A brilliant marriage of old stone, modern design and reclaimed timbers, the U-shaped Normandy farmhouse is so cleverly linked that you don’t notice the joins. The pebbled courtyard on one side, the pool and deck on the other send light through generous windows onto the squishy sofas, distressed brocante, glorious timber gallery and gilt frames (James dealt in antiques and still can’t resist collecting) of the huge living area which feels both luxuriously sophisticated and totally relaxed. The kitchen is, of course, equipped with everything the modern cook could want and charming Debbie leaves an unusually generous welcome basket. You can keep an eye on the children in the pool while rustling up that feast of local specialities. The double rooms are lovely, downstairs in contemporary style, upstairs more romantically antique, and smart bright bathrooms have good-sized showers; the simpler nautical-theme triples are equally welcoming. From this private haven in a wee journey’s-end hamlet, venture forth for days at the beach (5km away) or visits to Gothic Coutances, the ruined chateau of Gratot, Norman-green golf courses – and lots more.