Saturday, 23 October 2010

Sun still shining in South West France

Wow 18 degrees today and its the end of October! Just got all the washing dry and now under more mountains of ironing!

The garden is looking good and I have collected the last carrier bag of Walnuts from our three trees. The lawn is growing madly again and the only slight problem we currently have is the lack of petrol.

Due to the general strike here at the moment, fuel supplies are restricted and definitely no cans allowed to be filled at the pumps. Twice this week I have been to get fuel and been turned away. Prices in the last 10 days have rocketed from 1.12€ per litre for diesel to 1.26€ per litre, and we have even heard of petrol stations putting up prices after dark to deter panic buying.

Megan our daughter is coming to Le Farat for half term on Monday and we are all looking forward to seeing her again after an absence of 8 weeks since the summer holidays. I will be returning to the UK with her at the end of the month for work and catch up with friends and family. I think I am ready for the break.

Thoughts are now turning to Christmas and what we should do to placate all members of the family and not rock the boat. Almost impossible I would say. How many families I wonder are in a similar situation and dreading the festivities due to enforced happiness with the family!

I shouldn't be so sceptical, but from past experience all I really want to do is spend our first Christmas in France as a family of four and no outside pressures. No chance................ I am sure a large bottle of Armagnac will be a necessity!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Peace and quiet....well almost!

After a late flurry of B&B guests we are now into winter mode at Le Farat. Which means to us crack on with the work and get on with the marketing!!

But hang on a minute, its in France it is still T shirt weather and the sun is shining brightly. Yes of course it is cooler but to have 27 degrees in Mid October would be unheard of in Blighty!

So why waste it we thought.... why not have a BBQ. Toulouse sausages on special offer at the supermarket 3.95€ per kilo, pork chops on offer too, French bread with fresh salad from the local market finished off with BBQ bananas, Armagnac and cream; washed down with a number of bottles of the local wine. All consumed in the name of market research of course, we couldn't have wished for a better couple of evenings!

Why is it most people still think that holidays are only for July, August and September........ clearly in France the holiday season can go on way into the Autumn!

The scenery is changing slightly now as the cool mornings are turning the leaves beautiful shades of burnt oranges, reds and yellows. The fields are ploughed for the winter and the spring crops are planted. The views are shrouded in a blanket of mist until the heat of the sun burns it away and the chasse (huntsmen) are out in force most mornings with their hunting dogs tracking down rabbits, deer and wild boar. The pool covers will soon be going on and the mowers being serviced ready for the flurry of spring mowing all over again from April.

Events are still on going here too, last weekend we had a pottery fayre in Auvillar that was attended by many craftsmen, the village was bustling with locals and people from "out of town". There was a section put aside for the children to have a go at making something for themselves. One local potter created a kiln out of clay and straw mixed together by the children in wellies and all the creations were fired in the kiln overnight and put on display the following day.

Next weekend in Valence d'agen there is a Chrysanthemum fayre and the following weekend no doubt another fayre in a neighbouring village. It really is all about village life and local produce here and everyone gets involved, the community spirit is great and just like we used to have in the UK many years ago, such a shame it no longer exists.

For those of you tempted to book with us, contact me via my website which I have just spent the last three weeks updating, still a bit to do in the events section and some of the layout to tweek but nearly there!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Update on our progress

Feeling guilty, for those of you that are following our progress, I apologise for not keeping you up to date!

We have been busy with yet more guests and I am so pleased that our business has gone well in this our first year. I must thank Nick for all his hard work in making the gite so fantastic and all his hard work has paid off. All who see the Maison Du Soleil think it is georgious.

Nick has lost so much weight in the process that some of the family and friends that have visited hardly recognise him!

I must admit I am getting twitchy about bookings for next year now as our last guests for this year come next week and then it is all quiet. Lets hope that the tweeting, blogging and the marketing activities I have been doing over the past few months pay off, if not, we are sunk!

I know I must be positive and all the comments we have had from our guests in this our first year have been so good but as the bookings calendar looks a bit bare at the moment I suppose it is normal to panic a bit and I am sure that most people have not even started thinking about next years holiday yet!

Currently we have an American child here with us from Denver Colorado on a school exchange, things seem to be going well, but he is so quiet it is hard to really be sure he is happy. Being his first time away from home it is understandable that he is a bit homesick but lets hope he comes out of his shell a bit over the next 10 days or so.