Never Explain … !

 

 

Never explain – your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway

Elbert Hubbard

So, I’m not even going to attempt to explain why I haven’t posted anything in nearly 10 months. According to Monsieur Hubbard there’s no need …… I know you’re all my friends ūüėČ

Instead I’ll just give you a quick resum√© of all the goings on since last November. Incredible that nearly 3 out of 4 seasons have gone by in a flash¬†and that the last of this season’s guests¬†left¬†last week¬†( At Les Crouquets anyway, La Tour de Gen√®bre is still open). That old familiar feeling of “Here we go again” is creeping in as this¬†Winter’s work programme gets underway.¬†Amar is not one for letting the grass grow under his feet ( fat chance this year with no rain since May and a scorching hot Summer ūüėČ – more about that later)¬†¬†and is already¬†firing on all cylinders.¬†His project manager’s hat is well & truly on and work starts this weekend. Roofs¬†are this year’s thing and L’Atelier and Le Logis are all set for a facelift.

But back to last year ….

Pitch & Putt greens resown at the end of last season

nice green golf course

All lush and green at the start of the season

This was a back breaking task but it had to be done. At the beginning of the season though¬†the hard work had paid off – all lush & green. But the heatwave hit and there was no real rain from June onwards. Coupled with days hitting 40¬įC and nights in the high 20s/low 30s poor Amar watched in despair as it all withered in front of his eyes for the second year running. He did try filling the tanks with mains water to sprinkle the greens but it was like running fast just to stand still. We ended up with a field more akin to Arizona than Aquitaine (or New Aquitaine as we are now called!) No idea if it will all grow back – maybe another job on the Winter To Do list ūüôĀ

gites with golf

An Arizona-esque pitch & putt course

New Kitchen in La Grange

La Grange got a new kitchen , the only one which hadn’t been replaced over the years.

French gite with fully equipped kitchen

Complete new kitchen and floor tiles in La Grange

Bedroom makeover in La Grange

family holidays in france

Mini makeover with new bed and soft furnishings in La Grange

New Shower Room in Le Cerisier

french country cottages

New downstairs shower room in Le Cerisier

New Shower Room in L’Atelier

child friendly gites in france

Old green tiles replaced with sparkly glass mosaics

Bedroom makeover in L’Atelier

chold friendly gites in the dordogne

Mini makeover for L’Atelier main bedroom

This bed came with us from Scotland – it used to be a dark brown scuffed mahogany colour. We decided it needed a new lease of life¬†and painted it a soft grey. Even taken apart it wouldn’t fit up the narrow staircase and so it was hoisted up through the bedroom window¬†with just millimetres to spare!

gites in south west france

Just fits through!

The upstairs ensuite shower in Le Cerisier also got some new tiles and Le Logis got some smart new grey floor tiles throughout and a mini makeover in the double bedroom.

La Tour de Gen√®bre at La Cassagne also got its fair share of changes this year. Last year a few guests had commented on how it would be useful to have a toilet downstairs which wasn’t in the ensuite bedroom. There was one there already which we didn’t have time to redo last year so we retiled it and¬†now it’s open!¬†Half of the empty building in the grounds, which was originally planned as a two bedroomed gite, was turned into a games room. So now as well as the badminton net and boules pitch & swings,¬†there is also a snooker table, darts board and table tennis.

Spacious villa with gamesroom

New games room with snooker and darts

We also added a Summer kitchen on the covered terrace which has a plancha & BBQ. The plancha in particular has been a huge hit with all of the guests who have cooked everything from steak to fried eggs and even pancakes on it!

New Summer Kitchen at La Tour de Genèbre

villa with summer kitchen

Summer kitchen with plancha & BBQ for relaxed outdoor living !

dordogne holiday villa with private pool

peppers and onions roasting on the plancha

French villa with summer kitchen

Covered terrace is perfect for a little night time cooking when it’s nice and cool!

This year also just happened to be 10 years since we moved to Les Crouquets and since so many guests have asked us over the years what it was like when we moved here, it seemed quite a good time to post some Before and After pics.

the pool before

The pool before….

gites with heated pool france

….and after, now a more manageable 6m x 16m, heated and with legally compliant fencing

Here are some more before and afters on our Facebook Album

Social media alert !! We are now on Instagram

I was treated to a snazzy new camera for my birthday back in May ( including a very informative lesson from local photographer Herv√© Froidefond¬†)¬†and I had great hopes of becoming a photographer extraordinaire ūüėČ ! Ahem, cough, cough …nearly¬† 4 months on I’m still more or less on point ‘n’ shoot with a few bells and whistles here and there but no worries,¬†there’s still this Winter to realise the dream…

I really can’t keep up with all the different things going on now and a squillion or so passwords to remember¬†…¬†so this¬†account has photos from Les Crouquets , La Tour de Gen√®bre, the Dordogne area in general and other miscellaneous “just because I like it¬†” stuff and it’s all lumped together at www.instagram.com/lescrouquets if you fancy a peek… if you like it why not follow us for more of the same!!

photos of our gites in the dordogne

Now snap happy on Instagram!

So, there it is. No explanation because remember, friends don’t¬†need it. I’ll be back shortly with a progress report on¬†this Winter’s To Do list – it kicks off tomorrow with Le Logis’ roof – and also a quick summary of what went on over the Summer…. after all¬†life’s not all about work!

A tr√®s bient√īt!!

 


 

Yet another season over…

Blimey,it’s November….¬† no idea how we got here so fast. The whole year seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye and now there are only 51 sleeps until Christmas. Scary stuff. Even more so as this year’s Winter To Do list is already sagging under the weight of Amar’s ambitious projects. So for all those people who think that as soon as the last guests leave we down tools and head for the cheese , wine & comfy armchairs¬†this post will show you¬†what really happens…..! First of all though we¬†must say a huge belated thank you to all of this year’s guests, to all the familiar faces and all the new families visiting for the first time and a special thank you to all of you (new & old) who have already booked for next year …we are looking forward to it immensely and at this rate that old adage is so true,¬†it will definitely be here before you know it ! On that note, August 2016¬†is now just about fully booked in all of the cottages¬†and July is following close behind, so if you were thinking of paying a visit….. ūüėČ ! La Tour de Genebre was fully booked this year which was fantastic for the very first season – it too is now almost fully booked for next Summer which is great and definitely gives us both the much needed motivation for the gruelling Winter work!

French holiday villa with salt water heated pool

The pool at La Tour de Genèbre is now heated!

Luckily we found a spare couple of days back in September where we were able¬†¬†to install the pool heater at La Gen√®bre so that’s one job already crossed off the list! Air conditioning is also going to be installed for next season but that’s for a bit later on.

Meanwhile back at the ranch we have been catapulted straight into the work…..well, actually no, that’s not quite true. Amar just walked calmly into it, a man with a plan; I was the one who was thrown straight in with no time for my usual and much needed procrastination. Yep,wherever there’s a devil with some detail I’m right in there, what-iffing and oh butting, leaving nothing to chance. If it were down to me I’d still be there measuring and calculating to the last 6 decimal points.

As it is I have been overruled and so far ….

  • The whole pitch & putt course has been scarified & resown
  • The grass outside La Grange and Le Logis has been dug up and resown
  • 4 floors have been retiled
  • La Grange’s kitchen has been demolished
  • Le Cerisier’s shower room is now out
  • The new plumbing is just about finished

I’m still deciding on which curtain material to buy! I’m not all bad news though as I have actually helped with some of the above as well as having been half buried in the annual administration and of course also being the chief photographer (actually the only photographer as Amar is too busy “doing proper jobs” to be concerned with such frivolities).

Holiday cottages with pitch & putt course

The new grass on the greens¬†is just sprouting through but Amar reckons it’s not good enough so he’s out there as I write, adding some more seed – weather conditions this week are perfect, apparently!¬† There are too many photos to add here but you can see all the other work on record on our Facebook Winter Work album.

There are a whole host of other less radical things planned for this Winter too but I’ll leave that for another time – you know what they say about the road to Hell…

Now just for someting completely different here’s a photo of this year’s vintage moped rally in La Cassagne. To be honest it’s not meant to be on here but it won’t let me delete it and I can’t spend any more time trying to work out why not – I have a kitchen to measure which could take some time!

A bient√īt!

Fun at the fair! The annual old moped rally at La Cassagne!