We have been enjoying the Channel 4 series ‘Restoring Britain’s Landmarks’ covering the work of the Landmark Trust in the UK which sadly concluded today. As supporters of such organisations (I have been a member of the National Trust since my parents gifted me a membership over 25 years ago) we are fascinated by the work showcased and feel, while we don’t have anywhere near the vast resources of the Trust or, hopefully, either of us are as amusingly eccentric as their Furnishings Manager (who does seem to have a dream job), we feel we are trying to do something similar with Kergudon’s historic buildings.
This week has been both a painful one – both physically and financially for reasons you will see. But, while the weather has been much more mixed, we have generally continued to enjoy unseasonably good days. (You see, I’m still British talking about the weather in the blog, although it does dictate what we do to a great degree.) It has certainly got colder since Friday, not so cold that we have had snow which we see has been pretty widespread in the UK but cold enough to light a cosy fire in the house, and we have had some fairly windy days but the week started beautifully and I was able to continue my boundary clearance.
I am really pleased with what I have managed to clear so far, and it has allowed us to plant some of the shrubs you may recall we bought at a fete in June at the Morlaix school for people with Down’s Syndrome which have sat in their pots ever since! Now we have a mahonia, rhododendron and osmanthus planted behind our new griselinia hedge where there used to be bramble and weed. I have worked so much outside recently that I have worn out the best pair of gardening gloves I have ever owned and the bramble thorns are now getting through. If only this blog were sponsored by some manufacturer of gardening equipment (assuming Range Rover won’t offer) I wouldn’t have to worry, however, for now they are on my Christmas list …
The other thing I have managed to ‘wear out’ is my back and on Tuesday I felt a distinct twinge when I was pulling out a stake that was part of the perimeter to the old chicken run that we want to dismantle. Sadly that twinge got increasingly painful and on Wednesday I was pretty stiff and immobile although thankfully it coincided with a wet day that prevented me gardening anyway. We did however take the opportunity to go to Brest for some essential shopping. Knowing that we will have guests stay with us for Christmas we don’t have quite enough decorations for 2 houses so we had to buy some more baubles (hopefully we will have Granary and Hayloft full next year as well but we will look for other decorations in the January sales J.)
We also wanted to order David’s Christmas present – a range cooker. As David’s catering has been extremely popular and he enjoys cooking we needed to replace the very old, inefficient, range that we inherited with our house. We were told by Lynne, the previous owner, that she was promised a new cooker by her husband shortly after they bought Kergudon (about 11 years ago) but it never materialised. Dave cleaned this one last January when we were first here and ever since it has only worked at 2 temperatures – off and 220 degrees. Not great for haute cuisine!
David was very specific about the brand of cooker he wanted and, we believed that for a number of reasons having a completely gas version would be preferable. However, having done some research, we realised this was not an option so we had a 32 amp supply installed in the kitchen last week. The first time we asked in a branch of the shop which sold Dave’s cooker we were told it would be 6 weeks between ordering and delivery so we placed an order when we were in Brest. This store said they could deliver 3 days later – on Saturday so David has received his Christmas present early and I have enjoyed some fantastic dishes for the last 24 hours that would not have been possible in the old oven. The other advantage of having got it so quickly is that we will be able to cook our own Christmas dinner in it and not have to dive across to one of the gîtes to prepare. However, as we also ordered and have received the tumble drier we promised ourselves (we had not needed a tumble drier in London but think it may be worthwhile here – sadly it’s not always dry and hot) the financial pain now matched my back pain!!
While we have replaced our own oven, we have also managed to help a neighbour out. During the week we learned that, while we were in the UK, one of our neighbours, who has been extremely kind and helpful to us, had a fire in his kitchen which destroyed everything in the room. We were storing an old cooker and washing machine in the ‘Mouse House’ which we’d replaced in one of the gîtes, while we decided what we were going to do with them. We couldn’t think of anything better than to give these to our neighbour to get them functioning again.
As we get closer to Christmas, which we are both really looking forward to as our first here, we will take the opportunity to explore the many Christmas Markets which happen in and around Finistère. Most of the towns around us have a market for us and our guests to explore at this time of year, some are for a day only others for longer.
There are a couple of websites which have a comprehensive list of markets such as noel.org and marches-noel.org. As you would expect, the markets which last the longest are held in the larger towns and we plan to visit a few. Those I am most looking forward to are in Locronan, a fabulous town in its own right and well worth a visit, Brest and Morlaix. All of which are easily reached from Kergudon. We will let you know what they are like when we go.
Next week’s activities will depend as much on back recovery as weather!!