This week’s efforts have been focussed principally on getting Priory and Kergudon ready for Christmas. While it really doesn’t feel like Christmas time as the weather has been anything like wintery, putting up so many decorations and having our first Christmas dinner, albeit not turkey, has started to get us in the mood.
As we had 2 guests arrive with their dog, Jojo, on Saturday to spend their Christmas with us in Priory, we have spent a lot of time in the gîte preparing it for the festive season. As we mentioned in previous blogs, the poêle (wood burning stove) in Priory was very small and not really up to the job of heating the large space and mezzanine. We had purchased a larger poêle from a ‘Gumtree’ style website a few weeks ago but hadn’t installed as we were fortunate enough to have guests stay in Priory and we didn’t want to risk removing the old and not having time to install the new!
In the end, removing the old poêle was far easier than anticipated and, with the help of some hired muscle we managed to lift the new, exceedingly heavy stove into place. I secured the flue plate on the top, it was previously attached to the rear of the stove and cemented in place which required 2 days to cure allowing us to focus on getting the gîte decorated.
While I decorated the Christmas tree, a garland above the fireplace as well as one over the old fireplace in the kitchen, David decorated the Christmas cake that he had made for their welcome basket to add to the other home-made goodies including chutney and piccalilli.
We managed to finish on Friday morning so we could take lots of new pictures and light the new poêle for the first time as well as start to decorate our own home. For those who visited our Balham flat at Christmas will know that we enjoy decorating for Christmas and we want to continue that tradition here.
Friday evening was our first Christmas dinner of the season (although I suspect others reading this may already be approaching double figures!) as we were honoured to be invited to the Christmas meal for the Comité des Fêtes in the Pub St Hubert which gave us a great opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and make new friends.
Saturday’s weather continued to be clear and sunny, having chopped down the large beech tree a few weeks ago has made a big difference to the level of sun in the garden, and we took Garratt for a walk around the Lac du Drennec. As we passed it was only polite to pop into the restaurant Au Lac for a coffee that, as it so often does, became a cheeky beer as Jean-Pascal was trying the seasonal Coreff beer. Lovely and definitely recommended.
Thankfully (or regrettably depending on how you look at it) we didn’t have enough Coreff to prevent me cutting the grass when we got home (I said it had been mild) and progressing the Kergudon decorations while we waited for our Priory guests to arrive who had driven all the way from Alsace. In fact they were not the only guests we have had stay with us this week as we also had a Dutch couple, who had also driven for hours to reach us, in Hayloft for 2 nights as they came to inspect a large house near Morlaix that they had rented for a large family gathering in the summer. Unfortunately they weren’t wowed with their summer location but loved Hayloft – perhaps we can persuade them to stay in Saint Cadou rather than Morlaix in 2016 …
We had to finish our own decorations on Sunday as we had invited a number of our friends and neighbours who have helped us out during the course of the year for Christmas drinks in the afternoon. The invitation said between 3 and 5 but, as for our spring welcome drinks, we ended up in the pub after our own drinks and the last guest departed shortly after 1 am – hence no blog last night!
Thankfully we woke this morning in reasonably good form (David even managed to give one of his regular PT sessions over Skype to a UK based client) but have had a fairly gentle day (mostly as the weather has been very wet (glad I got the grass cut!!).
We are now very much looking forward to our first Christmas together in our new house and we are being joined by 2 friends from the UK as well who were due to sail from Plymouth to Roscoff overnight with their dog, a lovely Weimaraner. However, we have just received phonecall from them to say that they have not been able to board as their dog’s passport has not been filled out correctly by their vet! I cannot understand how it can be that vets, who are evidently intelligent, highly educated people, manage to screw up such a simple but essential piece of paperwork so often causing so much frustration. We have experienced it ourselves when taking Garratt back to the UK and heard about it so often from guests who have bought their dogs on holiday with them.
The upshot for our friends is that they are having to take their dog to relatives and leave him in the UK while their trip to us is shifted 24 hours right. At least we get to see our friends but they won’t be able to have Christmas with their own dog, Garratt won’t have a playmate and one of their families will have to care for their pet for a week who will have his own Christmas without his family and master.
Wherever you are for Christmas, David and I hope you have the Christmas you wish for, be it restful and relaxed or riotous and rowdy, and, if you’ve been good, that Father Christmas brings you all that you deserve.