Thank you to David who acted as ‘guest blogger’ a couple of weeks ago. We hoped you enjoyed his first post (but not so much as to want David to write the blog every week …!)
I am now back from a short trip to the UK, the timings of which were dictated by being here on our changeover Saturdays and especially, as Dave’s blog mentioned, the day before I left which was the first ever when our guests in all four gîtes changed on the same day. It was also the first week that we had some home grown flowers that we could put in the gîtes as the hydrangeas and montbretia had come into bloom.
Yesterday was much easier as there were only 2 gîtes to turnaround and we are, including our Stable Chambre d’Hôte, full again this week.
I apologise for not blogging last Sunday but, having got back on the overnight ferry the day before, there wasn’t so much to update on what we had achieved in the course of the week as David was focussed on keeping ontop of the laundry, weeding and watering while giving his classes at New York Gym in Morlaix.
Having been back I have picked up on a couple of our major projects.
As we now have been granted our planning permission for a garage I needed to clear the space where it is to be built as we have found a builder who can do the work for us at not too outrageous a price and we hope he will visit next week to mark out the footings.
The area is on the west of the garden which had become a useful, if fairly unsightly, service area for the bins and ‘stuff’ and up until now, has housed the existing wood ‘shed’ and where we place (dump) things that can live outside but have no proper home. The current wood shed has been built out of the slate found everywhere and, we understand, from some which came from a, long since demolished, stable which used to be behind the Granary gîte. Thankfully it has been built in a dry way which means that I will easily be able to dismantle the walls and reuse the slate for a number of other projects we have on the list.
As David mentioned, I had started moving our fire wood from its original store to a temporary pile which I built before I left. I used sheets of old asbestos which were lying behind the old woodstore which initially gave it a nuclear bunker / Anderson shelter type appearance so I thought I would blend it more into the surroundings with some camo-net and now you can barely see it!!
With all the wood relocated I have started to take down the old store. I have removed the tarpaulin and wood frame for the roof and dismantled the corrugated iron ‘lean-to’ and removed one of the 2 walls – another day should be sufficient and it will all be gone – exposing the bramble and weed on the partially collapsed perimeter wall beyond – another project to be added to the list!
We have also got to the point now that we can start to do some work to our own house, Kergudon. As the focus previously needed to be on the gîtes and getting them to a state that we were happy to have people stay, our own home had been neglected although needs a lot of work to get it how we would like it – again this will take a number of years I suspect.
However, small things first and I finally managed to put a coat of paint on the outside of our ‘back’ door from the lounge. When we arrived at Kergudon it was evident that the previous owners never used this door and, as there is no gutter on the roof above it, the wood was soaked from the rain that would have been pouring on it for years and it had become very rotten at the base and could not be opened.
Much earlier this year we had someone repair the bottom of the door and make it good but we didn’t find a dry period to paint it properly before other projects got prioritised despite having had some paint mixed in the UK in February last year!
The reason we got paint mixed is that we want, eventually, to paint all of the exterior doors and windows a Breton colour. The tradition it seems is that, much like other parts of the world, Breton houses have their woodwork painted either blue or burgundy because, we are told, in the olden days Breton fishermen would paint their fishing boats blue or burgundy and any leftover paint was used on their houses. As we couldn’t find a blue that we liked we had one mixed to be closest to what we have seen – it is perhaps a little more ‘electric’ than I remember from 17 months ago but will look good when they are all done the same way. Next task is to install some guttering above the door to delay its rotting in the future – although we will keep it painted as well.
Finally for this week we have also been out and bought a new washing machine for the house. Having lost patience with the company we had ordered one from online still not being able to tell us when they could deliver (a month after purchasing) we cancelled our order and went back to reliable Darty. Machine ordered and delivered within 48 hours – should have done that first and not tried to save a bit of money with an online store. Having had such a bad experience we thought we would leave feedback on the French Trustpilot site and only then did we see that we were far from unique and this particular company had nothing but terrible reviews – if only we’d looked before. Lesson learned!
I have followed the pattern of Dave’s title for his blog – as it also allows me to put a picture of Mouse on the blog and she doesn’t get as much publicity as the dogs.