Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The House at Cow Corner (with apologies to A A Milne)

We've just come back from a short jaunt to Guernsey to stay with our lovely friends, A and A, in their amazing new home. We had a brilliant time with them, the fabulous Grannie Annie and their children who came and went much like ours do at home. Not only was it a lovely pre-exam results trip (to take our minds off tomorrow's results - ho hum) but we were there on a mission, the roots of which go back some three years to our last visit to this glorious island...

We go back a long way with A and A. My beloved was at school with A and there are pictures of the two of them from those long ago days with very dodgy haircuts looking very slim and youthful in their various school team strips. We went to each others' weddings - on Guernsey and in Yorkshire - and we have godparented each others' oldest children. Over the years, there have been a few trips to Guernsey with tiny, medium-sized and now rather large children and it's always a treat.

Three years ago we stayed at the house they had recently bought. The house was not quite in the A-and-A mould we have known over the years but the view was spectacular - an uninterrupted vista across the sail-dotted sea to Herm. In the hall of the house, there was a model of the home they intended to build on the site. It looked like Thunderbird Tracy Island right down to the swimming pool!

During the trip that year, there were a few cricket elements, not least because number 3 was with us and the Ashes was on. So when we weren't messing about in boats and on beaches, doing Scottish dancing (yes, really!) and barbequeing, the cricket was on the television. Also staying was a young man who was playing for the MCC against Sark (a rather unlikely venue for a cricket match) and we all went by boat to watch and support. So cricket was much on our minds.

One evening after dinner there was a discussion about what to call the new house, once the old house had been demolished and Thunderbird Tracy Island had been built in its place. Number 3's voice from the sitting room where cricket was dominating the evening television schedule proposed naming the house after a fielding position and suggested Cow Corner - somewhere between mid-wicket and wide long-on apparently.

Three years later and we're back on Guernsey - my beloved, numbers 1, 3 and 4 and number 1's boyfriend and we're here for the naming ceremony. While the house was being built - and it is amazing, making the spectacular view an integral part of the family home in a way that I couldn't have begun to imagine - Cow Corner was translated into Guernsey patois and became Couin de Vacque. Number 3 is given the honour of revealing the new house name, carved in stone by the gate, by pulling away the Guernsey flag. It's a great moment, with family and those involved in the design and build present and we are so thrilled to be a part of it. So in this most beautiful spot, there is a fabulous and unique house, proudly named by a Yorkshireman, translated into the local dialect and celebrating the game we love. Nice!

Postscript: While we were waiting for our plane this morning at Guernsey Airport, number 3 spotted the New Zealand cricketer, Lou Vincent. When we landed at Manchester, he introduced himself to the one-time opening bat for the Kiwis and very friendly he was too. Apparently he had playing cricket on Herm - how could we have missed that!

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