the terribly welcoming new vicar of St.Martins and Tresco or did I sail the sea's and venture to another island for the day ? An elderly yet distinguished lady guest sighed rather deeply and issued forth a disapproving but well timed sniff. 'So the calling of your stomach is greater than the calling from above' ? Oh dear, oh dear.
I had missed the boat because I had thought there would be a second one. Luckily I found a boatman and enquired how much it would be to charter his boat across so cajoled a group of people on the beach to join me.... What a heavenly day, the little boat zoomed across the sparkling waters and everyones faces shone with happiness. One lady shrieked with disbelief as the ridiculously photogenic island of Bryher appeared. 'It's cute' she said 'but imagine no John Lewis'. I sampled pasta made with lobster coral, local sea-salt, olive oil, lemon and filled with lobster mousse, followed by coffee&walnut sponge, Troy Town Farm, St Agnes clotted cream ice-cream. Managed to stagger to the islands Hell Bay hotel for a pot of tea and find the strength to marvel at another round of exquisite curving bays.
Sunday had been blissful. As the hotel came into view some-one remarked 'we're home' and so we were. Later I slunk up to the tiny church, the scent of the flowers by the door picked off the island was divine. I opened up the worn wooden door carefully. 'Thank you' I whispered. I don't know who was listening but I knew I had been heard.
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Congratulate myself this morning on:
a) Having the sense to be here before the 'press' descend and it becomes alarmingly fashionable and I leave it too late to re- book (if you want to avoid this take my tip and bag yourself a break by booking ahead) not forgetting I got here before all the 'glossies' and sumptuous supplements so this is a bit of a 'exclusive', hot from Scilly, your woman on the ground, so to speak...
b) Everything else now being totally irrelevent because I am so enormously 'chilled' which was the point of the visit in the first place.
Scrutinized the breakfast menu, Karma Lighter Breakfast, Karma Royal Breakfast, Karma Breakfast Specials,(spiced kedgeree with smoked haddock & poached egg, Bombay scrambled eggs, toasted muffins, cumberland sausage, crunchy toast, oozing butter....). You get the picture don't you ? and for those that are 'simply hooked on Scilly' and avidly watching my progress will you please note that I was going for the healthy option and what my friend was doing opposite I have no idea as the view is so breathtaking.
Decided to go for a stroll but waylaid by plump juicy blackberries dripping from bushes begging to be savoured. We are assaulted on every turn by views that render us speechless. They just keep coming, it's like hitting the jackpot on a fruit machine and watching the gold coins tumble out. Curling deep green fronds of the ferns brushing against your legs and filling your nostrils with their sweet smell, the distinctive salty aroma of the Atlantic air, the slimey seaweed draping itself over the rocks, little warm pools cradling sea anemone. I run across the firm virgin sand swept to perfection by the tide. 'Look at me' I call up to the circling screeching gulls overhead, 'am I not the luckiest person in the world', but they ignore me, they have heard it countless times before here.
What on earth are you waiting for ?
(Say Sally sent you) !!!!!
Monday, 15 September 2014
I awoke to the same sounds that I had drifted off to sleep to, the hypnotic seductive sound of the ocean. Although the king size bed was incredibly comfortable I couldn’t resist leaping out because outside the breaking dawn promised another stunning day on Scilly. I did succumb however to a deep warm lingering bath and testing the Molton Brown products thoughtfully provided before ambling down to breakfast.
The staff were bustling about and bade me a cheery good morning. Although travelling solo the variety of guests at the hotel of all ages made for a refreshing and entertaining distraction. Within less than 24hrs I had left my mobile phone in the room and taken off my watch. (shock horror). If you had asked me the day of the week I would have struggled to recall. Today however I would ‘go with the flow’ and I was soon chatting happily to a group of locals as they entertained me with fascinating stories of the islands. As I sat and listened I was struck at how terribly friendly they all were. I live and work in the tourism sector too and I was impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm. Their love of the island shines through.
Another fellow guest and I decided to dine 'a deux' that evening. The view from the Karma St.Martins must surely be one of the most romantic and peaceful locations you wistfully dream of, oodles of ocean, palm tree's, exotic plants nestling on lichen covered stone walls, sailing boats bobbing past.... With plans afoot for a total refurbishment headed up by the internationally renowned interior designer Nicky Haslam this is an exciting and challenging time for the hotel.
Just as we were relaxing at the bar though sampling the rosé from St.Martin’s Vineyard and Winery the evening sunset began to put on it’s spectacular slow descent. We looked at each other and rushed out with our camera’s, no explanations, no apologies and no-one to witness our antics (well mine anyway) on the deserted beach as we tried to re-capture the moment. As we returned to the hotel lobby hoping we wouldn’t leave a trail of silvery sand in our wake the receptionist smiled knowingly. ‘Another Scilly sunset’
Just another ‘Scilly sunset’ to end another ‘Scilly day’.
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Destination * Karma St.Martins, Isles of Scilly.
Outside I can hear the faint gentle lapping of the waves from the sanctuary of my room, occasionally a curlew will call in the distance but other than that there is complete and utter silence, the other world,(the real one), seems far away and could easily be as distant as the stars I have gazed at as I sat on the silkiest bed of sand feet away from the hotel and waited for the full moon to make its appearance tonight.
Lucky me, I was staying at Karma St.Martins the newly opened hotel on the island. I had known the islands as a child and in my memories they seemed almost surreal and as I clambered aboard the little piper plane and the engines revved up I was gripped by a fear that the purity of those childhood holidays could never be recaptured, how wrong I was !
The cluster of islands appear and once again I was that excited little girl pressing my nose to the window and if it were possible for your heart to physically soar then it did as I gazed down at the sublime aqua and deepest pure blue colour of the seas merging into glistening gold strips of sand with deep brown rocks dotted like delicious chocolate drops scattered haphazardly, as if by a gourmet chef drunk by his beautiful creation. I easily caught the boat from the harbour of St Marys and we were off slicing through the startlingly crystal clear waters the invigorating spray occasionally giving us the merest caress as we inhaled the pure air.
Friendly locals chatted amicably and there were shouts of ‘turn the boat around’ as the ice-box carrying fresh produce bound for the island flew off and bobbed up and down in our wake. It was deftly fished out amongst much hilarity and then the island of St.Martins appeared before our eyes, the long jetty seemingly stretching out ready to embrace us.
Just above lies the hotel of Karma St.Martins, a cluster of pretty local granite stone buildings designed to appear like a hamlet of cottages. Thirty rooms for guests along with sumptuous suites all for the discerning traveller lying discreetly above the stunning bay. Savio from reception was there to assist with my luggage with a genuine ready infectious smile. I felt rather dazed, the serenity overwhelms you immediately, the Indian summer was in full swing and this sub-tropical paradise had me hopelessly smitten from the word go.
Within a matter of hours the magic of Scilly and Karma began to seep into my exhausted body as I ever so slowly and unwittingly began to 'let go' and completely unwind.
Wednesday, 10 September 2014
And so I found myself being firmly told to go on a sabbatical and where better than the fabulous Jurassic coast of Dorset currently enjoying a wonderful 'Indian summer'. Glorious sunshine warming up the sands and sea for those lucky enough to be here. Colourful bunting lines the streets of Bridport fluttering over the people who sit and savour the holiday atmosphere.
But there is a yearning inside of me, a little voice that tells me I need to go back to the Isles of Scilly, to soak up the tranquility and inner peace that these stunning islands situated just off Lands End offer. They have the ability to sprinkle magic that becomes increasingly difficult to find. Travel the world and you will be hard pressed to discover a coastline with beaches of the softest sand imaginable and crystal clear waters that separate each individual island with characters of their own.
And so tomorrow I am lucky enough to be sampling the delights of the newly opened hotel KarmaSt.Martins on the seductive island of St.Martins, Isles of Scilly.
Sally on the Isles of Scilly.
I do hope you will join me.