Back of the net…

Woo0hoooooo! The accompaniment to writing this week’s blog is the dulcet tones of Drew Savage on Radio Devon – yep, I’m listening to the Argyle commentary on the radio and we’re currently 4-0 up, away to Fleetwood. (Come on you Greens – play offs here we come!! LET’S BE ‘AVING YA!!!!!).

Ah-hem. Apologies for that brief Delia moment. It’s just that Argyle winning by that margin isn’t a common occurrence – one has to celebrate smugly when one can when one follows the Greens.

Anyway – back to the world of Rockpool Trading. It’s been a busy week! (When is it not?!). Following on from welcoming the fabulous Home Threads into the RT fold with their gorgeous range of shoulder bags (made exclusively for us, doncha know), I’m jolly excited about our latest product, due to hit the shelves this week. Hold on to your hats – Rockpool is dipping it’s toe into the vast world of art work! And what better way than by welcoming our newest crafter, Kirsty M from Lanivet in Cornwall, to the gang? This lovely laydee is a very talented soul, not to mention incredibly patient; each of her beautiful paper-cut designs is painstakingly drawn and cut by hand. I’m in constant awe of the talent and commitment of our crafters, and when I see all the hard work that goes into making their products it spurs me on even more to build a business that supports and promotes their wares. It’s a topsy turvy world where some crummy, poorly made products get lots of publicity because they’re sold in large, high street chains, whereas crafters have to jump up and down and wave their arms just to get their beautiful, original and well made products seen. Still – if we can provide another outlet for these talented types, whilst bigging up the fabulous South West at the same time, we’ll have achieved our goal.

And speaking of goals, the final whistle has been blown and that’s 3 points to the Mighty Greens. Altogether now! Westcountry…la-la-la…Westcountry…la-la-la…




Open for Business… and Gin.

So what’s the expression…? Oh yes –  “if life gives you lemons… make a (Plymouth) G & T”. Or something to that effect…

So after another week of rain, high winds, flooding, more rain, power failures and general, all round weather grimness, the Westcountry is fighting back with the hashtag #OpenforBusiness. (Check out the wise words of Cornwall’s adopted son, Rick Stein, on the subject here) . The message is ringing out across Twitter, You Tube, Facebook and even sneaking its way into Prime Minister’s Questions – it’ll take a bit more than some heavy rain to make us shut up shop! Devon & Cornwall has some of the best attractions in the country, so this week on Twitter we’re sending out some of our favourite recommendations for things to keep the noisy sprogs entertained over Half Term – come Hell or (lets face it, it’s possible) high water. Check it out if you are, like us, a Twitter nut.

And speaking of all things Twitter…

I’m keeping it short and sweet this week, but thought I’d finish with a photo I took of a mass produced top in a large, high street department store (who shall remain nameless). Are they being ironic, I wondered…? Answers on a tweet…






Message from the Westcountry to the Mainland…

Can you read me…Over…?

Message reads:


On this cold, rainy miserable evening, this rather chilly Plymothian is sat listening to the Proclaimers and drinking a glass of wine, wondering if I could indeed walk 500 miles (and then 500 more) to reach the heady heights of “up north” (aka Bristol and beyond…).

You would have had to have lived in a cave with earmuffs on this last week to not know what I’m talking about – the devastating storms that have hit the UK have been all over the media, particularly the pictures of the beautiful coastal train line running through Dawlish, or at least where the beautiful train line used to be – half of it is now hanging precariously a few feet above the water. Whilst it’s a blessing that no one (as far as I know) has been seriously injured (or worse) by the damage, the focus has now shifted and the devastating effect the complete lack of transport infrastructure into the Westcountry is going to have on local businesses is becoming apparent. Plymouth and Cornwall have, quite literally, been cut off from the rest of the UK in terms of rail links, which leaves us 2 options: road (the lack of a motorway west of Exeter leaves us at the mercy of the rather optimistically named “Devon Expressway”) and air (which has been significantly affected by the closure of Plymouth airport – now we rely on the reduced service at Newquay, or, the extremely expensive flights from Exeter – and in any event, that’s now only any good if you have a car…).

And devastating really isn’t too strong a word – tourism really is the life blood of the Westcountry. The head bod at the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce has estimated a loss of over £500 million to the South West’s economy as a result of the newly amphibious train line. Which begs the question: why has no one ever considered the implications of this before, or if they have, why weren’t they taken seriously? As anyone who has tried to catch a train heading for Penzance on the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend and ended up sitting in the loo in order to get a seat can attest – they come in their tens of thousands to the region. Business, pleasure, relaxation, stimulation, culture, kicking back or zoning out – they come and they spend. I shudder to think what will happen if the train line is not up and running by the Easter weekend.

And getting out of Devon & Cornwall is proving almost as difficult. I was due to attend a meeting in Reading in March, and it has now become apparent that my best option is to drive from Plymouth to Newquay, fly from Newquay to Gatwick and get the train from Gatwick to Reading. (Quite literally, Trains, Planes and Automobiles).

So – to sum up. I dare say that one of the reasons so many of us love the South West is it’s remoteness, it’s quiet, laid back pace of life. But whilst we may occasionally tut at the tourists when we can’t get a seat in our Local on a Saturday night, we need them like a cream tea needs jam, like a pasty needs a pint and 2 indigestion tablets. Lets hope the Grockles don’t stay away too long – we miss them when they’re gone.




A local birthday for a local boy

Evening Rockhoppers. Once again I’m writing from the region formerly known as the Westcountry, when a more accurate description would be the reservoir that now joins The English and Bristol Channels. Seriously – it’s been raining for EVER. Enough is enough – I’m so over winter; bring on the spring.

Anyway – after my last ultra negative post about Poundstretcher, I’ve used up my monthly quota of winge, so I thought I’d try to give this week’s blog a bit more of a positive slant. The reason I didn’t post last week was down to the week-long celebration we ended up having for mini-RT’s 1st birthday. A fabulous time was had by all, although M-RT will not remember a thing about it; nevertheless, we were keen to use any excuse to beat the post-Christmas blues and celebrate surviving a year as parents. (After all, it’s all about US). And it got me thinking – aren’t birthdays are a wonderful thing for the local economy?! Whether it’s going down your local for a few sneaky shandies (perhaps not appropriate at sprog’s age…), or taking yourself out for a slap up dinner, the number of local businesses we supported whilst celebrating the one-ness of M-RT was amazing!

In brief: the day before his birthday we paid a visit to The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth (where the little-un’ showed his appreciation for the sharks in the only way he knew how – by applauding them…), and lunch at Monty’s on the Barbican the following day (I’ve not yet found a better fishfinger sandwich). On top of that, we held his 1st birthday party at Plymouth Argyle FC at the weekend, mainly because the clan are big fans, but also partly because it’s a venue local to us. To top it all off, and because I drew the line at making cakes to feed 60 odd guests (including sprogs), we ordered super scrummy cakes from Sage cafe, just down the road from us, and ordered soft play stuff from The Play Association in Plymouth. So that’s 5 local businesses we have supported by celebrating our little clapping, singing, crawling, winging, gurgling, screaming, oblivious bundle of joy. Maybe celebrating his birthday wasn’t all about us after all.