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September 8, 2012

I must issue a full apology after a catastrophe when that nice lady decorator managed to get on line and read yesterdays column. I had banked on the fact that as we are traveling she would not get such an opportunity. So let me correct two deviations from the truth; Of course the directions given me (to which I referred yesterday, in less than complimentary terms)  were perfect and it was her decrepit husband who “does not understand plain English or obey simple instructions” that was the route of the problem.

Also there was very little truth in my claim to have been locked on the loo in order to avoid being mentally mauled for having made a facetious comment about her map reading. Just to illustrate how wrong I had been, we managed successfully to navigate our way off the Isle De Re over the only bridge that connects it to the mainland. This was after we had hired bikes and cycled around the quite flat southern part of the island and visited several very pretty nearby villages, the prettiest of which was St Martin De Re. We also found a couple of splendid beaches, one of which is depicted on my featured picture today. It is a truly magnificent island with well preserved architecture and almost no modern building anywhere to drag down the spectacle. Thoroughly recommended.

A beach on Isle De Re

Then it was off to the Loire valley in search of a Chateau. What no one had told us was that many of them are monuments or the homes of wine producers, not offering any accomodation and as the afternoon turned into evening we were becoming a little desperate to find somewhere to stay. We found several unedifying hotels, all of which we would have booked in desperation but were already full. I usually send that nice lady decorator in to check availability and at one in a town called Bourgueil we found a small odd loooking hotel called L’oc de France which  she described as like being a set for ancient TV series The Munsters, complete with Uncle Fester.  I think it was owned by the Adams Family who seemed also, according to her, to have adopted a hobbit. They were all sitting down to dinner in an unlit room with drawn brown curtains as she checked availability. Luckily they also claimed to be full, even though she thought they were about to eat one of the guests, thereby freeing up a room so having made a lucky escape we drove on and then as night approached we found heaven.

Chateau Rochecotte is magnificent, set in the hills above the Loire at St Patrice, it has magnificent pallisade terraces, hectares of well kept private gardens, and even has its own private chapel, which would no doubt please the Reverend Jeff (unless it was Catholic?). Anyway, we checked in and had a splendid meal which I am certain did not comprise any part of any guest.

So with thoughts of Currencies Direct duties beginning to crowd ny unconscious mind and with tonight being our last night in France on this trip, I shall be making the most of the Chateau facilities this morning and the most of the beautiful Loire valley this afternoon. I suspect that tonight may be a lot less salubrious as we shall need to be a Caen (if we are Able?) for 7.45 on Sunday morning, not a time that any decent human being should be awake, in order to catch the ferry to Portsmouth. Hopefully The Munsters do not have relatives with a hotel in Caen.

Chris France

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