“My accommodation was wonderful, but I have to complain about the beach changing size every day. We didn’t know where to lay our towels.” As office manager of a holiday letting agency, I can fix a lot of things in my job, but sadly not even I can stop the tide!

People’s expectations of what to expect on holiday vary enormously. We have spent many happy hours at work debating whether the outlook from a particular property should be described as a ‘sea view’ or a ‘sea glimpse’. In the estuary areas where the tidal range is quite high, the sea can disappear altogether some times only to reappear almost on your doorstep later in the day! Then in the summer, luxuriant foliage can totally obscure what in winter is the most stunning coastal view –which reminds me of the visitor who wanted to know (several months in advance of his holiday) exactly where the sun would be when he sipped his chilled Chablis at half past seven in the evening. Erm, sun? In August? Please correct me, but haven’t the last three or four years produced an overcast school summer holiday period at best with the sun coming out in all its magnificence only when the children went back to school? You’ll be lucky to sit outside on your waterfront deck with a sou' wester, wellies and a mug of hot Bovril sir never mind a glass of wine admiring the sun set!

This leads to my soap box topic as the main high season weeks are behind us and our visitors head up country with their buckets and boogie boards – property abuse!

I am full of understanding for families who have spent hours on the road with over-excited, car-sick children who have been up since the early hours and parents who work every hour available and are really in need of their holiday; they are such different, chilled-out people at the end of the stay and most return year after year for their Cornish R & R. However I have little sympathy with those visitors who leave their common sense on the border and allow their offspring to do things to holiday cottages that sometimes beggars belief.

Most year-round residents are happy to share our lovely county with visitors as the peak season is usually over before it’s begun, however when the noise level is persistent over a period of time, some will approach me and ask if there’s anything I can do. As a kind of tourism arbitration service, I will make a “courtesy” call to the visitor at their holiday home and enquire if they are having a good time but ask if they would mind being sympathetic to the local neighbours who may be working long hours and need their beauty sleep.

On the flip side of the coin, there is a minority of ‘Victor Meldrews’ who seem to actively resent anyone else coming to Cornwall (they are usually blown-ins themselves). My favourite telephone call regarding a so-called rave turned out to be an 80th birthday party. I put the phone down full of admiration for this troop of cheery octogenarians and only hope that in my grandadolescence  I am able to have so much fun on my 80th birthday that someone complains about me!


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