Hello & hope this little blog finds you well & all set with a bundle of New Year Resolutions that you will be breaking in the next couple of weeks 😊

So, all my good intentions were to send out a little Christmas letter giving you my news 'Down Country' & a little bit of what I’ve been up to, but time has slipped away from me (how I’m not sure, I seem to be very good at wasting time now I’m not working full-time ☹) so I decided that a 2023 update would be more appropriate!

So, if you find this boring, apologies, ignore me or skim read & skip to the juicy bits  (spoiler ALERT, there aren’t any!) & flick through the pictures.  I thought a little blog with what I’ve been up to the past 5 months  might make some light reading during Dry January, when the days are short & its hard to find any motivation to do anything apart from hibernate & be GOOD!

So, in no particular order & accompanied by pictures!

Firstly, hope you all had a good Christmas & are feeling suitably replenished, I know it has been a tough one for some of my friends as they lost elderly loved ones, always makes things that bit more poignant at this time of year but, for my family we have been blessed with fun times & food a plenty.  Here's a couple of snaps of Christmas day and walks. India & I even managed a jump off the pier Christmas morning (we did wimp out with wetsuits on) & the village raised £550 for a local charity for the pleasure of seeing about 40 muppets joining in!

So, for those of you that don’t know, I finally made the break to Cornwall on the 18th July.  Unlike me I know, I’ve fully immersed myself in the gorgeous little village of Flushing, opposite to Falmouth on the Penryn River & Fal harbour, a Cornish creek leading through to the Carrick Roads.  There is so much history here & the summer was packed full of delights, live music gigs, local spectacles & a large dosing of BBQs on the beach which is 500 yards from my house.  As the days of Summer started to get shorter, I was amazed to find out that Flushing enjoys the last of the summer sunshine because of the way the sun sets over the hill so it’s a great spot to enjoy the last of the summers heat & rays.  It's been bliss to meet up with the kids (I must stop calling them that now they are 27 and 24) & their friends, eat fresh fish caught by Connor (still spear fishing) & have a little late evening dip.  This was a particular delight after the amazing summer we had, worked on the house all day & then sweaty and dirty, headed to the beach for a swim and eats.

Some of you won’t have seen or heard about the house so let’s be honest it’s a project!  There is a massive amount of work to be started & whilst its liveable its not an easy house to manage or live in.  I know we are all feeling the pinch with finances this winter but when we had that cold snap, the house was bitterly cold, that’s despite Connor coming round & spray foam filling every orifice that could have provided a cold air draught.  The windows are old & single pane glass, don't open, rotten and the doors don't close properly.  Also they appear not to have heard of insulation when they built these houses! Apparently the chap that owned it before was nicknamed by the village as the 'halfer' because he appeared too tight to spend any money on it, leaving it to waste away for over 20 years.  The garden (don't get excited this is not really a garden more a small patch of land!) was a jungle, which with the help of my good friend Netty we have now cleared & looks 100% better & is planted up of sorts, can't do too much as the place will be a building site next year! 

Gardening was a great opportunity to meet the neighbours & I arrived in Regatta week so again super fun to get out & meet everyone, raft races, BBQ's, carnival processions, crabbing off the quay, it was like stepping back in time to a childhood that I had forgotten. There is a real sense of community here, driven by a few who seem to organise everything in the village, it takes a lot of effort & its like living in an episode of the Archers every day, such are the characters.  I have met plenty of Cornish Eddie Grundys & quite a few Schula's!!

So, the house, these pictures mask many problems, which you can't see because I have stuffed them with pictures & tried to make it homely whilst I live here before the major work starts. 

As well as a complete re-modelling, there are big cracks in the attic rooms (check out the video below)  which I have yet to discover what I will need to do with. The porch leaks, the doors don't close, the frames are rotten & I have some very dodgy rooms where it feels like you are falling into the corner of them!  We have no mains gas in Flushing, so it's electric, oil or bottled gas for heating.  That's been a challenge this winter, for 4 weeks I was burning through a large 47kg calor gas bottle every 6-7 days (heating the room to a balmy 15 degrees!) at £92 a pop, & that was with the wood burner on each evening as well & electric on top!  The original part of the house is 1730s, granite built single story & at some point they put on a back room, circa 1850s & built up! Then a poorly insulated 1970s ground floor extension obviously before building standards insisted on insulation to walls, roofs & floors!  It's a fiasco to be honest but I knew that when I bought it & its been good to live in it for a period to work out where the light comes from & how I want the house to flow with the new design. It would be a shame to destroy some of the original period charm of the place but I finally got my planning into Cornwall Council just before Christmas & with a fair wind I will be starting work in mid Spring, doubtful it will be finished before next Christmas.

Plans are for a moderate ground floor extension & complete interior remodel with skylights & additional bathroom upstairs plus a PV system to attempt to become carbon neutral with my electric & heating! The budget will dictate how much can be achieved & when Connor comes back from NZ in May, he will kick start it off with the help of others.  It will be a lot of work, huge disruption but also lots of fun I am sure!

Have a look at the top floor horrors whenever you feel a bit down and console yourself with the nice place you live in! Its all about context!

One of the down sides of my move has been the cats.  They initially settled very well but within a week it was clear there was a feral bully cat in the area & after some particularly nasty fights & a couple of trips to the vets for abscesses & swollen legs, the cats have now got very nervous about going out.  It's a real shame & I feel bad about it as they had so much roaming space back in Berkshire. If they could just pluck up the courage, there are fields abound here but now they have it in their heads there's a monster outside (he has of course disappeared now) it been hard to persuade them otherwise.  I hope to encourage them out again in Spring but in the interim its back to litter trays & playing with them with cat toys! Despite a deluge of presents at Xmas of multiple cat toys, Hugo has now made up his own game with drips from downpipes!

He always was so very special!  Here he is!

Not content with starting a new life myself, I also managed to move Mum down on 2nd November.  Big move for an 83 year old, feisty as she is but I am very pleased to report that after a rollercoaster first month, she is now fully in the spirit of Cornwall life, loves her 3 bedroom bungalow & her community of Mabe which is about 10 minutes drive from mine.  She has lovely neighbours & has joined the local bowls (all weather, they play in howling wind/rain and cold) & community hall where she has been invited to sit on the 'rebels table' as she likes to call it.  With an average age of 87 on the table, she is the spring chicken & has been impressed by their no nonsense spirit & fun.  It really  has all worked out rather well.  She has a new bridge class to tackle now we are in 2023 & we visited the Xmas lights at Eden the other week to get ourselves in the spirit.  She also loves having her grandchildren so close by that they can pop in for tea & she can spoil them with sweet treats she has hunted down in the reduced aisle of the shops :-)

And next month, after some initial set backs, I hope to welcome my partner in crime Ali, who will be leaving the confines of Berkshire & escaping down country, I have everything crossed that it works out for her move, don't want to jinx it....then I am complete!  Can't wait to welcome her & she's buying a place 3 doors up from where India lives, so there will no escaping my family now!

I've had so many visits from people down here on holiday and coming down for short breaks, some even braving the ugly houses attic, sleeping in the room where the ceiling that feels like its coming down on your head!  I hope to see many more in 2023, you are all welcome but obviously the place will be out of bounds due to the building works come May (fingers crossed)

Flushing Markets new poster girls! - India & Mia

Flushing Markets new poster girls! - India & Mia


Basically I've been out of work since I landed here, it's been nice not to have to do anything for a few months but come Autumn I started to get itchy feet & decided that I needed some structure.  So I have managed to secure myself a little part time job, doing customer & project support for a very dynamic lady who runs several companies in the Tech & Sales world. I think she likes me & I'm adding benefit; she's based near Penzance so we have been hooking up once a week to walk me through the basics, I look forward to seeing how it will evolve this year.

Now Mum is down I have some space where I can set up the massage business, she kindly has offered me a room to work from so you will see from the website that the business is now registered to her address.  It's taken longer than I thought to change everything & I've had a few tussles with Google about data which they deleted but I'm just about ready to launch again.  Ideally would like to have about 5-10 hours a week trickling in, that would be just perfect, part of my reason to be down here was to get the right work life balance so I need to get my head round that IF I become busy again...but I think that's a long way off yet. 

I may be cheeky & ask some of you if you could review me (so expect a begging text) This will help raise me up in the Google search profile, I had forgotten how dull all the SEO stuff is, but suffice to say I'm currently sitting a lowly number forty on the very big list of people doing massage down here, although I note not many doing sports treatments, more holistic.  Just a little reminder that if you still haven't found anyone to treat you as yet then have a look at this page for other therapists.

Now I haven't spoken much about exercise have I & given that's my 'thing' I've been a bit up & down with it all. 

The season started well with a local bootcamp up at our barn in Tregew (where the infamous Flushing market is every Saturday, possibly the most middle class market you will ever go to, full of delicious, sustainable staples & treats that you could possibly imagine but let's just say you wouldn't want to do your weekly shop there) & then that shut down after summer came to a close.  I was swimming in the sea daily up until late October but its now jolly chilly, water temperature about 8 degrees so apart from the Christmas day dip I need to find something else to get my teeth into. 

Falmouth Uni offers a very good set up with 40 classes a week & a good gym, I have joined but I am trying to do more outdoors stuff.  So one of my NY resolutions is to start Gig rowing this year.  If any of you are interested, 32 foot wooden skiffs manned by 6 oars people & a coxswain.  They do competitive & social rows, most days & we are lucky to have a local club that has 5 boats.....just need to work out if I can get over my motion sickness while I'm in the boat, if so then this will be my main exercise, along with the usual walking a couple of hours a day, gosh there are some walking delights here & the regular walk really does beat Woodford Park, hands down.  I've also got myself an electric bike to head into Falmouth as the hills here would impress the most competitive of cyclists, that's quite good fun & I will take it further afield once I have my confidence on it.  Plus swimming again once Spring hits...oh & the odd surf & badminton match with the kids. Watch this space!

And finally I have tried to throw myself in with full gusto into village life here, it's not been hard, everyone has been super friendly & supportive & just thankful that the house is finally being lived in & will get some TLC.  We are well serviced with two local pubs & a fish restaurant, all sleepier in the winter but still with a great vibe & of course I can always get the Flushing ferry over to Falmouth if I want to & enjoy the larger town there.  Everyone is very sociable, so its been hard on the liver & we had some amazing parties in villagers houses & pubs in the summer, including a lamb leg we buried in a pit in the ground at 06:00 & ate at 20:00 that day.... such fun. 

I've been very welcomed here, the village is a mixture of Cornish & incomers, I would say about 70% of the houses are lived in all year round & I am extremely grateful for that. I am not saying it's all roses, the house is hard work, its a different way of life, amenities are not so close by & there are no M&S or Waitrose past Truro....but funnily enough I haven't missed any of those things. The winters seem tougher here, there is so much rain and damp & naturally people do tend to shut off more in the winter but if you are active & make the  outdoors your playground, there is still much to do & to be had out of it.

I absolutely made the right decision to choose this village & to live in a small street where I have lots of neighbours.  Yes the house is smaller, cold & damp, unfinished & I can't shut doors without some significant effort, the garden is non existent but surprisingly its OK with me. 

Obviously I do miss seeing all you lovely lot but I hope, as many of you do, you will stay in touch and whenever you are here you will visit & I can show you the sights.  

I've made all the usual ridiculous NY resolutions which I'm sure I'll break soon enough but I do feel its time to pull it back together again & get back in touch with my body, knock the booze on the head for a period of time & start to be a bit kinder to myself so I can enjoy skiing in Austria at the end of February & also a full summer of getting out there exploring & creating new memories.

Thanks for listening & wishing you every health and happiness for 2023, start a revolution & just do one thing different this month & see how it makes a positive change to your outlook.

Lots of love

Vicci, Lulu, Bella & Hugo xxxx

And in the interim, I will leave you with this....

what's that I hear you say...

oh no you won't?...

oh yes I will....

yes, I am in the Flushing Panto from early February, playing the role of Fairy Starmaker in Jack & the Beanstalk....its been a blast so far, haven't done anything like it since I was at college but its such fun & has been a great focus for the winter months.  Come on, she's BEHIND YOU!!!