We hope you have settled into the routines of 2016 and suspect that Christmas and New Year festivities seem a long time ago!! We have had a relatively quiet week as the poor weather has prevented us making any progress on the garden work although we were able to take down all the Christmas decorations in Kergudon and Priory – it always makes the rooms seems so bare 🙁
On Monday we started the wheels moving on our major project which we want to complete in 2016 which is to build a garage next to Kergudon. Having a garage will benefit us in a number of ways not just having somewhere covered to put our car, and our guests’ cars as we believe this is an amazing part of the world for those who enjoy driving and the open road especially if you own a classic car. The scenery is fantastic, the roads are in great condition and, best of all, they are completely empty of other traffic.
The other advantages are that it will give us more space so we can store garden furniture over winter to keep it in the best condition possible (our friends have allowed us to use some space in their hanger this winter for the larger items) and, more importantly we can re-create a games room for children to use if the weather isn’t great. There was a small games room before which is now Dave’s fitness studio so gets much more use but we want to replace the games items.
Also if we have a garage we can have a smarter and tidier ‘service’ area for the mundane things like the bins and wood storage – dull but essential – and we can use the current car parking area for a proper petanque pitch which we have always wanted to create.
We started the wheels moving by visiting our local architect who will assist us navigate the French planning process. While the design of the garage will be very simple, we thought it would be worthwhile having someone assist us liaise with the various bodies that need to be engaged as we live within the natural park d’Armorique and so additional bodies and regulations are involved such as Bâtiments de France. We are told that there is a chance we could complete the planning process and have our ‘permis’ within 3 months (even in France!) as we don’t want to build anything that is likely to cause controversy but what could take longer is finding an artisan to do the building as, we are told, they can be committed up to a year in advance! We’ll keep you posted …
Otherwise the week has been one of routine things. We visited Brest and Quimper at different points to buy some material for David to create some new curtains for Priory during the wet winter months and see if our favourite store (where we have bought a lot of furnishings for the gîtes) had any bargains that we could pick up in their Ventes Privée – not as many as we would have liked!
The poor weather has allowed me to do some work inside including something that I have wanted to do for the entire year we have lived here but has never quite got to the top of my ‘to do’ list. When we moved out to France we were very grateful to be gifted a couple of pieces of furniture by some of our good friends. The sofa in Hayloft was a gift from our friends the Perkins and has given sterling service since we opened. We were also gifted a lovely kitchen island by our friends the Highams who had it made by a local firm for their lovely kitchen when they lived in Southsea, Hants. Having moved to their chocolate box cottage in Oxfordshire their ‘fantasy island’ (as it was referred to) had been relegated to the shed as a work bench and was looking very sorry for its demotion.
It was always the plan to have it in Granary’s kitchen but has been moved around since we arrived and I had time to renovate. It is currently in David’s fitness studio but I have begun to bring it back to life (which makes the fitness studio a work place for a while!) but, when finished, will look amazing and remind us of the fabulous hospitality we received in Southsea with our great friends.
We reached the milestone of our first year at Kergudon on 8th January. While our furniture arrived some weeks before we did, we first arrived as owners and residents at about 1 am on 8th January 2015 having sailed into Caen. Then we had to live in Hayloft for a couple of weeks until our own house was sorted and a bed built, this year we marked the event with our house champagne from our own épicerie!
During the weekend I joined the work parties of the Assomniak team who are developing the hangar as a village asset in Saint Cadou and assisted them clear out the main floor space and started to dig out the sand and soil floor that will eventually be concreted to make a more durable and useful surface.
This evening we attended the annual village ‘Galette des Rois’ in the Pub St Hubert. It is a French tradition to eat a frangipane cake at epiphany with a small token in the cake (a little like the threepenny bit in a Christmas pudding) that allows the finder to become ‘king / queen’ and wear a crown. This takes place in families around France and, in Saint Cadou, is a village event which brings people to the pub for a fun afternoon.
As I don’t have many photos for this week, I have inserted a few random pictures of the dog which were taken by our friend Will when he was with us for Christmas!