Sunday 16 July – Woodwork Week (while watching Wimbledon!)

As I mentioned in my last blog, the weather early last week was a mix of showers and more autumnal weather than we would expect in July.  All of the tasks that I have been working on, and there are a number on the go which need completing before we fill up for the summer, are wood based which I really enjoy and can understand why people become carpenters and see the satisfaction they get from working with wood.

However, the weather meant that I had to shift my focus to one of the indoor jobs we need to complete fairly urgently – but also meant that I was able to watch some more of the tennis, especially when the Brits were doing quite well!

The most pressing indoor task is to replace a number of the floorboards in the living room of Priory.  We believe that the floor was probably laid by our predecessors when they arrived approximately 13 years ago now as, we understand, they did some work in Priory including laying a concrete floor under the floorboards.  However, as an old building, there was never a damp proof course in the walls, and one hasn’t been added since.

Normally this isn’t a problem if the building is lived in so heated and there is sufficient air circulation around the floorboards.  However, unfortunately as our predecessors weren’t open as gîtes year round, the buildings were closed up over winter and as a result damp got in.  Also, in an effort to insulate, when they laid the floor, they padded the space with insulation which, while making some contribution to heat loss, it meant that there was no air circulating around the floorboards and the frame they were laid on.  Sadly, this meant the boards started to rot, especially where they were in contact with the wall and so damp.

We knew this was an issue that needed addressing but, with all of the other tasks needing to be done, hadn’t quite got to the top of the list.  That is, until a couple of the boards eventually broke and became a hazard and the priority changed!

Floorboards to be replaced in Priory gite

This meant that when wet on Monday and Tuesday I was able to work inside removing all of the rotten wood and old insulation so that we are now in a position to replace them – and make what we hope will be a striking addition.  Thankfully, we have managed to find the single shop chain which stocks the same size floorboards that we are replacing so, hopefully, things will look seemless!

Old floorboards removed and ready to replace in Priory gite

Other projects that I worked on were finally completing the southern gable end of Grange with the slate trim on the rafter – we love it and think it looks fabulous.

South end of Grange cladding complete at Kergudon Gites in Brittany

Having finished the southern end I have been able to shift focus and work on the northern gable.  This is a large area of cladding without the ‘inconvenience’ of a staircase and door to work round.  Despite this, it hasn’t been much quicker as there has been a lot of up and down on the ladders and scaffold tower which has made things a bit easier as, because of the slope of the land, the north end is slightly higher than the south.

North end of Grange in process of cladding at Kergudon Gites in Brittany

North end of Grange in process of cladding at Kergudon Gites in Brittany









Another wood-based project I have been progressing is the fence separating the terraces on the north side of Kergudon and Priory.  Now that we have painted the small wall we have had built we can progress with re-rebuilding the fence panels and I have put up the new supports, including an additional post behind Granary as we will extend the fence and include a gate to make the back garden more secure.

Priory terrace in process of rebuilding the fences at Kergudon Gites in Brittany

Priory terrace in process of rebuilding the fences at Kergudon Gites in Brittany








We asked last year what colour we should paint the fence and we had an equal number choosing green and black.  As we now have the small walls which we have painted light cream, we have chosen to paint the fence black which will really highlight the planting we plan and other ideas we have for the terrace.

Priory terrace fence painted but still in 'kit form'

Friday was France’s Fête National (what we call Bastille Day but they don’t) so we looked to see what celebrations were happening nearby.  We chose to go to Daoulas who were having a night Puce (flea market) and fireworks.  For a free display in a, relatively, small French town it was pretty good, although the flea market was less so!  I love fireworks, I challenge anyone not to watch fireworks and not smile, and best of all, the Commana fireworks on Lac Drennec are next Saturday so we will see more 🙂

Fete National fireworks at Daoulas, Brittany

Fete National fireworks at Daoulas, Brittany










Next week is likely to be another of mixed weather, although the forecast is changing more often than a chameleon on a disco floor but lots to keep us occupied!