17 May, 2007

day one on a deserted island

I'm sitting here with my desk positively covered with the delicate flat stones that make up the beaches surrounding Burgh Island. Why are they all so flat? It must have something to do with the tidal movements. In any case, I could not resist putting (I thought) just a few in my pocket. And also some sea glass that is almost as beautiful as the pieces we collect in Maine. But now I'm home, the pile is rather... immense. Some are destined for a trip across the pond to Iowa, for my mother in law who collects rocks. Seriously.

At any rate, stone gathering occupied our time on Monday until we felt the strong need of a nap, and a nice read on the balcony outside our room. Then it was a bath, and getting dressed for dinner, which is black tie there every evening (on Wednesdays there's a dance, in case you like that kind of thing). It simply isn't fair. All men look stunning in black tie, but a woman has to make an effort. And I am just not the shopping kind, at least not for things I don't wear every day. However, I managed to squeeze into the same black skirt I wore last year to Glyndebourne, and that had to do. Out on the terrace outside the dining room we succumbed to a cocktail of what turned out to be a staggeringly disgusting combination of ingredients: the Burgh Island Breeze. And John had a Mintini. What ever made anyone, even in 1929, think that mint and vodka went together? Most odd. The canapes, however, more than made up for the cocktails: dates wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus wrapped in puff pastry, and the fattest tempura-battered oysters in the world. Divine.

Onto dinner, which was also lovely, in the period dining room complete with murals of dancing flappers: one of which is a portrait of the owner of the hotel, and her husband (we saw him later the next day, every bit as dashing in gardening clothes as in a two-dimensional tuxedo). We had the most sublime foie gras I think I have ever had, perfectly sauteed, then lamb and fillet steak with kumquat puree and Jerusalem artichokes.

To retire to our room with coffee, peppermint tea and a nice neat Scotch (no more six-ingredient colored things, no sir) was relaxation itself. The bed had been turned down, the lights lit, and altogether I was surprised not to feel the room sway with the waves, it was so much like being on a ship. Not that I ever have, but from what I've read! Radio 3 on the vintage radio (with stations marked by their cities of origin!), the curtains blowing in the sea breeze, the high tide splashing outside. Really wonderful. Day two beckoned...

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