Our first guests – sort of. My parents. Strangers to roughing it, they arrived fully warned as to just how basic our french home still was. I’m not entirely sure they believed us though (my mum had optimistically packed white linen trousers!) but they were kind enough to make the right kind of comments about potential, one day, blah, so much space, blah… In the end, despite the completion of the bathroom we decided it might be best to house them in a nearby B&B so they could retire at the end of the day to a bedroom with en suite and fluffy towels. They stayed with a fabulous Danish woman in a lovely village nearby called Marciac. I wished i ws staying there too for the breakfast buffet alone! Plus, Marciac is a picture postcard french village based around a square that looks how you imagine a French rural village to look. Think ‘Chocolat’ or those ‘Petit Filou’ ads and you get an idea. As a result, it is swarming with English people. On one of our first visits there i spied an entire english family of curly blonde haired children of varying ages, all in matching breton tops plus a dad in white linen shirt and straw trilby – pete had to restrain me from chasing them down and introducing myself. ‘But they would love me. We could be friends, i wailed.’ They probably live in one of those chateaus i online stalk! So, thats Marciac. There is even a french restaurant run by an english chef called Le Monde A L’envers – an amazing place but only open about twice a week.
Marciac is also home to posh shops that sell shabby chic french home accessories and stripey tablecloths! (Bought largely by english people) Its also home to our favourite restaurant (frquented almost entirely by french people just to prove am not one of those ex pats who track down jars of marmite and mother’s pride) Its called La Peniche and was once a boat but is now a restaurant on the lake complete with resident parrot. They serve a a four course meal with wine for around €15 and the kids get duck and chips./p>
So, each day, during the parental visit – Mum and Dad would drive over and my dad would help Peter to get rid of the climbing vines that were blocking out all our light. Dad then took up the task of white glossing all windows – to put into context, we’ve now had the house for three years and still have about 80% of them still to do as it takes forever! But we were very grateful for his input. My mum kept an eye on the kids so I even managed to steal some time to read books and bake. And the kids played in a wheelbarrow. It was boiling hot and we could eat outside. And we could begin to see the future. a big table in the sun, laden with cheese, bread and tomatoes so big and juicy they look and taste more like nectarines. The boys in stripey tees and Pete in a linen shirt. What more could you possibly want from a holiday?