Sunday 09 June – A Full Week

While we don’t usually refer to time by the weeks of the year, apparently we have now finished week 23 of 2024.  I think I can say that last week has been the most productive week of the year so far and it’s only taken us 22 weeks to get here!

The reason for this is, principally, because it is one of few we have enjoyed this year when every day has been dry so I have been able to spend all week outside.

My last blog showed the progress our pool made in the previous week and said we hoped this would continue.  Sadly, it hasn’t as the various teams involved have picked up their other jobs which have been equally delayed due to the wet start of the year.

This mean that I haven’t been able to finish levelling the lawn as the digger has not been with us, but it has allowed me to continue with the hedge cutting I started last week.  At this time of year I am extremely careful to make sure we don’t disturb any nesting birds but we have found, while we have many song birds in the garden, they all seem to choose to nest elsewhere – probably to avoid Mouse and other cats in the area.

Last week I had managed to cut the Hent Gorreker side of Granary’s privet hedge, this week I managed to cut the garden side and then decided to give a quick haircut to all of the other hedges down our drive.  Because of the risk to nesting birds, while this is the time of year the hedges are growing most vigorously, we generally don’t trim them until after August.  However, they do look better for the start of the season having done so.

Another of the hedges I hadn’t managed to cut for over a year is that next to and behind our entrance sign which had grown much taller than we had normally kept it.  I took a day to cut this back to its ‘normal’ height and then continued along the, small but growing, Hent Gorreker boundary and lonicera in front of Stable.  I had cut this earlier in the year but it will benefit from another cut while it is growing strongly.

On the inside of the hedge I cleared large amounts of weed and privet that was growing in the wrong place and gave it a good haircut.  This part of the garden looks very different and so much better than it did only 5 years ago when we hadn’t managed to do much with it since we arrived.  Sadly, I can’t find a photograph of it then when there was a large Christmas fir tree and 3-trunked willow growing and creating a dark, weedy and unattractive space.  Two of these photos were taken in May 2021 when we’d cut those down, rebuilt the talus, planted the lonicera and created the bank which is now grassed, the third was taken today.  I hope you can tell the now and then images!

The other plants I trimmed for the first time, are the conical yews we potted in May last year.  They have evidently all settled into their new homes and have started to grow strongly so were in need of a trim to maintain their shape.  Again, they should look good for the high season.

The final major task undertaken that took a day and a half, was to start to clear the damage left by Storm Ciarán last November.

During the storm, we lost 2 large oaks and a number of willow trees that had been blown down across Hent Gorreker blocking both the lane but also our neighbour’s entrance gate preventing them getting in or out.

So as to clear their drive, we started to cut the branches and, for speed, left them next to Granary, which was the closest point of our property, to deal with later.  That later was last week.  We didn’t want just to take the wood away to the déchetterie as it is a valuable resource – the larger trunks as firewood and the smaller parts as mulch having been shredded.

We have a pretty good shredder but the brash does need to be prepared to make it easier to pass through the shredder’s hopper.  Generally this entails cutting all the smaller bits which can be shredded off of the thicker branches, and then making sure there aren’t too many bits sticking out at difficult angles.

 It took me a day to do the preparation and, with David’s help, a few hours to put it through the machine.  This has given us a clear space next to Granary (with the added benefit of it being weed free as the tree leaves had blocked out any light), and more well-mulched flower beds.  If only that was the only large pile of branches that need to be shredded!!

Today’s Sunday stroll was close to last weeks and overlapped along about 500 metres of road and Guerzit Plage.  We chose it as the owner of the tabac where we enjoyed our post-walk refreshment last Sunday recommended the town of Le Diben.  We didn’t have anything in our walking books so we got the map out and created our own circuit.

Le Diben is an active working port and anchorage on a promontory on the east side of the Morlaix estuary so we were able to create a circuit mostly using the coastal path and then the quiet inland roads to link the path east and west, and it was a very attractive walk.

Some of the views were similar to last Sunday and again we could look across the estuary to Roscoff and the Brittany Ferry berthed in the port.

There was also more information about the commune of Plougasnou, in which Saint Samon and Le Diben are located, its wartime history and links to the Free French Forces in England for which it was awarded a Resistance medal.

After our walk we found a quirky café / bar / food truck on the outskirts of Le Diben overlooking what the map calls the Boat Cemetery – although there were only a couple of rotting fishing boats.  A great place to end a fun walk.

Inevitably the dry weather isn’t due to last and the forecast is more mixed for next week so I may not be able to make the same progress but we’ll try!!