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


  1. Hi Janice - Lovely to read your story. I have often wondered what it would be like to live in Cornwall, having enjoyed a few short breaks there over the years. Good luck with the business. It sounds like you have your head firmly screwed on and are weighing up your options. :o)

  2. Nice to hear from you Janice. It sounds like your life has some amazing ups and downs. It is frustrating to be locked in an agreement that doesn't seem to be working but I am sure you will figure things out. I live in a small community and depend on tourist for most sales and I understand the feeling of futility when no one comes - hope things pick up for you!