We’re open!!

Well…..where has the time gone?!!

La Petite Ferme Chambre d’Hôtes opened its doors to receive guests at Easter as planned!!

Since then, the bookings have been coming in a steady stream and we have had some lovely guests come to stay. We’ve also been getting some great reviews with 10/10 given on all aspects of the Chambre d’Hôtes by one group of guests! Our average review score is 9.8/10 on one booking website…..so far so good!

Life outside with the animals has been a little busy too! We had huge success with the chicks hatching in the incubator just before the Chambre d’Hôtes opened…..17 out of 18 eggs hatched! Sadly a couple of the chicks didn’t make it and some were sold when they were a day old, leaving 11 chicks, who are now absolute bruisers and are going to move in to the big hens’ accommodation at the weekend. They will be joined by 5 Cream Legbar chicks – I love this breed! The demand for eggs is high so extra reinforcements were required!

Also joining us tomorrow are 3 goslings….Gandalf and his 2 wives – and, next week, Laurel and Hardy – 2 kids (of the goat variety!) – are coming to live with us. I think Laurel and Hardy will be great playmates for Sage, my ram, who continues to be very naughty! I hope he doesn’t lead them into bad ways!

So lots of babies around, who, I’m sure, will all contribute something special to life at La Petite Ferme. So all is well…..if not a tad busy!

Laurel and Hardy with their mum, who is also coming to spend her holidays with us for a couple of weeks.

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Spring!

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I can’t believe that it was 2 weeks ago since last I posted! Time flies and I apologise for my absence. So what have been doing to keep me away? Too many things!!

It started off with a trip to the UK for various things. I have mixed thoughts about going back to the UK. First, it is always nice to catch up with people and see friends and relatives but then, why is everyone always in such a rush? My visit this time was based in London – a city that I lived and worked in for many years and where good friends still live. I can well understand that people are working and they may be late for an appointment or some such thing, but surely an entire city can’t be late for something?! Perhaps, like me, the people who aren’t in a rush are afraid of being mown down by those who are and, therefore, they increase their pace. I always start off in ‘laid back’ mode but after a day or two, I am as frantic as the next person! I guess it’s a matter of survival!

I am a big fan of the books by James Herriot – the vet who worked in the Yorkshire Dales. In one of his books, he was called up for military service during the Second World War. He was telling a farmer that he had to go to one of the big towns for his training, to which the farmer replied that he didn’t like going to towns. The reason for this dislike being that you ‘can’t walk anywhere’ due to the number of people who are trying to walk in the same direction as you, meaning, as he put it, that ‘you have to take big steps and little ‘uns the whole time’! I think I know what that farmer meant!

So having done what was needed in London, including a trip to Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys, and having picked up my pace a few levels for reasons of survival, I returned to beautiful Brittany, where one is able to walk unimpeded ……generally!

However since my return, I have had to pick up my pace a few notches, not when walking you understand, but generally. I am suddenly very aware that Easter is only just around the corner and, whilst there is manageable  amount of decorating/work to complete on the house, it will not seem 5 minutes until my first guests are knocking on the door on Good Friday…not that such a thing exists in France. I am very lucky in that the bookings for La Petite Ferme Chambre d’Hôtes seem to be coming in very regularly and we are booked out on a few occasions – the whole of  Easter being the first of those. So the paintbrushes and rollers have been used and abused since my return and now the light is definitely on at the end of the tunnel. The entire house, apart from the downstairs bathroom and toilet (obviously the one I use!) has been decorated; a completely new upstairs bathroom fitted and new flooring throughout upstairs laid and all done since the end of January! All the dark tongue and groove wood used for the ceilings has been repainted magnolia and the light, that has been created in the house by doing so, is incredible. Watch this space for the announcement and pictures when all the work is finally complete and the rooms have been created to look their best.

As for outside, well the picture above says it all…..spring is definitely upon us! There are great swathes of primroses, violets and celandines, all of which have become naturalised under trees and down the side of the little lane that leads to my barns. Absolutely beautiful!

Spring is, of course, a time for baby animals and birds and La Petite Ferme is no exception. At the beginning of May we are to be joined by 2 kids – of the baby goat variety! – who are called Laurel and Hardy and these little sweeties joined us this weekend……

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How sweet are they and totally home produced from my cockerel, Cyril, and his wives!

Well it’s lovely to chat but I can feel jobs outside coming upon me. I have the lovely task of cleaning out the house of theMummy and Daddy chooks and the ponies to brush and lotion and potion, as they are prone to sweet itch.

I hope to post photos during the next couple of days of the completed rooms upstairs….so watch this space!

Bonne soirée!

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!

 

Bit wild and windy tonight!

Oh dear, it seems to be blowing a hooley here in 56. Fingers crossed that it is nothing like last week. Thought I’d take a peek at the weather forecast for next week though and I was very pleasantly surprised……

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That’s more like it!

We’ve had a busy weekend here at La Petite Ferme. Lots of painting and sorting out done today in preparation for the opening of the Chambre d’Hôtes, so the guest rooms will be going online very soon! Watch this space!

For anyone who is thinking of buying a house over here and doing some renovation work, a word of advice….bring your paint from the UK! I am all for using French products and buying over here the vast majority of the time…. apart from the paint. French emulsion is really expensive to buy, is not great quality and hence does not cover so well. It has, basically, nothing going for it all….in my experience. However, having said that, tile paint from Bricodepot is one of the best products I’ve ever used! So I guess it’s swings and roundabouts.

I am suddenly aware that it is nearly 9pm and I haven’t eaten. This is something that has to be sorted out!

Bonne soirée and chat again soon!