It had been long planned - a birthday celebration swim and beach bbq. Unfortunately the day coincided with the worst weather for at least a month - heavy rain and gales. I felt a bit depressed at the thought of my beach party being a washout, but we went anyway. However, on arrival at Hope Cove, the sea was clear, flat and lovely. We swam over the reef, striking with its white striations, towards Thurlestone. It is a wonderful meander amongst outlandishly shaped rocks, with seaweed swaying and fish darting beneath. We approached a large stack, which Rachel said looked like Roy Orbison in profile, and found an entrancing lagoon. We swam back and ate bbq'd sausages followed by birthday cake and Champagne. At which point the heavens opened and we repaired to the pub where we spent a cosy hour drinking more bubbly. Things always seem to turn out happily at Hope Cove.