La mare aux sangliers (Wild Boar Pool)
It is said that this lovely crystal clear pool has healing powers given by the fairy of the forest. One legend says that the Lady of the Lake came to see Arthur see while he was bathing here and she healed his wounds with magic water from the pool.
One thing for sure the water is refreshing - just ask Andy who decided to go for a (brief) wade in the pool when we picnicked beside once.
The following day the sow gave birth to eight piglets. The baker thought that St. Peter and God would not know how many piglets the sow gave birth to, so she thought that she would tell them that there only four had been born. She hid four of the piglets in the unlit oven. When the travellers returned they asked how many piglets had been born. “Four.” said the baker. God and St. Peter asked “What about the ones in the oven, do they not count?”. The woman quickly apologised for the lie and St. Peter opened the oven and the four piglets scampered off into the forest. The warm ashes had singed their coats.
Since that time people say that pigs from Huelgoat have brown hair. Personally I think that they were just looking for an excuse to have a cochon grillé or a hog roast as we would call it!
Local folklore identifies this as the site of the Virgin Mary’s first house. It is a sort of cave created by a pile of boulders formed into strange shapes. Amongst some of the items that imaginative visitors to the forest have identified are a cauldron, a ladle, a butter dish, a butter churn, some bellows, armchairs and a bed – not that I can imagine that it would be very comfortable to sleep in!
Supposedly you can even spot Jesus’ cradle – would that mean that Mary would rock the rock?
It is said that during the day fairies would paint their long hair with combs of gold using the pond as a looking glass.
If a fairy was caught talking to a boy she was thrown into the pond as a punishment and would drown!
Legend says that you can see the fairies at the bottom of the pond by moonlight but beware, they turn into the ugly toothless witches who can cast an evil spell on you!
As I mentioned in my last post, on the day we were due to depart on our trip to Brittany, I saw that a house that I had found previously but dismissed as it was well above our budget, had been reduced in price and was now within our reach.
A flurry of emails and a phone call later and we had arranged to go and see it.
The owner did not live on site and mentioned coming over to show us around (by coming over I mean they had to take a ferry!). We told them not to bother, after all we would hate for them to waste their time (and money!) if it turned out that it wasn’t suitable. The neighbour had the keys and we were quite happy (actually we preferred) to view it on our own. The house looked gorgeous, very pretty from the outside and lots of exposed stone walls and beams inside, two wood burners, large rooms, it seemed like you could just move in and not have to do anything! The only concern was that the land was split into three plots, two of which were immediately adjacent to the house.
From the front it looked as lovely as the pictures though the “gîte”, which was an old barn attached to the house, looked a long way from being ready for guests. Inside it was spacious and warm and just as the photos had presented it. The bedrooms were good sizes but there was a distinct smell of smoke in them – it seemed like there was a problem with one of the chimneys.
We went out the back of the property to look around and this part was nowhere near as pretty. It didn’t look quite right to me. We then went across two different roads to access the two non-attached plots of land. One was a wilderness, the other one they had allowed their neighbours to use as a potager and to keep chickens on it (they had told us about the veggie patch and chooks but hadn’t mentioned that they belonged to the neighbours!).
You need to be very careful in France about letting people use your land. If you charge them they could get automatic rights over your land. You should take advice from a notaire if you are considering doing this. It is called Bail Rural.
Andy disappeared out the back again for quite a while. When he returned we told them that we would be in touch and left. Andy was raging as we drove away! He couldn’t believe that they blatantly ignored the state of the outside of the building. It turned out that it was a stone and cob house.
Cob is a mixture of earth and straw. Apparently cob houses can last a long time – if they are maintained properly – and this one had not been! When you touched the back walls the earth came away in your hand, it was just being washed off by the rain, hence it being christened as the 'mud pie house' by Andy. There were gaps around the chimneys, holes in the walls, the rafters in the roof were exposed – it just had been left to rack and ruin as far as we could see which was sad.
Even more annoying was when he had the cheek to have a go at us for wasting his time when we told him that we weren’t interested in the property as we weren’t looking for a cob house. He said that we should have realised that it was a cob house from the pictures and got quite nasty. We pointed out that this wasn't apparent from the pictures he had sent and also that we had expressly told him not to travel to Brittany for our visit. He did concede that this was true, grudgingly. He must have thought that he had a real couple of numpties on the hook that he could reel in when we showed such enthusiasm in arranging the viewing – little did he know! Apparently cob houses are quite common in Morbihan – you have been warned!