Sunday 15 September – Curiouser and curiouser

My apologies for not posting a blog last week – you will see why shortly.

I ended my last blog 2 weeks ago saying that while my Dad and his wife had arrived with us it shouldn’t prevent me progressing work specifically, clearing out the garage that I had eventually gotten around to starting.

As things turned out, it wasn’t having visitors that meant I had a slow week but my back.  Many years ago I had major back pains for a while which, obviously, I didn’t do anything about.  While they went away, it does mean that every few years without cause or warning, my back revolts.  In the worst cases this immobilises me for a few days, in the best cases it means I am just a bit more restricted in my movement.  Thankfully, this time it was the latter and, having been given a warning twinge, I decided to take things very easily for a few days and allow my back to recover.

This meant that the progress I had made clearing the garage stalled – again!  It didn’t stop us accompanying my Dad and his wife to Landerneau for a day to visit this year’s summer exhibition at the Leclerc Foundation.

In previous year’s blogs I have mentioned that the French supermarket chain, E. Leclerc, began in the town of Landerneau a short distance from us.  As the Leclerc family gained their fortune, they established a cultural foundation and built a fabulous exhibition space on the site of their original supermarket.

In previous years, with the name Leclerc behind it, the foundation has been able to hold exhibitions of major artists including, most recently, Chagall, Picasso and Henry Moore.  This year they have chosen to do something a little different and their summer exhibition is called ‘Cabinets de Curiosités’.

As the name suggests it is an eclectic mix of objects from various private and public collections to create, on a grand scale, the very traditional idea of a Cabinet of Curiosities.

The style of exhibition divided our small party, and so I assume most visitors, as to whether it held the interest as a single artist show.  There was certainly a mix of the odd, the fascinating and the unusual as well some more macabre mixing the scientific, medical, natural, and mechanical worlds as an old cabinet would have done.

It was certainly worth a visit.

When my Dad left us we were joined by David’s aunt and uncle for the social event of the year.  As regular visitors to Kergudon they have become friends with some of our friends, including the owner of Au Lac restaurant, Mercedes.  Mercedes reached a milestone birthday in June but, as the restaurant is obviously busiest in the summer months, she had delayed her big party until last weekend.

Having her teenage years in the 80s, Mercedes has chosen to have an 80s themed party and we were all suitably costumed.  Sadly, there are no images of David and I but Mercedes looked amazing as Madonna (one of 3 all managing to capture another aspect of Madonna’s styles in that decade)!

It was a fabulous party, and weekend indeed, as very generously, Mercedes opened Au Lac to her guests on the Sunday for a crepe party at lunchtime and burgers in the evening.

I think it is fair to say that a good time was had by all and HUGE thanks from us to Mercedes for such a great a time and her generosity.

Sadly for David’s family, and our other guests, last week was not the usual Indian summer we have got used to in September so progress outside wasn’t great.

With a better back however I did manage to progress lots of small tasks and continue with the garage clearing to the point that I have nearly emptied one of the 4.  The bay I have started with became the dumping ground for lots of wood – now mostly in the serre – but also lots of slate tile offcuts and pieces that I unearthed when digging the foundations and clearing the back boundary.

I have often acknowledged that I am a bit of a hoarder of things that may eventually have a purpose. Having kept these bits of slate for so long, I didn’t want to just take them to the déchetterie so thought that we could use them as a weed suppressant under the hedge that borders the pétanque pitch.

The base of the hedge gets very weedy and doesn’t look great so I wanted to add them here.  However, before doing this I needed to break them up a little more as some were in too large pieces to look good.  This meant I spent the best part of a day fundamentally breaking rocks as if sentenced to hard labour.  Thankfully we don’t cost our time for these jobs and the result looks great.

While we don’t have enough bits to complete the whole hedge, it has helped clear the garage bay floor and we may then buy some more next year to finish the job.

I have managed to achieve a number of other more minor tasks (clearing away this year’s sweet pea plants and replacing them with conifers; washing most of the sun bed cushions in preparation for next year; hedge and grass cutting) and should have that bay cleared with a couple of additional days labour next week.

The week ended with another ‘cultural’ event, that annual Commana Foire à l’ancienne (Horse Fair) which was bathed in sunshine.  Again, while still not in the market for chickens or ducks (one day …) it is an interesting fair to visit for a few hours to look around the livestock and brocante stalls.  We were very restrained and only bought some saucisson.

The sunshine appears to be with us for a week or so which should mean I can make good progress on a number of things – the difficulty will be choosing which should be this week’s priority!