Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Friday French group

For some months now we have been meeting on Friday mornings to improve our understanding of the French language and culture, as well as learning more about the local area.

The area we live in is surrounded by dense forest and, on the last two Monday's we have wandered these paths and, on a sunny day, they are stunning.
The dogs like it too.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Fosse Septiques

Because most of the houses in Brittany are in rural areas, they are not connected to mains sewers so all the waste is processed via a Fosse.

These are usually out of date and inefficient so invariably need replacing when the house is sold.

The earth moving machinery and the modern technology required in the new Fosse, can result in a costly exercise and we paid 10,000 euros, but had far higher quotes than that from other companies. 

Some disruption to the garden is inevitable but our contractors did their best to leave things undamaged.

They were professional and experienced and we now have a certificate to prove that our Fosse conforms with legal requirements.

If you would like their details, please email me and I will send them on.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Bridge building

The dogs didn't bother to cross the stream via the wobbly planks we laid down. They just jumped across; Benny being much more agile than Tilly who often struggles to land safely on the other side.

I have always had romantic notions of the bridge in Monet's garden in Giverney and managed to persuade Craig that a similar bridge would look wonderful across our stream.

Following lots of sawing, hammering and swearing, I was invited to look at Craig's magnificent creation, down in the cave.

Needless to say, I was very impressed and all that was needed was the right colour for the paint to complete the Giverney atmosphere. We got exactly what we wanted from Brico Depot at Plougasnou.
It was expensive but very good quality paint.

Next problem; how to get the bridge out of the cave and placed across the stream.

Neighbours were called in to manipulate what is quite a heavy structure. It all fitted together beautifully and the garden has the bridge it deserves.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The garden is coming along nicely now

With the help of our lovely neighbours we built a superb bonfire that was still smouldering after two days. All concerned, including the dogs, had a wonderful day in the sunshine.

For the first time since we moved in, last July, we are able to see the stream from the house. Craig has seen a reasonably sized fish in there too. 

The banks are full of wild primroses and celandine. We're just waiting for some more sunshine to encourage the other wild flowers to show themselves.

For a few weeks now, we have had regular early morning visits from a pair of wild ducks. They soon fly off when they see the dogs and I wouldn't be surprised if they produced young. However, I have real concerns for the safety of their ducklings. We have a family of buzzards nearby and they could be a threat. There is nothing we can do about it. That's nature.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The finished kitchen

The kitchen is finally finished! The work didn't take too long to complete but finding the right contrasts of old and contemporary design took a lot of planning and travelling around Brittany.

The old units are solid oak and it took 4 men and some clever use of levers to get them into place.
The lady who sold them to us said that they were built to fit her parents kitchen and the carpenters built them on site, in the kitchen. We hired a sander to bring the floorboards back to life and applied a dark oak stain to matche the cupboards. 

The table, with 8 matching chairs, was a really good buy and has 2 extensions for when we have people round for dinner.

The contemporary units are from LaPeyre and the contrast works really well.

I worked hard to get everything sparkling clean, before I took the photographs. Then remembered that I forgot to put the new rug down. Most of the time it's rolled up behind the sofa to protect it from the muddy dogs.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Buying a house in France

When we were looking for the ideal property, in this area of Finistere, we wandered into Sylvie Mayer Immobilier, in the central square of Huelgoat.

We were met by two of the most helpful people you could ever wish to meet and we bought our lovely house through them. Now, more than 6 months later, we still go to them for translations of important paperwork or where to find the best tree fellers etc.

The property business in France is quite different from that in England and it's important that you feel confident about the information and guidance given to you by the specialists. 

Sylvie and Veronique will tell you all you need to know and nothing is too much trouble.

In most small towns you will also find the Notaires office. The Notaire is similar to a solicitor but sells houses as well as processing the sales. They will usually have a display of the houses for sale, outside their office. They can also be cheaper to buy from as they don't have the same commission.

Friday, 15 January 2016

New kitchen and Le Bon Coin

The charming rustic furniture failed to meet our needs . Very little storage and a decrepit oven.

We decided to go for a new look; a mixture of antique and very contemporary styles. Nobody else will have the same one, that's for sure.

The first place to look was Le Bon Coin, a French website where people post things for sale. It's not really like eBay as you don't bid for things. Instead, you go to the sellers home and decide if you want the item or not. If you do, make an offer and see if they accept it.

If the item is large, you still have to get it back home. I bought a set of solid oak kitchen cupboards and we had to drive 2 hours each way to collect them. It took a lot longer on the way back.

I realised that they would not match the pine table so I found a beautiful cherry wood table in the Louis Phillipe style. Very elegant and just what I was looking for. There are 8 matching chairs too; all in perfect condition
My kitchen's going to be good enough for royalty!