A very early start to our day with cabin bags crammed with rolls of clothes and a rather pared down collection of toiletries squeezed into the obligatory 20cm by 20cm plastic bag accompanied us into our taxi at 6am. We arrived at the train station with plenty of time and excitedly boarded an empty carriage. The connecting airport bus at Leeds was easy to locate in an already bustling street and the trip to the airport allowed for about 30 minutes of reflection at the surreality of our Northern beginnings. Despite my conscientious efforts with the liquids and packing space, I didn't quite manage to get through the toil of security without being searched, my own fault for not checking the offending item which caused the inevitable bleep - an aluminium pot of Jasmine-scented pulse balm. Finding the boarding gate was easy and a view through the clouds and a 10 minute nap mid-air(!) saw us through to Newquay airport.
There was a longer wait after we touched down and then a quick check-in before boarding the Skybus flight! Now we were really on our way...! As we left the mainland behind, the small aeroplane's take-off and droning propulsion at 1500 feet felt exhilirating. The sea quickly flowed out below us, specked with foam, and after 30 minutes flight time spotting tankers and foam-bitten buoys, the Islands came into view. As we dipped past Porthellick beach I felt my eyes smart with almost a sense of home-coming. We were hastily and cheerily welcomed and ushered onto the minibus which wound its way smartly down the rolling hill to Old Town and then Hugh Town and our accommodation. A boiled kettle and a fresh bunch of pinks awaited us in the kitchen which led on from a small porch. The kitchen was undoubtedly the hub of the house, surrounded by a comfy living room overlooking the front garden, 2 twin bedrooms to the back and our double room to one side. An ensuite off from one of the twin rooms and the main bathroom afforded us with a bathroom each! Luxury!
First things first, we made a cup of tea, gratefully received after much travelling and unpacked all our clothes into drawers and a wardrobe, always vitally important if one is ever to feel at home. We really couldn't believe we had arrived. Even after 10 years of visiting the Islands, they have never lost any of their magic for me and the familiarity of the walk into Hugh Town, the shops and the bustle down to the quay to read the boat times felt both comforting and exciting. We stocked up on provisions and then sat in a sun-lit alcove of the pub in slight disbelief that we were at last back again, after over a year, an alcoholic ginger beer warming the back of our throats with every sip. Outside 'rainbow weather' signalled the impending week's forecast but we were too busy agreeing to make The Atlantic our venue of choice for the evening meal, the soup starter being enough in itself to restore my stomach to filled contentment. That night we slept very soundly on marshmallow pillows under a duvet like a drift of soft white icing sugar.