Happy Birthday to me!

07 September 2010

I had a lovely birthday yesterday playing golf with my 12-year-old nephew Wils and his pal Nick. The boys are really enjoying their golf and being natural sportsman they’ll turn into great players in the future.

We’re just back a week now from our wonderful holiday and I’d like to share our holiday destination with you as it was absolutely superb. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect after trolling through the various options on the internet and although we were really looking forward to it and had a good feeling about our choice, it was much better than imagined. In fact, it could not have been better!

We chose Le Vieux Monastere, located just outside St Hilaire de Villefranche, in the Charente Maritime. Graham and Christine Dove, who are wonderful hosts, have beautifully renovated an old Monastery and created seven separate villas in an incredibly beautiful setting. And talk about child-friendly! The property is walled-in in the shape of a square with an acre-and-a-half of courtyard, which is perfect for the kids to play cricket, footie, hide-and-seek or whatever else they may come up with. There are swings, a games room, and a beautiful pool as well. During our holiday there were around 16 children there between the ages of 3 and 13, so the girls had a great time running about with their new friends. Because the grounds are walled-in everyone let their children run wild and get on with whatever they chose to occupy themselves with. (All the cars were parked outside the complex adding to a very safe and relaxing atmosphere)

The surrounding area is fantastic with many beautiful little villages and towns, lovely markets, historic buildings and churches, rivers, and brilliant beaches about 50-minutes away. The landscape is relatively flat and with the little roads being very quiet it’s a great place for cycling as well. Graham and Christine have 15-or-so good mountain bikes for rent for those who don’t want to travel with bikes.

Graham happens to be a longer suffering Hammers fan than me, and both he and Christine have a great taste in proper variations of ‘rock’ music, which played in the background during the Sunday night welcoming drinks party and the Wednesday night dinner. They are very caring people and along with Richard and Jordan (Leeds University students working for the summer) our every need was dealt with immediately.

I’d definitely recommend Le Vieux Monastere for anyone with children as it’s a child’s paradise! And it’s far enough south to pretty much guarantee excellent weather. Graham and Caroline aim to please and some of the families we met were visiting for their third-straight summer holiday, which speaks volumes.


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