Hidden Valleys…

It had languished on a shelf in our much-loved village charity shop. A silver plated cooler with the word ‘champagne’ etched onto its side proclaiming, just in case any one was in doubt, its place on the table. The tarnished bowl was surrounded by soldiers of cut crystal stem glasses. Glasses made for a generation who could afford the time, weight, and sparkle of such objects. Oddly the champagne bowl reminded me of a bowl of an entirely different sort, and journey to Cornwall with fine wine, many moons ago. 

Whilst meandering along the narrow, and at times harrowing, lanes that cut through Cornwall, we made a ‘pit stop’ for our toddling passenger in the back seat. A bowl, not silver or etched, was used by the side of the road. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination or parental experience. Our toddler’s much needed stop landed us at the top of dirt lane just off the main road.  We noticed a sign we had blindly past on many previous occasions. The sign pointed towards a winery that was further down the dirt lane. A lane which seemed to curve around a blind corner and to fall off into the valley below. My husband assessed the situation and didn’t think our old Volvo should or could make it down the narrow and slightly muddy little lane, but curiosity mixed with promise should never be ignored. We pointed the car towards the valley that lay ahead.

Thankfully the car did make the journey down the promising little lane, which did indeed lead to a vineyard and a winery who’s wonderful libations mixed with Cornish fresh fish and salty air would become the taste and memory of our many trips to the this flourishing part of England. We spent time tasting wine and soaking up a beautiful part of the world at Camel Valley. The wine bottles might not have ‘champagne’ etched onto them but sometimes labels of a certain sort aren’t needed. Maybe it is best to know the value of something, not by a label but by one’s own God given senses. Senses to eat, drink and live by.  

How funny it seems to me now, thinking of this fond improbable memory, that we often feel that our children slow us down and get in the way of the important things. Especially in those early days of parenthood. But if it weren’t for our sweet toddler, we would have passed right by a magical little vineyard and so many other wayside flowers along life’s path. Such is life…as parents when we crouch down to meet our children we think we are raising them up, when so often it is the opposite. Our children slow us down and in turn we stumble into places we never could have imagined. Deep beautiful valleys in ourselves, and the world beyond our doorstep that are worthy of our time.

The silver bowl reminded me of our family trips in the old Volvo and the exhausting magical experiences of the early years of family life. So, I hurried back to the charity shop and bought the tarnished ‘champagne’ bowl and I know just the Camel Valley Brut I’ll be filling it with, and after that…maybe some spring bulbs. Happy Friday from our table to yours. 

To see a world in a grain of sand

And heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.

William Blake

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