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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'  


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
23rd Sep, 2012 16:58 (UTC)
Sorry to hear about the job news :( Hope something turns up soon and you don't have to move after all.
24th Sep, 2012 13:25 (UTC)
Thanks - have fingers crossed! Moving within Devon & Cornwall would not be a huge change, but moving house is so awful even at the best of times!
(Deleted comment)
24th Sep, 2012 13:26 (UTC)
It sounds chilly where you are, I bet Little Dog would like a coat. I have some I made for Az out of old jumpers, it doesn't require a lot of sewing!
23rd Sep, 2012 18:08 (UTC)
I am already keeping my fingers crossed, but shall add a wish that any house move is in the right direction.
24th Sep, 2012 13:26 (UTC)
23rd Sep, 2012 18:13 (UTC)
Ahaha, poor Az! Some people just can't take a hint.

Sorry to hear about philmophlegm's job situation. Hopefully there is something else on the horizon.
24th Sep, 2012 13:27 (UTC)
He is a very opinionated whuppety person! I often feel I have failed to live up to his high standards :-D
23rd Sep, 2012 18:24 (UTC)
Ack, I'm sorry about Philmophlegm's job. I hope something else comes through, so that you can remain lurking on the damp peninsula.
24th Sep, 2012 13:28 (UTC)
Thanks! We are really hoping to continue to lurk, but I suppose if we have to lurk in a slightly different point along our damp peninsula, it would be a nuisance but not a disaster.
23rd Sep, 2012 21:22 (UTC)
What a gorgeous photo of Az, that look is just lovely. Glad he's all toasty warm now. Floss wanted to cuddle up to Linds this afternoon as she was cold, but Linds was having none of it & gave her a glare. Poor Floss curled up on the sofa in the smallest ball possible :-(

Hope you guys don't end up having to move :-( No chance of setting up an independent audit business in Liskard?
24th Sep, 2012 13:31 (UTC)
Poor little Floss! Spurned again...

I don't really know the ins and outs to be honest, but my impression is that P's sort of expertise is at the large-company end of the spectrum, and it is bloody hard work convincing large companies to buy from small ones, even if the actual person doing the work is as well qualified or better, they tend to look askance at a lack of ... shiny glass plate windows and things.
24th Sep, 2012 14:58 (UTC)
I suspect that Pp's expertise is the sort of thing that some of the larger regional firms would very much like to have on board. They like to position themselves as being better than the Big 4 for regional clients (ie those without a London head office), and being able to deploy Big 4 experience is a good thing from their point of view.

People like Francis Clark and Bishop Fleming are very proud of their audit standards, and if they could say they've brought in Big 4-level expertise and methodologies it'd stand them in good stead when poaching clients from the Big 4 and Top 10. Especially if Pp can point to You're Hired and so on as a profile-raising thing too.
24th Sep, 2012 15:14 (UTC)
I hope so! What I meant really, was that it seems like an area where he's better off joining an established medium-sized firm rather than setting up independently as a small player.

Fingers crossed!
24th Sep, 2012 15:23 (UTC)
Oh definitely :-)

The problem with audit is that you need lots of cheap youngsters to tick things as well as someone experienced to say "hmmm". It doesn't really lend itself to one-man-bands or start-ups.
24th Sep, 2012 22:28 (UTC)
Mm, I didn't really think it would be an option & it is nice to have a guaranteed pay check each month, which you don't get when self-employed.
24th Sep, 2012 13:19 (UTC)
Impossibly cute photo of Az, all toasty in his sweater...

Sorry to hear the bad news - hope something good comes up promptly and in the right location!
24th Sep, 2012 13:33 (UTC)
He is fast asleep in it at the moment. I have washed his other 3 jumpers as well, so he has a choice of wardrobe for the winter!

We'll have to wait and see on the Pp job front I guess - selling our beast-infested house may be something of a challenge, so I'm kind of hoping we don't have to do that!
24th Sep, 2012 20:37 (UTC)
So sorry to hear about the job. Fingers crossed something else turns up soon.

Love the photo of Az!
11th Oct, 2012 17:58 (UTC)
Sorry to hear about the redundancy news - it'll be a damn shame if you have to move, but I suppose you just have to go where the work is.

Miserable about Liskeard, too...
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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