Having said goodbye to Dave’s parents on Wednesday another week has flown past. This week has been at least a little more productive than last as I haven’t been hampered with a cold, and I have done lots of smaller, but worthwhile, tasks including continuing to clear the garage bays – slow progress!
In last week’s blog I mentioned that we had started felling some of the trees that we wanted to clear on the boundary but that I hadn’t managed to log them as yet. I did manage to make a start on this at the start of the week only to be hampered then by a chainsaw that didn’t want to play.
To be honest the saw didn’t really work when we felled the trees and I was kindly lent another by a neighbour so we didn’t leave a tree in a perilous half-cut state. Having looked online for all of the obvious problems that may affect it and tried a number of things to get it going, I asked another neighbour if they could take a look. Their conclusion was that the carburettor needed adjusting but, unlike a number of other brands where you can make an adjustment with a screwdriver, my saw needs a special key which isn’t included when you buy it.
Having visited 3 repair shops it is evident that this time of year is when everyone takes garden equipment in to get repaired! The first store, and most convenient as it is near David’s work, took some time to show and explain what the problem was likely to be with the carburettor and said it should be a relatively quick and simple job. However, they then said it would be at least 2 weeks before they could even look at it!
The second, more of an ‘old-school’ repair shop, made an adjustment in their workshop there and then. It took 5 minutes, they made no charge and looked to be working fine when in their shop but, having bought it home after 5 minutes the same problem occurred! The third shop looked at it and said that it wasn’t a make they dealt with and that they were likely to struggle getting parts.
The saw is admittedly a cheap brand that we brought from a DIY-shop of the same company as B&Q and ScrewFix so one that you could get in the UK. However, it has last a couple of years so was a reasonable buy but now we need to consider what’s best. As we have lots of wood to cut over the years we need to decide if we spend more on a better make of saw. Current thinking is that we try another of the same brand, as it is cheaper to keep replacing then if / when they break, and we have the added advantage of having spares assuming different parts break!
I have managed to cut as much of the trees as I can with my trusty bow saw (pretty effective with a decent blade) but now need something powered. On the upside we will need another bonfire soon!
The rest of the week has also been spent outside as the weather has been pretty decent. One thing that I have been able to do for the first time is to cut the buxus plants we put in the champignon beds behind Priory. We created the beds at the end of 2015 (our first year here) and early 2016 to give some definition to the private area for Priory. To further do that we thought we would plant some formal low hedging and make it look formal!
Unfortunately I don’t seem to have got a picture when they were first planted but I do have one when they were laid out in their pots. Here you can see that they have some growing to do before they become a proper hedge (not to mention the changes to the old fence panels) but this year they were in a position to start trimming.
We hope by cutting the sides it will encourage them to grow taller and, where the still need to join sideways, they can put their energy in this. Hopefully you can get an impression of what it will look like in years to come when they have gained a little height.
The old photo also shows that there used to be a couple of choisya plants in the beds (the small very yellow ones) but these are not in the current state photos. For some reason these plants were never very happy here so we have dug them up, have put them in pots and when they are stronger will find a new home for them. We also need to think of some other plants to put in their place – any suggestions will be gratefully received.
The choisyas weren’t the only plants I moved this week. You may recall that we got a lot of our plants in a sort of lottery at a Morlaix school fete held each June. As such, we don’t always know what we get – or how large the plants may become. One such was a heather that we planted next to the Hayloft terrace and it evidently likes its spot as it grew and grew and started to smother the azaleas that were already there.
We have moved this to another area behind Hayloft which has forced me to start to clear this area of the bed which, other than chopping down some overgrown hawthorn a couple of years ago, we have never touched. Hopefully, having had a trim, it will recover and enjoy it here, more so when we cut back lots of the other plants next to it after the rhododendron has flowered.
One of the other smaller but worthwhile tasks has been to attach a couple of the nameplates to our new buildings. Having had the garage (Grange) and my man shed built we thought it would be good to give them the same name plates as the gîtes. Despite living in a slate area here, these plaques come from a slate mine in the Lake District. We ordered the Grange plaque when we were walking in 2018 and the man shed plate this spring. While we have given the gîtes English names these new buildings have French plates which we think is more appropriate (Grange being the choice of blog readers last year).
We have put the man shed plate below where we want to attach an exterior light. When we were renovating the gîtes for the first time in 2015 we bought 5 lights – 1 for each gîte and one for our own home. We didn’t attach the light to Stable immediately so we were able to use it on Grange but now we need 2 more and, of course, 4 years later we can’t find the same style! If anyone has seen a light as the picture below for sale anywhere please do let us know – it would be good if they could all be the same.
Next week will depend on the weather – we are due a few wet days – and if I get a new chainsaw – but there is always something to do ….