It's been a pretty full on year for the pair of us at Maison Grillou, has 2016. Yes, I know, I know, they always are (one day we'll slow down, honest ... though perhaps not quite yet!). But this year has been one of The Big Ones. I've been looking back.
We began the year as it went on, really - with paintbrush in hand! Not only over at Maison Leela, where work continued right up to spring and beyond, but also in L'Atelier d'Artiste where after completely repainting the kitchen walls, I decided at the (very) last minute to give a few bits of furniture the chalk paint'n'wax treatment to lighten up a slightly gloomy corner. Yep, you first guests of the season never knew, did you, that I was in there waxing and buffing right into the early hours before you arrived?!
Well, well, well ... what an eagle-eyed bunch of readers you are! Quite a few of you out there have already spotted a change or two in this latest version of our website, the biggest of which is that 2016 will be the first year that we're not serving breakfast or dinner to our guests. Some of you have emailed me to ask why. So here goes.
At some point in the last three months, if my calculations are correct, I cooked and served my 12,000th guest breakfast (if I'd known who you were we could have have done something to celebrate, but although I'm pretty spot-on with my accounting I'm not quite that OCD about it!).
First published 5 June 2010
As many of you know, I seem to have interspersed a life of doing Socially Useful Things - civil servant, welfare rights activist, CAB manager, citizen advocate, and counsellor/psychotherapist - with various forays into the hospitality world: prototype vegetarian guest house in the 1980s, meditation and workshop centre, dance and other camps, restaurant with rooms, and of course Maison Grillou!). It's a pretty big thing to me, the H word.
We've been writing here and there and about this and that since we arrived at Maison Grillou in 2007, just as we did back in our Norfolk days. From 2008 all the way up to the end of 2012 I blogged regularly about our first years in the Ariège and our - um - adventures renovating this house and welcoming its first guests. If you really have nothing better to do (or just want to see what we used to look like or know what we got up to in those days), you can still read those early posts here: