Thursday 11 May 2006


Our bread oven has been invaded by masonry bees. Last year we had a couple but chased them away with some smoke and blocked the holes quickly (sorry bees!). This year we are too late and the dome is full of tiny holes containing small furry insects and their broods.

Wood fired oven

It looks like this might be the end for this particular bread baking experiment. The dome was already cracked and leaked heat alarmingly, now the bees have fatally mined the structure and we can't attempt repairs without killing them, even if such repairs were likely to be successful, which we doubt.

In France there is an old oven in the building adjacent to the main house. The chimney above it appears in good order from ground level but the stack has been removed and roofed over. The back of the oven protrudes into another room we believe was previously used for storing home made Calvados. There is nothing there now but an old wine rack but when we viewed the property the door was firmly locked and the agent didn't have a key. The oven is now blocked with concrete, with the date 1979 scratched in the surface, which is pity.

We're hoping to resurrect this oven although it may be a difficult job. Unfortunately it's still only a single chamber design, wood is burnt in the cavity to heat the bricks and then the ashes scraped out before the bread is baked where the fire was. Our plan ultimately is to have a two chamber arrangement, with a firebox and a baking chamber above which will allow for a little more control and longer baking sessions if necessary.

It's going to be a struggle to get this finished before the party. We'll give a go though, as fresh baked bread is an essential part of the good life.


And, while typing this up, the Vet rang to tell me that Bagheera's passport is now ready, so he's now set for a life abroad too.

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