Sunday 19 December – It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

I can’t believe that this is the last Sunday, and so my last blog, before we arrive at Christmas.  Where has this year gone?

I finished my last blog stated that the weather forecast was looking amazing for Christmas and so I should be able to make lots of progress outside.  It has been absolutely fantastic with bright, clear skies and even some warmth in the sun.  I have tried to capture some images including some mist or very low cloud that was rolling down the Monts D’Arrée behind the village.  This is as seen from the top of the steps to the games room.

Mist rolling down the Monts D’Arree

Mouse has enjoyed the heat in the sun and likes to bathe on one of the window sills on the front of our house.

Mouse’s sun trap

Our guests currently staying in Priory also have a pet, Terri, a Parsons Terrier, who has found a favourite spot to watch people coming and going on our drive.  Can you see her?

The other part of the prediction, me making lots of progress hasn’t come to fruition!

That’s not to stay I have been idle, and I have made some progress in clearing out the central garage bays.  I haven’t completed so I haven’t taken any pictures, but I should have got to a point that it will be emptied before Christmas – this will be a big step!

I was diverted from the garage when a local farmer we buy our firewood from telephoned to say he could deliver us a cord (here approximately 3 cubic metres).  While the air source heat pumps we have fitted into the gîtes have proven to be extremely effective, everyone enjoys the ambiance of a fire so we provide it for our guests.  Also, as our own home is still principally heated by our poêle (wood burning stove) in the evenings, we use a few cords a year.

Before it was delivered, I had to empty one our wood stores so we could store it and keep it dry.  When it was delivered I then spent a couple of days splitting and stacking so we now should be able to keep toasty warm for the winter.

We have also enjoyed a couple of social things …

Last week’s blog had the good news that the restaurant in our neighbouring village of Saint Rivoal, the Auberge du Menez, had reopened after an extended period of closure.  Under its previous chef, we thought it was very good and we really enjoyed it.  We were looking to find an early opportunity to try it under its new team and hope that it was still a good place to eat.

With some good friends staying with us in Priory, we made the opportunity to visit last Wednesday night and, we are delighted to say, it is just as good as before and definitely worth a visit when you stay with us.  The restaurant has had a bit of a refurb and it looks great (sorry, I didn’t get a picture) but, more importantly, the menu is interesting and the food was delicious.  We will definitely be back – often!

Menu at the reopened Auberge du Menez

We continued with our visits to local Christmas fairs and went to Le Faou yesterday afternoon.  Le Faou is a very pretty little town that you would pass though travelling from us onto the Crozon peninsular.  In the town is a very celebrated crêperie which has won the ‘Best Crêperie in Brittany’ a number of times, most recently in 2018.

Le Faou as seem from across the estuary

Despite everyone telling us how good it is, in our 7 years here, we hadn’t eaten there so chose to do so for lunch before the Christmas fair started in the town.  Its accolades are well deserved as their crêpes are excellent, both savoury and sweet, and, while the photo may not do it justice, there was a little bit of flare when a couple of our group ordered flambé crêpes for dessert.  Well worth a visit if you enjoy the Breton staple of crêpe.

The market was a little smaller than we had anticipated but, while we were there for lunch and early afternoon, it looked like it was more geared up for a party that would continue into the night.

We made the most of the weather today with a walk in the fabulous forest of Huelgoat.  Huelgoat forest is famed for its geological formations and the ‘chaos’ and grottos that they form.  The lake, created several hundred years ago, an important element of the lead and tin mines in the area, forms a feature of the town and looked amazing today.

The forest was one reason we chose Huelgoat for today’s walk, the other was we knew a particular bar in the town would be serving the Christmas beer made by Coreff, a large brewery originating in Morlaix in 1985 but now based in Carhaix.  Coreff’s Christmas beer is one of the best we have tasted since moving here and we have bought a couple of bottles to enjoy over the Christmas period.  A tour of the brewery is also on our ‘to do’ list.  (We also knew that the bar serves Cornish pasties on its menu and every now and again we do enjoy a pasty so we had a good lunch!)

I suspect next week will pass very quickly as we head to Christmas.  Very sadly, with the new travel restrictions imposed on travellers between the UK and France, David’s Dad is unable to join us as planned.  However, in his absence we have invited some good friends who were due to be travelling the other way to spend Christmas with their families and whose plans had to be cancelled, so we should have a great day.

David and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  I will blog again in 2 weeks,  on 2nd January  as we start another year, it appears only a couple of weeks after we started the last!!

Bonnes Fêtes.