Sunday 22 January – The Big Chill

As I stated at the end of last week’s blog, Monday turned out to be the worst weather day of the week which prevented us from making any progress on the garage.  As it was wet I wasn’t able to progress our rear wall as it would have been too muddy, but it did allow me to continue hacking back the overgrown trees, brambles and vegetation on the opposite side of Hent Gorreker.  We have already seen a significant difference with the amount of light falling on that part of the drive and garden and has opened up the view at the end of the drive to the forest beyond.

Thankfully Monday was the exception to what has become the weather pattern for the last few weeks which has been dominated by high pressure over the channel.  This has led to some fantastically crisp, clear days with bright sunshine and cloudless skies, day and night, which gives us amazing views of the stars as we don’t have any light pollution.  However, it has also meant we have experienced some of the lowest night time temperatures, -7 being the lowest to date, and more heavy frosts in a couple of weeks than Brittany has experienced in many years presenting a challenge to our poor poêle and some of the gîte water pipes!  On the upside we don’t expect too many bugs and insects next summer …

Garage work began again on Tuesday when we were able to progress with putting up the rafters in the 2 central bays which continues to make it look more like the garage it will ultimately be rather than a random collection of wooden supports!  What it has also made clear is just how BIG the first floor space will be – HUGE!! Current plans are to divide this into 2, half will be the family games room for ‘wet weather’ activities (should it ever be wet!) and the other half storage for David and I to use however, the scale does give us a lot of flexibility for future ideas and plans.

Central Span

Garage First Floor Size








Tuesday was a bit of a challenge following Monday’s wet weather because, as we have decided not to build on a solid concrete pad, the floor of the car bays became a bit of a quagmire which the feet of the ladders kept sinking into.  We had no such problem from Wednesday onwards when the cold weather returned and the ground remained frozen throughout the day.

We continued to make fairly rapid progress during the rest of the week, including putting up 3 of the 4 corner uprights made of the same douglas fir as the central supports that will give the building a real impact when it is complete.  Again, these pictures show the progress of the last 4 days from the same point so it is hopefully evident what we have managed to complete.  Next week, we hope, to start putting up the roofing rafters.

Garage 18 Jan

Garage 19 Jan







Garage 20 Jan

Garage Detail










We let our builder have the weekends off(!) so yesterday I returned to the Hent Gorreker hedge.  I would again have loved to make progress on our rear wall but the cold weather has meant the ground was far too frozen to do anything – it’s always an advantage of having so many things that need doing!!  Only 1 more day left to clear the bits that we want to – and then lots of wood to cut up and store for a couple of years before we can burn it.  One ‘disadvantage’ is that it has made the caravans stored (abandoned?) in the field more visible, thankfully however, the bramble, hazel and sycamore will be back before we know it – but can (and will) be controlled!

Hent Gorreker Before

Hent Gorreker 21 Jan 17








Today, after we said goodbye to our B&B guests, we took advantage of the amazing weather and gave ourselves a day off too. As last week we took the dogs for a walk but this time somewhere new for us as we want to explore more this fantastic part of the world.  Using a new walking book written by Dave’s PT client, we headed north of Morlaix to a small village on the banks of the Bay of Morlaix, Dourduff and did a short circular walk along the Rivière de Morlaix and Le Dourduff river.  It was a fabulous walk and, in the sunshine, could almost have been July it felt so hot.  We saw our first daffodils of spring (but I think all the plants are a little confused right now) as well as some interesting, old, man-made structures in a small stream like this little fountain.


Bay of Morlaix








We also saw a lot of a plant which we have seen before – its is very prickly and has very stiff leaves and stems but has amazing red berries.  We would love to know what it is as we would love to plant some in our garden but wouldn’t want to do so if its berries are toxic.  Can anyone assist and tell us what it is?

Mystery Plant

On our drive through Morlaix to our walk we stopped briefly at the yacht marina and it became obvious just how cold it has been over the last few weeks as the river had frozen over around the boats.  It’s going to be another cold night …

Frozen Morlaix 1

Frozen Morlaix 2










More progress on the garage in the week and, hopefully, some rafters and roof work completed.

À bientôt.