Saturday 23 July 2011

Since the family left we have had all sorts of weather conditions thrown at us - unsusual for the Ariege, or typical?! Who knows!! A couple of wild thunderstorms interspersed with both cloudy days and also very hot and sunny days have encouraged both grass and weeds to grow like crazy, and have also created the most wonderful cloud formations at times.

The sunflowers have been at their best and temperatures have been plenty warm enough for swimming. Lucy has been in most mornings before breakfast! The pool is now finished, coping stones and all, but we just need to landscape the surroundings.

We enjoyed having old friends Claire and Paul here to stay for a few days, and we had a lovely meal at the Auberge in Carla Bayle. The restaurant is high up in the village so when a huge storm battered the windows during the meal, it felt as though we were on a boat in a stormy sea! Luckily it abated in time for the walk back to the car. There is a photo above of us all in the village above.

On another wet day, Jean Paul took Lucy and I to Toulouse. Luckily the torrential rain stopped for our wander around the city - a very colourful city with a lively square and lots of old streets to wander though and a pretty tree-lined walk along the river. See photos above. We had a nice lunch and found a few of our favourite shops for a browse before driving home - again in torrential rain!!

Daniel left us to return to Maidenhead on the Friday, then we enjoyed having more visitors to stay - both English and French. One sunny evening we enjoyed dinner in the garden with both English and French guests. One of the pleasures of providing chambres and tables d'hotes here in France is the opportunity to meet so many different people and also for them to meet each other, to sample each others traditional foods and attempt to converse in each others languages. We ate pate made at the farm, chicken chasseur and sticky toffee pudding!

We are now back in Maidenhead for Lucy's graduation ceremony which took place on Thursday. It was a lovely day and we were very proud to see her receive her well-deserved certificate for a 2:1 in Graphic Design.

We will now enjoy a few more days here in Maidenhead before returning to La Maire to welcome more friends and customers to stay - August will be a busy month and we hope that the sun will shine!!

Sunday 10 July 2011

10th July 2011

La Maire is feeling very quiet this afternoon after saying goodbye this morning to Clive and Sue and the girls and Mum and Dad. They all arrived last Sunday, along with Daniel and we have had the most wonderful week. It has been great to have the house full for the first time and of course to be able to spend the week with them all, as it doesn't happen very often!!

We spent the week eating, talking, swimming, relaxing in the garden, playing table tennis, walking and visiting local towns and villages. Everyone helped so the catering was never a chore!!

On Friday evening we had our eagerly awaited party to celebrate finishing (well, almost!!) work at La Maire. The weather was perfect - calm and warm. Our guests were a mixture of French and English friends and it was great to get everyone here together. Jean Paul's band 'Shaker' played for us after the buffet for a couple of hours and were really fantastic.

I would like to be able to put a video up - but will have to make do with some photos - here they are....

Saturday 2 July 2011

2nd July

So - July has arrived! This was always our deadline to get everything completed in time for Mum and Dad, Clive and Sue and the girls arriving tomorrow - and of course Daniel as well. We have just about made it - just the grouting around the pool stones to finish, and banisters in the attic, otherwise we are all ready!!

Lucy and Andy arrived last week and joined us for a couple of lovely evenings with visitors Ceri and Peter. We then enjoyed a few days with Andy's family before they left on Thursday to travel on to Andorra and Spain. We now have our first French visitors here for a couple of nights - they stayed for dinner last night and we had a very enjoyable evening. Lucy is doing remarkably well with her French!!

The pool has been a real treat! A bit cold still at times but it soon warms up when we have some hot weather. Lucy has been in most mornings for a pre-breakfast swim!!