I have to say, I am surprised I am able to write a blog today. Having seen the recent forecasts and the predicted strength of the winds we should have experienced in Storm Bella, I had every expectation that we would have lost at least power if not just internet in the carnage that could have happened last night.
While there is nothing we can do about it, I always feel responsible as we have guests in the gîtes and it wouldn’t be any fun for them to be plunged into darkness. Thankfully, Bella turned out to be a non-event here and other than a few strong gusts I slept soundly through the night. I know that others haven’t been so lucky and I hope that any damage can be sorted quickly.
I know too that others have had flooding with the tremendous amount of rain experienced in the UK and NW France. Living on a hill has its advantages and, while I would have loved a stream meandering through the garden, I can see that it could have problems! The ground is certainly wetter than we have seen it in our 6 years here and the volume of water running through the drainage ditches is far greater so at least Lac du Drennec is full!
Most importantly, despite the circumstances of 2020, floods and winds aside, we hope everyone managed to have as good a Christmas as possible and were able to speak with family and loved ones in some form. David and I had a lovely day as it was one of the very few dry and bright days in the last few weeks. This allowed us to take the dogs out on a long local walk, wellies essential, and look at the amazing views of Finistère and the Monts D’Arrée around us.
Even Boxing Day was bright and sunny which allowed us to take the dogs back to the Fôret du Cranou for a long run, for us to digest our excesses of the day before and for them to swim in the swollen streams which they love!
The preparation for Christmas was busy for us as we were lucky enough to have 3 of our properties occupied. Priory we had already decorated and I shared the photos a couple of weeks ago but we needed to prepare Stable and Hayloft.
Stable, being the smallest of the properties was quite quick but we think it looks suitably festive.
However, I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick little job in Hayloft first. As ever that ‘quick’ job turned out to need longer than I’d planned and actually needs completely re-doing in the spring! The job was to paint a length of skirting that we hadn’t ever done ourselves. Time was pressed in 2015 when we renovated and, being skirting, most was hidden by the sofa and dining table.
However, when I was sanding to repaint it was obvious that there was barely any wood left of the actual skirting board and the only thing providing any sort of shape was layers of old paint. We think this was probably as, before we arrived, the gîtes were closed up for many months over the winter and being old stone buildings they got damp (it had taken us until 2018 to properly dry out the fabric of Hayloft). This had caused the skirting to rot and only now did we discover it. Another job added to the spring ‘To Do’ list.
The reason we could access the skirting was we decided to change the sofa. We loved Hayloft’s old sofa which had been very generously gifted to us from some friends in the UK when we moved here as they had no use for it. It was a really well made sofa sold, at a handsome price, by M&S when new. Being well made the frame and cushions were all still in good shape but the cover, understandably, had started showing its age and was in distress in places!
It is evidently a popular sofa as M&S still sell the same one so we approached them to ask to buy a replacement cover. However, M&S foolishly, in our view, don’t sell replacement covers. We looked to see if we could have one made using the old as a pattern but the cost was almost as much as buying a new sofa from a well-known Swedish supplier, which is what we have done.
We actually love the new sofa, and think the colour goes well too. As the Swedes will sell as many spare covers as we want, we will be able to keep this one looking good for years. Because the old sofa is also still fundamentally good, it been given a third lease of life as we have passed it onto some friends and will continue to go strong for years too.
We did also manage to get the tumble dryer out of our lounge on Christmas Eve too as our plumber was good to come and finish the utility room plumbing for us the day before. I am really happy with the new room which is so much better than how it looked before. It has a little more storage space, a better sink and, when I have got round to tiling a splashback will be completely done and be the smartest room in our own home!
This week is likely to be a quieter one for us although, happily we have a number of new guests come and stay in the gîtes, before we finally see the end of 2020. I’m not sure it will be missed by many!
Have a good week and, in advance, we wish you all a very peaceful, prosperous and Happy New Year.