I watched him from high above the beach. He didn’t have a metal detector and there was no sniffer dog. You can’t sniff out that sort of treasure. They weren’t bullion. Diamonds are clean-cut sparklers with no hint of a scent. How the hell he knew where we’d buried them, I couldn’t imagine. But it seemed that he did.
We’d been arguing all the way from Carbis Bay. First I was full of bumptious certainly. Then he was full of righteous fury. Then I stepped quietly into shamefaced martyrdom. And, finally, as we approached Porthminster Beach, he ran out of patience and said he’d just bloody prove it to me then. We hadn’t lost the diamonds – he knew exactly where to find them.
I watched him go into the beach shop. It was only March and they weren’t really open yet. The woman had a row of plastic spades spread out on the decking and she was wiping down buckets with a cloth. I saw him shove a note into her hand and, grabbing up the nearest spade, stride across the sand.
They were a full six feet down. It took a good hour of digging. I sat on the bench (Dougie and Jean Patterson – happy memories in this beautiful place) and I watched. I was perfectly calm. Either he would find them or he wouldn’t. There was no point in panicking any more.
The little train was shuttling to and fro on the branch line all day. We counted them out into our palms and we told a story for every one. Then we slipped them back into the bag. This time we slid them into a niche in the stone wall. Clear water was trickling down through bright green foliage.
I keep thinking that we must remember this time, exactly where we’ve put them. But the thing is, you don’t need them every day. You just need to remember you have them – you have diamonds tucked away in St Ives and when you need them you will find them again.