Sunday 13 August – Warmer Rain

The only reason I feel that we might get to see a summer this year, is that while it doesn’t appear to be raining much less, the wind has dropped and the rain has got a little warmer!

This week’s blog won’t therefore be very long but does show that we’re still here if nothing else!

In my Facebook message last week (again to demonstrate that we hadn’t moved away), I was of the impression that the weather forecast for the next week was better which would allow me to attack the lawn so it became a lawn again.

Thankfully, there was sufficiently dry weather in the first 3 days to do that although it was slow.  Having got much longer than we would normally allow it, it stayed wetter and, as there was so much, rather than mulch it and leave on the lawn, I wanted to collect it and take it to the déchetterie.  The mower’s collection box filled every 20 metres of mowing so it took far longer to cut the 3 main areas of grass than it ever would normally.  It at least looks like a lawn again although with all the rain and now more heat it won’t stop growing …..

Once the grass was cut I was able to turn my attention back to the old veg patch.  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned we had an incentive to get the patch cleared as we had submitted a planning application for something new.  Well, while we will still keep the ‘what’ a secret, for now, we are delighted to say that our application has been approved.

We are extremely impressed with the French, or at least the Finistère, planning process.  Having submitted the dossier on 20 June, we were told that the Mairie had up to 3 months to get the opinion of all interested parties and tell us if it wasn’t going to be approved – had we heard nothing by 20 September we could assume we had tacit approval.  The one body who, we understood, had most influence is Bâtiments de France, whose role is to preserve and protect French built heritage and construction within certain protected areas, including where we are.

Being the summer period we had every expectation that we would need to wait until September before we heard anything however, a couple of weeks ago we received the official letter saying that our application had been approved.  We are delighted.  We’ll tell you what it is when we are able to make a start.

So, with the planning approved, I returned to the space and began to clear the wood.  As summer days are currently few and far between when they happen all our guests head out either to the sea or the lake.  Last week’s day happened to be Wednesday when David is home, so we were able to make a bit of noise when we got the chain saw out and logged the larger pieces of wood that we hope can still be used in the poêles.

The cutting took a few hours, splitting the logs however took many more.  I made some good progress before the rain arrived again!  To make it easier to barrow across to the serre, I took a few of the breeze blocks out of the wall to make a ramp.  Doing that has highlighted that demolishing the whole wall is not going to be a quick job as, whoever built it, built it to last with a lot of mortar and a strong cement mix!  That’s a problem for another day.

There is probably another half day’s worth of splitting to clear that pile and then a few days of cutting the smaller stuff that, while we won’t use it for the poêles, we can keep for the firepit and chiminea.  Then the wall.

Finally, while, sadly, we didn’t enjoy this ourselves, Finistère is known for its seafood and one of our guests sent us this photo today of the lunch they enjoyed in La Faou.  Delicious.  If you enjoy seafood, come and ‘sea’ for yourself!!

Hopefully more progress next week, although the forecasts haven’t been so encouraging for this summer as yet!