Thursday 2 January 2020


Another rather laid back day with a little bit of housework - Mike had several chores including chopping a batch of kindling and splitting some over-sized logs in the last supermarket bag. As expected, the new logs from our local supplier were much superior. Meanwhile, Christine was cleaning through so that we can get back on the road Saturday morning - tomorrow we are visiting a friend who moved from Wadebridge in the past year - but more on that in a later blog.

After lunch we popped into town - only milk and paper needed so, believing that town would be quiet, we sought a parking slot on the Main Street (the oldest part of the town centre still surviving).

As we walked to the supermarket we spotted a newly renovated property that we had not noticed before. In fact most of the work was done in the time since we left the marina last Easter.

There was a brief explanation on the frontage and we have been able to find a little more on-line subsequently. One photo shows the state of the  building in the mid 20C and there are photos here  and here of what it was like prior to this restoration - not very attractive! The classic overhanging upper floor had long since been cut back and front left with a plain render.

The building dates back to the early part of the 15C, probably 1420, although there is a suggestion that there are some remains close by that are several decades older. From the earliest date the property had mixed uses but usually with part for residential purposes. In the 19C it became an inn but since the start of the 20C it has mostly been used as a retail shop.

The street has suffered extensively from subsidence created by the famous brine pumping and all the buildings are at odd angles. As the street declined in significance for retail - larger shops being built nearby as the town re-invented itself after the end of the salt trade. No doubt today it has not been easy gto develop a viable business plan to justify all of the restoration. The approved planning application indicates that it will provide three retail units, an office an an apartment. As it stands, it appears that the building is still unoccupied.

Stephens appears to have been a stationer and gift shop for over four decades until the late 1970's since when it has either been empty or used for short lasting retail.

The pictures on display also show what the interior looked like when work commenced.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

New Year's Day

No-one was in a great hurry to get up this morning - surprise! The girls had decided to return home today so we needed to be ready to leave by 1 o'clock - just about made it having had a snack lunch, mainly leftovers from last night's party food.

We (or rather Mike) wanted to start the return journey whilst it was still light - the first half hour is the more complicated bit, after that it is 'plain sailing' along the M40/M42 until we join the M5 one junction north of the Droitwich exit. In the end we were back at the boat not long after 18:00.