Friday, 23 June 2017

Great Comments!

We have just seen the first comments in our visitors book from a family who stayed at La Matha over the recent half term holidays.  This is what they said:

"We enjoyed a fab week at La Matha, the house is great, lots of space for the girls.  Terrace is a great space for being outdoors - spent most mornings and evenings out there.  Ventured out to Duras, Bergerac and along the Dordogne to Beynac and La Roque-Gageac.  Thoroughly enjoyed the market at Ste Foy La Grande (even though we had rain); well worth the visit.  Lots more we'd like to see & would love to return soon."

Also, here are the comments from their daughter Emilie:

It is really encouraging to see comments like this.  I suppose it explains why so many guests come back a second or third time!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pool-side Furniture

We have a rolling programme of replacing sun-loungers at La Matha.  They get used, which is great, as it means people are enjoying relaxing by the pool in the sunshine!

This year we have brought an old table and chair set out of storage, with a bit of sanding and oiling to make them presentable.  One of the benches had been used for a while by the pergola, but we've put the rest of the set by the pool, together with a large sun shade.

We hope our guests will enjoy having lunch there - taking a well-earned break from all that sun-bathing and swimming!

Terrace Table and Chairs

When we bought La Matha in 2008, we had a lot of expenditure to get the house in order so that visitors could stay with some degree of comfort.  As a result, there were some compromises.  We bought a relatively cheap outdoor dining set that was big enough for the number of people who would be staying here at any one time.

That set of table and chairs has lasted well, but was starting to look a little tired.  As a result, we bought a new set - quite a bit more expensive than the first set, but likely to last much longer.  The set consists of a large teak table and a long bench with five comfortable rattan chairs.  It is really elegant and looks great under the terrace!  Perfect for breakfast in the morning sunshine or for watching the sun go down in the evening with a glass of fizz!

We hope that visitors this year will enjoy dining under the terrace!

New Shower Room

We have been meaning to get this done for a few years - the last remaining room which has virtually been left untouched since we moved in has now been refurbished.

We now have a swish new shower room downstairs:


Gone is the old shower curtain over the bath, replaced by a lovely glass screen.  We also have a radiator in there for the first time - I know our summer visitors won't really need this, but in the winter, it can get cold in there.

For babies, we have bought a baby bath, as some of our previous visitors felt that having a bath in the house was important.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

What colour did you say it was?

Seven years ago, when I made new shutters for the downstairs bedrooms, we decided to change the colour of the shutters to a bright blue.  The colour was called "Pebble Drift 4" by Dulux.  We then also painted the shutters for the sitting room windows, and finally the door to the pool house, when that was put up.  All good so far.

The bedroom shutters desperately need a new coat of paint - the outside of them get a lot of sunshine year round when they are closed.  We decided to get a fresh tin of Pebble Drift 4, and this week I set to on the re-paint.  Except... the name's the same, but the colour is different.  This one is much lighter - nice, but not the same.

This is what the shutters did look like:

And this is the new, delicate colour:

The problem is that the living room shutters and the door to the pool house (which did need re-doing) also needed to be painted.  The living room shutters really need replacing - I will be doing that next spring, so I admit that I just slapped the coat of gloss on, with little preparation.

Dulux should not use a previous name for a completely different colour!

Lots of jobs

We're here at La Matha for a week, with a lot of little jobs to do to prepare for the year ahead.  We've also been choosing tiles, and finalising the timetable for the refurbishment of the downstairs bathroom.  I will take before and after photos to share on this blog.

Little things like repairing the fencing around the pool, repainting the large shower-room (not such a little job), replacing cushion covers, sorting out stuff in the garden and general tidying up.

At the same time, we've also been enjoying good food and wine.  We went to the market at Sauveterre de Guyenne and had a good lunch there in the sunshine (cold wind, at the start of the week, though!); we've eaten at Gensaké, La Terrasse and a few other places for lunch.

I will be returning in a week's time with some furniture.  I will post photos and give more information at the time.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Another day, another Marché - a tale of two markets!

One of the things we really like about spending time at La Matha is that every day of the week, you can go to a different market.  We love the Saturday market at Ste Foy - it really must be one of the best town markets in France.

On the drive from Bergerac airport last Thursday, we were driving around the Ste Foy ring road and saw a sign for Pineuilh market - Friday.  We thought - we've not got much planned, let's have some of that!  Pineuilh is a funny place; there is a centre to it, but as you drive around the Ste Foy ring road, you go in and out of the village every time you enter and leave a roundabout.  There is, of course, the Leclerc hypermarket called "Grand Pineuilh", but we've never actually been to the centre of the village.

Friday morning, we went there.  Well, I think calling it a market is a bit of an exaggeration - calling it a market stall would be more accurate!  There was one fruit and veg stall there; a large one, to be fair, but only one.  We were disappointed.  I will not be changing the website or the house manual to add that market to the list!

Last year, Rick Stein started off his television series "Long Weekends" by going to Bordeaux.  We like Rick, mainly because we like food, but perhaps that's another story.  When he was in Bordeaux, he went to a market called Marché des Capucins - a permanent covered market just to the south of the main shopping area.

We decided to give that a go after the disappointment of Pineuilh.  Well, you couldn't get two different markets.  This was lively and bustling with many different stalls selling meat, fish, fruit and veg.  There were speciality stalls - for instance, one selling food from Portugal - as well as stalls where you could sit down for lunch.

This place is really well worth a visit if you go to Bordeaux.  It is a morning only market, so you need to be prompt.

After the market visit, we went to a restaurant that Rick visited, Le Petit Commerce, which is a really good fish restaurant not too far from the centre.  When walking over there, we went through areas that we hadn't been to before and saw many nice looking restaurants: not the touristy ones which we have always struggled to avoid.  Overall we had a really great day in Bordeaux.