Sunday 02 May – Feeling Blue

I don’t often start my blogs saying that I’ve had a productive week(!) but I feel I have achieved (almost) everything I’d planned in the last 7 days.  Although this won’t be a very long blog.

Last week’s blog said what my focus would be with 2 major jobs and these were what I managed to focus on.

Monday was spent building the mini-wall that will be the base of a new fence in front of Priory and Granary’s terrace, to replace the old fence panels that had to go. I said that the job, once started, would be pretty quick and so it turned out.  We want this fence to be almost exactly the same as those we build a few years ago behind the gîtes.

Unfortunately, I could not find any more of the capping blocks we had used before so we had to find an alternative option.  Rather than just leave a flat rendered surface we have stolen an idea from our neighbours who have had used a slate ‘sandwich’ as the top.  We’re not short of slate so we have done the same – and it looks good.

Much of the rest of the week was spent on Hayloft’s exterior wood – the front door and windows.  They had been on our list for a couple of years as the old paint was very faded and the top layer, evidently a different coat, was peeling off in most places.  To prevent the same thing happening I spent best part of a day sanding and preparing everything and a day giving it 2 coats of primer.

When done, 2 coats of gloss and the finished result not only looks great but, hopefully, will last for a number of years.  You can see in the photo of the windows looking south onto the main terrace, one of the 2 cotoneaster we have planted to train up the rather dull wall.  The pile of paving slabs are also for another project to continue the love we are giving the gîte.

One afternoon, while the primer was drying, I returned to the small wall to apply a render.  While I actually quite enjoy the building with blocks, I really don’t like the rendering element.  The first (and previously only) time I had rendered was on my man-shed in January 2019 and at the time I said I wouldn’t be unhappy if I never had to do it again.  This time was no easier.  I managed to scrape a couple of my knuckles to beyond bleeding and got really frustrated, but I am pleased with the finished result.

Thankfully, no more block work and rendering for a few months – but there is more to come in my ‘big project’.

This weekend has been principally focussed on getting a couple of gîtes prepared for guests to arrive tomorrow.  France is starting to come out of its period of (non)confinement and, from tomorrow, travel is not limited to 10 kms of your home.  We are really encouraged that we have 2 gîtes, Priory and Hayloft, are occupied from tomorrow.  More encouragingly, both guests have stayed with us previously, the Hayloft couple in March of this year before the (non)confinement began and they are already coming back.

Having complained in the last couple of blogs that we have had an unusually dry spring it was evident when I cut the grass on Friday for the first time in 3 weeks that it had barely grown – except of course for all the dandelions and weeds!  Of course the law of 50D says that just as people are able to travel and stay with us from tomorrow, we are due a week of wet and windy weather! Great for the garden, less good for our guests.  And will impact on my projects for the coming week.

The first project for next week is an early start tomorrow to travel to the prefecture in Quimper for an 08.50 appointment.  I say appointment, but it is to hand in our current residency permit (carte de séjour) in preparation to receive our new (non-EU) permit and we think we will spend about 2 minutes in total in the prefecture building!  We are however, really pleased that we have been called and it made all the effort to put our paperwork together in 2019 worthwhile as it is now just an exchange rather than anything more arduous.