You may have seen that I didn’t post a blog last Sunday – sorry. We had had a productive week but not necessarily on things that made for great pictures or an interesting read! Unfortunately, even now, I haven’t taken as many ‘before’ photos of what we have achieved.
The last blog said that we had completed the exterior work of Stable but that there was a lot to do to get it to a state where we could allow guests to stay – and our first guests of the season were booked in for the following Wednesday. Therefore, the first half of the week was spent weeding the front terrace which we don’t keep on top of over the winter, and giving the interior the deepest clean it’s had probably since we last decorated.
Unfortunately, while cleaning, we found that while the roofers were with us, they had accidentally damaged one of the tiles in the bathroom which now needs replacing. We know that the tiles we used are no longer available but, thankfully we bought a few spare when we did the work so, as soon as I have some adhesive, I will be able to replace the damaged tile.
Outside, I have started to repair the lawn that suffered when the roofer’s lorry got stuck after our last wet day. It continues to prove extremely useful having a friend with a ready supply of top soil and, during the course of the week I managed to get 3 trailer loads that I have spread on the lawn to fill the ruts. I think I will need at least another 3 loads to finish the job and the a period of rain to settle it down and encourage the grass to grown through. At this point, with it being so dry the birds seem to really enjoy using it as a dust bath.
Also outside, I spent a few hours tidying up the hedge we had begun to shape behind Stable alongside Hent Gorreker. One of the tasks we were able to do in the months of confinement in 2020 was to cut down some very large buxus-type trees; trimmed a privet bush and planted some lonicera cuttings to create a hedge that will, eventually, enclose a new terrace we plan to create behind the building.
Having left it alone since that initial work, we were pleased to see that the buxus has back budded and bushed out from the base. The loniceras have also become well established and created strong plants – the one closest to the building took a bit of a battering with the roof work but has already started to re-shoot. A couple of unidentified, extremely thorny plants had also grown rapidly and were taller than the other plants and risked hindering their growth.
I cut out the spiky unknown intruder and tidied up the remainder of the hedging which is starting to look good and should be a decent border when we do manage to create the terrace – although when that’ll be we’re not sure …
Last weekend we decided to have a couple of days off. Last Saturday was a beautiful day and would be the last Saturday when we didn’t have to turn gîtes around until the end of September so we decided to head north and, as we had done a few weeks ago with David’s Dad, we went to the Morlaix market before continuing on to Carantec to have lunch somewhere we enjoy overlooking the beach – Chez Gabi.
Last Sunday was the inaugural Sizun Soap Box Derby which we visited and really enjoyed it. When we moved to France, Sizun held a biennial Grand Prix for vintage cars. That too was a great day and very successful for the town. Sadly, either the inevitable Health & Safety risks of old cars hurtling around a tight town centre course separated from the crowds with only straw bales, or just a killjoy attitude from some motoring body or other, eventually caught up with it and the final Grand Prix was held in 2017.
Perhaps as a replacement for the Grand Prix, or maybe just as a fun new town event, the Comité d’Animation of Sizun organised a soap box race down the hill leading away from the town centre.
This year there were only about 15 participants but they had all made a great effort with their cars and costumes – some more than others! Teams entered included local fire team; staff from a couple of garages and at least one family group – we thought it was a great thing for a family to do together, build and race their own car. I’m sure as the event becomes more established there will be more entrants but with 15 they had 3 timed races down the hill before being tethered and towed back up by a local quad group to Parc Fermé in front of the recently re-built Mairie.
This week has also been primarily outside and focused on weeding. You will have heard that clearing the garage and finishing the pétanque area has been something we have wanted to do for a while(!) so I spent a couple of days clearing there.
Like Stable’s terrace, the pétanque pitch is not cleared over the winter so by spring, it resembles a field more than a games space and needs a couple of days to clear. Again, I didn’t take a before picture but the middle one shows after a day and a half weeding, and you can see the state of what is left to be done – it was all like that before. This year we will try and find a suitable cover for the off-season to minimise the amount of manual weeding required!
Today was the ‘Jardins en Fête’ (open gardens) in the village. Unfortunately, the event didn’t appear to have been terribly well organized or advertised. Our neighbours, who we assisted a few weeks ago with refreshments when they last opened their gardens, were open again and we turned up to assist. It turns out, they were one of only 3 spaces open and that, with slightly showery weather, meant there were very few visitors.
As our assistance wasn’t required, we went to visit one of the gardens closer to the centre of Sizun. This garden was interesting but unusual as, around a couple of lovely ponds the owner had created a number of sculptures of animals, dinosaur-like creatures and a subterranean grotto. While we may not be trying to recreate the theme-park like feel, we did come away with some ideas that we may be able to copy!
The summer season has now started and there will be much more time spent cleaning and preparing accommodation, and less opportunity to do anything major – or at least major if noisy – but there is still lots to be getting on with …