I looked out at the world from my window.
It was grey and a view I was not used to seeing.
The waves gently crashed on the pebbles and the seagulls flew in ever decreasing circles.
The weekend had not started well. The first clue in my birthday treasure hunt saw us sitting in the car for quarter of an hour while Mr Grigg tried to work it out and I became more and more exasperated.
'Maddie’s favourite Hitchcock film starring my cousin Archie? Is it The Birds, Rear Window?’
‘Oh for goodness sake,’ I said, hitting him with a road atlas. ‘The direction we're going is in the film title.’
‘Oh, I know,’ he said. ‘Archie Leach, whose mother is on my family tree, is Cary Grant and he was in Adolf Hitchcock’s North by North East.’
I was tempted to beat him around the head with the Good Pub Guide but thought that wasn’t really in the birthday spirit. At this rate, we were going to end up in Grimsby.
A leisurely day later and we are ambling up the cobbled hill into Clovelly, the North Devon village that tumbles into the sea.
‘So this is where you’ve booked us for dinner tonight?’ Mr Grigg says, supping a pint of Clovelly Cobbler ale at the New Inn.
‘I’m not sure I’ll like it, not sure at all.’
I make my excuses and pay a visit to the Ladies. Still no signal on the mobile. I have a brainwave. I stay in there a bit longer and then come out again.
‘I’ll go up to reception and get hold of a menu.’ I say.
Outside, and a bit further up the hill, deep joy as my mobile suddenly gets a signal. Time is ticking. I need to phone. And phone quickly.
‘Where are you?’ I ask.
‘We’ve just arrived,’ Pelly Sheepwash says.
‘OK, we’ll be down at the Red Lion in ten minutes.’
When I say to Mr Grigg we are going back to our hotel, he thinks he is on a promise. He leaps up from his empty pint glass and runs down the hill like a sprightly old mountain goat.
At reception, I can see nine of the Enchanted Village cast lurking in a side room. Eighteen eyes, ready to pounce.
Mr Grigg picks up the keys, shoots me a leering look and walks straight past them.
‘Hello?’ says a plaintive Mrs Bancroft.
‘I say, Chap,” Mr Champagne-Charlie chirps.
‘He hasn’t even seen us,’ says a gloomy Nobby Odd Job.
‘SURPRISE!’ yells Mr Loggins.
And there they are, all around us. An unruly bunch of friends who whip out a picnic and take it out to the windswept beach. And then a lovely meal at the New Inn.
Happy birthday Mr Grigg. Everyone loves you.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
It's Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent. General Custer, he of the face carved out of Mount Rushmore and last seen loitering in the pub...
The village square is looking very pretty this year. There are lights on Christmas trees outside the houses and holly wreaths on the doors...
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a child in a meadow with a woodland circle of beech trees around me. And there was clover growing i...
When the young Gerald Durrell and his family moved to Corfu in 1935, it didn’t take him long to get to grips with the local wildlife. I...
There's a wedding today in Arequipa, Peru. As in countries the world over, little boys still in nappies dress up as men in stiff suits...