Sunday 17 April – A Seventh ‘P’ – Peeved!

Happy Easter or, with our activities of the last week, should that be Merry Christmas?  I’ll explain later.

Last week’s blog explained that my focus was realising the Six ‘P’s of work to ensure we get the best result possible.  This week, I have found a seventh ‘P’ (and I’ve used the family-friendly one rather what I really feel!) as it feels like I have been focussed on a single activity – albeit still part of the preparation phase.

The task which has taken a significant amount of my time, has been scaping old paint off one wall in Granary’s lounge.  The wall in question has always been a bit of a problem child.  It is an external wall which, having been built sometime in the 19th century, isn’t a modern cavity wall but built using local materials, principally slate.  It is on the East side of the gîte, so not facing the prevailing weather, but is likely to have got wet previously.  Sound familiar with Granary’s history?!

When we arrived in 2015 the wall was painted what could be described as a sort of mushroomy coffee (or Shiitake cappuccino if you were Farrow & Ball!)  It wasn’t an awful colour but quickly we realised the reason it was this dark was that there was a darker stain leaching from the wall that had been hidden by a covering of paint.

Some of the paint was peeling off the wall too so, as part of our original renovations, we spent lots of time scraping back and sealing so that, when we painted, it would adhere better and block any stain as we wanted to paint it a lighter colour.

Granary wall scraping spring 2015

Last week, when David and I were assessing what we needed to focus on, we returned to this wall and saw that, while dry, again there was some bubbling where our paint was also coming away.  In that sort of ‘should I?’ moment when you see a loose thread on a knitted jumper (knowing that if you pull on it, it is likely to lead to the whole thing unravelling) I got the scraper out and had a poke.

Sadly, unlike a loose jumper thread that leads to a rapid unravelling, while the initial poke showed that there was some loose paint, it has proven much tougher to scrape away.  Hours.  And hours!

As we will be repainting, I wanted to scrape back as much as I could because any areas of paint left creates an obviously visible line in any new paintwork.  As most of our work in 2015 had been effective, the majority of the paint was well adhered and difficult to scrape off!  After a couple of days effort I have got to a point I am happy with.

Then I looked closely at the back wall of the master bedroom … This one shouldn’t take so long (I hope!)

Granary’s master bedroom starting to scrape

Most frustratingly, like so much of the work we have done / had done, all of this is completely necessary but will be completely invisible when the work is complete. The lounge will look exactly the same as it did before we started and currently appears on our website!

Roger, David’s Dad, was still with us for most of last week.  He had hoped to come and stay with us last Christmas but, you may recall, travel between the UK and France was restricted preventing his coming.  Consequently, when he arrived with us this time, he was bearing gifts that he would have brought in December.  As they were Christmas gifts, it was only right that we had Christmas (of sorts) while he was here.

So, last Wednesday, we put up a little tree and David made a fantastic Christmas-lite dinner prior to present unwrapping.  Really sadly, our spare Christmas crackers were buried too deep in the decoration storage, so we weren’t able to wear paper hats!

Christmas in April

At Christmas, we would normally have a walk before dinner.  Roger is a little immobile at the minute so we couldn’t walk, but we did have a day-out and went to the coastal town of Binic where we had a great lunch.  We had promised Roger moules frites while he was here but, sadly we were just a little early for their season, next time.

Lunch in Binic

Binic is almost an hour and a half from us so not somewhere we have been before – although would recommend it as it has a large beach and Michelin-starred restaurant (we didn’t lunch there!)  The reason we travelled a bit further is that we were collecting some things we had commissioned from a potter.  As a tease, I won’t show you now but in about 6 months when we will put them to use!

Roger’s last night with us was Friday which, happily, coincided with the first night that our most local restaurant, Au Lac, opened for the season.  Those who follow the blog, will know that Au Lac is only a few kilometres from us on the shores of the Lac du Drennec giving it fabulous views over the water – especially at sunset.

It is run by Mercedes who, when not cooking, likes to travel and last winter spent some time in Panama.  This has added a couple of new dishes to her interesting menu.

Last week’s blog also said that spring might be arriving.  It has certainly made a welcome appearance – albeit brief as it cools down again tomorrow for a while – and the garden is enjoying it.  Our cherry trees are now at their full blossom glory and, as the frosts seem to have gone, Dave spent yesterday planting up this year’s hanging baskets.  The wisteria also promises a great floral display soon – perhaps a great photo next week.

Kergudon’s orchard in spring colour

Next week is more of Granary but, all being well, actually starting to put things on the walls rather than continuing to take them off!