In what can only be described as the fastest turning of time, we are already nearing the end of the summer holiday season. In the past ten weeks we've welcomed over 60 guests to our barn and cabin and the region has been buzzing with tourists aplenty but it's still crazy to me that more people don't head to this region for holidays in other months like June and September. After all, the weather is generally great, the landscape just as beautiful, and there is plenty still to see and do. My plea would be that if you're not tied to holidaying during the school break then don't - our corner of south west France is great all year round, and cheaper!
That aside it's always nice at this time of year (we're into our third season already!) to read back the comments in our visitors' book and read the reviews on HomeAway and AirBnB. In the busy chaos of doing changeovers for guests, cleaning the pool, frantically mowing and processing endless machine loads of laundry, you forget that each set of guests will likely remember their holiday here at our place forever, in much the same way that we remember so many French holidays, in fact so much so that we wanted to move here!
This summer has been a particularly good one for weather memories as it has been hot, hot, hot! This is great news for those guests that love to spend time at the pool, in fact one set of guests told us their son would never forget his holiday because he learned to swim here. It's also been great tanning weather, and because so many of our guests have spent time lazing at the pool we've accumulated quite a collection of inflatables! Our last guests definitely won the prize for best inflatables, you could barely get in the pool for giant pink flamingoes! (picture below taken after the guests had left!).
Despite the heat our holiday guests have been out each day exploring the region, some on mountain bikes, some on electric bikes venturing to the nearest boulangerie in the mornings and others just enjoying the region's sights and sounds by car. And with a number of local events, like the Espinas fete de Fenaisons, the Ping Pong, endless fetes and local Marché Gourmands and the new Espinas bar and food van each week it's been a fab season for making memories.
For 'the As Plos' team it's been a little harder to make our own summer memories as it's been very busy, partly because we've been working but also because As Plos welcomed another new member. Back in July, during a heatwave and after four days of contractions, Mel and Jim welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world - and then our five became six! She's not been too useful so far, but it won't be long until she's well versed in the art of 'the changeover'!
Despite the busy times, we have still found a bit of time to get out to the local tourist attractions, with trips to the leisure lake at Parisot, the rivers at Varen and Laguepie, crépe and ice cream trips to Saint Antonin Noble Val, Marché Gourmands, picnics in the Fôret de Gresigne and of course a few good restaurant stops along the way. Jim and Marcus have also taken their love of beer up a level and have started doing some home brewing, which takes up a ridiculous amount of time if you ask me...but they say it's worth it! I'm sure there will be more to read on the blog about that in due course, but in the meantime here's a picture of them in their latest 'brewing outfits!!!! I hope the beer is an improvement on the outfits!
Now though, as the steady stream of summer guests come to an end, our summer is far from over - we've got seven days to get ready for our final cycling holiday of the year - yikes! A la prochaine...