Sunday 30 August – Blue Lorry, Yellow Lorry

Apologies for not posting a blog last week – will let you know why later.

It has been an odd couple of weeks in terms of work – possibly not the busiest or most productive – and there aren’t too many major things to share with you.

I have continued to stain Grange although the weather and other tasks have prevented me from finishing (still!) and the garage clearance hasn’t made much progress either.

The last blog I posted mentioned that I had a very unpleasant task to complete with the plumbing in one of our gîtes.  I actually didn’t do anything on my own with that until the Wednesday when we had the professionals in – and they arrived with a huge lorry.  I was expecting a man-in-a-van to come but a massive septic tank emptying truck arrived.  Unusually for rural France, we are not on a septic tank, but the drain pro said that this is their smallest vehicle.  A big lorry for a big job as it were!

After some very careful manoeuvring down the drive, where there was less than 10 cms clearance either side, he was able to position himself so he could access the gîte and his kit.  With the right people and equipment he was able to clear the blockage pretty easily although wasn’t helped by his new drain camera not working!  After a bit of exploratory work he has provided us with some suggestions as to what to do to prevent a future recurrence – another project for the winter maybe!

Job done we were able to get the gîte ready for its new guests last Saturday who really enjoyed their stay – despite the kitchen sink tap starting to leak profusely when in use!  They say things come in threes!  That proved a much easier job to rectify and a new tap has been fitted.

Last Sunday was the beginning of David’s birthday week, hence I didn’t write a blog, and we decided to have a day out including our first visit of the year to the restaurant in St. Rivoal, the Auberge du Menez and were delighted to see that it continues to be excellent.

We chose to visit a place we had only been to once before a couple of years ago, the Abbey du Relec which is not very far from us.  While the abbey itself is interesting we wanted to go for a walk in the adjacent woods with the dogs.  Having had a lunchtime drink in the excellent little restaurant in the abbey courtyard we started our walk.  It was a hot afternoon and we were dressed in jeans and thick tops expecting to only go for a short walk.  We picked up the signs for a circular walk and 2 ½ hours and 13 kms later we finished!

While rather longer than we’d anticipated, it was a lovely walk.  One we would recommend and definitely do again ourselves, as it takes you up to some of the highest points in the Monts D’Arrée and you got to see some unusual wildlife!

The route also takes you through the hamlet of Trédudon-le-Moine known as the first resistance village of France due to its activities in WWII.

This week has been a similar one of ‘bitty’ things without many major milestones being met.  We have started to think a little more about our own house now that our gîtes are at a stage that we are delighted with them and don’t need such major work.  One of the investments we have made for our home was for 2 large pieces of furniture, one to replace the old aquarium which we brought with us from London and had sat in the lounge ever since.  A sort of self-birthday present for David.

These were delivered on Thursday by another large lorry, evidently larger even than the drain lorry as this one didn’t manage to get under the phone line at the end of Hent Gorreker which it promptly pulled off the pole and broke.  Thankfully, it evidently isn’t the line that provides our phone and internet as we are (miraculously) unaffected but it is the one that provides phone services to the neighbour who allows us to use their connection when we are off line.

So, in a reversal of fortune, the have visited us a couple of times to download mails and complain to their phone provider who has told them, in true French client service style, the line will be fixed by 7th September!  The fact that the line is currently hanging at about next height across the lane and so is a hazard to traffic doesn’t seem to increase the priority!

The coming week could be very productive however, we have an inspection on Thursday to be officially classified, so while we don’t have guests in the family gîtes, we will need to ensure they are fully prepared as if we were about to welcome guests and so we will be focussed on making sure they are as spotless as they would be when we are expecting guests.