Sunday 31 October – Spookily Little Progress

I am not going to admit that writing a blog fortnightly is a better routine for me, despite that being the length of time which has passed since my last post!  There are, as always, good reasons (well reasons) that this is the case and, despite us promising ourselves that we would have a productive few weeks, the last 2 have shot passed without the great leaps forward I’d have hoped.

One of the better reasons is that, despite it being last October, the gîtes continue to be busy as we are having our best autumn season since moving here.  This has meant that we have been occupied with changing gîtes over and doing some of the smaller maintenance and improvement tasks that we have wanted to complete.

One such, was to change the old double bed in Stable for a king-sized bed and mattress.  The bed was the one we had put in there when we started our business having moved it from another of the gîtes.  The bed was solid and in good condition but was just a standard pine frame which matched the standard pine bedside cabinets but not the new wardrobe we had bought for the accommodation.

Stable’s previous pine bed and cabinets

We made the first significant change when we refurbished Stable in the spring 2019.  At that time we replaced the pine bedside cabinets with ones of the same range as the wardrobe.  We then cut off the frame’s finials and old headboard, painted it white and attached a new headboard also from the wardrobe range so now it all matched.

Stable’s pine bed painted

We had wanted to give the Stable a larger bed for some time but all of our linen is UK sizes (which differ slightly to those in the EU) so we needed to buy a new bed and mattress to UK dimensions.  While they are available here the range is limited, and we weren’t keen on getting something imported from the UK.  Thankfully, we found something recently that we thought would be suitable, so we ordered it and waited for a chance to swap the beds – and the headboard – over.

The new bed looks great and doesn’t take up that much more floor space but will hopefully be a more comfortable, or at least roomier, night’s sleep.

Stable’s new king-sized bed

The other reason for the slower than ideal progress was that the weather has changed to a more unsettled and wetter period.  This has slowed my progress clearing the old veg patch where I have only managed to take one more trailer load of bramble to the déchetterie.  I thought it would be slow progress!

The wetter weather meant that I was able to focus on indoor tasks including 2 days updating our listings on the various agencies we advertise with to include 2022 and, where possible, 2023 dates.  This is never something I enjoy doing as each agency has a completely different way of adding the information, some better than others, and it takes time for me to get confident that what I enter is right so that prospective guests see the correct information.  It’s not helped that the agencies change their means of adding the information frequently and I only do it once a year or so, so it ever becomes familiar.  However, it was a job worth doing.

One of the tasks David has completed in the last couple of weeks is making this year’s Christmas cakes.  That is definitely something I enjoy as the house smells great while he is doing it and I always enjoy eating them.  We actually only finished the 2020 cakes the week before David made these for 2021.

Another reason I haven’t been as productive as I’d have liked is that we have both had spells with colds.  David managed to shake his off pretty quickly (must be the sport giving him a better immune system) but I have one that has lingered for days which is no fun.  It didn’t however, stop us enjoying the company of some of our great friends who came out in the half-term holiday having been unable to come to us since the start of the pandemic.  We had some very sociable evenings and Garratt and Brandon love our friends’ visits as their children (Ed and Alice) wear the dogs out playing in the garden.

One of the reasons we have been so busy in the gîtes is that French schools are on holiday too and there are a couple of public holidays at this time of year including tomorrow – Toussaint, All Saints Day.

Lots of French travel for Toussaint and we have been very fortunate to be full most of last week and next.  What the French also do on this holiday is visit family graves which they tend and leave flowers making for extremely attractive cemeteries such as ours here in Saint Cadou.

Before Toussaint is Halloween, and the American tradition of Trick or Treating is becoming popular here too.  Last year, for obvious reasons, we didn’t have any callers, we’ll see if we, or any of our gîtes, receive visitors tonight.  At least everyone will be wearing a mask!

Hopefully more progress next week and more to update in next week’s blog.