We hope that everyone has had a fabulous Christmas and are not too fatigued and sated for New Year celebrations today! I generally love this period between Christmas and New Year as a week when it doesn’t matter if very little gets done and, as my blog last week stated, the forecast was pretty poor anyway so it would have been a great opportunity to hunker down and enjoy festive treats.
Sadly, both David and I have been laid low at various stages over Christmas having been hit with a pretty nasty lurgy (or lurgies). David suffered more on Christmas Eve although only shook it off in the last couple of days, while I was worst affected from 27th and spent the best part of 3 days in bed. It did mean that, while we both managed Christmas Day, it has turned out to be a much more sober and abstemious period than we had anticipated.
There are 2 (small) ‘advantages’ to our situation. The first is that all of the amazing treats David has cooked are left to be enjoyed and we can have our ’12 Treats of Christmas’ a little later as we started with an afternoon tea yesterday. This consisted of 5 mince pies (Dave’s); 4 edible tree decorations (Nigella’s made by Dave); 3 stocking chocolate gifts; 2 Christmas Cakes (sort of)(my Mum’s recipe made by Dave) and 1 Yuletide log (only cheat as this year from LeClerc).
The other advantage was that, as we had chosen to spend Christmas with just the 2 of us for the first time, our incapacity didn’t impact any personal guests.
We did however, have some lovely guests stay with us in our gîtes. A large French family stayed for a couple of nights in Priory who enjoyed their réveillon in French style on Christmas Eve and, from their photo, had a lot of gifts from Father Christmas waiting under the tree on Christmas morning; and we had an English couple with their dog, Martha, for a week in Hayloft whose welcome hamper included some of David’s piccalilli, chutney and a Christmas cake.
As it is New Year’s Eve, I thought it may be worth looking back over 2017 and seeing what we have managed to achieve at Kergudon. Being here we are probably a little guilty in focussing on the things that we have yet to do rather than take satisfaction in those that we have achieved.
Obviously the majority of our efforts have been focussed on Grange which did become a bit of a time thief. I had hoped this would now be complete and in use but, as you may recall a familiar theme of my blogs, this may have been a little naïve as most of the jobs I undertake I vastly underestimate the amount of time they require. Occasionally though it is worth comparing the then and now, just to realise where we are, and these pictures show the progress of Grange in the last 52 weeks.
The things that I have taken a lot of pleasure from are those where we have made some visible change / improvement such as the woodwork or walling projects as, with maintenance, these will be around for many years. The new fences and gates I have built or replaced have been very rewarding and make a major difference to the appearance of Kergudon and will continue to do so as I construct others – many of which my blogs would have said I would get around to doing last year! Hopefully which are the ‘then’ and which the ‘now’ pictures are obvious!
We are really pleased with how the gardens are growing and developing and we continue to be amazed at how quickly things grow here – especially the weeds and brambles! Having time to create things is problematic enough but then when created, the maintenance becomes ever more essential! The massive hacking back and planting of new hedging we have done is starting to look great but, with the yews and hollies which are so much slower growing, we won’t really see those for many years to come.
We are especially pleased with the flower beds we have made in the ‘orchard’, with the assistance of Storm Zeus in March. They should really establish themselves this spring, especially if we get the chance to plant a number of other trees and shrubs that we would like – but we also have a number of other trees to cut down as well.
At the start of 2017 I often referred to the ‘To Do’ list that we had generated, although did less so as Grange and routine maintenance became THE focus! However, it still exists and has a number (135) of projects, jobs and plans on it that we would like to achieve – perhaps we will be a little more realistic on some of the timeframes now!
The one project that will continue to our focus is getting Grange completed in its entirety as early in the New Year as we can. This will allow us to tidy the back drive; create our, much promised, petanque pitch and sort out so many things that are waiting on the space to be created for storage – not to mention the family games room.
As well as sorting out the back drive I want, finally, to redo our ‘jungle bed’ (which I started talking about in blogs in March 17!) so we can re-gravel and tidy the front drive. While doing this, I will move the wood, currently in front of the boot room, to the wood store behind Grange when I have made the covers; we can then ‘re-commission’ the boot room which, this year, became a work room as the ‘man shed’ became chaotic; and finally I can eventually demolish and re-build the man shed!!
So, workwise, 2018 is looking like it will be no less active than 2017 has been, and hopefully just as productive, as we continue to develop, improve and maintain this beautiful location.
Socially too, the village will have its usual active calendar of Fest Noz and festivals and, with the Tour de France passing so close to Kergudon for 2 days in July, 2018 is going to be busy.
I did make a couple of ‘resolutions’ in my first post of 2017 when I made a promise that I wouldn’t miss a week’s blog without prior warning – and I don’t think I did so badly with breaking that only in October. What I have been less successful with is achieving over 500 likes of our Facebook page which today stands at 278 – better than 12 months ago but a little short. I will make the same resolutions again this year and try harder on the likes – any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Perhaps too I might resolve to proof-read the odd blog before posting!
Finally, this evening, David and I, almost completely recovered, are travelling to Quimper to see the New Year in with some friends and we have another French family in Priory for their réveillon. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are doing it, we hope you have a fabulous evening, and wish you all the best for 2018 when we hope to be able to welcome you all to Kergudon.