Sunday 16 June – We’re Official!

Last week’s blog didn’t contain any images as the refurbishment of Stable wasn’t complete.  This week’s does and, while we have not yet refurnished the gîte, all of the decoration in the main space is finished and it looks excellent.

I mentioned last week that painting the ceiling had taken longer than we anticipated owing to the number of coats we had to apply on the dark brown stain – even after heavy sanding.  But it has certainly made the biggest difference to the space.  We have also given all of the walls a new coat of paint which has made it brighter too.

Initially, we thought that we wouldn’t need to do the walls as they were in reasonable condition however, having done so it is evident that they weren’t as bright and white as we thought.  The reason we chose to do them came as a result of ‘mission creep’ in the overall task.  You can just see in the pictures on our website that the Stable had a tile skirting to match the floor.  This was very much of the time the building was converted and was probably put in because room have skirting and to give a vertical barrier to the floor space as the walls are not.

We always knew that we were going to replace these tiles but originally we thought we would do it with wood.  When I was removing the old tile pieces, many of which basically fell off anyway, much of the filler that was put between them and the wall came away too.  With a little more effort I was able to clean back to the original wall covering which left us with a choice.  Do we replace the skirting as we’d intended and refill behind, or simply leave the walls as they are and paint down to the floor.  We quickly decided that the latter gave the room a few centimetres more floor space (which was useful); had a more contemporary feel and was more honest to what the building actually is (an old stable), not to mention would be a bit quicker!

The walls and ceiling aren’t the only thing to get many coats of paint.  We had always wanted to replace the bedside cabinets to match the wardrobe that we bought when we first refurbished.  Ideally, we would have replaced the bed but, bizarrely, there is no bed in the range just a bed head.  As such, I have adapted the existing bed frame to be able to take the new bed head and everything will be new, white, bright and matching.

As part of the work we have finally replaced the old wall light which used to be above the bed with something more attractive which we have wanted to do for ages.  We have also wired it in such a way that the cable isn’t nailed visibly crossing 2 sides of the room by taking power from a different source and hidden it all behind some new lambris.

Finally, I have built some shelving to house the mini-fridge, microwave and kettle which all used to be stacked together on the floor again freeing up floor space which, hopefully, will make the room feel a little larger.

With the work all done it is now just a case of deep cleaning and refurnishing – it will look amazing and I can show you how amazing next week.

Again, Stable hasn’t been the only thing we have been doing and on Wednesday we headed into Quimper in the hope that our Cartes de Sejour were available for collection.

You may recall that we had our ‘interview’ at the end of March when we were given every indication that a card would be issued, it would be ready in 4 – 6 weeks to collect and that we would receive an SMS to say when.  We hadn’t received an SMS (although were actually told by others this isn’t unusual) and, thankfully, we hadn’t received anything to suggest that a card wouldn’t be issued so after a couple of months we hoped it would be safe to go and collect. It was.

We are now ‘official’ as Finistère has issued us with a 5-year card to expire in 2024 – surely Brexit would have been resolved one way or another by then!  We are extremely grateful to the Finistère team who have made the process so straightforward.  I have mentioned before that the issue of Cartes de Sejour, while nominally controlled by the French Interior Ministry, has been delegated to individual départements which has led to a wide variety of experiences for Brits applying.  This has varied from not being given an appointment; to widely varying paperwork requirements and the issue of 1-year, 5-year or 10-year cards.

Finistère has been excellent throughout and, while we had to wait over 7 months between booking our appointment and actually having it, we are very pleased that we are now in possession of our card.

A big thank you too to Mercedes, our very good friend who owns the Au Lac restaurant.  We were invited to the restaurant on Wednesday night for dinner as Mercedes’ brother, Mark, and sister-in-law, Fiona, were passing through prior to starting a 2100 kilometre walk from Pointe du Raz to norther Spain!  We had a great night, where my main image was taken by Mark, and, you may be able to see in the background Merc playing her clarinet.  She really is a woman of many talents which, with another friend, Mary, on sax made for a fun-filled late night and a very gentle Thursday.

This afternoon we assisted our mad-keen gardening neighbours as they opened their garden as part of a Brittany wide scheme.  Yesterday saw 45 people visit despite very wet weather, today saw more than 280 as the sun occasionally poked its head through the clouds.  Hopefully some pictures of their amazing garden too next week although it does put ours to shame so perhaps not!

A couple of days to refurnish Stable in preparation for our next guests there on Wednesday and then I can start another project – or continue with any of the open ones!

À beintôt.