Monday, June 29, 2015

Wellydog at Newlyn

We have some lovely friends coming to visit us for a few day, later on this morning, and in planning what to do while they are here, I am reminded of what wonderful place we live and what a privilege it is to be living the dream in Cornwall.

On our door step is the wonderful village we live in, Newlyn.  Many visitors drive through and never stop and see what an amazing place it is.  I am always totally stunned that its missed by so many, but also quite pleased as it means it doesn't get as crowded as some towns and villages around here.

We decided to live here on a whim..... well almost.  We have always loved Cornwall,  I spend many happy holidays in a caravan as a child here.  mostly in the Wadebridge area,  my parent used to belong to the caravan club and each year we would go on a Caravan rally at the Royal Cornwall show grounds. We would always visit Padstow and go out on the speed boats from the end of the pier.  I remember the local  beaches with fondness particularly one where we would all picnic at the top of the cliff and then walk down to the beach and body board with our Dad, while our Mum stayed at the top.  It was always packed with hundreds of people.  Unfortunately my memory is not good and I have no idea where that beach was, or what it was called, which is a shame as I would love to re-visit.

When we had children of our own  we sold our record  collection ( I should say Mr WD's) and many other items to afford a basic little Alpine sprite caravan.   We toured it everywhere and our favourite destination was, you guessed it.....Cornwall.

But as the children got older, they no longer fitted in the caravan bunks and didn't really want to come any more so we sold it and started holidaying abroad.  We were lucky to have some amazing holidays with and without the children. We traveled to the Greek Islands, Paris, Brittany, Germany, New York, Florida, Iceland, Mexico and the oh so beautiful Maldives.  But then a little chap came into our lives.  our mad Collie Fin.  We decided after only just adopting him it was unfair to leave him and  swan off again to somewhere warm, also my Dad was not well at the time, so we decided to stay in a cottage at the Lizard, in fact we stayed in the wonderful Lighthouse cottages at Lizard point.

It was amazing, as we drove down the M5 past Exeter, things started to feel very familiar, even after all those years away and as we saw the sea it felt like coming home. We had such an amazing time and felt truly relaxed for the first time in years.  It was very rainy and misty in the October we visited and the fog horn went off for almost 5 continuous days,  but that all seemed to add to the charm and lulled us to sleep.  It also meant we explored quite a lot.  So off we went for a day trip to Moushole.  I can't actually remember if we made it to Mousehole in the end as we stopped off at Newlyn as it had a dog friendly beach and Fin needed a break.  We strolled along the pebbly beach, and looked over at St Michaels mount, held hands and looked at each other and just knew we had come home..... and now of course it is our home.

As we walk out of our house at the top of Newlyn's Chywoone hill ( Pronounced Choon),  you can see the harbour below.  We walk though the back streets past the fabulous little granite and white cottages on cobbled streets to the harbour. These are the same cottages the now famous Newlyn Artists painted from around 1885. If you get a chance visit the wonderful Penlee House museum in Penzance to see some of this amazing work.

Newlyn Harbour is always busy there are fishing boats coming and going all the time as the tide allows.

 Each time a boat leaves the harbour you hear its horn go off and you can watch it sail out past the harbour wall. We then stroll along the harbour side towards the village, quite often there are piles of ice on the harbour side,  I assume these have been used for keeping the fish cold.

We can also see the famous and essential Penlee lifeboat , sitting in the floating harbour.  The original Penlee lifeboat was stationed up toward Moushole but was closed sometime after the Penlee lifeboat disaster, when 8 volunteer lifeboat men lost their lives, coming to the aid of the Solomon Browne.

It is nice to walk round the harbour when we don't have Fin with us, to see the fishing boats more closely. There is the fabulous old original quay to explore, with great views out of the harbour entrance with its lighthouse to guide the fishermen home, across Mount's Bay. The harbour is also the home to the UK tidal observatory, where all tidal heights around the coastline are measured from.

As we walk past the chandlers and fish shops down to the current Fish market, you pass the huge fish market warehouses , which smell of fish and disinfectant.  I am not a fish or seafood eater so I don't really like it . We did go into the market for last years blessing of the fleet , which was very emotional and the world famous Newlyn Fish festival,  which was incredible even for me, who is not a fish lover.

As you round the corner you can see the wonderfully imposing Seaman's Mission building at the end of the harbour.  Unfortunately this has just been sold,  but we have been lucky enough to go in and see the memorial room, part of the mission  I believe is going to still stay after the new owners have renovated it, which is fabulous as The Mission is an essential part of life for Fisherman all over Cornwall,  they help the fishermen in so many ways .  Check them out at their website here

We are then in the lovely village Centre,  there is a butcher,  very nice sausages, a pasty shop, absolutely essential, bakers, post office, newsagents, chemist, Drs surgery, Co-op, veg shop, florist, cheese shop, Italian Restaurant, Meadery ( lovely chicken and Mead fizz) the fabulous Jelberts, homemade cornish clotted cream, ice-cream, made fresh every day.  (There are always queues on a warm summers evening).  There also two new additions, Makerel sky, a little sea food restaurant,  remember I don't eat seafood,  so I can't comment,  but we are told it is wonderful. Also a  little gallery and pottery has literally only just opened so I haven't been in yet.  There are of course a few little pubs to. I nearly forgot also a Chinese take away ,  very very large portions and the amazing Lewis's chip shop.  I am sure I have forgotten other things  but the point don't need to go anywhere else, its all there on our door step.

Newlyn bridge is past the second hand shop,  and the river coming from the hills and runs into the sea, past the newly build seawall. After the enormous floods of 2013, much of Newlyn's seafront had to be rebuilt.  We arrived just after Newlyn and been breached by the sea and this stone mountain is now there to try and help calm the waves before they hit the village again.
Walking toward the sea front we  pass the Funeral directors , I told you everything was catered for and down toward the beach .  There is the Tolcarne pub and restaurant in the car park just at the back and this leads onto the village green which runs alongside of the beach.  There is a very touching memorial to those lost as sea, just at the end of the car park just as you pass to get onto he beach.  Usually you can see flowers around the memorial,  which always touches my heart.

As you walk onto the beach, you can immediately see the fabulous mounts bay and  St Michaels Mount. On a lovely clear day you can see the Lizard in the distance.   If you follow the beach you will pass though the tiny Wherrytown and then onto Penzance,  but thats for another day.

Newlyn is such an amazing village and the people are amazing to. They have welcomed us with open arms and have been helpful and supportive of our move to their wonderful piece of bliss.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Life in Cornwall

Yay we finally sold out house in Weston-super-Mare!!!!!  Phew

For those who are not in the know.....the story so far

18 months ago my Dad died,  and left me some money,  we decided to fulfil a life long dream and buy a little fisherman's cottage in Newlyn Cornwall.  We got a small interest free mortgage and in July 2014 we moved into out little dream holiday cottage.   While grieving for my Dad then it was a little bit of bliss on the West Cornish coast and a dream come true.

Unfortunately Mr Wellydogs job was a not as pleasant.  He was stressed beyond belief and he understandably wanted to leave.  Things came to a head and luckily he managed to get out with his head held high.  Obviously for a man who has worked tirelessly for 40 years it was an unbelievable shock,  but as it turned out the absolutely best thing that could have happened to him.

So the decision was made to sell up in Weston super Mare, down size from a  4 bedroom detached house with very large gardens, driveway, garage , greenhouses and shed into  a 2 bedroom little fisherman's cottage with a small yard and street parking for our 2 cars, and be mortgage free.

But with all thing house moving, nothing goes to plan, at least not for us it seems.  We sold the house in December but a catalogue of disasters with estate agents and solicitors (grrrr)  meant the chain kept falling down and the only people still in place was us and our buyers,  so finally 6 months later it has  sold.  As you can imagine it has been a tad stressful and we are very relieved to now only be paying for one house.

We actually moved into our cottage fully on the 1st of Febuary as we had a deadline.  Because we also  moved into a new studio at Heartlands in Pool ,  about 18 miles away from our house.
It was brilliant it gave us ( especially Mr WD) something to focus on,  we set up the studio in a mining visitor centre  to sell leather goods, art and jewellery all made by us.

That was 5 months ago,  so time I think, for an update.

The house is wonderful,  who knew having a tiny house would be such  pleasure.  It doesn't need much cleaning, only 1 toilet not 3 to clean every week.  We have no tumble dryer so we have had to learn to use a washing line and airer again , which of course saves electricity and must be much better for us....and no Dishwasher, which I have to say I miss terribly.  I am a rubbish washer upper and nothing ever seems as clean as it used to be.

The yard has been half filled with a 6ft x4ft shed, we needed this for all those odds and end that we couldn't find a home for.  Its amazing how much you can re-organise, to be able to fit everything in.  The kitchen was tiny but we have a long narrow breakfast area , perfect for the addition of a dresser.  Cupboards in the front room that fit perfectly into the small alcoves either side of the fireplace, provide a perfect place for CD and DVD's.

We have wonderful beaches within walking distance and although due to some ill health I haven't managed to walk to them as often as I would like, then Mr WD and Fin our mad dog, have enjoyed many a walk of an evening to our local beach, just down the hill. As for me a short drive and we are in most magically places possible.

I love the sound of the horns going off when the fishing boats leave the harbour and I even enjoy listening to the seagulls, that are ever present around the house.  They are nesting at the moment and the roof opposite is fascinating to watch as Mr seagull keeps bring Mrs seagull food and more nesting material, as she sits on the eggs.  We have been warned the noise gets very intense once the chicks have hatched  and not all of them survive but I still am looking forward to watching it.

The neighbours are great we have some good characters and generally they are the salt of the earth and have made us feel very welcome and have been very helpful.

So work,  how is that going?

Not so good I'm afraid.  Numbers at the studio are painfully low.  The promised hundreds of visitors have failed to materialise and although we are told of large numbers in the summer, we are becoming  very skeptical this will actually happen.   We are certainly not in dire straights. We have a very high ratio of sales per visitor, so when we do get visitors then we do very well.  Just think what we could do if we had higher visitor numbers.   We are also not sitting on our laurels and waiting for it all to come to us, we are actively seeking out sales.  I do St Ives market most weeks , which has proved to be more profitable than the studio. We have booked in for a number of events including the very high profile, Newlyn fish festival.  I have done a website building course, and am actively developing a new website which should be up and running at the end of the summer. and we are promoting and getting visitors especially coming to Heartlands to see us.  I have started teaching again and our winter courses timetable is about to be released.

But I am getting a bit lonely and fed up of being tied to a studio that is proving to be nothing more that an expensive workshop.  Its not really what we came to Cornwall to do.  There are days when I am very happy to sit and paint and make in the studio but there are equally as many times that I would rather be on the beach or out and about painting.  Especially now the summer is here.  Yesterday I got particularly down as I just sat almost on my own all day with little enthusiasm for making or painting and the sun was shining and I wanted to be anywhere else but in a deserted studio with no company.  I just sat and twiddled my thumbs all day. We had 3 people in all day,  luckily one of them was on a spending spree but if it hadn't been for her, then I would have felt like it had been a complete waste of my time.

I make it sound really bad but what I am really trying to say is, we are rethinking our options.  We don't regret going there as it gave us a focus,  but we are starting to wish we had just rented a cheap garage or workshop.  We would have been making more money and we wouldn't be tied into a contract that states how many hours and days we have to do. We are luckier than most as there are two of us, so we can at least take some time off on our own.

I guess now we have to think about what our options are.  Do we continue with the studio, do we both get a part time job for a couple of days a week and have more time to enjoy our new surroundings.  Do we rent a small work shop and make a couple of days a week and do markets and fairs thoughout the year??

What would you do??

Janice x