Sunday 8th November – Remembrance Sunday

Sunday 8th November – Remembrance Sunday

If I’m being honest, I’m feeling a little fragile as I write this although this is about the best I’ve felt all day. I’m not requesting any sympathy as my condition is all totally self-inflicted after a fun and very late night last night.

This week has been much more varied weather-wise than last and we have had a number of wet, some very wet, days which has curtailed some of the plans we had to continue our work in the gardens. Thankfully however, Monday remained dry and allowed me to finish the wall work I had started in the Granary garden. When I dismantled both walls I couldn’t remove the large granite boulders at the base of the western side so I had to rebuild on these, less than level, foundations.

While I don’t think the finished result is quite as good as the opposite side I am not too disappointed and it will last much longer than it would have done previously. As the walls now contain 2 small, cleared, beds immediately outside the front door leading to the kitchen we have decided to plant herbs here for Granary guests to be able to pick when they are cooking and BBQ-ing.

Granary Western Wall - Family Gîte Brittany

The only other outside tasks that we have managed to complete is to start stripping turf to make a new flower bed at the rear of the Priory to provide additional privacy to Priory’s terrace (I will post pictures when we have made more progress) and to start cutting back the brambles, scrub and lots of Japanese knot weed growing around the boundary. One of our plans is to plant hedging around the gîtes to make it more secure, more attractive and to give parts of the garden an actual boundary!

The wet weather has allowed us to progress some of the many other tasks we have on the (very long) list to achieve. Some of these are rather tedious administrative tasks others internal jobs picking up things that we either hadn’t completed initially or which weren’t as robust as we’d hoped! Sadly neither give many opportunities for interesting photos.

One of the former was to construct our Sawday’s page listing. We were inspected by a one of the Sawday’s team a few days before we travelled to the UK in September and while we were there they gave us the great news that we had been accepted as one of their special places to stay. Not having managed to do it earlier, the wet weather gave us the opportunity to construct our self-catering and our B&B page on their site.

A couple of the latter tasks were fixing radiators in the Granary (the plasterboard walls were not strong enough to hold the raw plugs and so the radiator without a supporting baton that we hadn’t had time to fit before our first guests arrived), and preparing the poêle we purchased last week for installing into Priory in a couple of weeks’ time. The flue attachment on the poêle was on the rear and needed to be swapped onto the top. As it had been attached for many years the nuts were seized solid. Despite copious amounts of WD40, and some choice Anglo-Sazon vocabulary, applied I had to resort to precision engineering with an angle grinder to remove a few. We have guests in Priory who arrived last Tuesday for 2 weeks so it will be a short while before we install it.

Irritatingly on Thursday we received an official looking letter informing us that we had been caught by a speed camera when we were out last week picking up the poêle. Twenty five years of driving in the UK and I was never snapped by a camera, 8 months in France and I’m caught! 112 kmph on a 110 kmph road – grrrrr!!! What amazed me was the efficiency of the fining system – to receive the letter 8 days after the offence and a multi-language website on which you can pay. Lots of French businesses could learn a lot from their speed fining system! While not a big fine it is irritating and explains why many of the French are so disciplined about sticking to speed limits.

While not able to work outside David has been starting his Christmas cooking (not long now …) and the house has been filled with the amazing smells of poached pears, mincemeat and Christmas cakes cooking – delicious and very festive.

Last night was the last Fest Noz of the year in the village’s Salle des Fêtes this one organised by the Assomniak team. David and I went along and met our gîte guests there and had a great evening. We made it home just after 2am, our guests having left some time earlier, and I have been suffering the consequences all day.

Next week’s activities will again be determined by the weather – I will ensure there are more photos to accompany the update!