This week started much as last week concluded – with considerable back pain and confined to the house! This was really frustrating as the weather continued to be ideal to work outside and I really don’t like sitting around doing nothing when there is so much that we need to do …
Thankfully I was starting to feel more mobile on Tuesday but, remembering my back had improved previously before going into complete spasm a couple of days later, I was keen to take things much more gently this time. Thankfully, the major project that we had planned, and I spoke about briefly in last week’s blog, was one that was beyond our own capabilities and we had to call in assistance!
In the summer we found that the large trees on the western boundary of Kergudon blocked a lot of the sunlight, and so heat, to the west side of the garden and house, where our own terrace is. Because of this, and because we have plans that we hope to progress next year for that part of the garden, we wanted to fell the blocking trees. Due to their size it wasn’t something that we could have done alone, without potential damage to ourselves and the house(!) a proper tree surgeon was needed.
He arrived on Tuesday morning and took a day and a half to fell the trees we wanted chopped as well as few other useful tasks, such as clearing some branches elsewhere which could have damaged our electrical supply in any winter storm we may have. While it can be sad to lose long standing trees, we think the finished result is considerably better and has the added benefit of giving us a view of the top of the Monts D’Arrée as well as a season’s worth of wood for the fire when it properly dried in a couple of years’ time.
Over the next few weeks we will need to split the large chunks of trunk and stack it properly so it can dry and our friend, the tree surgeon, has offered us use of his splitter which should make the job easier.
While the trees were being felled I continued, slowly and carefully, to clear the boundary on the north side of the years of bramble and knot weed growth. There is still a few days of effort left but once done it will be so much easier to maintain with a strimmer and mower. David continued to strip turf off the new flower beds in preparation for planting which he has almost completed.
Thursday was, as usual, school day and we continued into Quimper for the afternoon to pick up a few provisions including material for David to make some drapes for the four poster bed and some of our new welcome box cider from the Manoir du Kinkiz.
The Christmas decorations looked amazing in Quimper, and they were building a sizeable ice rink next to the cathedral, but as we were there during the day we couldn’t fully appreciate the Christmas lights so may need to have another shopping trip … What also amazed us was that, because of the fantastic weather we have been having here, there were daffodils in bloom at the roadside. I assume these were planted and grown by the municipal authorities and are likely to be early flowering varieties, if there is such a thing, but pretty amazing none the less.
Since then I have continued with garden work (still working delicately so not exactly charging along the boundary) and putting the gîte garden furniture into winter storage to preserve it. We must say a public thank you to our neighbours Bryan and Jackie who have allowed us to take up some space in their hangar. In the orchard (at least its name for now!) David has planted dozens of daffodil bulbs that he was given as a birthday present in August. While not yet in flower, need to catch up with Quimper!) we hope they will make an amazing display in the spring and add some much needed colour and flower to that part of the garden before we create new flowerbeds there.
David has also progressed in his fitness studio as we have cleared out some of the items that had been cluttering it up for some time, and will allow me to take a photo and publish it next week. Worth waiting for …
Finally, one annual tradition that we always looked forward to and enjoyed was going to Twickenham for the Varsity rugby match that we did with David’s Dad and brother-in-law. It became our unofficial start to Christmas. As we can’t attend this year we chose to watch a local rugby match in Landivisiau between the town and Brest rugby club. We had hoped to go with a couple of our new friends however, sadly one had to work and another was laid up unwell so we only had Garratt for company – although he enjoys his rugby! It was a fun afternoon and, while not quite the quality of the last rugby match we attended at Twickenham (Australia / Wales in this year’s World Cup) it had one similarity in that one team was down to 13 men for a period!
The quality of the rugby was not dissimilar from that of the Varsity match(!) and while 32 – 3 down well into the second half, Landivisiau put up a spirited fight back to finish 32 – 17 down! Unfortunately there is no chance of replicating our traditional post-match activities near us – generally a few drinks followed by a curry on Northcote Road. Rural Finistère has so much to offer but, as yet, we haven’t found a curry house in Landivisiau to match Clapham!