Virtual Open Studio #5

In 1997, while we continued to live and work in England, The Artist and I bought a second home, across the Channel, in Brittany.

I wrote about it here and here.

Comprising of a traditional two-roomed cottage and a long, narrow stable, with hay lofts up above, it was set in sizeable gardens. Although little more than an unkempt ruin, this was the ideal rural bolt hole, to which we could escape from the stresses of city life.

A derelict barn, housing rusty tools and a horse drawn plough, stood opposite our kitchen window, on the end of a neighbouring plot. We thought it strange that the owners hadn’t kept it in better condition, or pulled it down to enlarge their entranceway – particularly as their house and grounds were otherwise immaculate. But we didn’t complain – it had a certain rustic charm, which inspired Martin to paint this watercolour:



Of course, it turned out that we owned ‘L’Hangar’, as it was known – and the triangle of land it stood on proved to be significant.

Apparently our neighbour had offered, many times, to buy it – it adjoined his garden after all and was separated from ours by a track. But the previous owner had refused to sell to him. She knew that he planned to widen the access to his property and improve the drainage. And, if he did that, the whole village would be subject to higher taxes.

About a year after we bought it, a local farmer called, asking if we would be willing to dismantle the ‘eyesore’, maybe grow vegetables on ‘le petit triangle’ instead. When we replied that we didn’t have the necessary demolition equipment; he said no problem – ‘tout le monde’ would help.

At seven o’clock the following morning we were roused by a determined working party – men armed with pick axes and shovels; women bearing pots of coffee, babies in pushchairs looking on. Although he worked alongside us, our disgruntled neighbour didn’t say one word!

By afternoon the ground was cleared, the rotting timbers burning on a bonfire, so high it almost set the surrounding trees alight. We dined outside, in front of it, to ensure it didn’t spread and – when we went to bed that evening – L’Hangar was no more.

We no longer own our Place in the Country. But we have this picture to remind us of the day the whole community pulled together, to assist ‘the crazy English people’ and to improve the village.

The Logo
Somewhere in this painting, Martin has super-imposed his logo – can you spot it?

In last week’s image, The Steampunk Racing Camel, the logo is situated at the top of the camel’s hump, not on the left eyelash – sorry Isadora πŸ˜‰

* All words and images on this blog site are the intellectual property of the Author and Artist. You are welcome to share them – but please be mindful of your Karma and use them with respect. Please credit us by inserting the link to Tao of Scrumble πŸ™‚


16 thoughts on “Virtual Open Studio #5

  1. Aahhh … I was so totally off on the Steampunk Racing Camel. Darn …!!! This barn is beautiful. I love old things. It must have been a little sad to tear down. It was a wonderful way for everyone to gather. The logo is evading me on this one. I plan to come back and look again. I like a challenge. Beautiful painting.

    1. Thank you, Isadora – I thought it was beautiful and was sad to tear it down but the locals were delighted to see it go, as they thought it spoiled the village. No wonder they thought of us as crazy! πŸ™‚

  2. Good morning! Just want you to know I’ve nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award. The details are on my blog β€” you are under no obligation to accept or follow through with the details β€” I just want you to know what a fantastic blogger you are and how much I enjoy reading and sharing your words!

  3. Wow that is a beautiful story. Did you get photos of the work crew tearing down the barn?
    I love the painting of the barn (it looks like a photo!).
    I also can’t find the logo.

    1. Thank you, Rosie, I’ve passed your compliments on. We took loads of digital photos but sadly lost them all, when our computer crashed. In those days we didn’t have the technology to rescue them, so – apart from a few printed snaps – we only have Martin’s artwork and our memories! 😦

    1. Thanks Susan – it was fun remembering the event! And sorry, you’re not right. I might load a larger image to see if the logo is more visible.

  4. Aww…such is “progress”, eh? I’m glad you were able to capture the immortal essence of the place before it meta-morphed into what it is now. πŸ™‚

    1. Breton people take great pride in the appearance of their villages, so we could appreciate our neighbours’ point of view.This picture definitely captures the essence of the place we fell in love with – even though it was a ruin and an eyesore to them!

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