Monday, 29 February 2016

Friday, 26 February 2016

Perfect situation...

One of the great things about living in our area (Southern Touraine) of Centre-Val de Loire is that our location means that we have all the riches of the main Loire Valley attractions  yet also border the neighbouring department of the Vienne and all that it has to offer.

Sorting through some of my photographs for my 'Collections' on **Google+ I am unearthing many from this area that remind me of just how lucky we are.

The Loire Valley is blessed with many fine abbeys and churches but there are some beautiful Romanesque gems in the Vienne. We are only 45 minutes away from the the world heritage listed Abbey Saint Savin for example which is well worth a visit.




**Seems like a good place to store photographs as having them in files is almost just like having them in a box in the attic! Think they have lost out to Facebook with regards to being the main social media platform but think maybe becoming more like 'Pinterest'. Am I the only one who thinks that social media has become much like the rest of consumerism in that items only have a short shelf life...this is why I choose the template I have for this blog...at least you get to see a choice of some of my past posts rather than having to scroll through them all.Never did get the hang of 'labels' early on. I still believe there is a better platform out there yet to evolve. 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

'Blaising' a trail in Barrou...


Delighted to be part of yesterday's Saint Blaise celebration here in Barrou.


As vice-president the day was not too difficult even with my lack of French...Guy the President had more to do and helped me through the day along with Pauline. Roll on next year.


It was the usual good day of  eating,drinking and singing in good company...those bits were easy.Pauline gave a short speech to the hall and did very well...a lot more French required by me for next year!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Loire Valley through my lens...

My recent inactivity due to my careless use of this old body of mine has had me trying to sort through the thousands (and I mean thousands) of photographs I have taken since moving to France.

Growing up, a camera was considered a luxury item in our family and photo-taking and processing was not something that happened a lot, thankfully we do have a few memories to look back on like this one of my sister Mary holding the recently arrived Richard to almost complete our brood, although Sarah-Anne came as a bit of a surprise, 3 years later. That's me on her immediate left, I would be 4 at the time.

Probably like everyone else, Pauline and I  have a very large box of photographs of our boys as they grew up and we would have loved to have taken them with a digital camera but it was too early for that.So to 'view' them is a case of digging through them.

Digital imagery has meant that photography is now in the hands of the masses with billions of cameras around the world.snapping who knows how many photographs. I am no different, with my trusty camera, which has suffered much abuse, nearly always travelling with me. I love being able to capture a scene or event instantly and the ability to photograph the same scene in a number of different ways.

I have enjoyed going back through my files and revisiting some of them and being pleased with a few of the results, I would never consider myself a photographer but I love taking pictures.

I have decided to share some in 'collections' on Google+  Loire Valley here and Paris here.

Here is latest I added to my Loire Valley collection, took in way back in 2012 from the bridge over the river Indre at Cormery...



and to my Paris collection this view of Montmartre taken from Parc des Buttes Chaumont taken in 2011.

 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

With so many gites / holiday homes to rent in France how does someone choose a particular property?

Courtyard of Loire Valley house available for rent
With our properties to rent here in the Loire Valley (http://loirevalleyexperiences.com/ ) we start each year not knowing how our bookings are going to go in the year ahead. We have to rely on our advertising and the promotion of our region of France as the ideal area to spend a holiday (http://www.experienceloire.com/)
Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley with its reflection on the river Cher
We chose to live and work in the Centre-Val de Loire because, as a holiday destination, it is a very popular choice for discerning tourists as it offers such a diverse range of holiday options with regard to what to see and do.
looking on to terrace and river of vacation rental in Loire Valley
 Once someone has found the area they want to visit, they then have to go about finding a suitable property to rent. Some, especially larger groups and families with children, will be looking for larger houses with a pool and outside space. These properties (not all) tend to be in the countryside, so you may have to sacrifice the convenience of village amenities.

Others will be looking for a quiet secluded spot to escape the normally busy business lives and again may head for the country where they hope they will find peace and tranquillity.

Our guests tend to be looking more for a village experience where they can be involved, in whatever small way, with the local community, whether it is dining at the village restaurant, buying bread from the boulangerie or using a local shop for topping up supplies.

Previous 'Le Bourg' guest's comment:


"The small village experience was great and made us feel part of the landscape rather than just passing tourists."

We have many ‘world travellers’ choosing our houses and some come to the Loire Valley after a visit to Paris or some other major European city so are pleased to find the houses equipped with washing machines which allow them to freshen-up before heading off to their next destination.

With 10 years of renting we have gained so many new friends that it has become less of a job and more a series of pleasant experiences. Yes, we have to work hard, as there is a standard to maintain, but knowing that we have helped make our guests’ holidays as enjoyable as possible is what drives us. 

One of the aspects that pleases us most is the number of returning guests we get. This year guests from the USA are returning to 'Le Bourg' 
for the fourth year in a row plus the 'Old Walnut Mill' has another guest returning for a fifth visit to Barrou. ‘Les Balcons’, our property in Le Grand Pressigny also has three parties of returning guests this year - we must be doing something right!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A day in the merde (et un bon voisin)...


Yesterday wasn't a good day...with the clock ticking with regards to the work we need to do before the new rental season begins, we were about to move onto the downstairs shower room here in Barrou (I know.we should have started La Guerche by now) but our soil pipe had different ideas...we had a blockage.

I was silly enough to lift the inspection cover of the égout on my own and have injured my back. Fortunately my good neighbour came to the rescue and cleared the blockage but I am left hobbling about. 

The most important aspect of our lives here in France is our health and when we do have a problem it hits us hard.We are lucky enough to enjoy relatively good health and try not to take it for granted as we know how fragile we really are. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not as young as I used to be.

Anyway our plans are on hold until I get over my current problem...as Burns once said "The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley" 




Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Monkey business...


Had a great evening on Monday night to celebrate the Chinese new year...it is the year of the monkey. Our host along with friends went to great lengths to make the evening fit the theme. We had a Chinese banquet a Chinese sing-song and even a wishing tree!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Down by the riverside...



Was a beautiful winter's day here in Barrou yesterday so we took a walk down past the campsite and ventured on to the banks of the Creuse. The river is quite high just now giving it a much wider look.




Thursday, 4 February 2016

Old Walnut Mill...



Just finished freshening up main bedroom at the 'Old Walnut Mill' for renting out this season...


happy with end results.






Monday, 1 February 2016

Shower room upgrade...

Seems ages since I posted on our small project here at the house (Old Walnut Mill) in Barrou but happy to report that we are actually nearly at an end, to this part anyway.


The new shower room is finished...



and a new corridor formed so it can accessed from both bedrooms.