My first magic

I remember, at the age of five, how excited I felt. On holiday in Cornwall driving up the bumpy, track in T-shirt and shorts, bucket and spade in hand, I squashed my face to the window of the car and gazed in awe. Over the cliffs, far, far beyond was magic. Getting out of the car and rubbing on cool, moist sun cream and standing in my dark glasses, licking a vanilla ice. Then running down the path, hand in hand with my mum and dad, chattering excitedly. It seems now like a half-forgotten dream. Down some rocks, kicking sand out of my loosely buckled sandals and there, spread out in front of me like a painting, was something gorgeous. High, grey cliffs in a curve, topped with heather; blue sky, seagulls swooping, white plates of sand, blue sea, rocks, shells and people. It was Porthcurno beach.

We all ran in a dazed slow motion and soaked in the sights and sounds. My dad started building a huge castle in the sand while my mum and I went paddling. As we came out of the sea, a huge black horse trotted up. It stopped and tried to lick my dark glasses. I smiled and put out a hand, feeling warm, downy fur under my fingers. The rider mounted and the pair galloped into the water. Meanwhile, my dad had just finished digging the castle moat. I started to find pretty stones for decoration. Then we dug a big pit and I jumped into it, burying my feet. The tiny plates of sand stuck to my legs, so I went paddling, this time with my dad. We went deep - so deep that my shorts got wet and clung to my legs. Then we put some seaweed on our castle.

The air was warm and balmy. Lights twinkled on the windows of the Minack Theatre reception on the cliffs above. The sand was perfectly white in the sun and the sea was so blue, it could have been solid. I bought another ice cream. This time, it got on my nose, top and shorts. My legs were now caked in sand. People were playing and surfing, but one fat lady in a big, frilly green and yellow dress was waddling into the water and got turned head-over-heels by a huge wave, and ended up drenched and dismayed! I ran, laughing, down to the water's edge, letting the foam wash my feet.

As the sun set, we started to pack up. The beam of a lighthouse started to sweep the sea. Back up the steep path, dragging our belongings. Back to our dear car, which was still waiting for us. Back down the bumpy track, the lights in houses twinkling. Back to our warm, welcoming cottage. But I shall never forget the very first time we went to the place where I found my first true magic, as I know it: Porthcurno.

Esme Jones, aged nine, is a pupil at Landscore county primary school, Crediton, Devon

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