I never thought after our first visit to The Lizard in Cornwall that we would be returning year by year until now.
We went for the first time as my dad didn't feel like going on holiday on his own after my mum died in 1990, aged just 70.
When asked where he would like to go he pronounced "Cornwall, to the Lizard." As he and my mum had loved it there.
So began an annual trek, beginning in 1992. At that stage it was just ourselves, Alan and my dad. Matt at that time had gone to "Soul Survivor" at Shepton Mallett, a huge Christian gathering at the Bath and Wells showground.
Each year we have returned, with dad, when it has been posssible for him. He has only missed a couple due to his health until now when he cannot make the journey.
We stayed at Trenance Farm Holiday Cottages
And as the years went by, Matt joined us at times then when Alan began his stint at Shepton Mallett there were 3 of us!
When Matt and Heidi were married they came along two years running, the last being 2004, when we were all there, Alan included. We had two cottages then. It was a lovely summer.
So, what is it about The Lizard and Mullion that draws us back each time?
How to describe it?
My dad describes Mullion Cove as "timeless" and on a wet windy night with the sea bashing over the breakwater, "primeval". His memories of the Lizard are special and vivid.
It is a timeless place.
It is a timeless place.
The other side of the peninsula that is Land's End is much more geared to tourists. St Ives, Penzance, Carbis Bay, and the monstrosity that is the theme park at Land's End itself.
The Lizard is a peninsula which begins at Helston,passes RAF Culdrose, and then unfolds as you drive along its spine. Heathland either side, covered in wild gorse, wild fuchsias and tumbling hedgerows, scrub and stunted trees.
The little villages that sit on its edges in coves and bays are all different. Inland is partly a designated wildlife reserve, with Goonhilly in the centre and St Keverne's church a landmark. Other small hamlets dotted about.
Visitors emptying out of coaches at the Lizard village itself, wander along to The Southernmost point and to The Most Southerly Café. This in itself is not commercialised and although there are the usual gift and craft shops, the whole thing is very low key.
In spring now, the RSPB set a watch there as there are pairs of Cornish choughs breeding. They returned to the area after 50 years absence.
I was so excited when I saw them last May flying out of the cave in the rocks where they were raising their brood. I always have a pair of binoculars handy. There are usually seals in the water at the Lizard Point.
All this still does not describe why it draws us back. It stays in the mind visually, and as impressions, tumbling white surf, serpentine rocks, calling sea birds, the tang of the salt in the air on a windy day. Wide skies, turquoise blue of the water, smooth sand in little coves , the rough feel of the granite as you sit on a slab for awhile. The timelessness and the knowledge that year by year it changes very little.
Narrow coastal paths snaking their way along the edges of sheer cliffs or descending into hidden bays. Always always a delight. The scenery is superb on these coastal fringes.
And we have been there in all weathers and all seasons. Seeing the wildness of winter storms, and the abundance of spring flowers, the lushness of summer, and yes we have had some excellent summers there.
Sky endless blue, sea stretching to the horizon in a sparkling, ever shifting panorama, shimmering until infinity.
The scent of autumn, ploughed fields, brown bracken, a sense of the holiday season coming to a close and a quietness arriving.
Mullion village itself is the largest on the Lizard,and is a bustling community, with several artists in residence, which I enjoy. They actually work on site and it is fascinating to see their craft unfold in front of you. They are friendly and like to discuss techniques, offer suggestions and encouragement.
It is to Mullion we returned again this October after a 4 year absence when we had stayed at Housel Bay Hotel, Near Lizard village. It was like coming home. So many good memories there of family holidays, shared experiences, the voices and laughter echoed in my mind.
So, we are back again next June, and hopefully, for as long as we are able to make the journey.
Matt and my dad, on the walk to Kynance Cove. 2004.