T H E L I T T L E B A K E H O U S E
At the end of September Matt and I went away for the week. These past couple of years, after the schools have gone back and as the summer’s drawn to a close, we’ve booked ourselves a few nights away. Half as something of an anniversary celebration and half as our annual holiday.
Last year we had a long weekend in Penzance’s Chapel House, but when it came to discussing holiday plans for this year we decided to venture a bit further and actually leave the county! After a short session of googling, Somerset seemed like the ideal spot; not too far (not over 3 hours in the car) but far enough to provide a landscape, architecture and culture, sufficiently different from our every-day to be interesting.
With a friend’s wedding in Ilfracombe falling on the first weekend of October, we thought (since we’d be staying in Devon for a few nights anyway) why not give ourselves the whole week off. We could drive up, have a few days Somerset, then stop in Devon for the weekend; breaking up the long journey back down to the Lizard. It seemed like a casual, low-key and (as holidays go) cheaper option. But I really didn’t anticipate just how deeply and warmly we’d feel about our time there. Plus I now want to end every holiday in a cottage by the sea, with a bunch of friends, who’ve gathered there for a wedding!
As the person responsible for sorting out our friendship groups Airbnb, I was already knee deep in the site’s South West listings and so found our Somerset accommodation there too. The Little Pennard Bakehouse was entirely what I was after. In short, it was pleasingly odd, with several mezzanine levels, stairs up and down into each room, round windows that gave us starry views from the comfort of bed and (most importantly) a satisfying deep tub. In addition, its location was quiet and secluded, but also in an area that was pretty central to so many of the places we wanted to visit. And at £50 per night (its discounted-low-season price) it was a bit of a steal!
On our first night there, we went for a walk after dinner and were joined by one of the friendly resident dogs. We strolled from our cottage, down to the nearest village; comprised of a few houses, an orchard and an old stone church. As autumn had come early the roads were filled with burnt golden hues, lead-paned windows that peaked out behind bright vines of red ivy and the first whispers of chimney smoke leaking into the air.
To me, it felt wholly reminiscent of times I had gone away as a child to similarly rural places; a child who’d thus far only lived in Birmingham but thought to themselves that when they were grown the might rather like to live somewhere like this. On a little lane, in some quiet backward corner of the country that feels cut off and forgotten. In my mind, it was in places that were remote and isolated that stories happened. Or at least the kind of stories that I wanted to live.
This is, of course, nonsense. The reality is understandably quite different when you actually live there. But all the same, it was strangely comforting to return to my child mind and remember the fading cool of other evenings when I’d walked between trees, imagining what my life could be.