Sunday 25 July – We’re Still Here!

What is that expression regarding having good intentions ….??

I started my last blog, way back on 27th June, saying that it wasn’t my intention to get into the habit of blogging every 2 weeks and that I will try and do so weekly again.  In my defence, it hasn’t been 2 weeks – but 4!

I did start to write a blog on a couple of the past Sundays but there has been only 1 reason it didn’t get far (well technically 2, people called Kinga and Hinnerk.)  Kinga and Hinnerk first visited us in 2018 as guests staying in Hayloft.  Since their first visit, they have been back every year and have become good friends (as well as doing PT with Dave on Skype).

Their 3 week stay with us this year (1 week working from ‘home’ and 2 week holiday) began on Saturday 3rd.  I would generally have written a blog on Sunday 4th but that coincided with Kinga’s birthday which we had to mark, and that led to no blog.  The subsequent 2 Sundays (and lots of the days in between) have been equally sociable meaning that only now (they left us yesterday) I am able to put pen to paper (sort of!)

While not having blogged for 4 weeks, I can’t in all honesty, say that there has been 4 weeks’ worth of solid achievement on my projects.  While I mentioned that it has been a bit sociable (time off for Wimbledon aside) we are also now well into our summer season with lots of guests meaning much of the work that we do is the essential running of the gîtes and chambre d’hôte – and that doesn’t make for good pics.

Evidently after 4 week’s absence there is a lot to tell you about but, so as not to make this ‘War and Peace’, I will focus on some of the social bit and leave work aspects until next Sunday (again), although safe in the knowledge that we remain on our own next weekend so I will be able to write a blog!

The first night of Kinga and Hinnerk’s visit was the village Tantad (bonfire).  This is an event held to mark the fête day of Saint Jean, although is really just a great excuse for a party.  Sadly, it had to be cancelled last year (can’t recall why?!) but was back on this year in the, newly enlarged, Salle des Fêtes – one project undertaken by the village while the world was in lockdown.  Unfortunately we forgot a camera so I have borrowed these pics from the comité des fêtes Facebook page.

There wasn’t as much dancing as previous years and the room was set with seating to watch the musicians, we assume in an effort to control COVID, which we hadn’t seen before but hopefully this mean that events are going to make a comeback slowly.

With travel restricted from the UK we have not been able to welcome GB-based friends and family and enjoy the ‘traditions’ we have established with them so we had to do so with Kinga and Hinnerk.  One of these is to enjoy the seafood that Brittany is famous for, and especially oysters, at least others enjoy the oysters, me, less so since I have developed an intolerance but I get to enjoy the crevettes instead.  This seemed to be a tradition that Kinga and Hinnerk are happy to adopt as well!

Brittany seafood – delicious

One of the tasks I did manage to achieve in the first week, with the assistance of a friend, was to install a satellite receiver on Grange to provide UK TV in our games room / cinema.  We ‘christened’ this by showing the men’s singles final and invited some good friends, who also run gîtes in a nearby village, and made it an event with a proper English tea – cucumber sandwiches, Pimms and scones included with lots of other delicious treats.

The tennis was followed by a certain football final that was also enjoyed on our big screen and we were delighted that our guests in Priory (a Belgian family who were staying with us for a second summer holiday) came to join us.

Wednesday 14th July is France’s Fête Nationale, generally another opportunity for a party.  Again, last year saw almost no organised activities but a few made a return for 2021.  Sizun’s is generally among the best and they have a fabulous firework display on the church steeple amazingly without setting fire to it – yet!  Sadly, Sizun had decided not to arrange anything just yet and we decided to go to Daoulas which had planned its traditional flea market and fireworks on the river which we had been to in 2017 and enjoyed.

Having advertised their event widely we were a bit miffed having driven to Daoulas early (to get the best bits in the market) to find it had been cancelled late notice!  This led to a change of plan and we went to Huelgoat instead.  Huelgoat is another pretty little town about 20 minutes from us which also has a large lake next to which they set off their fireworks making for a great display.  In the end we had a good evening having had dinner in one of the Huelgoat bars (Cornish pasty – obviously – as we miss them!) and enjoyed the fireworks in the balmy warm evening.

Huelgoat lake sunset

The last week has, as the UK, been exceptionally hot and we spent a near perfect Sunday showing Kinga and Hinnerk some of our favourite spots.  We went back to Daoulas to our favourite produce market which we always recommend to guests.  When there it was evident they were having a little regatta on the estuary which we just missed (hence the poor photo) but they had accompanying music and entertainment.

We also wanted to visit Daoulas as the chef, Yann, who used to run really good restaurant in Saint Rivoal had joined a new venture in the town as head chef, La Faïencerie.  The building has been redeveloped beautifully and Yann’s food remained excellent.  We sat on the terrace at the back which was very comfortable in the heat, and had a great meal.  One we will definitely tell our guests about.

La Faiencerie Restaurant Daoulas Menu

After lunch we did one of our favourite walks around Logonna-Daoulas and spent an hour on the beach and had my first swim in the sea for the year. 

Because our dogs enjoy swimming (Kinga and Hinnerk’s dog less so) when we had finished our walk we went home via Lac du Drennec so they could swim in fresh water and wash the salt off.  As you would expect, in the 30 + degree heat the lake beaches were packed but, thankfully, our dog-suitable ‘private’ beach was free.  Lac du Drennec really is an excellent feature so close to us.

Stamadec beach on Lac du Drennec packed in 30 degree heat

Freshened up, we came home for a BBQ to make the most of the weather and, of course, no blog last Sunday either!

On previous visits Kinga and Hinnerk have asked if we were able to arrange a massage for them but we had struggled to find anyone locally and no one who wanted to make house call.  Thankfully, this time we have now found 2, one of whom we met as they were a guest with us earlier in the year.  As well as being a great cinema, the games room has proven itself to be very versatile and an ideal therapy room – another reason Kergudon is the perfect location for your relaxing holiday.

Games room as a therapy room at Kergudon

Our garden continues to grow and develop and we have lots of plans and ideas.  Because of its climate, Brittany is a great region for growing things and we enjoy visiting other people’s gardens to help us develop those ideas.  A couple of weeks ago our close neighbours, who I have mentioned on earlier blogs and are themselves very keen gardeners, telephoned us from one such garden saying that it was a ‘must see’.

The garden they were in is 20 minutes from us but is only open for 2 weekends a year and they called us on the Saturday of the second weekend.  As they had felt it was so special to have called, on the Sunday morning (before setting up for our Wimbledon tea) we thought we would take a look – and they were right.

We came away with lots of ideas for more new projects and planting only to come back to what can only be described as a mole mountain and a particularly active little digger!  The bucket is to cover the means by which I hope to prevent him making any more hills but gives a sense of scale to his destruction!

A(nother) active little blighter destroying my lawn!

With Wimbledon and the football over so no interesting sports events (or friends) to distract, there should be progress on our many projects and next week (promise), I will also tell you about what I have been working on in the last 4 weeks!