At last spring has arrived in St. Cadou and we have been enjoying some glorious days of hot weather and long warm evenings allowing us to have our first BBQ of the season (with our newly repaired BBQ) and commission our replacement chiminea. Long may it last!
Our wings have been a little clipped this week as you may have heard that there is currently industrial action taking place throughout France which has led to blockades of oil refineries and a shortage of fuel in some areas. The action is over new employment legislation the French government are trying to introduce but the impact is that some filling stations don’t have any petrol. Thankfully, we haven’t yet experienced too many problems and the small petrol station in Sizun appears to still be receiving deliveries. However, it has meant that we could stay home and work on our projects and so we have been able to achieve quite a lot during the week including, as I know it has become a bit of a running theme / joke, making significant progress on the boot room conversion.
From last week’s blog you will have seen the state the boot room space had become as it was about our last dumping ground for things. This proved to be problematic when I was working during the week as I had to climb and clamber around things – most of them being the material and items we had brought to do the job! However other things that I (re)found were the last CRT television that we took out of the gites, an old baby high chair and various other bits of junk that should have gone to the decheterie months ago!
Not being a professional carpenter the conversion work has taken me slightly longer than it would a proper joiner (notwithstanding working round ‘stuff’) and I am probably over-engineering much of the work as I don’t know the cheats and short cuts that others may use, but I am really pleased with what I have done so far.
I have started with the ceiling and, being a boot / drying room which needs to be able to be heated I have stuffed so much insulation in between the rafters there is a risk that it will be warmer than our own house in winter! I had a friend upgrade the electrics so that there was a separate feed and switch in the room but I have wired in some ceiling lights; cut through a, non-load bearing, joist and screwed in a level frame so that I could clad the ceiling in classic French lambris – to be painted!
More progress next week on the boot and rod racks and installing a cabinet, sink and washer / dryer space.
We continued working in the garden last week including a morning tidying around Stable which welcomed its first guest of the season on Wednesday. Just a few hours tidying round has made a massive difference and we think that Stable looks better now outside than it has done since we arrived.
David has started to dig another flower bed in the garden between Hayloft and Stable, an area we call the orchard – although there are only 4 very large and old so not very productive cider apple trees. We already have a number of shrubs for the bed and we will attend the fete at the Morlaix Down’s Syndrome school as we did last June where we will buy lots more. Although I can’t help feeling it will just need more weeding!
The fuel issue didn’t stop us driving to Huelgoat on Tuesday morning as we had been asked to participate in a discussion for a French newspaper on UK ex-pats living in France and our views on the Brexit referendum (Huelgoat being like little England with the number of Brits who have settled there!) It was an interesting session but reinforced that we are very much at the younger end of the British ex-pats living here! All of the other participants had retired to France so their views were firmly focussed of any impacts to pensions but it seemed that there wasn’t much concrete information for them to base their views on.
We are not sure when the article will be published but we were told it will be before the vote so I will include a link in my blog when it is printed (assuming it makes us look articulate and erudite!)
We said goodbye to our friend’s parents last Monday and to the 2 Australian guys who had stayed with us for a fortnight in Hayloft with their Labrador. Our guest who stayed in Stable lives in Lyon but has family living in this area – and her Grandmother lived in Granary up until the 1970s! Amazingly, she was the second person who we have met who had family living in our gites in previous years, oddly both in Granary, so we hope to keep in touch and try and get some history of the building and area.
Finally, we now have a date when we can collect Monsieur Brandon – next Sunday (5 June) – yay! The breeder has not been as good as Garratt’s breeder who sent us photos most weeks and kept in regular touch (hence no pictures of our new pup in my blogs for the last few weeks) but we now know that we can bring him home in a week’s time. So exciting!! Need to puppy proof the house again …