Sunday 25th February – Soggy Doggies

The last sentence of my previous blog said that the forecast for the start of the week was for drier weather.  It was – for a day!

On that dry Monday I continued to cut hedges and completed the longer of the 2 which surround Granary’s garden.  It is one where honey-fungus is slowly taking its toll on the privet which is slowly dying along its length.

To minimise the impact of this and retain as much of a hedge as we can, a couple of years ago we planted some small cuttings of griselinia which is a plant tolerant of the fungus and grows quickly in our conditions.  They all seem to have survived and are putting their roots down, although we have another project which will assist – although when we’ll be able to do that I’m not sure!

As the griselinia establishes itself we will remove what is left of the privet ourselves before it dies completely (and all of the self-set laurel and hawthorn that is establishing – although we’ll keep the yew!)  We may actually end up with a better hedge as griselinia has the advantage over privet that it is evergreen and is a brighter, cheerier, shade of green.

That, sadly, is the sum total of my project work here for the week – 2024 has started much as 2023 did although we have been a little more productive so far.  To give you an indication as to just how poor it has been, our pool terrassier (digger driver / earth mover) did visit on Friday really just to reassure us that we hadn’t been forgotten.  He told us that he had been able to work just for one day in the preceding week (not here) as the soil everywhere is so wet.

Despite the poor weather, we have been out and about this weekend as we couldn’t achieve much here.

Yesterday we went to Morlaix which has one of the best Saturday markets near us – although even that seems to have been impacted by the dreadful weather and some of the stall holders had evidently made the decision not to bother turning up as there were fewer shoppers.

As the market was smaller, we decided to have a bit of a walk around the town.  Despite visiting often and knowing the town well, we have never walked across the iconic viaduct together, in fact while I’ve done it once with friends who visited some years ago, David has never walked across.  So we did that – but on our walk we also found a number of new restaurants that look worth a visit.

We often recommend Morlaix as somewhere to visit to our guests and now we certainly think a walk across the viaduct should be added to the list.

Today, for our Sunday stroll, again because of the poor forecast, we chose to stay local and did the entire canal walk in Huelgoat.

We last did some of the walk on Boxing Day but not the entire circuit – which we haven’t done for about 8 years.  Our thinking for staying in the Huelgoat forest, as well as knowing we could get a drink at the end(!), was the protection it would give us when it rained – which it did.  What we didn’t think about was when the rain stopped – which it also did for a while – it continued to ‘rain’ under the trees as the water dripped off!

The canal was constructed in the 16th century to provide water from the Huelgoat lake to the lead and silver mine that on the outskirts of the town.  Today, the canal still has water for a few kilometres to a small hydroelectric station.  Beyond that the canal is empty but the trench is still clearly visible with an adjacent path.

The damage from Storm Ciáran last year was significant along the length of the canal, and in one part where a tree had grown on that adjacent path and been blown down by the storm, the canal had been breached and it provided a small obstacle to our walk.

The remains of the mine itself have avoided any significant damage from the winds but the large ‘manager’s house’ is looking in and increasingly poor state although you are still able to go inside.

As you would expect, the river which passes through Huelgoat, the Argent river as an indication of how influential the mine was on the town in history, was full and fast flowing. The small waterfall, Le Gouffre, had more water flowing through than we have ever seen and it makes a tremendous noise!

There is another significant storm forecast to pass through tomorrow (joy!) followed by a, very brief, dry period and then more wet weather!  However, we have lots to be getting on with and I’ll update next Sunday. At least we have an extra day to do things!