bunn (bunn) wrote,

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The revivification of Liskeard, a chilly dog, some bad news

On Saturday,we popped to Liskeard, a local market town.  I've not been to Liskeard in a couple of years, probably, and it was a shock to see how many shops were standing empty.  Liskeard is a small town relatively recently blessed by the addition of an extended out of town large supermarket, and a small retail park.  Together, these really seem to have sucked the already-ebbing life out of the place.  

Liskeard is one of the Mary Portas Pilot towns and walking around, it was obvious that there was an effort going on to try to save the place from becoming completely deserted.  Lots of the empty shops had signs up saying they were available rent-free for six months under the Portas project, and there was a project going on to allow you to park for a full day for a pound, if you had a voucher that you'd printed off from the website.  (We didn't, but someone who was leaving gave us theirs so we still benefited!)  

The problem is in mid-Cornwall, where there is less tourism than in the West or along the coasts, and really almost no other industry, most people just do not have money to spend.  They commute to Plymouth, which is also pretty depressed, and when they come home to Liskeard, they don't have much to spend or much time either.  I suspect that if they shop, they shop where they work, not where they live. 

 Liskeard has some lovely cafes, a great craft shop, an electronic supply shop, a couple of clothes shops, butcher, deli,greengrocers - and all these empty shops.   We were trying to think what you could do with one of them, with its rent-free status, and were kind of running dry for ideas that wouldnt' compete with shops already there.  Perhaps we are not natural retailers.   One of the empty shops was a second hand bookshop last time we were there:philmophlegmadored it because it was hugely overstocked and very cheap, but I think we were one of their very few customers - and of course, we didn't go back often, because there are so many other second hand bookshops... 

The craft shop has a little toyshop in the attic, and when we were there, they were discussing moving that bit into one of the empty units for six months, to see if it sold more that way, but they were worried it would not be sustainable to pay rent on it.   I hope it does work for them.  It would be so nice to see Liskeard thriving and popular, in a way that I think it probably has not thrived since the tinmines closed...

philmophlegm had some bad news on Friday - he is being made redundant.  This came as quite a shock, as he has been zooming around like a blue-arsed fly for weeks and had a small mountain of things on his work 'to do' list.  Here's hoping that our location lurking on a damp peninsula a Very Long Way from Everywhere between two vast and empty moorlands will not stop him from finding something else.  I can see us having to move house though - either West, to get within commuting distance of Truro, St Austell and Falmouth, which have all come up enormously in the world since we moved to Cornwall or East to within commuting distance of the Small-to-Medium-Sized Wen, Exeter.  Preferably Truro : Exeter is OK, but I think it had more character as Isca Dumnoniorum...   

It's gone cold and wet and 'orrible today.

 A certain ancient lurcher was uncharacteristically active - whining, pawing, throwing toys at me, and intermittently standing on his head!   I couldn't work out what he wanted for aaages, then at long last I realised that he was feeling cold.  So here he is in his fleecy jacket - much happier now!  

In this photo I am sure he is saying : 'FINALLY!  You can't get the staff these days'  

Tags: cornwall, dogs, lurcher, retail therapy, whinge, wittering, woe
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