I mentioned at the end of last week’s blog that we were waiting with trepidation for the arrival of Storm Katie that was passing up the channel over Sunday night into Monday morning and we had battened down the hatches in anticipation.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t battened all of the hatches down and we suffered a little damage. Fortunately more with ‘things’ than with the buildings. We lost a fence panel outside of Hayloft which, thankfully, didn’t cause any damage to our guests car which was parked next to it (phew!) and 2 very heavy objects on our own small terrace, a gas BBQ and large clay chiminea, were both blown over and damaged. The BBQ should be repairable but the clay chiminea needed rather more than a little bit of glue and is sadly now in the déchetterie.
It meant that the winds were stronger than any we have experienced since moving here as both these items had come to France with us from the UK and had survived all the previous storms. Bizarrely, other much smaller, and lighter, objects on the terrace were completely unaffected! Lesson learned!
The storm did lead to the annual Marché sur l’eau being moved from the barrage at the Lac du Drennec to the Salle des Fêtes in the village. However, as the storm had stopped pretty abruptly in the middle of the night and led to a fairly good day, we took Garratt for a walk around the lake and popped into our local restaurant, Au Lac, who had opened for the Easter weekend. As often happens a ‘quick drink’ with our good friends Mercedes and Jean-Pascal became a very enjoyable evening which led to a very late night home and a very ginger day the following day!
The remainder of the week has again been focussed in the garden (when the weather allows) with planting, tidying and developing. The major change being cutting a second flowerbed behind Priory (our mushrooms as we are calling them) which now clearly defines a small lawn area and increases the privacy for our guests in Priory. This will be planted up in the coming days.
David had cut the first and did the same for the second while I used the lifted turf to fill some hollows in the lawn and edge the flower bed on the eastern side where we had cleared the brambles and Japanese knot weed in the autumn. These photos I hope show what changed we have made.
As there isn’t much of our progress to publicise this week, I thought I take the opportunity to highlight something else we hope people enjoy when they arrive at Kergudon – our welcome box.
We know that ‘Welcome Boxes’ are supposed to be a surprise and, part of those additional extras that people don’t expect but I think now there is an expectation that they are provided and we are very fortunate to have so many high quality local farms and businesses to source the contents of our box.
Pictured are some of the basics that we provide, all of which we source as locally as we can, and, if enjoyed by our guests, more can be purchased.
Within the village of Saint Cadou we have our own organic boulangerie, Ty Forn Nevez, which produces a range of baguettes and pain as well as the favourite croissants and pains au chocolat. Also within Saint Cadou (within 200 yards of the gîtes) we have some artisan honey producers, Philippe et Sylvie, who have a number of hives in the local area the closest being in the field the other side of Stable gîte whose bees we hope will be attracted by the flowers and plants that we are introducing.
Within the surrounding villages, all of which are no more than 10 minutes away, are a number of organic pig, sheep and cattle farms most of which are open every Friday evening for people to go and purchase their products (although a number operate on a very small scale so may not slaughter a lamb / pig / cow every week). For our boxes we include a jar of terrine from one of the pork farms depending on which market we have visited that week.
No Breton visit and welcome box would be complete without cider and ours is sourced slightly further away from the Manoir du Kinkiz in Quimper. The Manoir is open every day for people to visit their cider museum, distilling plant and shop but most importantly they produce excellent cider.
The last item you can see in the box is filter coffee. Perhaps not a product traditionally associated with Brittany(!) is coffee. We love Coic coffee blended and packaged in Plomelin just outside Quimper. The French love their coffee and we love this particular Breton brand.
There are other small surprises in the gîte when our guests arrive (I wouldn’t want to spoil all of the surprises) and we even provide a welcome box for our four-legged guests but we have found that all of the items we gift are enjoyed and appreciated.
Tasks for the coming week is a little weather dependent, although there are many indoor jobs moving higher up the priority list, and we welcome more guests to Granary on Friday so there is a little prep to do. All keeps us out of trouble (except for last Monday!) but at least with the clocks having gone forward last weekend it is now light until almost 9 in the evening – fabulous, just need to get the BBQ repaired!