Wednesday, 4 July 2007

A Wet Day In Brittany

One of the advantages of the coldest and wettest weather ever experienced in living memory here - at least amongst the local villagers - is that we can get on with our house restoration project! It is great weather to work indoors and undertake that most boring of jobs, the rendering of old stone and motar! The house being so old has excellent stone work but alas the old motar has expired! Lots of holes and cracks to clean out and refill by hand is a slow and laborious process yet quite satisfying as the results are quickly evident and look brillant. We are minded of the interior of old Danish churches where the same restoration has taken place with good results. This is especially in old houses where light needs to be reflected back into inner spaces and alcoves. We are going to have a lovely entrance once it is completed but we have just started and there is a long way up to go - till we get to the ceiling which is three floors high or in modern parlance 8 metres up! Photos will follow to show you the progress.

Unfortunately it has been so wet here that our tomato plants have all died! The roses have also lost their pretty flowers (the Queen of Denmark, the Fairy Queen, Phyllis Bide and Irish Eyes) but the Australian tree fern is growing ever faster and magnificient with all this rain we are having!! The paradise apple tree will bare an enormous crop this year too so we look forward to some serious apple jelly making again this autumn! That's when the new kitchen will be installed (October sometime to be precise) and we have had lots of thinking about this given its central importance to the cooking school! The idea was to have a simple design (cross between English classic cottage and French Provencial) which allowed the benefit of modenity with Briton tradition. We have elected to retain the character of the old kitchen as much as possible and therefore the old chimney will be retained as an open log fire where we can cook over wood and enjoy the flames and the smell as it the old days! Owing to the cost of heating a house this size we have also decided to retain the Danish stove we brought back from Jutland. This will sit to the left side of the chimney. Our main cooker will sit on the south side of the kitchen carefully positioned between two windows. We have chosen a stove of French design which we feel will allow us to bake, grill and and cook to our heart (and the hearts of all our students) content!!

Now I must concentrate on the French planning application which is one of the obstacles facing anyone planning to alter or restore a property in France! It looks daunting and complicated but with a few checks on the online dictionery and a welcomed visit from a local lad, Pierrick, we have the document almost completed! Thank God for people like Pierrick who just managed to turn up at the right moment and managed not just to translate all the techncial jargon but fix up the pc to the network in English as well!! Thank you Pierrick!

Dibbler needs to rest today following the punishment the wall project gave him yesterday. All that hand work on the motar took its revenge and he is even having problems with the touch typing! Therefore it's Nibbler who is the scribe today and I hope you have enjoyed this piece.

Bye till next time