Firstly, I would like to say how shocked we have been with the events that took place in Nice on Thursday night. We are at a loss to explain why France seems so particularly vulnerable to extremist attacks, or so poor in monitoring extremist activity so as to prevent them occurring. Since we have moved here this was the 3rd such incident, the Charlie Hebdo shootings having occurred on the day we sailed from the UK to move here permanently.
It is extremely worrying that this, open, welcoming and liberal nation has been the victim of so much hate. The nation remains at a state of Emergency, indeed the planned cessation later this month has now been extended, and there is obvious nervousness around.
Thankfully, living in rural Finistère we are not impacted in any noticeable way and it remains a welcoming and safe location to visit but our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
I mentioned last week that, if the weather stayed kind, I would be able to progress the, much needed and belated, hedge cutting and on Monday I bought myself a new ‘toy’ when I got a new, better, hedge cutter. I actually asked the shop to look at my cheapie cutter and, having said that as a ‘brico’ (bought cheap from a DIY store) tool it was probable that it could only be thrown away. However, they managed to find and fix the problem (irritatingly quickly) so I now have a good cutter and a cheap back-up should it be required (with the amount of hedging we have planted I don’t want to be left without again!)
So, the photos are of neatly trimmed bushes which may not be the most exciting but do show what a fantastic difference it makes to the appearance of the place when they are all cut. We are particularly pleased that the arch we are trying to create into the Granary garden is taking shape quickly and the laurel at the front of the garden has recovered so quickly from my brutal hacking back earlier in the year – I have added an old picture at the end of what it looked like up to February.
David’s catering continues to prove extremely popular and, while it is not the first time this year that all 4 cottages have been occupied, it is the first time that we had new arrivals in all 4 on Saturday (including the first of 5 couples who are back with us having stayed last year – we must be doing something right!) Thankfully we were able to prepare Granary and Hayloft a couple of days in advance so it was only turning around Priory and Stable during the day, but as David’s suppers appear most popular on arrival day, he also cooked 2 dinners for 7 people in total (and one on Friday night) all of which looked, and we are told tasted, fabulous. He has also tweaked with the menu to add more ‘summer’ dishes which are proving really popular.
One significant task I achieved (that we have wanted to do for a while) is to boost the wifi signal across the gîtes. While Wifi has always been available to our guests, the signal was not as strong as we would have liked in a couple of the buildings with the old slate walls proving a near impenetrable barrier.
I had probably put the task off longer than I might as, as anyone who knows me will testify, I am not especially technical so I believed that it would be a long and tortuous job. Thankfully (amazingly) it turned out not to be either especially and after only a couple of mails to the support team of the system manufacturers we have used (when the (written by and for geeks) instruction manual didn’t prove helpful at configuring the hardware) we now have wifi available not just in every gîte but able to be used from sun loungers in the garden too! A big task taken off the, still very long, list.
The weather has been pretty good since Wednesday (BBQ yesterday) and was absolutely amazing today so, after a gentle start (1 breakfast to Stable) and a trip to Daoulas market, we had our very first afternoon trialling the sun loungers we bought for the gîtes last year. Accompanied with a glass of Pimms it made for a very pleasant afternoon and, probably, another BBQ tonight. The forecast is for it to remain for a few days so perhaps a trip to the beach in the week is order – all in the name of research you understand!
For the second year running we failed to do anything to commemorate France’s Fête Nationale (they don’t call it Bastille Day as we are all taught in the UK) although there was a Cochon Grillé (pig roast) in Sizun followed by fireworks. We have also not been able to get to see any of the Brest Maritime Festival as yet although we have a French family staying with us in Priory who visited today and tell us it was fantastic. Worth putting in the diary for the next in 2020.
Lots of ‘bitty’ jobs to complete in the coming week and, I apologise in advance, there is unlikely to be a blog next week so normal service will be resumed at the end of the month.