Another apology required as it has been two weeks (and a day if you’re counting) since I posted my last blog. Sorry. The reasons for this are that, while we have been working, we have also been entertaining, and sadly both David and I have succumbed to a nasty virus that has knocked us out for a period.
I mentioned in my last blog (if you remember that far back!) that we were expecting our first weekly guests of the year at the end of the following week. Their pending arrival set the work plan for that week which needed to be completed in the few dry, calm gaps between the breezy periods and the howling gales.
Thankfully some of the preparation needed was internal as we had to re-paint some areas of Priory following the roof work completed, as well as maintenance in Hayloft which could be completed in all weathers.
More challenging was completing the new wall in front of Hayloft, or rather, replacing the gravel at the base of the wall. Over the years the gravel had mixed with accumulated soil and dirt reducing its attractiveness and making it easier for weeds to grow. We will need to buy more gravel to spread around the drive eventually but before this I wanted to sieve what I had removed to replace the gravel and put the soil on the bed. While this was seen as verging on madness by our neighbours the result is very pleasing. No photo yet as we haven’t planted the bed but I will publish in my blog on Sunday (as close a promise as you’ll get to both the photo and me posting the blog!)
Our guests last week were a charming couple from Jersey with their very young daughter and Dave’s uncle and aunt, Chris and Clint, in Hayloft. It was their third visit to us at Kergudon but the first that coincided with one of Saint Cadou’s Fest Noz events which, as the first of the year, was the local soup competition.
The Soupbenn was the first Fest Noz that David and I attended last year as our introduction to Breton culture and it was good to attend this year and share it with Dave’s relatives. Sadly we arrived too late to taste any soup as it had all run out (Dave had cooked an excellent meal at home to welcome his aunt and uncle who had kindly brought 4 dozen oysters with them for us all to enjoy)
but we were able to watch some Breton dancing – although couldn’t persuade our guests to join in!
We would always welcome any guest to Kergudon but these guests seemed to bring a fantastic change to the weather with them and it has been dry and warm, sometimes hot, since 12th March. Not only has this meant David’s daffodils, which he planted in October, have started to flower and look fabulous but we have been able to continue the huge amounts of work needed outside and tame other areas of the garden that had been left to get wild – last week was hydrangeas. The west side of the orchard has a wall of hydrangeas (which love the soil conditions here) that look amazing in the late summer but the plants hadn’t been controlled for a number of years allowing them to get large but straggly and encroach further and further into the lawn.
By cutting them back we hope to ultimately make thicker, bushier shrubs with a greater concentration of flowers contained in a smaller space where we can also plant other shrubs which give greater variety and more interest throughout the year. As we may have said before, the garden is going to be a multi-year project …
Tuesday was another amazing day and we took Chris and Clint to the south coast of Brittany and an excellent fish restaurant, L’Estran in Île Tudy, that we had been introduced to last autumn by our friends Mercedes and Jean-Pascal who joined us for lunch. A very agreeable lunch was followed by a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun on the terrace of a Bénodet and not much gardening done!
Wednesday was when I tried to clear the HUGE pile of garden cuttings that had accumulated over the previous 9 months since my first (and last) bonfire. The amount I needed to burn was considerably more than my first bonfire, in this photo, while the scale isn’t great, the old chicken shed at the back is 2 metres tall at its roof and the pile was taller than this throughout the whole of the old chicken run. Despite the fire burning for 8 hours I didn’t clear the lot and a second fire is needed 🙂
School on Thursday was followed by my turn to be in bed for 24 hours unwell which, sadly, meant I wasn’t around to welcome other friends who arrived that night for a long weekend and David was left with hosting duties that evening as well as producing another amazing meal.
I bounced back on Friday when we took our friends on an adventure to find the fabulous L’Île-Vierge beach on the Crozon Peninsular whose picture we have on our home page. You can not get close to the beach by car and is not easily accessible from the land side – in summer some people come by boat. However, with a little care and confidence you can climb down the cliff to the beach which is well worth doing to reach this perfect secluded and sheltered beach. Will definitely be going back in the summer.
The weather stayed warm enough to allow us to have a late lunch picnic on another, but much more accessible, beach – the plage de l’Aber until we returned home to another of David’s fabulous dinners on his aunt and uncle’s last night.
We were very sad to see David’s relatives depart on Saturday morning but consoled ourselves with a stroll up Menez Mikael with our friends and a full afternoon’s rugby watching as the Six nations came to a great end. Sadly, as the last match didn’t end until almost 11pm, by which time we were well bedded in with wine, cheese and a fire sadly we didn’t go out to the Hangar Association’s Bal des Mutantes but understand that it was a great success.
As Chris and Clint’s third visit it is good to hear that they always see significant change between trips. We know we have made a lot of changes but, with anything that which evolves relatively slowly that you live with daily, you don’t always appreciate the changes.
Yesterday we took our friends for lunch to Roscoff and another great restaurant that does excellent fish (its great to have so many visitors who love seafood!) and a bracing stroll around the headland. A late return meant no blog yesterday.
Sadly we said goodbye to our friends as well this morning which has meant our ‘time off’ has also come to an end and it is back to work tomorrow to make the most of the last 2 forecast dry days.
Easter this weekend – but also a blog on Sunday. Promise.