When we visited this lovely 17thC riverside manor house at Brantome to update its entry, we were sad to hear its owners, the Laxtons, tell us that they were about to hand over, after 20 years or more, to new owners. Just before going to press, however, they informed us that they had had a change of heart and decided to stay forever: happy news. The beauty of this noble stone gentilhommiere (with yards of walnut panelling and a pigonnier) and the Laxtons warm, welcoming ways have won them many friends. They have thought of everything: heated swimming pool; covered terrace, tennis court, barbecue and garden room; antique-filled, fabric-lined bedrooms, and excellent bathrooms.