It wasn’t an auspicious start! It was Monday morning and my husband was away. Therefore, I had to sort out the animals before leaving to be at Shorebreak Bed & Breakfast for 9am. Of course, I was late. Driving into Bude, I asked my daughter what the horrible smell was. It soon became embarrassingly clear that it was me. Pig slurry on my trousers and I’d been invited for a breakfast in a beautiful B & B. Dropped off daughter (who by this point was beginning to giggle hysterically at the thought) then made my way to the public loos at Crooklets. Not the best ever, but needs must.
I was due to meet a lady called Annie Creo, and frankly, I stank. I kicked the cleaning man out of the toilets (nicely) while sponging down my trousers with toilet roll, and then with wet toilet roll, trying to wash off the offending smell with soap and water, in the not too helpful wash basins there. You can picture the scene. The man was very helpful and could see when to leave a damsel in distress to sort herself out. Or maybe he too didn’t like the smell of pig. Toyed with the idea of buying new trousers and being very, very late.
So, it was a huge relief to roll up only a few minutes late (despite the roadworks on Victoria Road) at Shorebreak and meet the very welcoming and friendly Annie. Her wide smile led me to immediately confess the pig slurry incident, at which point she, kindly, burst out laughing. The ice, had there been any, was well and truly broken.
Shorebreak Bed & Breakfast opened in May 2012. I must admit, it is years since I’ve stayed in one, but if I do, one like this will be just the ticket. This lovely place, handy for Crooklets (500m away) has 2 double ensuites and one family-style room (check the website). The ethos is scrupulously clean, modern, bright and coastal. It took an awful lot of hard work, the first phases taking 2 years and the second another 18 months, but Annie project managed the work while new husband Graham, has done much of the physical graft. Annie purports not to enjoy housework and says she is not practical. However, she enjoys cooking breakfasts for visitors and if the pristine state of her premises is someone not liking housework, well, then I’m a chimpanzee (no comment!)
Annie was previously in a high powered job in medical sales. She says her redundancy was a “lucky break”. For years, she had been thinking of a fresh start but, like many of us, was stuck in the groove of earning a living, and a jolly good living at that. She had tried going to Australia for three months to become a qualified surf instructor, as she was a keen weekend surfer. She did qualify but decided she wasn’t good enough to instruct others. She originally moved to Bude with her work and, in one of those strange twists of fate, met her husband to be, Graham, on her first day in the town. She was doing a lot of driving in the south west but always, at the back of her mind, had the bed and breakfast idea. When redundancy came, she took the plunge – having previously worked at the ski resort of Meribel, with Graham, whereby she picked up quite a bit of experience – and launched her time, money and experience wholeheartedly into Shorebreak.
Annie says: “I have a fantastic life now, compared to what I used to have. I live in Bude and have the life I want”.
What makes Shorebreak stand out? Well, the unique selling point is, I guess, that it feels like you’re staying in someone’s house but with no compromise on quality. Annie thinks of the little touches that make the place what it is because she “wants people to enjoy what they’re doing”. That really comes across, and Annie is someone people instantly warm to. A good judge of people and her clientele, she wanted really lovely, relaxing rooms in a spot that was handy for the beach. She writes tide times on a blackboard and has a bucket for wetsuits which she washes and rinses for her visitors. She will help them to choose restaurants according to their tastes and really loves promoting Bude, Crooklets, and local companies, such as Zuma Jay for surf boards, and Trev’s Taxis for walkers wanting to be dropped at a destination. She has a wide, welcoming smile, and obviously likes meeting new people (even ones doused in pig slurry!). She shops locally, and I did notice the Cornish butter offered at breakfast.
In addition to the excitement of setting up a new business, Annie also married Graham in September, so she had a busy summer working on the business and wedding planning. Her business attracts the obvious tourists and visitors to the town but also more local people. Annie is keen to have more regular visitors, and to develop longer stays. For example, she recently accommodated a trainee doctor working locally, but feels she could also be a useful port of call for sales people visiting local companies regularly, GCHQ employees, and anyone connected with local businesses. Even for local people who don’t have enough space when family come to stay.
By this time, Annie and I had chatted about all sorts and I’d written very few notes. She’s that kind of girl. A people person, chatty and friendly. An ideal landlady, nothing like the Thora Hird Blackpool types in the old kitchen sink dramas! And I was feeling ravenous, so was thrilled to actually be having breakfast cooked for me in Annie’s beautiful kitchen/dining area which is where her guests have theirs. The idea was to give me an authentic taste of breakfast at Shorebreak. Well, it worked. There was tea (or coffee) galore, orange juice, and cereal (maple and pecan, not sure what but scrumptious) with yoghurt and a fruit compote. That in itself would have been enough but the cooked breakfast was to follow. I opted for scrambled egg (you can always tests someone’s cooking by their eggs, I feel! She passed with flying colours) hash brown, fried mushrooms and beans. I could have had more. Annie caters for all diets and has even made vegan banana muffins for some visitors for breakfast. So, Bude hospitality with a broad smile, brilliant breakfast and beautiful bedrooms……..From the 2 hours or so I spent in Annie’s company, I’d recommend Shorebreak to anyone because she is yet another local business helping to #bigupbude