What happened to June?!

I can’t believe that I have not written since May! It only seems like 5 minutes ago!

June passed by in a haze of numerous, lovely guests and busy times with the animals and hens…..some of whom are clearly planning a takeover!

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I am so pleased with the way the Chambre d’Hôtes is going and it seems the guests like what I’ve done here, as I have a score from booking.com of 9.6/10 calculated from the 9 reviews I have received so far! Woohoo! I have also had people come back to stay a second time so, whilst they didn’t review me online, they must have been happy 😀.

Lessons learned from the short time the Chambre d’Hôtes has been open? NEVER be lulled into a false sense of security in thinking that you have no guests for a particular room for that night! The feeling of intense panic that you get when your phone goes ‘Ping!’ indicating a new email, which says ‘You have a last minute booking from booking.com’ is one of the worst feelings in the world! This is only surpassed when you discover that said ‘last minute booking’ plans to arrive in half an hour and the bed is still unmade and the towels are in the drier! To say it ages you would be an understatement!

Another lesson? Take the guests’ expected time of arrival with a pinch of salt and always expect the unexpected! I was ironing some bedlinen one afternoon wearing pyjamas, as I have discovered that this really is the coolest way to do it. To those of you who know me well, the fact that I was wearing pyjamas at a random time of day will not come as a huge surprise! However, when it’s nearly 30 degrees outside, it really is the only way. It was during this ironing process that my guests arrived….2.5 hours early! I’m not sure who was more alarmed….them for the sight of said pyjamas or me for the sight of them! After explanation, they seemed to think it was a good idea and they gave me a 10/10 score online after their departure, although I’m not sure if that was for the accommodation or entertainment!

So all is well and I am getting ready for a very busy couple of months and, in fact, an impending week of sleep deprivation this week, as one lot of guests wants to leave at 04.45hours after coffee and retrieving their lorry from my barn and the following morning my guests want breakfast at 06.30!! Ho hum!

As for the critters outside……their characters and attitudes seem to be getting stronger each day! Little Chap – the pony – continues to think that he can graze wherever he wishes but is much better since being in a field with his mate Sage – the ram or wether, as he now is 😱😪! However, as the song says, ‘there may be trouble ahead’ as, despite a small portion of the field being fenced off for the ponies, they are going to have to go back to their original field, as the grass where they are is far too rich for ponies prone to laminitis. I’m taking bets as to how long it will be before Little Chap breaks through the electric fencing after the move!

Sage continue to be a character but does seem a little more subdued since he was sheared. It’s like the character in the Bible who lost his strength after his hair was cut! Somehow he is not quite Sage without his fleece.

Before…..

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And half an hour later……

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I think the face says it all! Bev and Graham Osment be afraid! Be very afraid as revenge will be his one day!! 😂

We’ve also been making plans for the future here at La Petite Ferme and the decision  has been made to become self-sufficient! It seems a ridiculous thing to have 8 hectares of land and still go Le Clerc to buy fruit, veg and – dare I say it? – meat. So now that the Chambre d’Hôtes is up and running, there will be time in the future to concentrate on this aspect of life here. For some vegetables, I am too late for sowing seeds this year, so I will have to start in earnest with a schedule of sowing next year. However I did plant some butternut squash seeds….20 of them to be exact, as I wasn’t sure on the germination rate of such seeds. Seems it’s quite good and I now have 20 butternut squash plants, of which each will produce about 5 – 6 squash!! That’s a hell of a lot of butternut squashes! Good job I like them….at the moment!

We’ve also been planning some themed weekends, which will take place here at the Chambre d’Hôtes in the autumn. At the moment, the confirmed weekends are:

16th and 17th September….’De pierre, de bois et d’ors…..discovering the hidden treasures of Brittany’, to be lead by Lucette Grall.

30th September and 1st October….. ‘An introduction to spinning’, to be lead by Sara Snell and ‘A workshop on Felting’, to be lead by Kate Smith, although this session is to be confirmed. Details of Kate’s work can be found on her website katesmithfeltmaker.yolasite.com

14th and 15th October …..’A Watercolour Weekend’ to be lead by Elizabeth Tomkins. Details of Elizabeth’s work, gallery exhibitions etc can be found on her website artinbrittany.com

Another weekend of ‘Working with Nature’ is yet to be finalised but this will include a day of learning about hedgerow foraging and plants safe for use in cooking or medicinally. The second day will be held in conjunction with ‘Lisa’s Workshop’ and will be a day of bramble and willow weaving.

Accommodation will be available at the Chambre d’Hôtes for those who wish to treat themselves to a weekend away or, for those living more locally, you are more than welcome to join us for a day. However, the ‘Watercolour Weekend’ is very much a progression over the 2 days and attendance is advised on both days.

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment!!

Well, I think that’s all our news. I am aware that I need to do something about preparing food for myself and, judging by the way the hounds are glaring at me, for the dogs!

Have a great summer and chat again when things have quietened down a little here!

Bonne soirée!

 

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Exciting developments!

Well, what a week! I am suddenly aware that I haven’t written for a few days….very remiss of me. However, this evening the ponies have been fed and attended to; the sheep have had their hay topped up and I won Sage the ram’s game!; the chickens have been fed and put to bed; the dogs and cats have been fed; my dinner is in the oven and I have ironing to do, so it seemed the perfect time to rattle out some news!

Thankfully my only bit of storm damage….the demise of my willow tree….was sorted out earlier in the week. It is now about 1 metre tall and looking very sorrow for itself, after the magnificent being it was previously. However, I have been reliably informed that it will send up shoots and eventually get back to its former glory…..although I may be needing a Zimmer frame to go and see it by then! The only good news about its demise is that I now have a plentiful supply of wood for the wood burner for winter 2018. So all is not lost!

Whilst the front garden may not have the willow anymore, the camellia has certainly enjoyed the warm, sunny weather this week and is looking stunning!

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Absolutely beautiful…although in for a shock when it’s finished flowering as, being about 6 metres tall, it’s due for a haircut!

Other good news……I am now registered to attend the AIKB Easter Fair in Gouarec and the Breizh British Weekend in Josselin in June. I shall be going with one of my other ‘hats’ on, in my role as Independent Organiser for Usborne Books and I’m really excited about both events. The organisation for both events is very thorough but I marginally think that the organisers for the Josselin event win it! It is safe to say that, with the exception of my closest friends, the organisers of the Breizh British Weekend now know more about me than anyone else! Having found and photocopied documents pertaining to my business registration that I didn’t even know I had and having completed several forms, it is a morning of my life that I will never get back but it does mean that I will be able to attend a great weekend event, in a town that I really like so it was worth the effort. Must remember to take out public liability insurance nearer the time….note to self! Please come by and say hello if you’re at either or both events.

As for the preparation work for the Chambre d’Hôtes, it is moving ahead apace. Work on the 2 bedrooms is complete apart from titivating and the rooms are looking great! Watch this space for photos once titivating is finished!

Some good friends of mine, who have a holiday cottage here in Guiscriff, very kindly said that they would bring anything that I needed from the UK when they come over at the beginning of April. I think they may now be regretting that! 20 litres of paint, a litre of PVA, a stair guard and 2 single mattresses later, I think that enough is enough!! Bless them! You will be pleased to hear that the mattresses come vacuum packed and hence are the size of small duvets! I must remember to stand back when that vacuum is broken and the mattresses spring into a life of their own, once freedom is discovered, smacking you around the face if you happen to be standing too close! That aside, it is incredibly kind of my friends to do this for me and I think I owe them dinner when they are over.

So with the work upstairs so tantalisingly close to coming to an end, it is time to start thinking about the overhaul for downstairs. The royal blue, high sheen wall paint in the new double bedroom upstairs took 5 coats of emulsion to cover it! I have learned from this nightmare and the general consensus, as to the best way to cover the mustard and terracotta wall paint downstairs, is lining paper! I really think it’s the best way as the area here is much bigger and would take forever to just paint; I would lose the will to go on and an emergency SOS for more paint would have to be sent out! In retrospect, this would have been the way forward for the royal blue but hindsight is a great thing and you live and learn!

I have to nip to the UK for a couple of days at the beginning of next week and the lady who is house and pet sitting for me has said that she will hang the lining paper whilst I’m gone. So I will get home and not recognise the place! I am so lucky to have such amazing friends. Definitely party time when everything is finished and to say thank you to everyone involved in this joint venture, as it has become.

Well the hour is marching on and I think it is time to call it a day for today…..I ate dinner somewhere between Josselin and the royal blue paint!

Have a lovely weekend and chat soon!

 

It must be love!

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If only all people took care of each other like Alice and Felix do. Although Alice finds that Felix’s long fur can be a challenge! Just to reassure….that’s my bed and not one of the Chambre d’Hôtes beds!

Day 2 of the new eggs in the incubator and all is well. 21 days can seem such a long time!

Welcome to La Petite Ferme!

My first posting! Woohoo! 

So why am I writing a blog, I hear you cry!! Well, my aim is to spread news of what is happening at ‘La Petite Ferme’ to people who are thinking of staying at our Chambre d’Hôtes, so that they know what life here is like; to people who have stayed and want to keep in touch; to people contemplating a move to Brittany, to give an insight of life in rural Brittany or to people who are just interested!

I meant to write a couple of days ago but then, on Sunday night, Storm Zeus, as it affectionately seems to be called, ripped through this part of Brittany, causing chaos in its wake. Considering I have just over 8 hectares of land, 2 huge hangars and numerous established, massive trees, I was extremely lucky that the only casualty outside was my poor twisted willow in the front garden. It could have been much, much worse.

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Houdini, the cat, doesn’t seem overly worried! Nothing that a good chainsaw won’t sort out! For the tree that is…..not Houdini!

The only other casualty here were the eggs in the incubator upstairs, which sadly became stone cold when the power went off for several hours after the storm had passed through. But again, we were lucky as several areas around here are still without power 3 days later. Let’s hope the problem is sorted quickly for them. As for here, never one to let adversity stand in the way, more eggs are being collected on a daily basis to start off again in the incubator, so that hopefully in 21 days, the sound of tiny cheeping will be upon us! Watch this space!

Despite the shocking weather over the last few days, there are signs everywhere that Spring will soon be upon us….

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These sweeties were found in my basement in an unused bucket, without any compost…I am ashamed to say. However, with a bit of TLC, they have come into their own and are now cheering up the front garden immensely. Amazing what treasures can be found when you’re not looking for them.

Well, I guess I should go outside and give Mimi and Little Chap – my Shetland ponies – their dinner and hay for the night, as well as some hay for the sheep, Rosemary and Sage. Strange how popular you can be when laden with hay and goodies when it’s a bit grey and miserable outside!

Chat again soon!