Cornish memories

It was around 1980 that I was on holiday with my parents and Auntie in Cornwall. It was a beautiful summer and we stayed in an end terraced cottage next to a farm in a beautiful village with a pond in the middle of a crescent of houses. A mother goose often walked around the pond with her pretty goslings in tow, and I would get as close as I could to them just to watch them get a little bigger each day. The temptation to touch them also grew daily until, one day I tried to pick one up, not being able to resist any longer. Mother goose flew at me like a fire breathing dragon, hitting me full on in the left arm with her chest and squaking right in my ear. I could have sworn I saw teeth in that goose’ mouth! I dropped the gosling and ran away in fright shouting  aaagggghhh at the top of my voice. Yep. I should have known that would happen, but I was 15 and a little green behind the ears as they say. Running back to our cottage I passed a woman outside her house watering her hanging basket, she cackled at me then came to see if I was alright. She was kindly, and said ‘there there young ‘un, you ‘ad a fright there and I know it. Best not be touchin’ a mothers young like that. She was only looking after her little ‘uns, and no mistake’  She rubbed my left arm ‘ might have a bruise but that’ll be all’ She had long white hair flying free in the wind to just beneath her shoulders, and I noticed her eyes were a beautiful green, her face aged by the years with deep lines around her eyes and mouth. I became aware of a scent I’d not noticed before, it was earthy and floral at the same time. “I didn’t mean to upset her” I said ” I only wanted to hold a baby goose because they look so cute. I wouldn’t have hurt it” I was crying and feeling silly at the same time. ‘ Ah no harm done young ‘un. ‘no need to be upsettin’ yourself. Take some of these flowers and just breathe in the scent of ’em. They’ll help you feel better soon enough’ Bending down, she plucked some purple flowering stalks from her front garden and gave me a bunch of them. “Lavender to relax and calm” she said “Works every time” I held the flowers and breathed in the scent. It was the one I had noticed just a few seconds before. My first encounter with it. Being a city dweller I hadn’t come across it before. ‘Thank you they’re lovely’ I said, wandering off back to our cottage, still feeling silly but a little better.

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