Mhairi and Dudley Thorpe

47 years ago Mhairi and Dudley Thorpe visited our part of South Wales on holiday from their home in England and decided that this was where they would really like to live. Just like that!

So they moved to Llanwrda for a while and then to Llansadwrn for a long time where they restored a derelict house and were perhaps expecting to live happily ever after. Except that early in 2017 they spotted an irresistible restoration project in Llangadog.

So here they are, almost finishing a major refurbishment to transform one of our terraced cottages so that it now looks almost exactly as it would have done 300 years ago. Except that they have straightened the stairs and installed a modern kitchen and bathroom, and (among many other things) made the most of the rooms on the top floor so as to benefit from the distant view of the Black Mountain. As Mhairi says it will probably be “almost finished” for a long while yet because there is always something to do, some detail to attend to or some small improvement to make. They are well equipped to do what they do - Dudley is a cabinet maker and is a professional restorer of medieval houses and antique furniture, and Mhairi has accumulated many skills and obviously has a lot of enthusiasm for design and décor.

Dudley is originally from Barnsley. Mhairi was born on the Isle of Lewis at the north-west corner of the Hebrides, or Western Isles. Her Mclean family ran a cattle farm there and, even now, Mhairi misses the smell. She says with a smile “If only someone would make a clear perfume like that, in a smart little bottle, I would wear it!” Her family spoke Scottish gaelic (she says that's pronounced “gallic” to distinguish it from Irish gaelic which is pronounced “gaylic”) and she still speaks it with her sister who lives abroad. Her family moved to Glasgow while Mhairi was in school and that is where she developed the accent that has not been diluted even after over 50 years living in England and Wales. She was a secretary in a solicitors' office in London when she and Dudley met. They have two grown-up children.

When they can stop themselves working on their properties, among other interests they particularly enjoy walking and they have visited countries in all corners of the world over their many years together, exploiting a big shared interest in travel.

By the way, in Scottish gaelic “MH” is pronounced like “V” and “R” is pronounced like “TH”, so “Mhairi” is spoken as “Vaithi”, but she says that “Marie” will do.