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All for the Want of a Nail

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All for the Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


This year we hope to take bookings for Trelowarren B&B. There’s a lot of expensive work that needs to be done to the house (like mending the windows and the roof and the render), and in addition to the weddings and events, we are developing a Bed & Breakfast offer. How hard can it be to rustle up bedrooms and bathrooms and a spot of breakfast? The fact that Project Bedrooms & Bathrooms (B&B) has been underway for the three years since the house came back into Trelowarren control, gives something of a clue.







A bedroom, like The King’s Room, is relatively straightforward. First, order a skip. Then round up a team of strong in heart, arm, and stomach to don masks and take up the stinking glued down carpet in the bedrooms and the corridors. Absolutely do not think what comprises the clouds of dust. Clean rooms. Assess the broken hearth and the state of the floors, then get Jane’s the painters to come and decorate the room. Then think very hard about beds, order sun blinds from Scottish Holland, have a carpet laid, get Tremewans to lug furniture in, tastefully arrange ornaments on the mantel and put up the paintings.

All rather exciting, but a long way from finished.

Measure for curtains. Have a little sit down. Look on all the second-hand curtain sites to discover nothing big enough (not even the nasty ones). Wonder aloud why people think they need curtains. Up with the lark etc. Put in ‘too difficult’ pile. Have two lovely old bedroom chairs re-built and re-upholstered by those nice people at P & C Upholstery and buy wonderful rugs from East of Here in Penzance. Studiously ignore curtains.

Meanwhile electrician comes and goes, and we begin discussions with the plumber. A fantasy hits the ground running. It’s a mad idea, but one of the bathrooms could have … a shower. The King’s Room already has a rudimentary bathroom in its old dressing room so there is water and there is waste. We can feel the reality of that shower. The fantasy of the shower is joined by its fantasy friend – a warm bathroom.






The reality is that old houses, houses that began their life in the 14th and 15th century, were not designed for showers, or bathrooms or even loos – and a dressing room is not the same thing. We press on. The floor is taken up and it turns out that People have spent many happy hours cutting into joists to create ‘fall’ and there has been Cobbling Together to achieve a bathroom with little regard to load bearing floors. It’s no exactly unsafe the carpenters say, as they carefully back out.

A forage cap and mess tins and a tin of anti-gas ointment are found under floor which bucks everyone up no end.

But if we want a bath, or to walk around or jump up and down, joists need to be re-enforced, and there can be no safe crossing of beams unless we raise the entire floor. And it’s all going to be very, very expensive. So that’s the free-standing bath in front of the fire out of the picture.

As for a shower – hollow laughter. There’s no pressure from the gravity feed tanks in the attic. Let’s talk about pumps, and let’s talk about storage, and have we considered the mains? A site for a new tank is explored in the attic – turns out there might be an issue with the joists.

We just wanted a shower.

We sign a bit of paper which exonerates every tradesman who has ever visited Trelowarren from any liability regarding the width of the pipes; we salvage a bath, a sink, and a loo from other parts of the house; we wrap the WW2 forage cap etc. with the pipe-width agreement in no-acid tissue paper; we put everything in a shoe box and put it back under the floor. And we have our first B+B. TahDah!


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