Living in the Dordogne is a real blessing, we are surrounded by stunning landscapes from green undulating hills and woodland, to rivers and dramatic cliffs, medieval villages and castles and rich vineyards.
With lots of places to visit all year round one of our favourites is Les Etangs de la Jemaye. This a wonderful hidden gem that you would not realise is there as you enter from the road. There are six lakes interconnected and located in a magnificent ancient woodlands of the Double Forest. The monks who lived in the abbeys of the Double in the 15th century, created these ponds by deforesting the area. The water storage supplied by runoff water ended up creating the actual aquatic areas.
As we visited this time on an unseasonably warm and sunny day in January we had the place more or less to our selves and swimming or sunbathing on the white (there is a man made river beach to enjoy here at the height of the summer) was not on our agenda.
We headed off into the woodland along a marked trail enjoing the sights of natural habitat and some widldlife sighting while our new pup, Prune, sniffed and explored this wonderful new territory. You can walk on the hiking trails of 4.5 to 7 km around the pond or you can discover this are by mountain bike or on horseback. For those who want to get fit or push themselves a little more you can follow a fitness trail or do an orienteering course.
Over half way into our walk we were, uncharacteristically, for this area disturbed by a small pack of rather large stray dogs which sadly meant we had to cut our walk short and head poste haste back to our car. As the best period to watch birds is the winter season at the wildlife observation posts this was rather disappointing for us that we could not continue. We do have to point out that this is definately not the norm for this regional park.
In the summer you can not only enjoy the woodland walks and swimming or water-sports on the lake but there is very good free parking and a cafe where you can get reasonably priced light bites to eat.
Although the nearby village of Jemaye is very small you can visit the romanesque Eglise St Vivian first built in the 12th century but added to as late as the 19th century.
On the route back to our gites we were very blessed to see a family of wild boar cross the road in front of our car and head into the forest land, fortunately we were not travelling at speed!
There are so many reasons to holiday in SW France, Le grand etang de la Jemaye is just one of them! And it is within easy driving distance from our gites.
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If you are tired of the usual annual package holiday why not consider holidaying in a gite in SW France.
A gite is perhaps the most traditional of French self catering accommodation and an ideal opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the French way and pace of life. Usually a gite is a rural holiday rental, frequently in a renovated traditional country cottage or barn conversion – in a village or in the countryside. Originally gites offered fairly basic, simple accommodation however, in recent years many gites now offer good quality accommodation or even luxury accommodation.
There are lots of different ways to book a gite: but take heed: booking through big online rental sites can be more costly and you can be sure most of the big booking sites are taking a good slice of the booking fee. Many gite owners struggle hard to make ends meet, and the big online rentals sites make the struggle even harder. Depending on the rental agency used, visitors can be charged a fee of up to 15 -20% on top of the rental charge – not to mention the commissions charged to property owners. What a waste, when you could have booked the gite at the best value by contacting the owners directly. And most gite owners do all they can to ensure good customer relations. Of course being a small business owning and running a small holiday complex (Domaine Du Sourire) comprising of 4 gites in Dordogne SW France we would highly recommend booking direct.
So what can you expect from a gite holiday at Domaine Du Sourire? We are located deep in rural France yet within easy reach of towns and villages – a really idyllic place where you can truly relax and unwind. Wthin the well maintained extensive grounds of Domaine Du Sourire is a large, welcoming swimming pool. Dive into the azure blue waters on those hot, hot sunny summer Dordogne days to cool off or simply to have some family fun with the abundant floats and water toys. Believing that accessibility should be the norm we built our pool with a ramp for ease of accessibility even for those who use wheelchairs! No need for embarrassing hoists in our pool. Surrounded by whitewashed walls and gated off for safety you can sun bathe and chill on the pool side loungers shaded by the sun umbrellas. Being a small complex of only 4 gites you can feel like this is your own private pool or a place to have fun with a few new friends and as there is always room for everyone there is no need to pop down early with your towel to reserve your space!
To add to the holiday experience at Domaine du Sourire we have a well maintained lawn where you can play games like football, basketball, boules and we even have a crazy golf course! There is a sand pit, trampoline and playpark for kiddies. We even have a wheelchair swing! There is a games room, soft play room and sensory room all on site for yur enjoyment.
The gites There are four gites, 2 two-bedroomed sleeping up to 5 people, 2 three bedroomed sleeping 6 and eight respectively. All of the gites have large, spacious open plan lounge and kitchen areas furnished with modern conveniences for your comfort, 3 of the gites have downstairs bedrooms and ensuite shower rooms and toilets suitable for accessibility ease. Upstairs are bedrooms, bathroom/shower and toilet. The beds are comfortable and we provide linen and towles at no additional charge. Each gite has a private patio furnished with patio table and chairs and a BBQ and they all face towards the beautiful shared courtyard with lovely shaded pergola where you can meet and enjoy some outdoor dining with new friends!
For a different perspective on our accommodation why not read some of our recent guest’s blogs:
Have you been to the Dordogne, leave us a comment of your favourite thing to do or place to visit below in the comments. We would love to hear from you and no doubt you’d be helping others too!
Domaine du Sourire is situated within the Dordogne department but is close to the Charente department. This gives our guests the best of both worlds, all within easy reach.
There is a plethora of articles around the internet of things to do in Dordogne and Charente so there is not a lot of point to me overloading you with the same information but I will include some links at the end.
From what we have seen on our travels in this area there are lots of historic and beautiful towns and villages to visit, where you can meander medieval streets, visit old and amazing monuments, even prehistoric caves! Then you can easily find a café, take a break from all the activities on offer, order un Café, or un chocolat-chaud or un vino… grab a seat outside and enjoy one of the best loved French pastimes – people watching! Relax and watch the world go by!
It goes without saying you will not have to go far to find a Chateau or gardens with the most beautiful blooms.
If picnics are your thing then find a grassy spot, or a beach by the river and enjoy.
Should the kids want some water fun there are water theme parks, or you can take a boat trip or go canoeing and kayaking for the more adventurous. Perhaps water is not the thing for you? Why not try a hot air balloon trip.
Shopping – lots of markets and brocantes and of course Bordeaux, Angouleme, Bergerac and Périgueux are all within easy reach.
Family time can be spent leisurely cycling the beautiful country roads or well-marked safe cycling routes enjoying the peace and tranquillity. What could be better than to jump on your bike and enjoy exploring. Just imagine the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair as you cycle through fields of sunflowers and vineyards!
There is something for all abilities, interests and ages!
The Dordogne is renowned for its love of food and you can dine out in one of many fine restaurants. Eating out with children can be expensive but to keep costs down try the evening markets in July and August. These are great fun and very reasonably priced. Plus, as they are outdoors and very relaxed, children can run around and make a noise and generally enjoy themselves.
Of course, some days you will just want to laze by our pool and enjoy the fun things on our grounds and maybe even have a BBQ.
Whatever you want from a holiday, and I haven’t even mentioned a visit to a vineyard or even cognac tasting, it’s all within easy reach of the gites at Domaine du Sourire with fabulous hosts Jackie and Terry.
Some links as promised, however there are many more.
Last week we noticed strange rings on our lawn, so we set about investigating what it was all about.
Some said aliens, some said some sort of fungi, some said witches, dragons and yet some said fairies dancing has caused it.
Believing it to be a fairy ring we sat one night to watch and see and sure enough it was not long before we saw something. We weren’t sure at first what it was, it was like sparkling in the night around the ring, it looked so magical. Then it seemed to disappear, and we thought perhaps we had imagined it. But suddenly, a buzzing and a beating of wings and a tiny fairy landed on Terry’s knee. She told us her name is Titania and she was so gracious to allow us to interview her for our blog. Read on and see just what the fairies are doing here at Domaine Du Sourire.
Terry: So Titania, that is quite the famous fairy name in our world and a royal one at that, how did you come by your name?
Titania: I am a fairy princess, and my mother is Arabella queen of our fairy nation, we live in Butterfly Springs. We are descendants of the great Titania of whom you speak. So, my name is what you might say “a family name”.
Terry: O you say you are a princess, that’s exciting.
Titania: Yes, and one day I will govern our Fae folk in Butterfly springs or Champagne et Fontaine as you know it in your world. I am in training to be queen which is why I have been allowed to talk with you tonight.
Terry: You don’t say girl, what are you learning?
Titania: I’m learning how to be responsible. Being a fairy queen is a very responsible role, it involves looking after all the fae folk, young, old or in between, sick or well, at peace or war, o yes, it is a very responsible role.
Terry: O I see, and you probably get to make a few laws then do you!. Is there anything you would like to change when you are Queen?
Titania: Definitely, yes indeed I would, there are many things I would change and one of them is to rid this place of cats! My mother says they have a purpose but other than chasing us to eat us I have yet to see that purpose. Then I would encourage all the young fairies and the elves to dream big and work to make those dreams come true – even the silly ones like growing ice lollipops in the garden all summer long.
Terry: Mmmm. Sounds great. I’d dream of a garden of lollipops easy enough. So, is it true then that fairies love sugar?
Titania: Yes, yes yes! We love sugar but its not so good to have too much! (or so I’m told!) So, we eat lots and lots of vegetables and fruits and we love cream and milk too when we can get past those pesky cats to get some!
Terry: Titania, tell me this then, why were the fairies dancing around and making rings in my garden?
Titania: Some things I cannot tell you, but so you know it is good. I am able to speak with you because you have been careful and not broken our circle, and well I’m soo excited… I will just tell you some of our dancing has to do with my getting engaged to my wonderful Aerwyna, he will be Lord of the fae folk and rule with me!
I should say no more!
Terry: Well congratulations girl, glad to hear that and thank you. Can I ask why you chose the garden of Domaine Du Sourire?
Titania: You can ask but I may not answer.
Terry: Oh, okay then. I’ll ask Jackie if there is anything else, she would like to ask you.
Titania: Well I didn’t say I wouldn’t answer! I was just testing you to see if you would be rude and push me for an answer. Many big people are very rude! But you have been patient and gracious to me, and this is the very reason we chose Domaine Du Sourire because of what you do here.
Let me explain, we Fae folk are kind, compassionate, gentle yet noble folk. We love family and community is so important to us. Helping others is what we small but not insignificant people do.
You are like that at Domaine du Sourire. We see your hospitality to all and especially to those who have a disability. We think your wheelchair swing and sensory room are just fantastic. So thoughtful. And kids, they will just have the best time here.
Because you put others first, we chose this place and even though you won’t often see us, we see you, you and your guests and the fun they have on holiday and we have such pleasure here too albeit mostly unseen!
Terry: Thanks me girl for those kind words, you’ve just made my night! And well, that’s good that you have fun, that’s what we want for people when they come here on holiday to relax, enjoy their time and make loads of happy memories to share with family and friends for years to come. Do you think any of our guests will ever catch a glimpse of you?
Titania: Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps if a little one believes enough, perhaps!
Terry: I think your fiancée is waiting in you. He looks handsome.
Titania: Thank you, he really is, but I must fly now. Perhaps we will meet again, if it is to be so I will leave you a sign. You will know it. Goodbye Terry, Goodbye Jackie. Domaine du Sourire is now a friend of the Fae folk. Be blessed.
We waved her off as she disappeared as quickly and invisibly as she had appeared. How lovely to have met Titania and maybe if you are to come to Domaine du Sourire you might just catch sight of the fairies of Butterfly Springs but be careful to not break a step into their fairy rings.
PS Titania said we were not allowed photos, so we took some from google (free copyright of course) to brighten this article.
As today is World Autism Awareness Day, we would like to introduce you to 16-year-old Natalie. Natalie is autistic and is very proud of this.
What is autism? The National Autism Society describes Autism as a “lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. …autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties but being autistic will affect them in different ways. “
To raise awareness for Autism Natalie had a haircut. Perhaps for many this sounds like a simple thing, but Natalie contemplated this cut for a long time, and it is something that is very difficult for her because her hair is one of her triggers. Natalie doesn’t like anyone touching her hair and is only comfortable with her mother styling her hair. And a haircut can change one’s appearance which as Natalie considered this it was very challenging BUT, like everything else in her life that has proven a challenge, Natalie stepped up to it!
Without adding detail, she was abruptly made aware of the horror that is cancer which made an impact on her. She loves the fact that she can help in a small way by donating her hair to help make a wig for a young person. Natalie took time to prepare herself for the hair cut and initially the date was set for 5th April, but the school Natalie attends wanted to get involved and support her, so she had her hair cut at school on March 26.
If you would like to help and support Autism Awareness and Natalie in particular, you can do so through JustGiving. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So, it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
There is still time to support and encourage Natalie!
Why is awareness important? Chatting with Natalie’s mum, Georgina, she said,
“Natalie received her diagnosis about 10 years ago now and we received literally no support. I have been delighted at how much this has changed. Awareness and understanding of Autism is so important to us because it’s not an easy journey. ”
We asked Natalie’s mum what advice she would have for parents whose child has just received a diagnosis, she said
“Advice is hard!! Ehm it’s a long, hard but very rewarding journey. It’s important to remember that an autistic person isn’t broken, they don’t need fixed. Their brain works differently from a non-autistic person. I’ve always taught Natalie this and to be proud that she thinks differently because it’s pure and beautiful. You need a whole lot of love, time and patience but also perseverance because anything is possible but in their own time. We talk about changes if possible, for a long time before it happens. Most importantly, don’t feel peer pressured by parents with children of the same age as they will never be the same. I have learned so much from having Natalie and unfortunately the world is full of judgemental people with little time or patience it’s tough, but I don’t hide this from her. She needs to be able to stand up for herself and be proud. I make lots of mistakes and am still learning too.”
Domaine Du Sourire is a holiday complex with 4 gites, 3 of which are accessible. It is our vision to make holidays accessible for everyone, a space where you can holiday without feeling judged. Not only do we have 3 accessible gites we have a soft play and a sensory room on site. We welcome those with the so-called hidden disabilities such as Autism, ADHD, learning difficulties to name a very few, this is the main reason the Sensory room was built so a space for kids or adults to go to for a break. This year we are revamping our sensory garden too. Families and individuals, with disability or with no disability, are welcome to enjoy a memorable holiday experience at Domaine Du Sourire.
Home of the delicious renowned Cornuelle is virtually on the doorstep of Domanine Du Sourire in the nearby historic village od Villebois Lavallette.
The Cornuelle is a triangular shortbread cake with a hole in the middle and is traditionally associated with Palm Sunday or as it is called in french, Le Dimanche des Rameaux.
The shortbread biscuit is brushed with egg yolk, to which a few aniseed seeds are added at all three corners. The two artisan bakers of Villebois jealously guard their recipe which they hold of their respective predecessors. That’s all we’ll know; the rest is top secret. Although today, more elaborate recipes can be found, and it’s not uncommon to find cornuelles filled with whipped cream or mousseline cream. No matter it’s mystery the taste of this mysterious little shortbread is truly addictive!
The village celebrates with an annual festival where ginormous Cornuelles are baked ands take pride of place in a precession before being broken and shared among the people.
In this part of France box-tree branches instead of palms are used to commemorate the Dimanche des Rameaux. Box-tree, being a perennial shrub with very resilient dark green leaves is an ideal symbol of life and so its use in certain regions of France rather than the palms. in Villebois Lavalette, the mass of the branches and the blessing of the boxwood takes place under the Hall, in the open air before the Cornuelles shared around.
In Villebois-Lavalette, the festival attracts a very large audience and about 12 000 cornuelles are sold in one day. During the blessing, a sprig of box tree can be slipped through the middle.
Apart form the blessing ceremony and procession of the giant cornuelles with many in costume there is much more to enjoy for the family. The village is beautifully decorated with copious greenery of box twigs on store fronts, along the streets, the open town Hall square, anywhere and everywhere! There is sometime a flea market on, children’s workshops, pony rides, horse drawn carriage rides, exhibitions, competitions and more but don’t forget a visit to the Chateau, it is unmissable! You can enjoy the whole day enjoying a lunch if you have registered. A wonderful way to celebrate the end of lent and to commemorate the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.
Why not plan a short Easter break for your family enjoying the benefits of our accommodation at Domaine Du Sourire and plan to take in this festival on Palm Sunday in the nearby historic village of Villebois with its impressive Chateau that overlooks the village. Browse through our website and book today, it’s not too late! www.domainedusourire.com
If we were to turn our Facebook or Instagram page green this month you could be forgiven for thinking that given our Irish roots, we are celebrating St Patrick’s in style. However green is also the colour for Cerebral Palsy Awareness and March is CP Awareness Month!
Do you know what Cerebral Palsy is? The main symptoms of cerebral palsy are problems with movement, co-ordination and development. However, it’s not a one size fits all, there are four main types of cerebral palsy and many variations within these types. No two people with the disability will be the same way.
So, what can you do for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month?
Don’t be apprehensive of people with cerebral palsy. Introduce yourself, say, “Hello, how are you?” have a conversation …Who knows you might find a best friend, or even a future spouse. Cerebral palsy is what a person has. It is not a statement about who they are.
You could educate others and spread awareness on cerebral palsy
Wear green this month and support Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
How can you be sure you are getting the best holiday deals? Even in the age of online booking with price comparison sites it can be hard to know what truly the best way is to find that perfect holiday home. From considering location and facilities to budget, there is a lot to think about! Sometimes, to ensure you have the most seamless experience as possible, it is best to go straight to the source and book direct. We have put together a few good reasons why booking direct is best.
#BookDirect cut out the middle man and save
The best reason to book direct is the money you will save! Many online holiday booking sites like Booking.com, AirBnB, Trip Adviser, HomeAway and so on add fees to your booking total. This can amount to a lot of ££££££’s. Imagine what you can do with the money you save – a vineyard tour, extra spends for the market days, a visit to Chateau? The list is endless.
Because of the cost of using the big sites, some of the best holiday homes can’t be found on the major websites. By limiting your search to these websites, you might be missing out on the best accommodation for your family or group.
However, while online travel operators and comparison sites are useful to see what accommodation is available for your chosen destination, when you cut out the middle man, you cut out the commission and fees they charge! Many holiday rentals have a “best price guarantee” for booking direct, so it’s always worth having a look to see if there’s a better deal available and booking direct.
#BookDirect to build that relationship and tap into great local knowledge
Not everything in life, or in holidays, comes down to money. There are a wide range of benefits to booking direct that can’t be summed up on a receipt. A direct exchange between buyer and seller inevitably results in a closer connection and builds that worthwhile relationship.
Owners have intimate knowledge about the destination and accommodation, they know the property and the area better than anyone and can help you plan a better holiday experience, optimising dates and budgets to suit your needs.
They can send you to the best activities, restaurants, and local sights.
When booking a holiday accommodation, peace of mind is vitally important.
Want to know if there is a water-park, a hot-tub, a supermarket close by? Want to know where the best markets are and on what days? Want help to book your excursions? When you book direct, you can find out many of these important questions and more before you commit to booking.
From events and activities to special rates to onsite services, with direct communication with owners, you get the insider knowledge and the best offers!
#BookDirect – accommodating your special and travel needs
Travellers with special needs and requests can work directly with the owner in a much more personal way to give you assurances before you commit to booking and to help you create a guaranteed amazing holiday experience.
If your trip doesn’t turn out exactly as you planned and you need to change dates or even cancel your accommodation outright, you will often find that holiday rentals are far more accommodating with direct bookers. Booking through a comparison site may leave you at the mercy of their terms and conditions, which are designed to protect their commission. Whereas booking direct can often have far more favourable conditions, especially if you’re a valued loyal customer.
Return guests are truly welcome, owners love to welcome you back again and often reward your loyalty with special discounts and offers.
It’s easy! #BookDirect gets better results, better value and a better holiday!
Now you are here, look around our website and see what we have to offer. In short, we have 4 gites, 3 are fully accessible as is our pool, soft play room, games room and sensory room and our grounds. We pride ourselves on doing what we can to meet your needs so you have the holiday you deserve. although you can book direct online, we are happy to chat with you by phone or email anytime through the process. We look forward to hearing from you.
Domaine du Sourire caught up with Danny Furey, retired Scottish Paralympian. Scottish born Danny competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and was selected for the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992.
Impressions on meeting this inspirational man are his wonderful sense of humour, indomitable Christian spirit and genuine humility. Danny has communication challenges, but this does not inhibit him being great company, his great-nephew Daniel said of him “he is the type of guy you could sit and listen to for hours! He has filled his life with so many adventures, the stories never run dry.” You cannot walk away untouched by this man whose smile is infectious and whose heart almost explodes with a care for others.
Danny told me he was born in June 1950 in Dundee, the youngest of three. Danny went on to say:
“I was born with Cerebral Palsy as a result of the rhesus syndrome which then was called the blue baby syndrome. I lived, some didn’t. Some are physically impaired, whereas some have mental problems, and yet some have both. I lived at home for the first 5 years then it was suggested that I go to a special school in Edinburgh where I boarded until I was 16 years old getting home for the school holidays, it was tremendous strain on my family especially mum & dad.”
What drew you into wheelchair racing?
“I never thought of entering wheelchair athletics until I was 31 or32. I can’t remember exactly what drew me to competitive racing because my first love was football in sports, which was out for me. Although now they have wheelchair football and wheelchair rugby which, with my competitiveness, would have been a bit dangerous. Had these sports come earlier I might not have been here to tell the tale!”
As Danny has said he began competitive wheelchair racing in the early 1980’s, in the days before special racing chairs or Paralympic Games.
He raced for 10 years, becoming known as one of the world’s finest foot-pushing wheelchair racers of the time before being selected for the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992.
Twenty-nine Scottish athletes were selected for the GB team for the Paralympic Games in 1988. Over four thousand competitors from sixty-one nations took part and for the first time Paralympians accessed the same stadia and were supported by the same officials as the Olympians of 1988. I asked Danny:
What did it feel like to be selected to represent your country at the Seoul Olympics?
“Depends on what you mean by country, I gained a lot from my Scotland selection but didn’t fancy the British set up. It was an honour to be selected for GB, but the experience taught me from the organisation of the BPA it didn’t really inspire unity among the different disability groups that were represented.”
Richard Brickley MBE – President Disability Sport Fife told me “I was in Seoul in South Korea in 1988 with Danny. It was his finest hour and the last occasion when foot pushing wheelchair athletes competed at the Paralympic Games. Danny’s greatest rivals were Danish, Irish and American. The great Dane, as he was known, was the world champion. Danny was the most likely athlete to defeat him over 200 metres. Danny pushed forward and the Great Dane pushed backwards. The result of the race is irrelevant but my memory of these two amazing athletes at full speed never deviating from their lanes will remain with me forever. The crowd in the packed stadium in Seoul were on their feet. One of the great moments in Para Athletics.”
In each direction travelling for team GB must have been a gruelling journey for athletes and support staff alike. I asked Danny:
Danny, how did you manage the challenges of travelling to a foreign country?
“Quite well, but there were some of us that suffered a lot of jet lag including me. My body clock was all over the place. I was waking up at 3am thinking it was time to get up and dressed, then having to reverse the whole process. That’s just one of the issues I felt personally. Our wheelchairs and the stuff that we needed for training with came about two days after we arrived. I remember we were told not to eat anything like beef burgers because they might be cat or dog, and they told us if a policeman said stop, he would mean it by showing us his gun!”
What Danny hasn’t said is that for many of the team it was a demanding journey of moving and handling in the most confined of spaces. For all the team, Seoul was a steep learning curve. So, I asked Danny if he felt travelling had improved.
Do you think transport and services for people with disabilities has improved?
“Mainland Britain and Northern Ireland could do with some improvement particularly with public transport. It seems that public buildings are catching up, but some structures need access improvement even for some ambulant. I feel those with mental health issues and the visually impaired are most catered for but there is room for improvement here too.”
Danny does not believe in sitting back waiting for others to take action, either. In an unfortunate incident Danny got stuck in a church toilet in 2014. While struggling with his wheelchair he fell and got stuck, waiting 20 minutes before someone came to help.
He told Dundee’s Evening Telegraph in 2014, “I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for others to do things, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands.”
Staging a sponsored wheelchair run around Dundee, he raised more than £1,000 to hire an architect to draw up plans for new toilets. Despite dreadful weather on the day – pouring rain with thunder and lightning – unwavering, Danny completed his wheelchair marathon. He said he was “determined to do it regardless.”
What would be the top thing you would like to see improved in services for disability?
“More training in the caring side and more awareness what caring for people with disabilities requires, not treating everyone with the same brush remembering that disability comes with many varied and different caring needs.”
Danny believes that it’s not just able-bodied people who need to work to improve services, he went on to say:
“Disabled people need to learn that sometimes things will still be out of reach and able-bodied people are not at their beck & call.”
What are your most prominent challenges and how do you overcome them?
“Accepting the way that I need more support, sometimes it seems as if everything is being stripped away but I guess that’s goes for all people whether they’re disabled or not. This is where my faith makes me able to cope, as a Christian I find strength in knowing that Jesus is always with me and no matter what comes up I find peace when I lean on Him. Many times, in the hurly burly of life I don’t think that God hears me but in my heart of hearts I know that He’s just a prayer away. Someday, I know that I will know what my life has been all about.”
Having begun fundraising for new toilets for his church in 2014, Danny has gone on to raise funds for other charities, one being the Uphill Trust a small Scottish charity founded in January 2015 to support the development of Uphill Junior School, located in Uganda. I asked Danny,
I hear you still do some wheelchair racing, why is it important to you to do these charity races?
“Children. Especially children who don’t have much of a chance in life. In places like Uganda they have less of a chance because their dreams have been shattered before they dream them.”
He went on to correct me,
“I don’t race any more, I just do little marathons around Dundee accompanied by my wife Liz who has started doing them as well.”
“And knowing that no matter what comes up, no matter what’s been taken away, I will always have Jesus. Friends mean a lot, but I’d better put your Auntie, who just happens to be my wife Elizabeth”, and he continued, laughing, as he said “she bullies me continually (that’s not true, – well not all the time!)”
Danny Furey, an amazing gentleman whose friendliness is evident to all who meet him; an outstanding sportsman and a legend in disability sport whose contribution to Dundee, Scotland and Great Britain is significant. It hasn’t stopped there, of course, his impact is reaching across the world to Uganda and elsewhere. Richard Brickley told me this little snippet, which sums up uncle Danny so well (for he is my uncle!) “Danny will also be remembered as one of the first high performance Para athletes to compete in very fetching coloured tights. Now everybody does. A real trailblazer in so many ways.”
Thank you, Danny, for taking the time to let Domaine du Sourire and our readers have a little window into your life and to be inspired by you.
Domaine du Sourire is an accessible holiday complex owned by Jackie and Terry Grant. Their dream that people with disabilities can have a memorable holiday led them to Domaine du Sourire an inclusive place to cater for guests of all abilities. Jackie and Terry always enjoyed their many holidays across the world and they wanted to have a place that would give guests everything they felt a self-catering holiday complex should have.
“We have 4 gites, a heated swimming pool with a ramp for wheelchair access, games room, soft play room and sensory room. Our sensory garden is being given a makeover this year,” Jackie told me.
Visit our website for more detail of our wonderful holiday gites and to subscribe to receive notification of all our great blogs as they are published.
We had our first guests to stay in May and what lovely guests they were too. POPSY (Parents of partially sighted youngsters) a wonderful charity group supporting families with youngsters who are blind, have special needs and with life-limiting conditions holidayed for a week at Domaine du Sourire.
Kids and adults alike had a great holiday and we hope to see them back again next year. The “Jumbulance” bus they came in managed the country lanes with some difficulty but that is for another blog.
Unfortunately, the sun didn’t shine everyday and we had an abundance of rain and thunder with lightning storms through their visit but that didn’t stop all from having a great time as activities planned were moved to the games room when it was wet.
When the sun shone we sat in the courtyard and shared time and meals together, Tony O’Reilly, chef – O’Reilly’s recipes (FB) has given us another summer salad recipe to share with you to enjoy as you soak up the warm summer sun wherever you may be.
Our Walnut Tree
Avocado, artichoke & chargrilled chicken with lime and balsamic vinegar dressing – Serves 4