Saturday, 30 December 2017

Winter in La Matha

We have driven down to La Matha for a few days between Christmas and the New Year.  Re-charging the batteries is the main aim!

A lot of people ask us "what is the weather like down there?".  Well, in the winter, it's not too different from England - it gets a lot of weather from the west, and therefore it can be wet.  It has also been windy and a bit cold; that said, it has got up to 16c today, which would be positively balmy, if not for hte wind!  However, in the summer, you can get temperatures of over 30c on a regular basis.  Spring and autumn are usually a degree or so warmer than in the UK.

Anyway, we're here with our dog, enjoying walks, good food and just generally relaxing.  Once the central heating has warmed up the house and we've got the wood-burning stove going, it's lovely and warm inside.  We do have to use the electric blanket, though!

Not all the restaurants we usually go to are open this week, which is a struggle.  However, Restaurant Le 8 in St Foy and La Gensak√© in Gensac are, which is enough for us.

We have enjoyed a couple of long walks - driving out to Baleyssagues for one and Villeneuve-de-Duras for another.  It is lovely wandering through vineyards and woods in peace and quiet! We will be researching more of these walks and leave details of them in the house.

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 Gensak√©, 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.