L’Escapade: Episode 11

Café et Gâteaux au Château.

A couple of times last week I met the charming Carrie and members of her family when they stopped by to pick up or return the beautiful midnight-blue Bentley which is being garaged with us as there is nowhere safe and suitable to keep it at the château. She told me she thinks her son, Zak, came over to France simply to drive the Bentley.

John and I were invited to morning coffee at the château on the Friday. The day before, I dutifully made some chocolate cup cakes, however I was unable to find suitable cake tins resulting in sadly deformed shapes. Turning them upside down, slicing through and adding loads of butter icing, I decided they were wacky but should taste fine.

Chateau left of front facade S

The large iron ring on the 4 metre tall main door resounded loudly to John’s knocking, but no one came. Their two cars were parked in the front so we knocked again. John was about to go round the back, after the third try, but I heard movement from inside. The heavy door was opened by a sleepy Julia, Carrie’s daughter, in her PJ’s.

We were escorted through the dark and dusty halls and passageways to the shabby-chic kitchen where we found Carrie making coffee, Zak and his girlfriend, Sofie, who was clutching tightly to a hotwater bottle and not straying far from the parafin heater. In the centre of the long refectory table was a delicious looking, professionally made, strawberry tart. I offered my humble deformed cupcakes to add to the fare. A tray was set with mis-matched high quality French china, and large sprays of white blossom dominated a sunlit corner.

Before long Cindy and Terry arrived, then after a while Pam and Mandy showed up. Mandy is tiny, fit and full of energy – another creative/arty type, with bright, wine-coloured hair, despite being, possibly, over-sixty.

The conversation flowed readily. Carrie told us she had had to call out the Pompiers in the middle of the night, the previous week when Zak and Sofie had been woken by the alarm and a room full of smoke. She seemed particularly concerned only blue lights were used on the emergency vehicles and not sirens, as she didn’t want to upset the locals any more than necessary. The only damage had been to the ceiling of the room below Zak and Sofie’s bedroom. Trees on the estate had come down in strong winds, and the Maire was complaining about how she was possibly turning the restoration project into a form of business which would entail a different tax requirement. So much for one lady to deal with but she seems to have all under control and takes any dramas in her stride.

Cindy and Terry were singing the praises of Bernard the handyman who had done such a good job on their new fireplace. Pam and Mandy had just returned from a trip to a huge quilting exhibition in Spain which they had really enjoyed.

The strawberry tart was a treat for the taste-buds and they all graciously sampled the mis-shaped cakes, without complaint. The morning came to a natural end as Carrie had to get to the post-office before the midday closing-time. Even in laid-back France you have to be constantly aware of the clock.

Chateau S

This blog is based on truth but for privacy and security many of the names have been changed and some of the story may be embellished at times for dramatic effect.