The first highlight for sure was seeing Dave in a black suit and black bow-tie, and me feeling unusually glamorous in Stephanie’s lush black silk dress carrying a sequined bag – all on an extremely cold, bright starlit night for Cornwall. Having your champagne glass constantly filled with fizz is one of life’s pleasures, and it was a relief to be rescued from polite conversation between ourselves by Chris Hines, who founded Surfers Against Sewage and was there to present one of the awards with the promise of a jig (unfulfilled).
It was lovely to meet Collette Beckham from The AONB and talk about dormice over dinner, and as it turned out was presenting the land management award. Having our names called out was a certainly highlight once we knew we didn’t have to make a speech, though not a total surprise as a sweet girl on our table who worked for the CSA slightly gave the game away when she heard we were from Cotna Eco Retreat and kept asking us how we felt, with a running commentary about how long it was until the land management award came up. The award of a sea-green glass plate with a shoal of Cornish pilchards on was beautiful, made by artist Jo Downs. But possibly the main highlight was meeting Michael and Jo from Chocolader – as a chocoholic (reformed) I was agog at how they make their 100% version, and their care for making their chocolate so sustainably. Why does that inspire me more than exporting Cornish sea salt to China I wonder?
I think on reflection, that winning the award will go down as one of the highlights of 2016 for us – in a year of so many shocking losses it is heart-warming to have the recognition for what we have been doing these past 9 years, a reminder of our good fortune to be doing it so close to home, and to have met and worked with so many great people in such a beautiful place. It was inspiring to see all the other people and businesses who are passionately living and working by similar principles at the awards, and gives some seeds of hope for our future.