Apologies for not posting a blog last week. We, as all of the UK and NW France were in the teeth of Storm Dennis. Thankfully, here at Kergudon we have escaped any significant wind damage and, being high up flooding is never going to be a problem. With the exception of a few hours without power last Sunday we have got through unscathed.
We do appreciate however that having arrived a week after Storm Ciara, Dennis has caused or aggravated damage and flooding in many areas. We hope that people are managing to recover where necessary and things are looking brighter than they were.
While the winds have died down (apparently temporarily) with a few exceptional days it has remained generally wet and dreich. On one of those exceptional days it would have been good to get our lawns cut as, despite it being winter and wet, it has been relatively mild so everything is already springing into life.
However, last October we sent our mower to be serviced by a company that we have used before and had been recommended by a number of our neighbours. It is a company run by a couple of old-school mechanics who have evidently been tinkering with garden and agricultural machinery for years. We liked using them precisely because they were old-school and did a good job but they weren’t quick.
However, having not heard from them for over 3 months, which was even unusual for them, I started to chase them up. Only then did we find out that they had closed down and an auction house was in the process of selling off all of their stock. Despite our contact details being attached to our mower (and a chain saw they had had for an even longer period) no one had called us to let us know or arrange collection of our things. Thankfully, having contacted the auction house I was able to collect our things (in true French fashion, at a time that suited them more than me!)
On the upside, our mower had been fixed and we weren’t asked to pay for the fix, although the chainsaw hadn’t been looked at. Sadly, since then there hasn’t been a chance to use it and tame the grass yet.
Despite storms Ciara and Dennis trying to impact us over the last couple of weeks, it was a loud, low rumble we heard last Wednesday night that caused us most concern. Quickly dismissing some catastrophic problem with Priory having cut the main A-frame on the mezzanine, social media highlighted that Finistère had experienced an earthquake registering 3.4 on the richter scale with its epicentre about 5 kms south of Brest.
Thankfully earthquakes are fairly rare around us – far less so than damaging storms – and geologic change is glacial in its speed. Which leads us to work in Priory …
While my comment above is a bit tongue-in-cheek, sadly our builder Lee has been poorly for a part of last week so we had a limited amount of time to progress the big stuff. Thankfully, we have completed a couple of big things, principally las week we re-tiled the kitchen floor. One of the major changes we wanted to make in this project was to replace, actually cover, the old floor tiles as many had become chipped, cracked and generally unattractive.
Re-tiling the floor was the principal reason we removed the stud walls that created the cloakroom which made the kitchen appear so much larger. Rather than lift all the old tiles, we have re-tiled on top which required me to prime the old surface to allow the adhesive to adhere better. It even looked better just with the red primer!
While Lee was tiling, a job I couldn’t really assist with, I picked up my work to clear the far side of Hent Gorreker. Having not maintained the hedge I initially cleared in 2016, all the sycamore and hazels had grown new trunks which were greater in number, due to the coppice effect, and were getting tall. At least this time they were thinner and easy to bend so I have made an effort in laying a hedge – we will see how it looks and I will try and maintain it. It will at least ensure we get more sun to the end of the garden and by Stable in particular.
Before re-tiling, we made the decision to move the support post from the end of the staircase and place it into the centre of the room. While it is not essential to the structural strength of the building it does help and is better centrally placed, especially having added a little detailing. It did mean we needed to replace the newel post at the base of the stairs. Having done this it should make getting furniture up and down the stairs so much easier! Also, on Lee’s advice, we have created a small step at the base of the stair that we will tile to match the floor, which has also evened out the spacing of the steps themselves.
Having retiled last week, this week we were able to rebuild the cloakroom and start to plaster the walls of the new bathrooms (now plural!) The tiled floor made the kitchen appear a large space than we remembered, especially with the small addition for the new fridge. However, re-building the cloakroom has made a dramatic difference and it appears small again, although it is still a good sized room.
On the other hand, now we have committed to exactly where we will divide the single bathroom to create 2 (not yet built so not visible in these pictures), both seem to be larger than we had anticipated which is great news. Another advantage of building new walls for the cloakrooms and bathrooms, we have been able to add insulation to them that was lacking before. We haven’t done this to make any difference to the heat as they are all internal walls. But, to be delicate, the insulation will minimise noises emanating to from the bathrooms to the adjacent bedroom and kitchen.
The final thing we managed to achieve was to affix the last plasterboard to the mezzanine level completely hiding the cabling. Having completed the plasterboarding, now when Lee starts some plumbing next week I can continue on my own with filling and detailing.
Next week, we will complete the plasterboard around the bathrooms and Lee will make a start on the plumbing so there may not be many photos to share. Thankfully however, it actually feels like we are getting to the point when we are approaching if not the final furlongs at least the last lap!