Early days .. August 1993. Very very hot! On impulse, and despite the workload, we decided to be naughty and grab a week in France. In a gite. In Brittany as it’s very handy to nip over to Roscoff from Plymouth.
The lawn leading down from our cottage ended next to a field of maize. The sun seared down, the only sound was that of the sauterelles, the grasshoppers. We were hooked. Our gite-owner knew someone who knew someone who showed the English round properties for sale, and by Thursday we had singled out Poulmarvezen, (which had long since ceased to be a farm), and left power-of-attorney with the notaire.
If you have eaten lunch at one of the local “ouvrier” restaurants in the area, (especially Chez Marie The in Ploerdut, see separate blog), you won’t even want to go out to eat in the evening. (While I think about it, there’s another choice of ouvrier “par excellence”, the Chez Mylene, where the Pont-Scorff to Hennebont road crosses under the main road from Plouay down to Lorient, so useful if you are on the way to the coast. Tel 02 97 05 70 08, satnav co-ordinates 47.830158,-3.341229)
La Sarrasine Creperie, Le Faouet.
It’s worth noting also that in general the ouvrier restaurants don’t serve meals in the evening, so when you find one you love it’s no use going back there later in the day, thought the bar will be open.
Back to the main theme. Let’s assume you haven’t eaten at lunchtime, (or possibly you have a cup or something you won in a local eating competition).
The Painted wallsigns of Brittany … the local version of the Bridges of Madison County, but without the anky-panky. (If you’ve never read the book, it’s much better than the film). Anyway, over the years I kept thinking I’d get going on a photo collection of these iconic, typically French street scenes. Sadly, as with many things in life, it never got done. Till now that is, though the opportunities are less. I’d particularly like to nail one of the Dubonnet adverts.
Have you ever thought of spending a week in Brittany in a cosy cottage with a log fire? Autumn and winter can be beautiful, and our prices are much lower than in the summer. Ferry crossings are a lot cheaper as well. In the September and October you can enjoy the autumn tree colours , or collect mushrooms and chestnuts. The woodlands at Poulmarvezen Holiday Cottages are carpeted with edible chestnuts in the autumn, and you are welcome to collect them. You’ll have to be quick though as the squirrels are quick off the mark! You are more likely to experience a frosty morning than a “Winter wonderland”, but both are equally beautiful, like the photo below.
International Space Station can be seen in the clear skies over our cottages at Poulmarvezen near Ploerdut because they are incredibly free from light pollution. On clear nights, (of which there are many), you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye, as clear as clear can be. Thousand of stars sparkle like diamonds. If you are interested in the night sky, bring your telescope, or your camera and tripod to indulge in the new sport of astral photography.
Milky Way over Poulmarvezen Holiday Cottages, Brittany
In the absence of our solar system having a game of snooker before the end of the week, we’re going to get an 80% Solar Eclipse here at Poulmarvezen Holiday Gites, just about 10.30 a.m. on Friday morning. Although not as spectacular as a full lunar eclipse, (Susan and I, along with a group of neighbours, saw one of those in Perranwell Station near Truro, in 1999), this still promises to be quite exciting, weather permitting. Obviously there is the usual proviso about not looking straight at the sun.
If you are interested in firewood and log fires read on, otherwise you might be bored stiff, (although a very interesting character puts in an appearance).
Our nearest neighbour called round one evening last week. He’s all alone since his wife died last year, he’s pretty much a broken man. They’d been together 52 years. His wife died last August and quite literally you couldn’t get into the church. This is not an infrequent occurrence around here, everybody knows everybody else, and have done for their entire lives. They all went to school together, ploughed the land together, married each other. Sadly this timeless way of life is passing as the young move out to find work. The blame can be firmly placed at the feet of Mr. Massey and Mr. Ferguson. We tell him to call round for a glass of wine whenever he wants but always says he doesn’t want to disturb us.
Dining room at Chez Marie Thé in Ploerdut, near to Poulmarvezen Holiday cottages
I’ve simply GOT to tell you about the Restaurant Chez Marie Thé (pronounced Shay Marry Tay), bang in the middle of Ploerdut, opposite the ancient church, which was built in 1089. (the same year William the Conqueror was writing our family name (Ollerenshaw) in the Domesday book in Derbyshire so we could pay our taxes. Happy days.)