As I write this blog at the end of another sweltering day’s heat, the rain of last Sunday is a very distant memory. We are not surprised that the farmers of the UK are concerned about the state of crops and grazing land as this has proven to be an exceptional year – it’s unfortunate it is also the year we chose to plant 100 new yews – I’m concerned how many will make it through the summer despite our best efforts.
Last Sunday’s storm was evidently windier than it seemed. I listed the damage that we sustained ourselves, including the electrical supply cable pulling out of the back wall of Granary. We had been told the electricity company would be coming that night to repair although was sceptical that we would see them. I was right!
However, they did telephone to say that there were a number of homes without power at all which they were rightly prioritising. They promised to be with us on Monday and they arrived shortly after 9 am and repaired the cable pretty quickly so our faith has been restored!
I spent some of Monday clearing up the fallen apple bough in the orchard of our last apple tree. Despite it being old and unloved for many years, this year, despite the winter cold, spring wet and summer drought, the crop was so heavy it was what caused the bough to break.
The tree has always been growing at an odd angle and, now with the top branch gone, it is an even odder shape and, sadly as the last remaining apple tree in the orchard, it is probably a candidate for felling in the autumn.
The main activity for the remainder of the week was hedge cutting. Normally, I try and cut the hedges at least twice and year and would have normally done this earlier but this year I was told it is better to wait until August in case there are any nesting birds. With the jungle bed having been cleared in the spring this cut was less of a life-endangering activity than previously and so we decided to be a little more brutal with the hedges around the orchard and lower them slightly more than previously – generating a lot of waste. Start a compost heap also on the list!
The finished hedges look great – those that I have managed to complete – although the drought has taken its toll even on some of the privet plants which are supposed to be among the toughest of hedging. Again, we’ll have to see what needs replacing when / if the rain returns.
My other success was repairing the drain under what will be the new patio at our back door and, in preparation for the next drought, plumbing in the water butts we installed around Grange – if only I had managed to do that pre-drought!
We did manage to select what we will use for the replaced patio having spent a morning in Brest trawling around the brico stores, and others of course. We don’t go to Brest often and compile a comprehensive list of things that we need to get when we are there. Having chosen the paving, when we came home we tried to order it online having calculated exactly how much we needed only to find we can’t, or over the phone, and need to go back and order in person! Grrrr!!
More successful was a visit to Morlaix to visit the historic house called the Duchesse Anne (a historic Breton heroine). The house has been under near permanent renovation since we moved here which is now very near completion and they have organised a number of evening torchlight tours to show off their efforts.
The house is known as a lantern house owing to its shape, fundamentally 2 separate houses one behind the other, with a roofed enclosed ‘courtyard’ between the 2 with a huge fireplace. For me, the most interesting feature of the house was a spectacular carved oak staircase winding up the corner of the central atrium. Well worth a visit.
Next week will be more hedging, and more and more in years to come as all of the hedges we have planted mature, and probably a brief, Brexit related, trip to Quimper.