MY HOME IS A CASTLE--the tale of how and why I became a chatelain , four times .This is my present home. If you are visiting for the first time you may care to read the older posts first.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I am sorry today for two reasons........

Firstly for not keeping up my blog for the last two days!!!!!

and secondly, the reason why I was not able to do that.....

The dear man in my present life was taken very poorly on Saturday and was rushed off to hospital, with a blockage in one of his main heart arteries.

I would not be posting on this subject if he had not made a good recoveery thanks to the speed and efficiency of the Franch SAMU services! I cannot praise them enough -- they were here in less that 8 minutes of my call and did all the right things, before whisking him off at what must have been 100 MPH to the hospital with the best heart department, which is 50 kms from here.

The doctors at the hospital set about unblocking that artery within minutes of him arriving. Now he is able to sit up in bed and he is back ' in the land of the living again'-- thank goodness. It will mean arest in hospital for a while and then medication from now on .

Incidentally, he has never smoked, eats a healthy diet and is not at all over-weight!! He let me take this picture of him hiding behind a magazine and he sends his wishes for good health to all you bloggers out there!

I look forward to having him home again!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


We returned from our holiday quite refreshed and launched ourselves into the last minute finishings. Everybody had worked really hard during our absence and everything had moved on ! what a difference! " we should go away more often " we thought!

The fifteen apartments were having their kitchens finished off and the furnishings were now in place. Because of the lovely wooden shutters throughout , there was no need for curtains ( thank goodness) what a job that would have been on top of everything else. It was time for a congratulatory dinner for our English workers, and what better place than in the newly finished bar........

They had done such a good job , with the apartments done we could take a few photos and change our brochure by adding real pictures!

The pool.........

......the apartments!

GOSH do you know , after all these years, I have just noticed a spelling mistake of the word ' appartments' just above the picture, but it is correctly written in the script!!! That is really bizarre that I have never noticed it beore. Actually it shows that we were ' going native' as it is the french way to spell this word.

By now we were getting excited, and also apprehensive! Suppose people were disappointed? Suppose they would leave the apartments in a dreadful state? Suppose they didn't like us? Had we done enough to encourage enough business to pay all the bills at the end of the day? Now THAT was the million dollar question!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I remember her hands,
work-worn and scaly
against my feathers.
Daily scrubbed in service
when she was a young girl and
never idle a moment.
Working fingers. Lean, like her voice
always correct and
always correcting me, sharply,
best as she knew how.
Hands that bathed me.
Hands that chastised me.
Hands that fed me, filled my own
with the strength a child needs.
Hands that loved me like her own.
Hands that knew pain; that felt,
through the hardy skin,
her love, only one, lifelessly
slip through her fingers
( to rest her hands from his weight)
Hands that touched winter
and denied the cold,
half-way to heaven as the knuckles
told her life in knotches.
These were the hands that shone stone
for a living, a lifetime;
the hands I remember,
ground to the bone.
By Alex
my beloved husband who passed away at this time 27th March 2001

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It was Spring and the dates for our first bookings were looming up , so we decided to take a break for the first time and leave the Chateau and animals in the good hands of Archie and my daughter and her boyfriend. Isabelle was coming in now on a daily basis to look after the horses, and Jacqueline was working for a few hours a week doing the cleaning.

But- we had no idea of what to do , or where to go ! We talked about the Camping holidays we always used to enjoy with the freedom they offer, when we struck upon a bright idea!! At that time we had invested in a nearly new car-- so,why not let us trade it in for a camping car ( second hand) and buy a little old run-about for shopping etc? That was the THIRD best decision of our lives! The second one was to buy a Chateau in France! and the first one was to get married to each other!

So that is what we did and here is a picture of our first camping car, with us on our way to Italy, which is where we decided to go. It will eventually become our favourite destination!


What fun they are.... our own little home on wheels, and such a contrast to all that space we had at the Chateau, so , an ideal break! After setting it up with everything one needs, food clothes, scrabble, books ( essential) etc etc , there is no further need to drag suitcases around or unpack and repack. We had a shower , oven, central heating , all mod cons! Each morning you wake up to a new adventure.

This is Alex trying to get to grips with how to put the stabilisers down haha-it didnt take us long to get the hang of it all.

So, YES! we made it to Italy-- Mind Blowing! We went to Rome and camped on the banks of the Tiber at a good campsite which offered a shuttle bus to the train statin in to the centre of Rome. That was fabulous!

We also went to Pompei, and Pisa . I thoroughly recommend Pompeii for a visit , it is just incredible. I am posting two pictures which we took of Pisa below--

the ensemble with the tower peeping out.

The tower on its own-- that's me getting in the way of the shot!

I could have rambled on forever about that first camping car holiday, but suffice to say it is still my favourite way of taking a break to this day!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Sorry, I couldn't resist that one!

Apart from that horrid man (in previous post) we began to get to know the local people and made valuable friends , some of whom I still see from time to time. I remember Michel , the butcher! He had a van and went around the local villages on market days to sell his meat. What a character he was! He looked typically french with a droopy moustache and often wore a black beret for effect. He had made a horn ( of sorts) and attached a long rubber tubing to it and would swing it around rapidly making a sort of weird wailing sound. He could also play that horn, and very well, without the rubber tubing , of course!
Then there was Jacqueline and her family who lived just outside the village in such a pretty house. They had dug out and filled a huge lake on their property, what a setting that was. Not only was she our friend but she became our cleaner, and I don't know what I would have done without her. When we finally sold la Roche hue, she stayed on with the new owners and only retired from there about two years ago. We also became very friendly with our Notaire , our insurance agent and our electrician and their wives and families. François , is still my Notaire and we meet often.

The local village was small and pretty and had a lovely old church ( 13th century) whose bell we would hear tolling, from the Chateau. Below is a postcard picture from 18/19th century, I think.

Apart from the church there was a small alimentation ( food shop) Bar ( of course) Boulangerie ( of course) and a post office and that was it! If you were driving through the village and blinked you would have missed it! ( I know - old joke!).

Below is a picture of a family member cutting the grass at the rear of the Chateau, and you can just see the village in the background.

Little did I know it at the time, by my daughter would be getting married in the lovely old church!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


We survived our first winter at la Roche Hue without any other mishaps except perhaps for feeling the cold. Even though the Chateau had a reasonable central heating system , it could not compensate for the vast rooms with the very high ceilings. Fortunately Mum was very cosy as her apartment was on the lower ground floor with normal ceiling height and her rooms were standard size. Strangely enough though we soon seemed to adapt to our new temperature. When friends or family came to visit during those winter months they all walked around with about six woollies on! ( er-a bit of an exaggeration)! We later realised that none of us had gone down with the flu or even a cold, so the cooler atmosphere must be better for the health?

Soon Spring came streaming in , giving warmth and light again and came sparkling through to the bridal paths, spooking the horses! The work in the apartments was progressing more rapidly now which was fortunate as we had already received some bookings around the Easter period and beyond. We had decided to name all the 15 apartments after members of the family starting with ' Priscilla', my Mum's name.

The days were lengthening and three deer came to call and I just managed to get a picture of them:-

I began to notice a change in the behaviour of axle, our eldest doberman, who was nearly three years old. He seemed to be distant and constantly looking out towards the boundary of the parkland.

Then one day he went missing! We assumed he was in the woods , but it began to get dusk and Rocky was fretting, so we went out and combed the entire property calling him, but to no avail. It was not normal for either of the two dogs to disappear as they had been trained to stay in the grounds, which were mostly fenced or gated. It became dark so I phoned the local police, who seemed totally unconcerned and said that he had probably gone in search of a female dog. This did not help and I was beside myself because it just wasn't his nature to disappear, he was a home-loving dog.

Two agonising days went by, we put out all sorts of messages and toured around the roads in the car, just dreading to find a crumpled heap. On the third day I went out again with my daughter who was driving. We started to tour the whole neighbourhood slowly, with me hanging out of the ca window, calling Axle's name, because I knew that if he was lying hurt somewhere, or whatever, he would respond by barking if he was able. We were cruising slowly down a side road less than 1km from the Chateau, I was yelling his name, then stopping and waiting for a response, when, suddenly I heard him bark -- I knew it was definitely him-- we couldn't believe it! We kept on calling and following the sound of his barking. It led us up a drive into a courtyard of a farm and there in the middle was a pound with an assortment of dogs in it, including Axle!!! I banged on the door of the farm and a dishevelled man came out. I asked him why my dog was locked up in his pound, and he replied that it was his dog not mine!! My reaction is unprintable!! I threatened to call the gendarmes immediately, when suddenly, he unlocked the cage and thrust Axle towards us. The relief was enormous!

Apparently Axle had followed a female dogs' call which had led him to this pound , so the man had obviously decided to keep him and then perhaps re-sell him or breed him? I don't know to this day. The memory still riles me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I shall never forget our first Christmas at Chateau La Roche Hue.

My second eldest daughter was due to come over from England with her family the day before Christmas Eve, and we wanted everything to be perfect for their visit. Our first priority was to buy the biggest Christmas tree we could find so that it wouldn't look lost in our large salon. The ceiling height was not far short of 5 metres, so finding a tree that big was no easy task. The local garden centre managed to come up trumps and delivered the tree, but that was the easy bit-- getting it into position and securing it was tricky! In the end Alex found a large metal hook and he went up a ladder and managed to screw it discreetly into one of the beams-- so he was then able to rope the top of the tree to the hook, hiding the rope under a cloud of tinsel!! HOORAY!
It worked a treat! and this is the finished decorated tree- sorry the picture is not too clear......

By the time the weary travellers arrived all was ready and we felt quite festive as we sat around the crackling log fire, catching up on all the news. My daughter Victoria and her boyfriend were at home as well so we had lots tales to swap. The dogs snoozed away happily and, for once, didn't hog the fire!!

That's Rocky on the left, and Axle curled up on what was their sofa! I KNOW! Yes I did spoil them a bit :)

Christmas Eve Morning arrived , and I was up early as I had to turn out the horses into their field. I looked out of the window and - MAGIC- it had snowed quite thickly in the night! Could you believe that? Perfect for our first Christmas!

Needless to say, we found what trays we could and all trooped out into the snow after Breakfast to enjoy it! The trays were makeshift toboggans and there were some good slopes to cruise down. Alex and my son-in-law went off into the woods with my little old car to chop and stack more logs ready for the fire and we went snowballing. It was not long before the car became stuck in the snow so our fun ended suddenly and we all had to put shoulders to the metal. Why is it that episodes like this which are such a drag at the time are rembered fondly as being a hoot!

Christmas Eve was spent singing carols with the children and grandchildren who were getting really excited about the visit from Father Christmas. They were finally persuaded to go to bed after placing their pillow cases near the fireplace.

In order for Father Christmas to visit a certain amount of presents had to be arranged -if you know what I mean. One of those presents was a Barbie Castle for my young grand -daughter and her Dad thought it would be great if he assembled it then, instead of having to do it in the morning, and she would be able to play with it straight away! That was a good idea, but throwing all the cartons onto the fire after he had assembled Barbie turned out to be BAD idea!!!!

The first sign of a problem was this awful roaring noise-- we all listened and wondered , then Alex suddenly said " OH NO" and rushed out into the garden........ Oh dear- the chimney was on fire, flames were pouring out of the top ; you must bear in mind that this was Xmas Eve and it was nearly midnight, so you can imagine what sort of response we got when we had to phone the fire-brigade! Midnight on Christmas Eve is the time that the french exchange their presents!

We were lucky that night -- they sped to our rescue in true film fashion, but given the height the chimney reached to, they had a difficult job in getting the fire under control, as you can imagine. Bu what a great lot of chaps they were though, they laughed and worked well and had a good tot of whisky before they finally left.

We wearily cleaned and mopped up and , finally exhausted but happy, crawled into bed! Yes, as I said , we will NEVER forget our first Christmas at La Roche Hue!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I have spoken a lot about my mum and how in her 80's she helped us so much with our move to the Chateau in France, sadly she died a few years ago at this time of the year, so I thought I would post a photo of her today as she was before I knew her ..................

wasn't she lovely!

20's bathing belle!

.........and as I last remember her at the age of 98 yrs still lovely!!

Monday, March 16, 2009


A birds eye view of my beloved Chateau. I must say that out of all my Chateau homes, this one is my favourite!

The finished gallery or one end of it, note we have added a Bar! Luckily a class four bar licence came up for sale in the village, so we decided to buy it. We hadn't worked out who would be the one to work in the evenings - I guess we were going to draw straws for that one!

The gymnasium was now finished, this is Victoria's boyfriend trying it out. I was excited and made all sorts of resolutions to work off the pounds gained from all the fantastic breads and patisseries and cheeses of France . Did I ? well, I think I used it about three times! So much for the good intentions!

Last picture of the day -- the games room! Visiting friends ' having a go'. The pool table was great and we all got quite competitive about that. Table tennis - I am hopeless at that.

So everything was ready for the customers except for the apartments, they were taking longer to complete than we had anticpated , and we had taken a ' group booking' of young people for our Easter opening!

Sunday, March 15, 2009



Alex and I had to start thinking about getting the business underway for the next year's season. We decided that we would only open for bookings from Easter to the end of September, giving us the rest of the year to relax and enjoy our new home. The picture for the front page of our Brochure , was taken, and the result is above. The rest of the brochure, though, was very tricky as the apartments were nowhere near finished, and that would obviously be of prime importance to the customer. However we found a very good printers and they designed the interior of the brochure with " artists impressions " coupled with other exterior shots.
We knew where we were going to advertise and that was with an established rental Company called " Chez- Nous " who produced a good looking, professional magazine at that time. We booked a whole page for the 1990 season which cost us a whopping £1,500! It was frightening because all the time we were dipping into our pockets and nothing was coming back in! But to go forward it had to be done. Then we had to make the decision-- to charge in pound sterling? or in french francs? We agonised and looked at what other owners were doing; we made our decision-- we would charge in pound sterling, as we thought our customers would be comfortable with that and more willing to book !
That turned out to be such a WRONG CHOICE! How were we to know that a recession would be on it's way in a year's time and that the franc's value would drop drastically from it's present value of 11FF to the pound . We were blissfully unaware, fortunately, and we carried on with our ambitious plans.
Next we had to concentrate on fittings and furnishings, and perhaps a visit to the Bank.....

Friday, March 13, 2009


Now I am delving back into the past again, and so enjoying this journey.

The pool was in place-- the horses grazing-- an assistant to help the grooming etc-- the workmen were all beavering away, or were they?

Well, they weren't this bad! haha... But as the tennis court was finished, we would find them relaxing with the racquets during their lunch break, either that or dipping in the pool, as by now it was really hot and sunny.... leading a life of " Old Reilly", now where does that saying come from?

Caught on camera!!

I was happy because my kitchen had finally been finished and I had all mod cons for the first time in months. With all the family descending upon us on a regular basis it had been chaotic in my make-do kitchen which, incidentally , had now been turned into our bathroom which was ensuite to our bedroom which used to be the salon !!! Confused? I am not surprised , our heads were in a whirl that first year.

The new kitchen was installed in what used to be the serving room for the original kitchen , which was in the basement , as was normal in most of the Chateaux. Just out of the photo frame ( below) was the dumb waiter which was huge and which we kept as a feature;

Myself and our two lovely dobermans in the kitchen--Axle and Rocky.

Oh , also an australian peroqueet called Dandy. I originally bought Dandy for my Mum as she had moved into her apartment downstairs, and I thought he would keep her company. After her first night with Dandy 'chez elle' she appeared at breakfast the next morning as white as a sheet. I thought she was ill, but, no--apparently she had been up all night worried about the bird, thinking she ought to let him out. I never knew before this, that since her childhood she had a ' thing' about birds in cages and their lack of freedom! So Dandy then took residence with us and Mum could relax again!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


An up to date piece of family news which I would like to share with you all!

The day before yesterday my grandaughter gave birth to my sixth great granchild, a lovely little girl who weighed in at 6lb 12oz. And here she is less than 24 hours old... her name is Natasha.
My family now consists 4 children ( all girls), 11 grandchildren ( 5 girls and 6 boys) , and 6 great grandchildren ( 5 girls and 1 boy) , isn't that wonderful. That is what life is about for me - families!
Good job I have a big house ( smile).....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The swimming pool , we had decided, was a must for a holiday establishment , and, for us too :) The position for the pool, though, actually presented itself to us! At the rear of the Chateau was a raised area with steps already in place leading up to it -- ideal for all, the position was grand.

Alex bargained with several swimming pool operators, and finally decided on the most local man, who had many years experience. We thought it would need to be big to balance against the size of the Chateau, and the amount of guest we could be welcoming, so we decided on 8mx15m. It took 2/3 months to complete, but when it was finished we saw that it fitted in perfectly.

There seemed at that time to be workmen everywhere! Mum loved it, flirting with all the young men, making cups of tea for everybody. Apart from the 6 guys on hire from England we had also taken on 6 frenchmen from the local ' chomage' who find temporary work for the unemployed. Although there was a language barrier, all the guys seem to get on really well together. The atmosphere was good, and work was advancing.

As we added more horses to our stock, I decided that I would need help to excercise them , as Alex was involved with the renovations. Then along came Isabelle. She was a young Mum who lived on a smallholding with her husband Thiery, who was a long-haul lorry driver, and for us she was a life-saver! Her expertise with horses and her friendly affectionate nature was heart warming. I knew that my horses would be in good hands. She already bred her own horses , the following picture was taken at her place , its Isabelle with one of her mares and it's foal......

Isabelle really helped me regain my confidence in riding and we would go out each morning hacking through the local woodland. Bliss! I even persuaded my daughter Victoria to join us occasionally . Displaying their native hospitality Isabelle and Thiery invited us and our English workers to a barbeque at her place one evening. That was so good, we didn't eat till 10 pm having sampled aperitifs and munchies for at least 2 hours, then the steaks were bought out and sizzled on the pine cones-- yes they used pine cones as they had pine trees all over their property, and, believe me they are just as good as charbon! Hunks of french bread, followed by cheese and fresh fruit. What a life!

Monday, March 9, 2009


So it was now July in our first year at Chateau Roche Hue. We had set out our plans, see previous post, and wanted our business to be up and running by late Spring the following year i.e. 1990.
As a riding establishment for the customers had been one of our agreed facilities, I was buzzing with excitement at the prospect of horses, and keen to put that plan into motion. Since early childhood I had adored horses and lots of birthday presents came in the form of riding lessons. Alex and I had ridden a bit early into our marriage, but just hacking really. When our daughters were growing up we had invested in a small horse and a pony for them and so we had experience of all the work that goes along with the pleasure. I ' put the word around ' and met lots of horsey people and started the long business of choosing. For myself I need a quiet well behaved ride as it had been a long time since I had ridden and I needed to regain my confidence. Then along came my dream horse Hortensia.

Hortensia , in spite of his name, was a gelding, a Selle Francaise. He was originally from ' le Cadre Noir' at Saumur , and beautifully dressaged. Apparently they retire their display horses at the age of 12 yrs ? and at this age he was bought by Danielle, a good rider who entered him for shows and jumping etc. By the time he was 16 she decided that he needed a quieter life, and thought he would be perfect for me as he was virtually ' bomb-proof' ! I would be perfect for him, as I wanted to ride but not jump him. So began a long love affair. Sadly I heard that he passed away two years ago.

Next choice was Black mischief, here he is on the right of Hortensia in their stalls....

Black mischief was an ex- race horse . I was told that he had been raced too young and had suffered ' clacked tendons ', so could never race again- but -with a 4 month rest, and with daily
' argyle vert ' dressings and hosings on his tendons he might well recover enough to make a good riding horse. He was part arab and very beautiful so I decided to take the chance as there was plenty of time before he would be needed. This worked out well and he did recover .
Next we decided that we needed a couple of gentle ponies for the children, and we found Fantasia, pictured here with my daughter Victoria.....
She was and is a lovely pony as gentle and willing as can be! I heard this week that she is still alive , and still grazing in her pastures at la Roche Hue. She must be 31 years old this year -- quite remarkable. The other pony I bought was a barrow-load of trouble and miscief, a little shetland called U.S.A. Can't you just tell he is a tinker looking at him?

Finally, the last buy that year was Pivoine, an ex trotter, who was such an amazing ride, because she had been trained never to go into a canter or gallop, so you could ride her at gallop-speed whilst she was trotting -- really bizarre!

And so this is me! On Pivoine outside our lovely Chateau. à demain......

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Please meet Charlie who was my adorable ram. I have posted his story on

à demain

Saturday, March 7, 2009


We knew after that meeting with the builder that our finances would not stretch to his costs, so, after long discussions and financial estimations, we decided to do all the floor-plans ourselves, and hire certain family members who we knew had tackled decoration and construction before and who might be available for a period of approxmately 6 months. We telephoned my cousin who was in the building trade and he found three men who might be interested. They would live-in, downstairs in the sous-sol, which used to be the infirmary of the Chateau when it was a ' Colonie de Vancances ' for children. It had a kitchen ( of sorts), bedrooms and good toilet and shower facilities. We estimated we needed about 6 men, so after a few more phone calls we had another three willing workers. All were young guys without committments, who were eager to experience a ' work-shop' in a Chateau in France .

In order to attract good rental bookings we needed extra facilities. First essential, had to be a swimming pool, which would have to be professionally installed . Then we needed a leisure lounge, we already had a pool table and table tennis for that purpose, so that was fine. In the grounds we had discovered shortly after we first moved in, a hard tennis court base, which was in the ideal position, so we just needed the high fencing, net posts and net, and the obligatory white lines. Finally- my dream! We already had lovely old stables--

Why not buy horses and have a riding establishment for the use of our visitors, and myself, of course!

We needed to create an attractive brochure to advertise the Chateau apartments and all the facilities. The problem was we needed this brochure in advance to get the bookings but we couldn't take any photos as nothing yet was finished, or , should I say begun!!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Phew , we had passed the first test! The wedding had been a success, with no calamities. All was calm again and we thought we would take a breather and put our feet up


"Hello-- is it true you have really bought a Chateau? Is it alright if we come over to visit you?"

Obviously our daughters had been to see our new home, and we got excited then at the prospect of welcoming other family and friends to see how we were adapting to this new life-- but -- from June that first year we had someone staying every month! I do remember us being tired, as we hadn't set up any extra bedrooms, also my daughters boyfriend was still busy constructing a new kitchen for me. But we were happy and proud to show people around. The wow factor was always the staircase hall with its magnificent white stone winding staircase in the style of Louis Xlll

It wound up to the second floor of the Chateau....

these pictures are by courtesy of Karel and Marja, who currently own one of the appartments

All the in between times we were working out how we could set up our business and what facilities we could provide. The first thing was, obviously, to sort out the accommodation. Alex contacted a builder and asked him round to give an estimate for changing the current rooms on the first and second floors into 15 luxury self-catering apartments. He duly arrived and we took him up to the two floors which he inspected at length. In typical french manner, he stroked his chin , he shook his head, pondered more , then looked at us both and said one word --"Impossible!" . Not to be outdone Alex took him down one end of the first floor to a huge room and asked him if he could turn that into a one bedroomed apartment. " Oui! ", he said-- " Great " said Alex with a grin, " then just do that 15 times !" pause " Impossible !" said the builder. Typical. to cap that he wanted the equivalent of £15 per hour per workman-- which at that time was HUGE. So it was a good job he wouldn't tackle it!

We sat down that night with a good bottle of red, and put our heads around working out a plan 2.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I couldn't believe it! We had actually booked a wedding for the coming June , it was already February, and there were two huge areas which needed complete renovaton, the long gallery and the Grand Salon. The reception hall was where work had already begun, so we decided to continue with that first of all. Archie continued with the walls and Victoria, my daughter, and I decided to tackle the original floor tiles. They were beautiful, the pattern in cream and rust colours, but the condition was not good with thick layers of old varnish and spattered with paint here and there. We spent at least two weeks on our knees and gradually cleaned back the tiles to their original brilliant colours. Mum helped too, particularly with providing tea breaks!

The long wood panelled gallery was 60 feet in length, with large windows and french doors opening out onto the south facing terrace over-looking the rear grounds down to the lake. The flooring was herring bone parquet which needed stripping back and re-staining and waxing. Some cracked windows needed replacing, and the panelling needed re-staining. We decided to live with the wallpaper, and just hang pictures.

This the end part of the gallery when we first moved in, unfortunately it doesn't show the lovely l windows .
So, over the following months we all worked so hard, the men more than the 'gals because of the 'nature of the beast'! Alex needed to go and buy a mobile scaffold to enable the decoration of the ceiling in the grand Salon! The work needed was so intricate, with all the garlands of flowers, and of course, the ceiling height was just short of 5 metres . He came back , proud as punch, delighted that he had got a real bargain for this 4 metre square "échafaudage" with wheels- saying that it had only cost £150 !!! When they went to collect it in a borrowed van the next day he came down to earth with a bang-- it was really £1500!! After getting over the shock, we laughed a lot and all decided that Alex had better swot up on his french! So, little by little the work progressed and it was hard but fun. Finally the Grand salon was finished....
We decided on different shades of green, with multi-coloured garlands.

The floor had been restored beautifully by Archie ...
Finally June arrived and everything was ready. Our only commitment was the hiring of the rooms, all the catering was being provided by a company of caterers who would staff the occasion and also provide 'le vin d'honneur' which would take place in the reception hall. Guy had also taken care of the music which was to set up in the Grand Salon; the wedding breakfast was to be in the gallery. To our surpise and great pleasure we had been invited to join the wedding party.

This is the gallery set up for the wedding breakfast, as you can see it leads into the

The bride at the ' vin d'honneur. Bizzarely I do not have a photo of the bride and groom together;also the quality of my photos are poor - sorry!

Some of the wedding party gathering for a photo on the steps from the terrace.

Like all french weddings, the food was superb --10 courses-- we were still eating at 1am. The ambiance was fantastic and we joined in the dancing. It continued until 5am ( we had not put a time restriction on as we were attending) when the onion soup was served! YUK! But it is a traditional french custom sometimes observed at french weddings and is supposed to have a sobering effect. After this the marital couple left for their honeymoon! AAAAHHHHH bless!