Making up for it, I have dug up a super duper couple or three places to go for a fantastic holiday, getting in some printmaking (if that floats your boat), some walking, or just in general being lazy and looked after..... my criteria has been:
1) Interesting Owners (as they are all B&B, kind of)
2) Fabulous Country Side
3) Something to do
4) No more expensive than any other package tour
So, today I present the first of the places: Maison Conti , a fabulous old town house in a tiny village in France, not far from Le Mans and Chartres.
There is a really nice story, to how I came to know Nancy and Rick, who run Maison Conti..... my husband and I had just finished building a house, and I had my first purpose built studio made! Huge.... over 80 square meter in one big area, with an outside "acid kitchen" under roof..... and I froze..... there I was, operating, being creative, printing away, for so many years, in rented expat accommodation where I usually occupied the 2 back bedrooms! This sounds not so fun, but hey, it was really good in many cases, and no complaints... but of course, it was not spaces meant to be studios, and I had to be very careful, printmaking is MESSY business, and these were rented houses.. so , my first "real" studio, and I could not think of what to do with it, how to "decorate" it, my usual tendency had been to use left overs or cheap IKEA tables etc etc..... but this time I wanted a "living room" to work in. So I found Nancys studio, at Maison Conti, where she gives printmaking courses, if you want, or you can just stay.... on the internet, and thought it looked just fantastic! Just what I had in mind... I wrote her a note, telling her thank you - for having been so instrumental in loosening my imagination for what I wanted in my studio... and we started talking! I have been back now, for a couple of times, learning new skills, and updating old skills from both Nancy, who is a great printmaker, and from Rick, her lovely husband who is a very practical person.... the 2 together makes for a good combination, whilst on course, you stay in one of the 4 beautiful rooms they have, work in the studio and eat divine food cooked by Nancy and Rick too..... multi talented! I can so whole heartedly recommend a stay, it is a treat, it is a retreat, it is great conversation with two very intelligent and fun people, and it is not that expensive!!!!! With easy jet, and Maison Conti's room rates, it is not going to be any more than going on packagetour to Tunisia...... how marvellous is that!
It is though, a 5 star experience! Just seeing an e-mail from Nancy in my inbox, puts me in a good mood! And that, folks, is a wonderful positive feeling!