Sunday 26 February – A Platform to Build From

During the last week, France has raised significant concerns that 2023 will be as dry as the record-breaking droughts experienced last year.  The recent winter has been the driest France has experienced in the last 60 years.

Météo France said that between 21 January and 21 February there had been no precipitation at all in France, referring a cumulative total of less than 1mm rainfall for the whole of France.  I don’t think they have taken Finistère into account!

While we haven’t had days with long periods of heavy rain, we have had a number of dreich days when it has been drizzling, damp and not conducive to concreting, or barely being outside at all.  While we are not especially high at 660 feet, we are quite far west and very impacted by weather from the Atlantic. As a result the Monts d’Arrée’s weather can be very different from other areas fairly close by, especially if we’re caught in low cloud.

We have had a number of these last week which has slowed, but not stopped, my progress on building the plinths in front of Granary.  The second is now concreted and has a single paving slab laid – only to finish off the mortar I’d mixed when I laid the slabs on the first plinth.

If it stays drier this week, I will be able to finish both, clean the tops and point them which will be a good job done.  Especially as we think we have now found some suitable alternative pots to plant the yews we bought in that will need to be done before they start growing furiously in the spring.

I have managed to continue some planting of the griselinia cuttings we took a couple of years ago in anticipation of the privet surrounding Granary’s garden dying off from the honey fungus infection that appeared a couple of years ago.  This week I have planted some on the talus along the main driveway and in front of Priory.

Both are difficult areas to dig into, even quite small holes, as, being talus, there can be lots of pieces of rock and slate, some quite large, just under the surface.  As long as I keep the established, if poorly, privet cut back a little so the sun can reach the new plants, as they have some strong roots on them they should grow quite quickly.  Thankfully, Griselinia grows relatively quickly anyway.

Having said that the Monts d’Arrée often has different weather from areas around, it isn’t always worse weather.  Today we woke to beautiful bright sunshine at home so we were able to continue with our weekly dog walks.  Because we had limited time (we had to be back for the France / Scotland rugby!) we chose to do a walk on the north coast in the commune of Plouescat that we did on 30 January last year.

It is a lovely walk, not too long at about 9.5 kms but very varied taking in agricultural fields; an important nature and bird reserve; the remains of a neolithic covered burial alley and some interesting geological features that scatter the north coast.

When we were driving north we passed through a couple of heavy showers, and there was another heavy shower while we were walking although we didn’t get too wet.  Then, when we got home, it was evident it had been dry in the Monts d’Arrée all day and was still bright sunshine!

As well as dog walks being a weekly routine for us each Sunday (or at least when dry!) as too is our Friday night beer.  Since we have been here, we have enjoyed a drink on a Friday night at one of our local bars.  At present, we tend to use the bar in the Auberge du Menez restaurant in Saint Rivoal.

The restaurant has been under numerous chefs since we have lived here and the current team of 3 guys arrived in November 2022 and have been making a positive name for themselves since.  This week they showed us that they had been featured in, and contributed to, a newly published recipe book of Breton recipes.  This is great news for them and well deserved as their food is always imaginative, very locally sourced, and, most importantly, delicious.  It is one of our, increasing number, of recommendations for excellent restaurants around us.

The forecast for the coming week is looking, relatively, good so, with luck, more progress to share with you!

À bientôt.