October 2011

Ems found this little chap setting up for winter in the barn…..

he was summarily removed to the garden where I hope he has rolled himself in all those leaves from the hazelnut tree and found a sheltered hole instead.

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April/May 2011

At the pottery gallery  & workshop across the street, Guillaume has a demonstration day and lots of visitors are coming to watch him at work on the old-style wheel.A misty April morning on the road to Pontivy, the first blossom is starting on the trees…..and in the forests, green leaves are appearing.  Spring in Brittany, it’s all so beautiful.

In the garden the cherry tree and clematis (for the first time) are flowering.Sadly the old Citroen has broken down for the last time, so it’s off to the Auto-Casse in Pontivy for her.We hire a car and set off for fabulous Mont St Michel.  I hoped to see the tides rush in …..but it doesn’t happen, not whilst we were there.

More sightseeing: the ancient stones at Carnac…..

the chateau des Rohan at Pontivy

past fields full of wildflowersand back to Guémené.

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May 2010

The pissenlits are overtaking the grass and there are plenty of other mauvais herbes to be dealt with as well …. (I love these French words for weeds!)

 

It’s been two years since the last Carnavale so, on one Friday evening, le maire gives the keys to Guémené to the participants, and the next day, the streets are crowded with floats, clowns and performers.

 

Meanwhile, up the hill, Jean-Yves is taking his cows to fresh fields.  He has a red flag (as well as the red overalls) to stop such traffic as may be on this main road which by-passes Guémené.

 

 

 There were many evenings on the terrace, with Sally and Mimi

and a picnic on the shores of the Golfe du Morbihan

By June, the roses were beginning to flower, and the clematis was promising to climb over the gateway, but it was time for me to leave.

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November 2009

Autumn 2009

hazelnuts and hydrangeas:

 

 

 

mists and autumn colour:

Flowers for All Souls’ Day on Novembre 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pontivy

Chateau des Costas near Guémené-sur-Scorff

Across the street, a potter is now in residence in the maison du XVI siècle

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March 2009

I arrived in the evening, hungry and tired, but there was a bottle of côtes du rhône, a can of cassolet in the cupboard, and this view from the terrace…

The next morning, after biscuits and vegemite for breakfast, it was just as lovely.

Best of all, the shop windows were fixed in November and are just as before.  Patrick tells me there is a place in Brittany that is still able to make the curved glass that was needed.

The trees are still winter bare, but violets and daffodils are flowering in the garden

No shortage of water in Brittany:The Chateau des Rohan at Pontivy, from the towpath of the Nantes á Brest canal.

Les Roches du Diable, in the vallée de l’Ellé

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April 2008

The garden was completely overgrown again but the drifts of forget-me-nots growing everywhere made it all seem part of a grand design.

This year I was to see my first Carnaval Pourleth, a biennial event in Guémené when the town is awash with floats and performers:

Sumo wrestlers and cowhands take over the street…….

and a Mississippi steamboat passes the window.

After three times around the town, perhaps it was four, getting rowdier and louder, I escaped to the back laneway where the foxgloves were flowering:

Friends came to stay and on a wet and miserable day we set out for the Pointe du Raz in Finistere, the most easterly landfall in France.

Meanwhile in Guémené, Patrick is painting their house next-door, in Monahel’s favourite colours, yellow and mauve, but I have to go home before it will be finished.

Postscript August

The beautiful curved glass windows of the shop have been broken, side-swiped by a truck……..that display case that couldn’t be opened?  “Pas de probleme” said Patrick.

So now it is all boarded up and awaiting restoration ……… when?  Who can say?

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April 2007

Email from les bons voisins, February 2007: We have been suffering from very high winds and torrential rain for the last 5 days.  As a consequence, Patrick came round last evening to unfortunately tell us that a fair section of your barn wall has been demolished by the weather – this happened just yesterday afternoon.  We went round there this morning to see exactly what had happened and am attaching photos for you to see.  The hole is about 6 feet by 6 feet but as the wall is a two section wall it’s taken the “outer” skin down further and is in danger of the whole wall coming down.  The only good, if there is such a thing as good, thing is that there is an RSJ running from the attached building right along the wall and is holding the roof and end wall up, otherwise the whole building would have come down, or that end certainly……

I was about ready to give up, maintaining a house in France from the other end of the earth was getting far too difficult.  But with the help of the good neighbours, French (Patrick and Monahel) and les bons voisins, English (Sally and Merv),  m’sieur l’expert from the insurance company and Daniel the stonemason were called in. All was resolved and repaired by the time I arrived in April…….. the barn was now restored to its previous condition, just a rather large bill to pay!

First job for Matt when he arrived a few weeks later was to redo the pointing in the barn end wall before it collapsed as well. Before long he became a dab hand with the Cox’s pointing gun.

Meanwhile Ems and I set about assembling planter boxes for the terrace. 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d taken time off to visit Jersey, just an hour or so on the ferry from St.Malo, to visit Gerald Durrell’s zoo, the war tunnels and of course stock up on UK goods from Boots and Marks & Spencer…..

I could indulge my passion for lighthouses at La Corbiere, having discovered that that the one I really wanted to see……

 

 

 

 

 

La Jument, off the coast of Brittany, was only possible to visit during two short weeks in July.

 

 

 

 

 

The lighthouse at St Malo was impressive even in the fog which had descended on The Channel.

 

 

 

 

 

Then back to Guémené and speaking French at the pretty charcuterie up the street

 

 

 

 

although English is the usual option a few doors down at La Girelle, our local internet café and popular meeting place for ex-pats from the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

The finished wall looked wonderful behind the climbing rose which was bursting into flower…….

 

 

 

as were the daisies and herbs in the planter boxes on the terrace

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