Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New bushes planted, despite the stones

We brought over to our Gite four laurel bushes in tubs, intending to plant them along the fence by the patio. Then at a French car boot sale we bought two spirea shrubs, making six to plant in total.
Toby decided that this was something that he wanted to do, so on Sunday he started digging the first hole.

The hole digging continued on Monday, then Tuesday, Wednesday and finally finished today, Thursday!

Unfortunately Toby hadn't reckoned on the incredibly stony ground we have in Brittany and so each hole became a mammoth task with several large stones having to be dug out of each hole he tried to dig. There was so much stone excavated that for the last shrub he ran out of soil to fill in around the shrub and had to dig some out of the compost heap.

Mind you, I hadn't anticipated the size of one that he dug up, which turned out to be a concrete angular post, about 12 inches in height, looking a bit like a distance marker from the side of the road, only without any writing on it.

Anyway job done now, thanks Toby.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All pumped up, ready to go

In May 2012 Geoff and I fitted a sand filter and high powered pump onto the swimming pool at the Gite, and it's made a big difference, the pool has really been sparkling clean and it's been a lot better for our guests.

Unfortunately in the middle of the season this year the pump died, not a simple fuse blown, looked like the motor had burnt out.

Geoff fitted one of the little pumps and I promised to get a replacement sent over to France.

Luckily I found what appeared to be an identical pump on eBay which I bought and had couriered over to France. It took more than a week to arrive, but when it did, Shirley reported that it had clearly been damaged in transit as there was a big hole in the box and bits of pump were falling out.

The parcel got sent back to the couriers depot and then the fun started...
Without photos of the damage I was unable to complete a claim for damage so I had to wait for the pump parcel to be re-delivered. And I waited and waited and waited. Every day checking the courier website but the box wasn't seemingly going out for re-delivery.

Finally nearly a month later the pump was  sent back to the UK courier who declared that it hadn't been packed properly and so they couldn't accept a claim for damages by the courier. Had to make a claim on eBay against the seller to get my money back.

So then looked for another pump, but this time located near enough to collect - no more postage for me!

On our trip to Brittany we bought the (second) replacement pump over which was a lot easier to fit than I anticipated. One thing I definitely did right was to leave the solvent weld joints overnight to properly cure so when I did turn the pump on it all worked perfectly, no leaks at all.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

All oiled up for next season

Today's task was oiling up.

Or to be more precise, oiling the hardwood outdoor furniture at the Gite.

With a large table on the patio, 6 chairs and 4 sun loungers, on the top, bottom and sides of each, that's an awful lot of wood to cover.

Fortunately I have a large masonry type paintbrush and had bought several bottles of teak oil from England, so it didn't really take too long to do; and it was really lovely and warm in Brittany today so it was enjoyable work.

After oiling I then repaired a broken chair back and a few slats on a sun loungers - the replacement hardwood slats all came from the bottom of Toby's old cot which had fallen out because he jumped up and down too much! I knew the wood would come in handy one day, and today it did!

Toby meanwhile spent the day digging a hole to plant a shrub in. The job was made harder by the inevitable Brittany rocks that lurk wherever we try and dig.
Only 5 more holes and shrubs to go Toby!

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hard at work already

After a few hours sleep catching up after the drive to the Gite, we were up and about, starting work on a few jobs.

Toby decided that he wanted to prune the bushes and shrubs in the garden - which was an excuse to use his survival knife for the cutting I thought!

I started putting up guttering around the wood store to stop the rain causing moss on the walls. Unfortunately I ran out of the guttering so will have to bring some more from the UK next time we are over.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dodging the French wildlife

Toby and I are over at our Brittany Gite for the half term holiday week.

We took the 9.10pm Friday evening MyFerryLink crossing from Dover to Calais for a very reasonable £70 return. Of course the M25 was as lovely as usual, an hour's queue for the Dartford crossing, but I'd allowed enough time and we were able to call at a Dover chip shop before we checked in, and drove straight onto the boat with no queuing on the quayside. Hurrah !

Got my head down to sleep on a bench for the crossing, and other than a few bits of rain on the journey (sophisticated French rain not boring old English rain) it was almost a trouble free drive through the night to the Gite.

I say almost, because whilst driving along one road I saw something grey standing on the edge of the road. As I got nearer I realised there were about 6 somethings beside and in the edge of the road. I swerved round them as I realised it was a pack of what I think were wild boars - grayish brown, about the size of a large dog, only more stocky and round.
Phew, good job I missed them as I am sure the car wouldn't have been happy if I'd hit them.

15 miles from the Gite I managed to take a right turning too early and ended up down a network of country lanes. Thankfully Sat nav put me right and we were soon at the Gite.

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