Tuesday 30 August 2011

30th August 2011

A quieter week at La Maire! The weather soon cooled down after the weekend of the 21st, and by Wednesday the morning temperature had dropped to 12 degrees - and the pool just 20 degrees! However, the sun soon returned and things are more or less back to normal in the upper 20's and the pool back to a comfortable temperature for swimming. Evenings have been lovely - warm and calm, and we are still eating dinner outside.

We have had more visitors - in the past week from Spain, Canada and Belgium, both on holiday and house hunting. We have also had some more time to relax. It has been a real treat to spend some time sitting by the pool, reading in the garden and going for bike rides.
Dave has also found time to start landscaping the pool area and I have started painting again.

The photos above are of Dave's tallest sunflower!!!.......and a typical Ariege view of countryside and mountains from a local bike ride.

See the next blog entry for photos of the pool landscaping and a painting!

Sunday 21 August 2011

21st August 2011

We treated ourselves to a day out today. It is still extremely hot so we decided to go up into the mountains. Jean Paul had recommended a short walk to a lake just the other side of Ax-les-Thermes so we decided to give it a try. It took us just over an hour to drive there, and we started walking by 9.30, before it got too hot. After a steep climb through the forest to start with, the footpath soon flattened and opened out to provide us with a really lovely walk up to the Etang de Comte. The scenery was stunning, the weather perfect and the walking easy. We spent a lazy hour or so at the lake, then slowly made our way back down to the car.

On the way home we did a detour up to the ski resort of 'Ax les 3 Domaines'. At 30 degrees it was difficult to imagine it as a ski resort, but we hope to be able to try it out this winter.

A few guest comments from our first season

Your gorgeous house, beautiful garden and immaculate accommodation, not to forget your amazing hospitality, made for an unforgettable stay

Quel accueil agréable: le calme, la sympathie, le charme de la belle nature…..

We arrived at La Maire to a very warm welcome and a lovely suite which exceeded our expectations by a good margin…….

Merci pour votre accueil chaleureux, votre générosité et ces petits moments de partage qui rechauffent les coeurs.

Great holiday, superb accommodation and fantastic company. Hospitality at its best! Thankyou so much for a great week

3 jours qui furent un grand moment de nos vacances. Le site est merveilleux dans un environnement natural qui a gardé tout son authenticité. Lesley et Dave nous ont fait partager de tres agréables moments de convivalité Franco- anglais et leur table d’hote vaut le détour. Avec un moment tres particulier que fut le cours d'aquarelle donné par Lesley

Saturday 20 August 2011


A perfect evening at La Maire! 38 degrees with a welcome breeze. It is calm and peaceful -all we can hear are the birds and chickens. Even the farmers are having a rest from the heat. A glass of chilled rose on the terrace with ripe home-grown melon after a welcome dip in the pool - this is what we came here for!!

Thursday 18 August 2011

The last few weeks have been a social whirl! It has been lovely to have friends to stay, but also to meet so many different and interesting people - our chambres d'hotes guests. Some just stay for a night, some for a few nights, some for a week. Some are French, some are English, sometimes some of each at the same time. We love meeting complete strangers on our doorstep, enjoying a few dinners with them, then bidding them farewell as good friends. We do enjoy seeing families having fun here. After all the hard work we have put into La Maire this year, it is so very rewarding to see everyone enjoying the house, the garden and the pool.

On Saturday evening we were invited to a party thrown by Denis, our near neighbour from the farm. He was celebrating his 40th birthday along with his cousin, also 40 and also called Denis! The French certainly know how to enjoy themselves!! It all kicked off in the village hall with aperitifs and plates of lovely food. Denis and Denis dressed up as the guys from 118 118 (118 218 in France!!) and provided us all with a bit of light entertainment...actually very funny! At 10.30 we were all led into a long marquee set with tables for a banquet of paella, bread and wine, cheese and mouthwatering profiteroles. In between courses we were treated to a firework display outside....then the dancing started at about 1.00am!! Of the 150 or so people there we were the only ones who were not close family or old friends so we were honoured to be invited. We were made to feel very welcome and loved the lively atmosphere - lots of singing, laughing and banging on tables!!

We also had our English friends from the village here for drinks on Monday evening - we missed you Sara...come back soon! It was good to have the chance to get together during this very busy month of the year when everyone in France seems to be on holiday except those running chambres d'hotes and gites!!

Thursday 11 August 2011

11th August

Just had to add these 2 images of our very own sunflowers!!

Monday 8 August 2011

August 8th 2011

Have just spent another lovely weekend - this time with friends Melanie and Steve. The weather forecast was for rain all weekend but luckily it turned out to be wrong! We spent a hot and sunny afternoon at the pretty hilltop village of Carla Bayle - see photos above.

It is now the height of the season so all the artists studios were open and it was probably as busy as it ever gets with tourists -mostly British! However we didn't witness any sales so its probably not worth investing in studio space just yet!!

We ate outside on both evenings but had to rapidly retreat indoors on Saturday when a perfectly calm and warm evening developed into a storm with gusting winds and heavy rain - within minutes!!

Otherwise, the grass continues to grow and we have more visitors in the house this week. It feels very good to dee people enjoying the house and grounds - and especially the swimming pool!!

Tuesday 2 August 2011

1st August

We can hardly believe it is the 1st of August already - where did July go?! We arrived back at La Maire on Thursday at 11.00am after a very early flight and spent the rest of the day grass cutting and shopping. The rain of the past week has given a new lease of life to both grass and weeds -good for the farmers but not for holiday makers!! However the sun has returned this weekend, just in time for us to welcome our very good friends the Pollocks and the Deweys. We all enjoyed several happy hours of walking, eating, drinking, table tennis, lively discussion and lazing by the pool.
Thankyou David Pollock for the first 3 lovely photos above.

A French family also stayed with us at the weekend. They were here for a wedding in the village - and some wedding it appeared to be!! There were 500 people at the little village church, and then afterwards at the family home just across the valley. However in true plain and simple simple Ariege style, the wedding car was a landrover decked out in local greenery - see photo above!