We're having a week away in the caravan in Cornwall. Just me and the boy, Mark Anthony, aged nine. We go every year, and every year I seem to spend the entire week washing up in a sink the size of an egg cup.

The caravan site is set in a small valley close to a surfing beach. A wide stream runs through the middle, and there are swans, geese (one of which isn't bluffing) and so many ducks knocking about the place it must be the local foxes' equivalent of an out-of-town superstore. There is also one free-roaming guinea pig, which I nearly stepped on this morning; two or three guilty-looking cats; half a dozen peacocks; and some of the most impertinent seagulls I've ever come across.

Most of these creatures appear to be compulsive eaters. Even the peacocks come stepping into the caravan with a lordly air, seeking tribute. Yesterday I was seated on the lavatory when one of them put his head round the door and looked at me inquiringly. I shook my head at him and he immediately withdrew. I try not to fall out with the peacocks because theirs is a peculiarly malevolent form of intelligence. They remember a slight. And they get even with you by going for a stroll on your caravan roof in the middle of the night or by shrieking at you when you are least expecting it.

I am a mostly absent father. So Mark's and my annual week away in a caravan in Cornwall is the highlight of our year. Our chance to eat, sleep and watch TV together without having to keep an eye on the clock. To "bond", if you like. And this year we have further cemented our relationship by surfing together for the first time.

Until this year we haven't really felt up to going surfing. It has been either too cold, or the wet suits have been too expensive, or we didn't want to get our faces wet. So what we did instead was hold hands and stand in the water up to our knees and watch everybody else surfing. We've done this every year for the last five years.

But this year things have been different. We've suddenly grown taller for one thing, and the waves don't look quite so terrifying. Less terrifying too (owing to Dad's recent embourgeoisement) is the price of a junior wet-suit in one of the surf shops. And getting our face wet is no longer the big issue it once was.

So we've gone into a surf shop, one whose young assistants are so cool they can barely bring themselves to talk to the customers, and we've kitted ourselves out with wet suit, surf board and all the trimmings. And half an hour later we're out there breasting the waves with the best of them.

I once asked a photographer what he did in his spare time. "Surf," he said. Then he put his hand over his heart and added, "It's soulful, man." I marked him down as a bit of an ice-cream for that, I remember. But I now see this as the reaction of a philistine.

Our first surf was in the late afternoon, and we faced the waves with the sun directly in our eyes. The tops of the towering waves came wobbling and boiling towards us, and where Mark and I were waiting for them, they became great tottering sun-shot wind-torn walls of water that rose up and flung themselves at us with considerable violence and a deafening roar. "Blimey," I said to Mark after we had withstood a few of these.

As beginners we were using body boards, not the stand-up ones. Mark was the first to catch a wave and successfully ride it. One moment he was standing beside me, and the next he was a hundred yards away, gliding towards the shore. "You could have got us a couple of 99s while you were there," I said when he came back out.

We've been surfing for three days now, and we're both completely hooked. It's brilliant, as they say. I'd even go as far as to say that it's soulful, man. It's sea and sun and wind and water all coming at you at the same time and doing your head in in the nicest possible way.

Those peacocks could do Riverdance on the caravan roof every night now and we wouldn't wake up. From now on we'll have our noses up our bottoms and we'll be surfing in our sleep.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

English Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: [ Megan Smith 22/09/2014 17:00:...

Foundation and KS1 Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Foundation and Key Stage 1...

Geography Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Temporary Teacher of GEOGRAPHY ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A survey by Which? found that some of the UK’s biggest airports, including Heathrow, left travellers the most agitated  

Third-runway momentum is gathering. We need to stop it in its tracks

Mary Dejevsky
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger  

Will Cuddlr do for hugging what Tinder and Grindr did for sex?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments