Day 32 Setting Up A Campsite In Gers

I think we may have peaked with obscure, arty photos in our last blog (did you recognise our homage to American Gothic?), which may frighten off potential clients – apologies if you don’t know us but I can assure you that all pitchforks and miserable faces will be safely stored away during the season.

It has been a hectic week trying to ensure that during Fiona’s visit we got key jobs done while having a bit of down time. This was important as I had been well and truly reminded by my mother that Fiona was on holiday.

We had a great week and got loads done.  It was great to be working as a team at last on our future business.  Having someone at the bottom of the ladder (literally not metaphorically) means that the hedges, bar one, are now well and truly pruned back, lopped and generally scalped.  They may not be 100% straight but they know who’s boss.

It was brilliant exploring the site together.  We  particularly enjoyed our amble through the woodland at Le Poteau.  We are planning to make it fully accessible and hope that it will provide a magical spot for exciting adventures for our younger visitors and the young at heart.

I’m not sure if it was work or pleasure but we also went kit shopping.  Fiona has mentioned once or twice that she thinks I may be a kit junkie (hmmm cycling and climbing – she may have a point).  Put it this way, this time last year, I was struggling to find any new gear for either activity but now that campsite owning is my new thing, I have a chainsaw, a tractor and sit on lawn mower. Happy days!

As instructed, we did take some time off and hosted our first dinner party – having two gites and a campsite kitchen crammed with stuff was a godsend as it turns out I have a serious lack of cooking kit.  Most of it is sitting unused in Whitley Bay as Fiona is being fed by family and friends on a regular basis.   Anyway, we manged to pull it together and had a great evening with neighbours. It must be said that some Armagnac was involved.  The people of Gers are extremely proud of Armagnac and rightly so.  It has a long history and is an excellent brandy.  The earliest confirmed production was in the 15th century but it may date as far back as the 13th. The one we sampled was extremely smooth and a great degestif to round off a lovely evening. The vineyard which borders Le Poteau produces Armagnac, so you could sip the brandy while sitting just yards from where it’s grown.

The support and friendship we have experienced has been quite overwhelming.  Gers is a warm region, both in terms of climate and welcome.  On Thursday, we were invited by Joop and Marijke (the previous owners of  Le Poteau) to join them with some friends for lunch at their new home.  They have chosen to remain in the area and have a beautiful home around 30 mins away.   At least this time I was prepared for a huge lunch.  We had a lovely (massive of course) lunch in great company.  It is such a bonus for us having Joop and Marijke around as they are happy to fill in any gaps in our knowledge and it turns out, not surprisingly,  there are quite a few.   They also have a lot of charming friends who keep offering to help in any way they can.  We couldn’t really ask for more.

The week passed far too quickly.  As a final treat, we booked a very lovely little Chambre D’hote in Bordeaux.  Bordeaux is a great city.  The excellent tram system makes it incredibly easy to get around.  For our shopaholic friends it has a very upmarket shopping area and for foodies it is a gastronomic heaven.  The buildings are elegant and beautiful.  It is a super place just to potter and enjoy the ambiance. Highly recommended as a city break.

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