Small but perfectly formed

The Scillies are one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. We were early enough in the season that there were hardly any other visitors, and although a lot of stuff was ‘closed for refurbishment’, there was one boat a day running to the ‘off islands’, which we took full advantage of. We were also, as they say, very lucky with the weather, which was dry and largely clear, if somewhat breezy at times.

My abiding memories will be of beaches so perfect they don’t look real (though any attempt to paddle is an instant reality-check – that water is cold), prehistoric sites at every turn, a gentle pace of life that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else in England and a final few days of luxury in a hotel based around an eight-sided Elizabethan castle which boasted commanding views over the sea and islands.

Days filled with scenic walks and wildlife-spotting and evenings of considerable decadence meant that I would have had very little time to write even if I’d had my computer with me, though I did manage some furtive scribbling in notebooks and, at one point where Beloved and I started discussing Sidhe (future) history over dinner and I realised I’d forgotten my notebook, on the back of a menu (the hotel were very understanding).

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