Sunday 12 December – Gutted

I had probably better start with an explanation of my title.  Gutted is not a word I like (unless you are speaking of preparing good fish for dinner) as it is generally associated with losing in certain sports which we don’t follow.

However, it is possibly appropriate as to how we feel right now as one sport that we do enjoy, and follow as best we can, Formula 1, came to the season conclusion today.  For those who don’t follow F1, today was the last race of a 22-race calendar and 2 drivers, 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, and Dutch driver, Max Verstappen, started the race on exactly the same number of points and whoever finished ahead in the race would be the 2021 World Champion.

Cards on the table, neither David nor I are fans of Max Verstappen and our affection for Max’s team, Red Bull Racing, based only a few miles from where I grew up, has seriously diminished in this season.  We were therefore backing Lewis for the race and so the title.

Most exciting of all, as it was the last race and so close, Sky Sports had allowed Channel 4 (who usually are only able to show highlights) to screen the entire race live and so we could watch it in the cinema – brilliant.

Long, and controversial, story short, Verstappen won and, for now at least, has become Champion.  This we can accept but, unfortunately, not for the first time this season, the result was effectively decided by decisions made by the, supposedly, neutral race director and the stewards who, for the second half of the season after their summer break, have made some pretty inexplicable calls.  There maybe more fall out from today’s race and we will watch next season with as much enthusiasm, but right now we’re feeling a little deflated.  At least the cinema made the disappointment good to watch on a big screen and is available to any of our guests for movie nights or sporting events (if on UK terrestrial TV!)

The week’s activities have been somewhat restricted by the weather again although, as Storm Arwen, we had minimal impact from Storm Barra and although the winds were blustery we had nowhere near the impact of other areas.  What we did have was quite a lot of rain that kept me indoors.

What I did complete, in preparation for our Priory Christmas guests arriving this morning, was decorating the gîte.  Each year the decorations are getting bigger and bigger and so are taking longer and longer to do – not helped by me nearly giving myself concussion banging my head in the process!

The decorations did therefore take best part of a week but they look suitably festive and our guests love them.

For this year’s kitchen garland I channelled my inner Kirstie Allsopp and did a bit of spray painting and glitter applying to various nuts and pine cones!

The main highlight however, is a new Christmas tree we have bought for the lounge.  The tree we have used up to now was just over 2 metres tall, which was lovely but you couldn’t see it from the mezzanine level so we have bought a taller one!  The challenge was finding a tree that was suitably tall, we have settled on a 3-metre one, that wasn’t so wide at the base that it wouldn’t fit in the lounge.  Having put it up David suggested we should buy a second 3-metre tree and incorporate the sections so we have something taller but no wider – we’ll see!

With a taller tree we needed more baubles, tinsel and ornaments and a step ladder to decorate.  The finished result looks stunning.

We continued our circuit of Christmas markets and returned to Pleyben today.  The last Pleyben visit, 2 weeks ago, was an artisanal fair, today’s was marketed as a Christmas fair with a focus on food and drink.  Despite having been to 7 fairs in the last couple of weeks, again there were very few stalls and craftspeople we had seen before. This one had attracted food producers from much further afield including from the near the Pyrenees!

On our way home we stopped in Saint Rivoal, the village next to us, to see if the restaurant, Auberge du Menez had reopened.  It was run by a great chef for a couple of years who left to open a restaurant in Daoulas and has sat empty for a couple of years.

At the start of this year, we had heard rumours of a new team arriving to re-open the restaurant but, despite trying to get many updates, we had never heard that it had come to fruition.  Apparently it has!  Having stopped on our way home today, the restaurant was open having had a bit of a face lift with 3 guys running it.

Apparently it has been open since 5th November and even held a concert last weekend but we’d heard nothing about it!  However, we will be looking for an opportunity to eat there in the next few weeks and will report back.  We are just delighted they are open, and intend to remain open throughout the winter, so there are more options for our guests to eat out if they’d rather not cook!

Next week the weather is looking really good for winter, dry and sunny, although not warm, so I should be able to make progress outside.

À bientôt.