Sunday 17 December – A Gîte for all Seasons

Having promised, at the end of my last blog, to write again last Sunday, you may have noticed I didn’t manage to get anything written.

That’s not to say we didn’t do anything, but we certainly didn’t do anywhere near as much as we wanted (needed?) and we were perhaps a bit behind the Christmas schedule we had set for ourselves.

We didn’t manage to get any of the large oak tree cleared from behind Granary (and still haven’t) and we didn’t get any of the decorating for Christmas progressed in the gîtes that we needed to (I made a start in our own home over a couple of days but have not quite finished.)  In fact of the outside work I did, most was for our neighbour when I repaired their fence that our tree had flattened when it fell in Storm Ciáran.

We did manage to get to Quimper with some friends to view their Christmas lights and this year’s Son et Lumiere show on the façade of the cathedral.  We last did this in 2021 when the theme was ‘Water’ and I published a video of the show on a blog I wrote at the time.  We skipped 2022 (it was probably raining!) but went back this year when the theme was ‘Earth’, although we couldn’t understand how that translated in the spectacle!

Quimper is our departmental ‘capital’ but is a very attractive, compact, little city with lots of charm and character.  Somewhere we’d definitely recommend to guests staying in this part of the world.

There were fewer Christmas market stalls than we recall from last time but it seems there were more lights in the streets.  The lights were very attractive and we were really pleased to see that they were exactly the same as the ones we have at the front of our house and gîtes (we had asked Locronan’s Mairie where they bought their lights and used the same company so, being ‘professional’ they should be more robust than previous lights we have bought from shops.)

The reason I couldn’t make a start with the Christmas decorations in Priory was that, last Monday the gîte was being used by an events company for an ‘inspirational photo shoot’ of a summer wedding.  What else in the second week of December!

The events company is based in Landerneau and is owned, and managed, by the wife of our pool builder who recommended us as an ideal location for a shoot.

On the day, Priory was taken over by a (small) team of decorators to transform it into the perfect wedding venue with a professionally baked wedding cake, before 2 models arrived to be the ‘happy couple’ (although the groom doesn’t look like it’s the happiest day of his life in some of the pics!) with the photographer and singer for the event.

 We’re not entirely sure what the images will be used for, or where they will be published, but we may get some interest for the gîtes from them.

As soon as the photography team departed I was able to get in and begin the festive transformation – which took most of the rest of the week.

It is always good to have to work to a deadline and the guests we have in Priory arrived yesterday so it needed to be done.  We are really pleased with how it looks – and the 4 metre tree was a hit again with our guests.

During the week I have also got our Christmas deer out to graze for the season.

While I was busy decorating Priory, we had someone install the new ballon in Granary.

You may recall, back in September on Dave’s uncle and aunt first night in the gîte, they were woken at 5 am with the sound of dripping water as the previous ballon (I won’t even use the term ‘old’ as it was installed about 7 years ago) had sprung a leak and water was pouring from the ballon on the second floor through the en-suite shower room to the family bathroom on the ground floor.

Our electrician recommended getting a ‘bac de recuperation’, effectively a drip-tray, installed under the new heater in the, extremely unlikely, event of the same problem in the future.  Having done lots of research it seemed that you couldn’t purchase a bac for a horizontally mounted ballon as ours is.

As we were heavily focussed on preparing the ground for the start of the pool build we didn’t prioritise the work, and only got around to ordering a tank to be manufactured from a metalworks in Sizun on 27th October which would have, we were told a 3-week lead time.

Of course that was impacted by the week Sizun suffered without power post-Ciáran but it wasn’t until 5th Dec that the factory told us they had stated making the tray!  Grrrr!!  Then, it took all of 3 days to manufacture so at least I was able to collect it last week.

It is now installed and functioning and should last us a number of years, although that is what we thought of the previous one!  At least we shouldn’t suffer the same flood problem in the future.  We will rebuild the room over the next couple of weeks, we have guests arriving for New Year, but the plan is to fabricate a better way to access the tank in the spring and re-carpet the room.

Today, we went with friends to a medieval fair in Landerneau.  Held bi-annually, it was the first time we had visited and perhaps we were there a little early as the main event wasn’t due until the evening.  However, it was evident that some people take the medieval theme very seriously with medieval musicians, games and great costumes, even stalls where you could purchase your own doublet and hose!  Perhaps we will go back for the evening when it’s back in a couple of years.

While small, it was however better than a fairly underwhelming Christmas market Landerneau had set up on the estuary although we understand their light displays are actually pretty good so we will definitely go back during the festive period to look at those.

Looking ahead, the next couple of Sundays are significant dates (Christmas and New Year’s Eves) so I won’t write a blog on those days.  My intention is to write on the Saturdays as we have so many things that we need to do including decorating Granary and Hayloft for our New Year guests that we will share with you.

À bientôt.