July 2024

It’s been a while since our last blog… we have been absolutely up against it preparing for our first art retreat in June for nine guests. 

The Studio was completed in March and was looking fabulous for our first holiday family to come and have a lovely art day and lunch with us.

So at the beginning of April the Studio had the sound of grandparents, parents and lovely grandchildren creating some fantastic art. A yummy light brunch on the terrace completed a very French art day at the Manoir.

We also tested out a full day of art with two lovely UK ladies with a lunch on the terrace – here are some action pics.


OH MY!! What can I say? The weather has been very wet this year. The pool is normally open in April and hot and warm through May. This year there has been so much rainfall, the farmers have delayed sowing the sunflower seeds, and so it will be late July when they will be in full bloom.

The freakiest 25 mins of storms. Torrential rain and hail as big as large marbles. This rain tumbled down the enormous roof of the grange (barn) into the drain, flooded it within minutes and with the gentle slope down of the drive created a flowing river effect.   This fast flowing river broke the terrace boundary and channeled its way into the studio! Flooding the whole large area within minutes – there was nothing we could do but watch in disbelief.  There is a video on our Facebook page if you want to watch the deluge.

We were straight on it. As the floodwater ran straight through and out the back of the Studio, it left all the mud and silt behind. It took 2 hours to sweep and mop the studio out but all clear and back to square one. 

So two bedrooms to make, one bathroom to create and a pool deck to build by end of June…whew!


Ok, so we had a group of guests coming to test our art retreat and house at the end of this month.  The house will not be 100% but we have to have this slow opening to see what works in terms of the food we serve, the art lessons, going out to painting and of course the plumbing in the old house.

A big thanks to our good friends Catherine, for creating useful lists of things to do and quality wine tasting, Jon Hill, for the fantastic deck building, Sue Hill for expert gardening skills  and Claire Fuller for super decorating skills – we would not have been ready without you!

On Saturday 15th June we again hosted the Monsegur Theatre Players with a beautiful production in our gardens. With all the local community attending, enjoying the performance and a lovely supper provided afterwards – it was a wonderful event, which has become an annual fixture.


It’s here… the house is set (third bathroom going live on the Sunday…eek) but we are as ready as we can be after just 18 months to make the house and studio viable.

Nine wonderful guests arrived on the Saturday to a dull day. Blankets in all rooms – whew.

A week of art lessons, en plein air painting, picnics , auberge and enjoying the beautiful Lot et Garonne countryside.

Our test week went well. The group had been on art holidays before and were a wonderful bunch of long standing friends with high standards. Perfect to help us iron out the niggles and create a wonderful art retreat for next year. 

I had to wear many aprons – going from teaching art lessons, to cooking up a variety of meals and cleaning the leaves from the pool. Dreaming of the day we have staff.

Alastair was great at plugging all the little problems that arose, chief bottle washer and general all round maintenance hero.  Cersei too became a fabulous waitress and general help all week.

Here are a few pictures of the week. We are now looking forward to our week of mixed people who don’t know each other to see how that runs in July.


We look forward to some volunteers coming and helping with our boule/petanque area and just some B&B ladies coming to stay in the Manoir and visit the local area.  We are not just for art.


A few makeover pictures of  the rooms and bathrooms we have created in a small time span with a limited budget – enjoy!

We hope you are finding the trials and tribulations of interest. We would love to hear any questions you may have.. ask away.

With love from France – a bientot 

Leesa, Alastair & Cersei xxx

4 thoughts on “July 2024”

  1. It’s lovely to hear how you’re getting on Leesa and that things are going well. You deserve to after all the hard work you’ve all put in. The pictures bring back some very happy memories of our wonderful day with you!

  2. The 9 of us had a terrific week with you in June. We learnt a huge amount from Leesa’s enthusiastic and expert instruction, enjoyed all our plein air excursions, had many many laughs, ate the most delicious food and were given the warmest of welcomes at the beautiful Maison du Fort. I enjoyed every minute and I’m smiling at the memories writing this


Leave a comment