Sunday 10 May – End of an Era

Apologies for not posting a blog last week.  Looking back at the preceding week it was another one of those ‘pottering’ type weeks when you progress a number of little things but no real major milestones.

The last blog I did write was after we’d scarified the orchard and Granary lawns and I said that we’d hope to do the main lawn behind Priory the following day before some forecast rain arrived.  Thankfully we managed to achieve that but it did make a bigger mess than we’d anticipated.  The lawn was in a much worse state than we thought so, when scarified there were many areas left very bare.

Thankfully too however, the predicted rain did arrive, albeit not in the volume promised, so the healing process could begin.  Over the last couple of weeks we have had a few periods of rain, including an impressively loud thunderstorm yesterday, which has meant all of the lawns are starting to look more like, well, lawns.  And they’re turning green!

Thankfully it hasn’t been wet all the time and we did manage to have our first BBQ of the year on Friday night.  While there have been many hot, dry days so far in 2020, the only other time we managed to plan a BBQ was a day when the weather changed.  We often have weather fronts pass over us but rarely are they so obvious or dramatic as one we had last week.  The photo doesn’t really do it justice but there was perfect blue sky and a very clear line of cloud. Sadly my cloud recognition is not what it used to be but I think arcus – anyone?

You may recall that a few weeks ago we said we had ordered some hedging plants having cut down the sycamores on our west boundary.  The vendor said that delivery probably wouldn’t happen until confinement was lifted but, earlier this week we received our 72 lonicera plants.

We like lonicera as it appears to grow rapidly here; makes  a good dense, evergreen, hedge and seems to be pretty robust.  We have a lot of it already and have taken many cuttings over the last few years but this time we’ve chosen to buy some more established plants and, while small, they have great roots and it would have taken us about 5 years to get cuttings to this stage.

Over the last couple of days I have cleared a lot of space behind Hayloft and south along that boundary and planted 48 of them.  This has included the talus behind Stable where I mentioned a couple of weeks’ ago we will eventually create a small private terrace.

We want to do the same in front of Stable too so we have similar hedging all along Hent Gorreker, but having removed the capping stones the talus isn’t as full of soil as we’d imagined it would be.  As we have been promised some soil from friends nearby we haven’t been able to plant them here but I have done 80% of the area we wanted.

During the periods of wet weather I spent some time back in Priory doing more filling and sanding – you’d have thought the walls would be beautifully smooth now – and also some boxing and making good where the electrician had to cut holes in the lambris to install new cabling.

The biggest change I made was to grout the tiling we have put up in the bathrooms and cloakroom.  As the plumbing hasn’t been completed the actual shower in the en-suite bathroom hasn’t yet been tiled but the majority is now done and it is moving forward.

It looks very white at present – and will be more so when I add any undercoat.  But we have decided on a more contemporary colour for the walls when we get around to the final coats. We’ll show you when done. We have decided not to do any of the actual painting until all of the electrics and plumbing has been completed as there is too high a chance of damaging things and having to redo.

Thankfully, France is starting to come out of confinement from tomorrow so we are hoping we are high priority for Pascal and Lee.

The new rules allow most businesses to open (not yet Dave’s gym, restaurants or bars) and people can travel within France to a maximum of 100 kms from their homes.  We don’t think this will mean we will see many guests immediately as, while the French are good at exploring their own regions and taking breaks relatively close to home, a lot come to Finistère for the beaches, and sadly the beaches are remaining closed.

Also frustratingly, while the déchetterie is open from Tuesday, the prefecture have limited your ability to visit based on your car registration.  You can visit on days that coincide with the last number on your licence plate – ours is 7 so we can visit on 7th, 17th or 27th assuming these fall on days the déchetterie is open.  We have lots of things we need to dump so will have to make many trips on 27th this month!

At least the hairdresser we use is open next week and we have made an appointment for Friday – we both desperately need a haircut – but will need to take our facemasks with us.

Next week – definitely more progress in Priory.  Honest.