Fast forward ten years. All you young whipper snappers out there, enjoy yourselves, savour every day, grab every opportunity, live life to the full because before you know it thirty years have flown past and you still can't knit, do algebra, understand politics or stand on your head.
Here we are then. The LGB has just reached another milestone. He's sixty. SIXTY! He didn't want a party. He didn't want a present. He didn't want a fuss. With the hip op (the hippee, to the hippee...... enough!) I cancelled a break in St Jean de Luz in case he wasn't able enough to get around, however his recovery was coming along well so I booked a night in nearby Chateau de Sers.
This time around he had been lying on the sofa eight days a week so on reflection a quiet night away was a mistake. I didn't tell him where we were going and I think he was a little disappointed when I didn't take the route to Bordeaux for a lively evening of bacchanalia and debauchery.
I pulled through the gates of a little chateau situated in a sleepy village. We were greeted by Nathalie who together with her sister Blandine and their father live in the ancestral home that has been in the family for hundreds of years.
This little castle is shabby chic at its best. Entering the hallway we were greeted by one of the last remaining wolves in the Charente who had been shot by Grandpapa. The poor soul lit our path in a most undignified manner. He now stood upright on his hind legs in a human stance with a bulb and lampshade clutched in his paw. The poor canis lupus was now a canis lampus! Red Riding Hood can rest easy.
|The Charente Canis Lampus in it's natural habitat|
|Artwork by Blandine|
|A room with a view|
We ate at the chateau, just the two of us. We were waited on by the sisters who had also prepared the meal and stood in the kitchen doorway chatting to us throughout the very tasty feast. When they produced a whole apple and pear tart for dessert we asked them to share it and we spent a lovely time chatting and learning about the chateau, their family and their lives. We retired to our room with a bottle of champagne about 10pm and at breakfast the next morning the sister's told us they had gone to a rock concert in Angouleme and returned about 3am. Quite the rock chicks!
The chateau dates back to the 12th century and was remodelled in the 18th century. The sisters are so enthusiastic about their childhood home. Together they are refurbishing it, running their business, maintaining the garden and renovating the little farmhouse. Their passion is infectious. They spent lots of time chatting with us, showing us around and even invited us to go to the bric-a-brac on the Sunday morning. If I had not arranged a surprise tea party for the LGB I am sure we would have spent the day with them. We came away from our stay with two new friends and an invite to return and spend time with them.
I had a sudden pang of guilt that I hadn't made much effort for the LGB's big day and the morning of his birthday I quickly organised for a few friends who lived closest to pop round for coffee/wine and cake and a good friend Neil arrived from Northumberland on his motorbike with another biker. It was meant to be a surprise but another friend let it slip in a phone call just minutes before their arrival. I had snuck in some beer, wine and nibbles for the arrival of the bikers and friends bought two delicious birthday cakes, wine and champagne as well as fabulous hand made presents.
We ate out in Angouleme that evening so all in all I think he had a jolly good time.