I think I have to acknowledge that I am far more productive in the spring, autumn and winter months hence me not having blogged since 26th June.
This is partly because there are far too many distractions in the summer (some more valid than others and I don’t need too much to distract me!); partly because we have more guests stay with us so we spend more time preparing the accommodation and I don’t like make noise at anti-social times; and partly because it can sometimes get a little warm. This year, as much of Europe and parts of the UK, it has become very warm and certainly too hot to anything strenuous outside limiting activity to reading and sipping a nice cool drink! David has taken the dogs down to cool in the lovely water of Lac du Drennec a couple of times recently and swam. Me, not so much!
Some of the less valid distractions are the sports tournaments that are still able to be broadcast on free-to-view TV or radio (Wimbledon, British Grand Prix weekend, Test match cricket to name 3 that I particular enjoy). Whereas one of the more valid ones are the national events such as Fête Nationale which is 14th July.
Because of this relative inactivity on my part there isn’t a lot of progress on projects this week but there are some photos and one really lovely thing.
We have started a couple of ‘traditions’ for France’s Fête Nationale which, as many national independence days involves firework displays. Sizun’s is traditionally held the night before and has always been well organised and pretty amazing for such a small town – probably goes someway to explain why our local taxes are so high!
The other major investment Sizun seem to be making is a major refurbishment of the Mairie (Town Hall). The Mairie sits in the most imposing position of the town centre but is now literally just a shell as everything other than the façade and side walls has been demolished – apparently the architects in an organisation called Bâtiments de France who are tasked with protecting the built heritage of France and its regions (a sort of English Heritage) – mandated that the façade remain. While I personally don’t think the façade is anything terribly interesting or architecturally special, they evidently wanted to maintain the look of the square – we just hope they remove the dreadful 1970s lettering and signage above the main entrance. In the short time we have lived here Sizun has made quite a lot of investment and the town centre has a better feel to it.
This year’s fireworks was equally good. They use the church spire and triumphal arch as the backdrop for the event and, while there is a great bar and tabac in the main square, as it would not be able to support everyone attending, they set up a marquee with bar. This year they also brought in a mobile disco to provide the music and entertainment that carries on way beyond the end of the fireworks at midnight.
We decided to slip away then but got an amazing view of the Buck SuperMoon rising over the gîtes when we got home. I’m not sure this picture does it justice.
Being the night before Fête Nationale, it allows us to go to Huelgoat on the evening itself where we have a small tradition of going to one of the bars which serves great beer and having dinner before their display.
As dinner and the fireworks are separated by a couple of hours, this year for the first time since we moved here, we decided to walk around the Huelgoat lake which is just outside the town centre. Huelgoat’s lake is far smaller than our Lac du Drennec but does have a well-maintained path all around that takes no more than half an hour to walk and gives you lovely views of the town.
Huelgoat is an interesting little town with a pretty centre which has number of bars and restaurants. It doesn’t however, seem to make the most of its lake as the few bars which overlook it, only a street away from the centre, were all closed that night which seems to us to be a missed opportunity.
Thankfully it does use the lake to best effect for their fireworks setting them off from the far side, so they are reflected in the water for those watching from the town.
The lovely thing I mentioned at the start was a complete surprise to us that we learned about yesterday. A friend sent us a photo of an article in The Times Weekend section entitled “The 25 best gîtes and villas in Northern France” – and our gîte, Priory, was on it! We were listed as number 3 on the online version, but we don’t think it was graded in that way although we might claim it was!!!
We have no idea how they found us but we’re delighted they did especially as it covered a much wider area than Finistère and included Normandy and Hauts-de-France. You’d better book now before we’re inundated with requests!
I do hope to make more progress in the coming weeks, although I’ve said that before and it may not be for the next couple of days when we’re forecast to reach 40 degrees before returning to a more normal (and bearable) 22 from Wednesday onwards.
Stay safe in the heat.