Sunday 23 December – Joyeux Noël

I promised last Sunday that I would try and write a Saturday blog with tomorrow, and next Sunday, being significant dates.  I have managed, but will keep it short!

We have had a productive week and think we are now definitely back on track for our schedule for the festive period – that’s not to say that there isn’t more to be done – and we can at least rest knowing that we are fully prepared for the next few days.

The weather has been unseasonably warm, if a little damp at times but has allowed me to finally clear a parking space behind Granary for our guests who will be with us for New Year’s Eve.  It took a little longer than anticipated as some of the logs our tree surgeon had left were larger than we’d anticipated and I have stripped everything down for the next stage!

Effectively, I have made one large pile of roughly chopped wood that was left for us when we came home, into 3 smaller piles of wood but, most importantly, there is now space to park a car.  The large chunks of wood (and some are still very large) will need further cutting and splitting; the smaller pieces of wood will need reducing further; and the large pile of small branches and twigs will need to be shredded.  For now, I have achieved what I needed to.

Having cut up the trunk, and looked more closely at what was left, it is evident that the oak which was felled in Ciáran was beginning to rot on the inside. Despite there being no indication on the outside, there was lots of soft and spongy wood on the inside which wouldn’t have had much inherent strength and may have made the tree susceptible to the extreme winds of Ciáran.  Perhaps it is better it has come done now rather than after more years of growth when it could have caused more damage.

Today, I have managed to decorate Hayloft for the festive season.  Sadly, we don’t have guests staying in the gîte for Christmas but we do have a lovely couple who stayed for New Year last year returning for New Year this year – and enjoyed it so much they are staying for a slightly longer period.

We haven’t yet prepared the gîte for their arrival but I have taken some rough and ready photos of the decorations.

I have also managed to finish our own house as we had friends round for mulled wine and mince pies this afternoon which is becoming one of our traditions.

During the week, to continue to get us into the festive mood, we visited the town of Locronan.  Locronan is a small, quite touristy but beautifully preserved, 17/18th century town.  They have some interesting shops including an épicerie of amazing cheese and wine, and one we have not seen before selling a huge array of spices.  However, they are most renown for their Christmas lights when they also hold a small Christmas market.  The market seemed even smaller than previous years (a pattern that appears to be common this year) but the lights were worth seeing as they always are.

Tomorrow we have been invited into Priory Gîte for a German / Polish Christmas (where our guests/friends originate from) and we have invited them to ours for Monday to experience an ‘English’ Christmas, so the next 48 hours will be fun and food filled and very festive.

We hope your also have a very Merry Christmas doing whatever way you have planned and making lots of memories.

Next week, I will focus of rebuilding Granary in time for our guests to arrive for New Year and then, when made to look like a gîte again, decorating it for ‘Christmas’, which may feel a little odd considering the big day would have happened already!  I hope to blog again next Saturday to show you what I have achieved.

Joyeux Fêtes.