Angèle and Marcel are children of the last miller of Arzano – Quimperlé



Angèle Le Bails and her brother Marcel Penvern’s walks at the Moulin du Roc’h in Arzano are always rich in memories. Marcel points to the building to the left of Moulin du Roc’h Square: “This is where we were born. Me 86 years ago and my sister 81 years ago. Our father was also born there. He was himself the son of a miller. We were six brothers and sisters. It’s just the two of us now. They were born while the mill was still in operation. “One of our brothers had to pick up the wheat with the horse-drawn carriage. My father took care of the grinding and then we sent the flour in the opposite direction, ”says the brother. “There were customers as far as Pont-Scorff,” his sister adds.

“The mill was a popular place for fishermen”

They depict a simple and idyllic life among animals. “We had pigs, cows, chickens, ducks. The geese, we picked them twice a year to fill the duvets,” laughs Angèle. Fishing was their favorite activity. “We are born into it. Everywhere we went, we took the sticks out. The mill was also a popular place for fishermen. Some came on foot from Pont-Scorff and fished all the way, ”explains Marcel. The last two of siblings also liked to fish needles on the dam, which no longer exists today.

Angèle likes to return to her childhood places. (Telegram / Pauline Le Diouris)

There were definitely things to do here

They had electricity thanks to the mill. “It was my sister’s job to go and open the valve when she was going for milking so everyone had lights when they got up,” Angèle recalls.

Higher up, they place the place in the lane where the linen was washed. “It was also there that we put the cream, in the summer, to keep it cool, because we did not have a refrigerator. It was enough to churn in the morning to get butter, ”explains the miller’s daughter. The kids all hit. “We were put to guard the cows when they were in the woods,” says chef Marcel. “Sure, there were things to do here,” her sister smiled.

Refugees during World War II

Although they were small during the war, they remember the refugees who arrived in large numbers in the region. Some have even been accommodated at the Moulin du Roc’h. “The Americans landed in off-road vehicles on the prairie. Someone gave me chocolate. It was the first time I tasted it,” says Arzanoise. Marcel, for his part, remembers the discovery of chewing gum. “They came to bathe and wash downstream of the mill. “They left their soap bars. We dived to pick them up after they left. We did not have that then,” smiles the man who now lives in Locunolé.

When the activity ceased, their grandmother and their great-grandfather lived in the old mill.  Angèle remembers the pancakes that her grandmother used to make in the fireplace.
When the activity ceased, their grandmother and their great-grandfather lived in the old mill. Angèle remembers the pancakes that her grandmother used to make in the fireplace. (Telegram / Pauline Le Diouris)

Marcel left the mill when he was 15 years old. He became a butcher-charcuter in Bannalec, Quimperlé, then Tréméven. He did not become a miller like his father because activity was reduced after the war. His youngest will be employed in a bakery as a 14-year-old when school finishes. “I stayed there for eight years. Afterwards, I married a roofer and we got our lives in Arzano,” she sums up. Marie and Joseph will be living with her at the end of their lives in the late 1970s. Today, the family home and the building that served as the barn and pigsty have been restored. The mill building has collapsed and no longer has a wheel. Both are following with interest the renovation work put in by the Moulin du Roc’h Association. Angèle, who lives nearby, takes advantage of her regular walks to greet the volunteers.

Feudalerne on 11 and 12 June

To fund the work, another edition of the Féodales du Roc’h, a medieval, fantastic and peasant festival, is scheduled for June 11th and 12th. The program is rich and just like last time many people are expected. “There will be a camp with craftsmen, shows, stories, music, sword fighting. There will be a juggler and a falconer. Saturday night we arrange a big banquet with grilled pork. 80 volunteers will be mobilized, ”explains Yann Legueux, president of the association.

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