We are Matt & Ali Cooper; with our kids Olea (5) and Simi (3). Matt is from all over but most of his upbringing was in Oxfordshire, UK, and Ali grew up on a farm in Yorkshire, UK.
Matt did a stint in the marines and then went on to writing code for websites; and ran his own online business for 10 years. Being a physical guy and very practical in many fields, he always felt like a frustrated farmer and sitting at his desk day after day started to take its toll on his health and happiness. Now he can work outside doing any number of projects, and he is a different man! He has taken up hunting and loves the peaceful time in the forest, as well as providing ecological and humane meat for the family.
Ali spent about 10 years in the yachting industry; mostly cooking on private or charter sailing yachts in stunning locations all over the world. She settled near Nice before meeting Matt who introduced her to SW France, where they got married and had 2 kids.
In 2013, they decided to embark on a big renovation project with Ali’s parents, Nigel & Gina. La Taillede was the 3rd property they visited and looked no further.
Nigel loves working with wood, so as La Taillede has it’s own forest, we purchased some good machinery so Nige is very happy spending his days in the barn, making what ever is needed out of wood.
Gina is chief soup maker and keeps everyone going with her nourishing crew lunches, using as much of our own produce as possible.
Also part of crew up here are Dani & Luka, who arrived in December 2015 as part of the work-away scheme. They intended to stay for 2 weeks and are still here! Dani is American and she runs the poly tunnel, is a great chef and does lots of painting & varnishing too. Luka is our Swedish saw-man! He is very versatile; he casts all the concrete kitchen tops and is the general foreman. As they are also ex-yachties, they are a perfect couple to help Ali with hospitality once we get the gite business up & running. A wonderful, very practical couple who have become part of this place and part of our family.
Last but not least is our random array of animals; we have 2 dogs, Rocco & Tai, 3 cats Tom & Tillie & Bandit, 2 Catalan donkeys, 2 naughty Pyrenean goats, a flock of Cameroon sheep and some chickens.