Sunday 31 July – The Perfect Location

Last week’s blog was solely about the fires we had experienced in the Monts D’Arrée and their impact on the area.

Thankfully this week has been much less dramatic – although 3 fire engines driving at speed down Hent Gorreker with their blue lights flashing at 2300 yesterday caused some concern!  We couldn’t see where the eventually ended up but, as Hent Gorreker is not a short cut to anywhere, we feared that something bad had started again.

That fear was in part possible as, during the week, the Gendarmes had confirmed their initial suspicions that some of the original fires had been started deliberately, was accurate.  Whether they will ever discover the individual or individuals who were responsible remains to be seen.

Thankfully, the fires are now all extinguished and the roads previously closed have been re-opened.  The Monts D’Arrée look very different now to a couple of weeks ago.

For work, I have managed to progress a few annual tasks including continuing with some weeding – why is it that even when everything else is suffering so badly from a lack of rain, the weeds happily continue growing?!

I have given the wisteria its summer prune, an activity that becomes bigger, more difficult and a little bit more daunting each year. 

I didn’t take a before picture but, as the wisteria gets bigger each year, the amount of new growth it puts on also gets more.  It is amazing how quickly its tendrils grown and get under the slates and between the stones.  I am very keen to cut these out each year but more to retain, and control, its shape which we’re happy with now as we train it across the front of Priory.

I have carried on with some more hedge cutting, one side of one leg around the petanque pitch, which I hope to continue next week.

Something else I’m continuing to do is ‘clear’ the garage.  Three of the items that are in there are old cider barrels that we bought to make tables for the new party barn / petanque pitch area.  They were delivered a year ago and I have been using them as stands / benches for other projects since, but now I want to actually finish those so they can be clear of the garage.  (David would argue I could just store them elsewhere before actually working on them, so emptying the garage faster!)

As I wanted to sand them and re-stain the barrels, I thought it would be a better job if I removed the  hoops to make it easier and give a better finish, especially as we want to paint the hoops a different colour too.  Of course, when the hoops are removed, there is nothing to hold the staves against the heads so I had to devise a way to prevent them falling apart and into make-your-own-barrel kits!

This proved a little harder than I expected but I managed to get to a point where, as long as I handle them gently, they are staying together but I will be happier when I have replaced and secured the hoops again.

We have also been a little more active in the last couple of weeks as lots of events occur in the summer season.

We initially set ourselves a goal of trying to do something ‘cultural’ each month, although haven’t been great at achieving that.  A couple of weeks ago we went to a small concert at a local bar – which was brilliant, and last week we went to Morlaix for dinner.  Having our pre-dinner drinks at one of our favourite bars, Ty Coz which overlooks the old market square, we could see they were setting up for an evening show.  Sadly, because we had a dinner reservation we couldn’t stay and watch but we need to be better at getting out and about and taking advantage of the huge number of events around.

A couple of weeks ago, you will have seen that we made a list of the best places to stay in Northern France in the national media.  I don’t mean to keep bringing this up(!) but, in the last week there have also been media articles on the best beaches in France – and a couple of them are within easy reach of us.

While we are not ‘on the coast’, where you would generally visit the same beach all the time, one of the beauties of our location is that there are so many different beaches you can visit on the north, west or south coast of Brittany.

The Grauniad newspaper lists 3 beaches in Brittany amongst the best – 2 of them actually are in Brittany but that’s a minor detail – one of them is Carantec, between Morlaix and Roscoff and a great family-friendly beach.  Brittany Ferries has the Ile Vierge beach on the Crozon peninsular as its top choice which is also fabulous – although for the more adventurous to get to.  On top those selected in the articles there are miles and miles of safe and accessible beaches with white sand, shale or pebble to suit absolutely everyone.

Brittany Ferries have also released all their sailing dates up to November next year too – so while it is still summer holiday season 2022, it’s not too early to be thinking about next year … I have to point out that we’re not sponsored by Brittany Ferries in anyway but for a means of crossing the channel, they don’t seem to have been impacted at all in the way Dover has.

As a child we invariably holidayed in France and the sailing was all part of the holiday adventure.  Being based in western France, Brittany Ferries ports are closer to us (Roscoff – 45 minutes; St. Malo – 2 ½ hours; Caen – 4 hours) and all are attractive towns worth a visit in their own right.  Driving in France is so much more pleasurable (not to say predictable and reliable) than in the UK, if Portsmouth or Plymouth are easy to get to – there is always a better option than Dover!

Have I sown a seed of thought for your summer holiday 2023?

See you then!