As the train pulls into Totnes station I sleepily open the door of the train carriage and hop out. It’s 11:15pm and dad is standing by the gate; open arms and a big Sri Lankan smile. He’s wearing his woolly green checkered jacket. I hear music coming from the van and walk to the van. We travel down narrow empty windy roads into the darkness, car lights beaming to lead the way. Keys jingle and the dad opens the cottage door. There’s a smell of wood burner and wet dogs. The first thing I notice about the cottage is the dark brown beams above and the front door that looks like a farm stable door. Dad has made rice, dhal and potato chips (my fav!) but I’ve already eaten. Boxes pile high in the rooms. I climb the stairs upstairs and in one of the rooms there is a made up bed by the window. A flask of hot water on the floor for me. I tuck myself in and fall asleep.
I slink downstairs, the woodburner is on and my sister and her boyfriend is sitting at the table awaiting breakfast. It’s dhal on toast for me and sambol on toast for the others. The sambol was bought by our godmother as a chrissy present. After 8 months of not having dad’s dhal that breakfast was incredible!
Saturday was spent reading by the fire, eating rice, dhal and red cabbage and a trip to Blackpool beach were we took the dogs for a run around and swim (couldn’t resist picking up plastic on the beach!). Dinner with a Sri Lankan friend in Ivy Bridge where we got goosebumps as dad told us about Mandy the ghost him and a friend saw on the road in the rain between Totnes and the cottage as they drove back from moving a load of furniture.
As we walked back from the van to the cottage we saw Orion’s Belt and the most beautiful moon.
On Sunday evening I watched dad as he made carrot curry. Experimented with Instagram stories and planned to add a few more recipes to the website.
Heard about dad’s Christmas in Hampshire. Photo by Joshua Bennett