As I predicted in last week’s blog this week has been spent on the same 2 principal tasks of filling the man shed and completing our paperwork for our Carte de Sejour application.
The weather has been pretty awful all week and very windy. That said, Storm Gareth didn’t cause as much destruction as we had been anticipating and the strongest winds for us came on Monday afternoon from a mechanical source.
During lunch on Monday we heard the unmistakable sound of a helicopter which, being close to the Naval Air station at Landivisiau isn’t unusual around here, but this one was evidently REALLY close. When it got alarmingly close I thought I’d better go outside to see what was happening and saw the local air ambulance, having scoped landing in our back garden, fly low over the new man shed and land in the field behind the Grange.
We haven’t been able to determine why the air ambulance was here and we hope, if it was for an emergency, that the patient has a speedy recovery. When it took off again, I was able to capture it from the games room in Grange before going to find the items it blew away when hovering over the man shed.
Filling the shed is taking, unsurprisingly, a little longer than I’d anticipated. This is partly because I am doing things in as thorough a manner as I can, but also because I have not concentrated on it uninterrupted for long periods with other things to do.
One of the first tasks of the week was to take Brandon back to the vet to have his stitches out. He was a very happy puppy when he could finally remove the ‘cone of shame’ and we were able to take him on a very long walk as soon as we got home. A spaniel that has had much less exercise than he is used to for a week becomes a very frustrated dog, and a frustrated dog runs around a lot in the forest so it is probably only a matter of time before he gets stabbed again by a tree!
Another additional task was to go shopping. Not an abnormal activity in itself but, now with a dry and lockable shed we have bought a chest freezer that we have wanted for some time. As it is much more efficient to run any sort of freezer fully laden, we made a special shopping trip to buy some items to fill the freezer so we could turn it on.
One of the reasons that we wanted a freezer is to start to offer home-made frozen ready meals to our guests. David’s catering has always been extremely popular with guests and has got a lot of excellent feedback. However, so we can source lovely local ingredients, we ask for 2 days notice to prepare a 3 course dinner which takes some planning for us and our guests. The advantage of having some prepared frozen meals is that, if our guests have a long day, return late to the gîtes, or simply would rather not cook one night but want to stay in, they can ask for a meal they can simply put in the oven and enjoy.
The man shed is making progress. Which also means that, finally, I am able to remove all of the DIY things that I have been storing temporarily in the kitchen! I have installed the old kitchen units we took out of Hayloft and Granary when we renovated in 2015 and bought some new worktop for them – I know it is just a shed but …! I have left a gap for some more units that I will use when Priory gets a revamp which, all being well, should be this time next year.
With the new units and worktop, today we have finally managed to give Mouse her permanent bed which we bought about 2 years ago! While poor old Mousey isn’t allowed in the house she has never had a permanent ‘home’ and has had her bedding moved around frequently depending on where was convenient – for us – for her to sleep. We installed the cat flap and moved her bedding into the shed just before our trip to the UK in February which, according to our neighbour who is kind enough to look after her while we are away, made her much more content than living in an unsecure space. We have noticed that she spends a lot of time in the shed and, since we gave her the new bed this morning, she has spent all day curled up in it and hasn’t left the building.
I have managed to make progress on clearing the garage bays and filling the new shed. However, this has been slow as it is probably my one and only opportunity to sort things effectively. While those who saw the old shed before it was demolished, or my desk in our own home, will find it hard to believe, I am usually fairly OCD about having things well sorted and now is my chance.
As everything has been stored in pretty sub-optimal conditions for a long time – the old shed was practically open to the elements – many of my tools had begun to rust and there was no order in the way things had been stored. Now I am able to clean up my tools, make a reasoned decision abiut what I need to keep and what I can throw away (a very hard choice!) and put things in a place I will actually be able to find them when I need them. This is NOT The finished state!
However, I have also been distracted in my effort to get things right, by making a couple of new things such as a shoe rack inside the door. This is partly one of my procrastination techniques but also as a template for a luggage rack that I want to make for Hayloft this year.
Not much achieved over the weekend as we watched the climax of the Six Nations Championship, and what a climax it was – a tournament we always enjoy – and welcomed back the start of the Formula 1 season, although remains to be seen how engaging this one will be now that there is only 1 live race available on Free-to-Air TV with everything else shown as highlights.
The forecast for next week looks fantastic so lots of garden work is planned – and finishing filling the shed.