SIMON TREGONING: A VERY CORNISH CHILDHOOD

PUBLISHED: 10:17 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:39 30 August 2017

Simon Tregoning looks back on a Cornish childhood filled with long days of play on water and dry land

Simon Tregoning looks back on a Cornish childhood filled with long days of play on water and dry land..

We took advantage of some early spring sunshine recently to do one of our favourite long walks from Gunwalloe to Porthleven and passed two teenagers walking together in a rather shy, almost hand-in-hand, fashion. It led me to reflect on the process of growing up in Cornwall where youngsters go for a walk together rather than snogging behind the bike shed.

Or maybe I am just a deluded father of two daughters who cannot face the fact that even the Cornish bike sheds are pretty much fully occupied.

No, I refuse to let go of my rose-tinted view of innocence preserved and childhood prolonged. I spent many of my early years on a bike, canoe, windsurfer or surf board. We were let out at breakfast and let back in just before dark to refuel, sleep and swap dirty wet clothes for clean dry ones. That was admittedly before every teenager came with a built-in WiFi connection but, even today, I would suggest that Cornish youngsters spend more time active and out in the elements than most.

I refuse to let go of my rose-tinted view of innocence preserved and childhood prolonged. I spent many of my early years on a bike, canoe, windsurfer or surf board. We were let out at breakfast and let back in just before dark to refuel, sleep and swap dirty wet clothes for clean dry ones

We have done our fair share of camping but my youngest daughter’s favourite memory is right up there on the Bear Grylls scale. We were trying to recreate a balmy evening we had enjoyed earlier in the year when we surfed until dusk and then camped out on the beach. This time the weather was not with us, a steady two- or three-day mizzle was well established, but I had agreed that they could sleep on the beach so that is what they were going to do. We did manage a quick surf but it was cold and the dusk came rather quickly, so it was back to the fire and the night’s accommodation – an array of surf board bags and a large, green B&Q plastic tarpaulin. I cheated and retreated to the camper van for a warm dry night. The following morning I woke up guiltily and peered under the tarpaulin fearing that I would be met by a tirade of abuse – I have been a Dad long enough to know that everything, including the weather, is my fault – but, no, it was all smiling faces and best night out ever’….’even better than when the dog jumped on our tent’.

Not quite full blown Swallows and Amazons but proof that we do breed them pretty hardy down here… and if that means more innocent as well, then than that definitely works for me!

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