St Ives, Cornwall

Have had the most wonderful week in Cornwall, we have stayed in a lovely apartment looking over the beach from the cliff were we have watched dolphins and seals playing from our lounge room. Now that's a luxury no money can buy. But even better then that the sun shone, and we enjoyed days of play on the beach, although every day Sarah asked if we could take the surfboards that were in our apartment into the water. It was the perfect antidote to the weeks of rain we've been enduring, and very different to where I sit now to write this, in -9 degree weather looking out at trees covered on snow and icicles.

Additionally St Ives has been voted in the top 5 prettiest places in the world, and we looked over the bay towards it. Beside our apartment ran the southern coast way, a walking track, so each morning we were able to walk around the headlands while watching the seals frolic below ...... Seriously it was just perfect. I suspect it may not be quite so ideal in the summer time when you would have to share it.

As the general flow of tourists decline to nearly no one we have found ourselves feeling a little like minor celebrities, as we have been unable to escape the attention of locals. We've been given personal tours of places and regularly engaged in lengthy conversations. The other day we were out and about and I was talking with a local, she was telling me of her friend whose father lived in oz, but she couldn't quiet remember where, next thing she's phoned her friend so he could talk to me, ok little strange, about 10 minutes later this guy turns up, just to meet me in person. Towards the end of the conversation he confessed to loving the Australian accent and I start to feel uncomfortable.

I think the attention arises because there is no one around so we are clearly not just on summer holidays. People here are completely astounded that we have pulled our kids out of school for 6 months. They are very strict here and parents are fined $100 per day for unexplained school absences (no mental health days here). I find it really hard to accept and imagine that if appropriately justified you could do a similar thing over here, but friends of ours from Germany who have travelled extensively have also said it would be impossible to get your kids out of school for this period of time. In Germany parents are fined $400 if their children miss school and the police wait at the airport on the first day of school to catch families returning from holidays a little late. I must confess that the schooling side of things has been by far the hardest thing to execute. The kids have no interest in sitting down to do core subject work such as maths and english when there is much more interesting things going on outside. While I have no doubt they have learnt an amazing amount of stuff, time will tell how far behind they maybe when we get back to school.