I have found myself with an hour or so, and decided to do an update of our activities…..and discovered I have completely missed 2019. No news, no action, nothing. So, here goes to me remembering what we have been up to…….First and foremost is the new workshop!! Its amazing. Jim was overjoyed with his huge expanse of emptiness when it was first completed. We went from complete chaos (builders, machinery, boggy ground and everything that would ever live inside a shed, stacked precariously outside the shed), to a pristine arena that, in my eyes, would have been a perfect venue for a party, which brought us to our first dilemma. Is it a shed, is it a workshop, or is it possibly a barn? It has had many names since (including Jim’s Coastal Kitchen), but its mainly known as The Workshop. It is, at present, doing exactly what it was built for. With our two commercial ferries, the Four Sisters and Morston Ferry, tucked up inside ready for winter maintenance, it also has various other tenders in it, along with the rib, my sailing boat, the Kabota, work tools galore (many of them new as locating the old was often impossible!) and it even has a working sink and kitchen area! The joy Jim has had being able to wash his hands, wash up mugs, and knock up the odd fish and chip supper, has been a pleasure to watch. The dartboard is up, and the oche has been measured. The workshop is a resounding success and to be honest still work in progress. There are many many storage boxes strewn about that will finally be emptied I am sure, but meanwhile, Amazon are definitely reaping the benefit of Jim not having a clue where Zac has stored anything.

To start the year my eldest daughter, Elsie, had a call to work in Cardiff from a film production company who were desperate for her to join the team. We filled up the camper and headed West with as many belongings as she could fit, and left her lodging with friends. The job was great, and she gave it a few months, but her need to be near Morston over-ruled, and she came home. This is a repeated pattern for Elsie, and the pressure she was under (self inflicted!) to go away, to prove herself, at last resolved itself on this occasion. She finally decided she needed to find her ‘direction’ in this neck of the woods. Hurray!! No more woeful journeys to far off places! Elsie was back in the family business doing a sterling job in my ticket office, making everyone feel good, waiting to see what life was going to bring.

Lily my youngest has spent the last year going from a very shy ticket office employee to one of the best on the team!! She is confident, savvy, has bucket loads of common sense and ability, and can deal with vast amounts of customers, phone ringing, vhf radio calling, and credit card transactions, all at the same time, and all with cool decorum. An absolute vital member of the team, and still only 17.

Lucinda, Derek, Andy, Anne, Zac, Edmond and various other part time help, have continued to make our 2019 year amazing. We have huge respect for all our staff, who make our business the success it is. We all work together, and we all socialise together, whether its playing in the harbour, fishing, hanging out in the pub, sharing suppers and bbq’s, and generally laughing lots, so despite working every day it becomes a way of life. Work and play start to merge, so when I say everyone has made this year amazing its not just about the business. Its also about the bit that makes life worth living, the fun and enjoyment that makes us all appreciate being alive.

My sadness of the year has been my poor mum becoming increasingly frail and needing help. She had started to need me more frequently in the day from September 2018, but by 2019 I needed more hands to help. Between various siblings and myself, we managed to look after mum as her cancer took hold, and apart from a brief stay at the Pricilla Bacon Lodge, she remained at home until she died in August. It is with great pride that we achieved that, and although it was incredibly difficult at times, and mum was hating the idea of being a burden, she absolutely loved being able to stay at home.

We have again had record numbers for the grey seal pups, 3,500 near enough for the final count, and our winter 2019 was very busy. We continued with our special November and December landing trips (the ones that are accompanied by the national trust wardens and volunteers to keep seals and humans safe) which are always popular. We have just recently been working on our timetable for 2020 and have decided the time has come to cease landing while the grey seal pups are scattered on the Point. The numbers are huge, so the chance of disturbing the seals has now increased, so we will continue to view the seals from the boats, but will discontinue the walking near the seals for fear of unsettling them. The boats will definitely continue landing in the summer months, when all seals are happily settled at the end of the Point, and include half hour, or hour, landings at Pinchens creek, as advertised on our timetable.

Our end of season party had a slightly different twist to it in 2019 – we did a surprise party for Jim in the Anchor pub. He was 70 so we needed to pull off something major, and what a night we had!! Well over a hundred family and friends managed to keep the secret of the year. He had no idea what was looming as we attempted to get him to the pub (he was declaring he was knackered, was going to soak in the bath and then watch the football!). Definitely a tricky five minutes as we calmly suggested a drink first…….but all worked well and he was over the moon to see so many faces! Friends from our pub days also pitched up, and we spent the night drinking, singing and laughing. A perfect party.

Its been a long catch up, and I apologise for running on, but our final news of 2019 was the shocking announcement from the boys at the pub that they were planning to end their lease slightly early, if we agreed. Harry and Ro have been brilliant tenants, and have definitely made their mark on the Anchor. It was with great sadness that they were ready for pastures new (totally understandable as they were so young when they first took in on!) and so Jim and I had to plan the next chapter of the Anchor’s life. Various ideas came to mind, and we took a while working out our options. It became increasingly obvious that one of the options was clearly the perfect solution. Everything was seeming to fit, and it finally came down to the one person who was literally born for the job (and had lived there from birth to 8 years old). We are very proud to announce that Elsie is to be the new landlady of the Anchor, along with a wonderful friend and mentor, Tony. They are both currently busy getting the background shenanigans sorted for setting up a new business, and will be taking over in March.

So, 2020, we are ready to see what’s in store!!

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