Luckily, I am now able to work from "home" at the gites using the internet connection that we installed back in March.
Even better, I have a lovely boss who allowed me to work from France at short notice enabling us to spend the best part of a week at the property when I added a couple of days annual leave. Two days saw me working on the computer by the toasty wood burner in the kitchen of the Grand Longere whilst Andy naturally, was working hard in the garden - perfect!
Andy tackled the weeds which seem to spring up every time we leave the gites. We wanted the houses and grounds looking their best, all in readiness for my dad who is coming over from Oz in just over a week (and of course our holiday makers who will be staying in May and June). Hopefully the gites will pass muster now, though another quick round of garden maintenance will no doubt be required when we arrive back in Finistere next week.
The headland of Pointe St-Mathieu is around a half an hour drive from Brest. Here you will find what I think must be one of the most photographed lighthouses in Brittany.
The 56m high lighthouse was built in 1835 amidst the hulking ruins of a medieval abbey. In addition to this, there is a signal station dating from 1906.
Looming over us was a poignant memorial of a woman in a Breton mourning cap. This cenotaph was built in 1923 to commemorate sailors who were killed during the First World War. It now is dedicated to the memory of all who have lost their lives at sea in the service of France.
The Abbaye Saint-Mathieu de Fine-Terre was built on the edge of 20m cliffs overlooking the Rade de Brest.
It is said that Breton sailors brought the skull of St Matthew from Ethiopia to the Benedictine abbey in the 9th century. A monastery was originally built here in the 6th century but the ruins that you see now date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
The scene of many battles, both internal between different French factions and also with foreign forces, in particular the English, the abbey finally fell into complete ruin after it became state property following the French Revolution, a fate suffered by many other fine religious houses in France.
We had timed our visit perfectly and thoroughly enjoyed the colourful display of seaside flowers. No botanical garden could better the beauty of nature lining the cliff path. It simply took our breath away.
Huge concrete bunkers and gun emplacements, some covered with graffiti, are slowly being reclaimed by nature. There are also other defensive towers dating from the Napoleonic wars dotted along the path.
These red billed and legged members of the crow family are a rare sight. It's fair to say I was very chuffed with myself...
We knew that seals and dolphins are often spotted in in this area so we were constantly scanned the seascape.
At one point Andy got quite excited by a dark shape in the water. The blue flippers and snorkel soon gave away the fact that we had discovered the great Breton coastal forager rather than a marine mammal. There were quite a few of them and some had headed a long way off the coast, rather them than me!
...and, just in case you were getting worried that we went to Brittany and didn't see any megaliths, a short walk from the village center there was not only one but two christianised standing stones known as the monks' gibbet .
No-one knows why they were given this name but it could be because so called justice was literally carried out on this spot in the past - a chilling thought indeed...
So it's 'à bientôt' for now, more updates from beautiful Brittany soon!