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.
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.
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.
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??