Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A surprise visit

After finishing our lunch at La Gerbe d’Or we all returned to the bar where we had had our pre-luncheon drinks. We chatted a bit longer over coffee and beer, after which we split up in two groups. Mats and Vera set out on their own to go and visit the donjon. After all we would be spending the best part of the rest of the week together, while Jean and Nick would be returning the next day to the UK. Moreover, I have seen the donjon on two previous occasions.  

It was almost half past three when Mats and Vera left the bar. We agreed that we would meet there again between five and quarter past five at the latest. Just when I was about to ask Jean and Nick whether they wanted to stay there or take a stroll around town, Jean came up with a brilliant idea. She turned to Nick and with a twinkle in her eye and said: “I know what we can do! We have time enough to show Martine our house in Le Grand Pressigny, haven’t we?” Nick thought it was a good idea too, and I was really happy with the unexpected invitation.  

I had seen so many photos of their cute cottage and their dog Lulu on Jean’s blog, that I was thrilled to finally see the house and the dog for ‘real’. I had some doubts about the feasibility though, given the short time span of only 1.30 hours and considering the distance. Moreover, I didn’t want them to go through any extra trouble for me. But they both insisted – after all it was ‘only a 30 minutes’ drive (one way), which left us 30 minutes to visit the house, the garden and meet playful Lulu. 

Jean insisted that I’d sit in the front seat with Nick taking the wheel; a gesture I much appreciated because I had a much better view of the scenery then if I had been sitting in the backseat of the car. I really enjoyed the unexpected ride through the Touraine countryside sitting in a British car … which made me see the French roads from a new and unusual angle and perspective. Nick stayed away from the main roads and we made our way south along calm country lanes, with a lot of vegetation, flowers, small cottages and nice pastures.

During the ride we shared our blogging adventures. We all agreed that the posts that attract most readers and comments are those about personal subjects. Very often the best written and documented posts about historic buildings, cultural events, nature, etc. hardly get any attention. While an everyday personal mishap or success suddenly stirs people’s interests. We came to the conclusion that there is a peeping-tom lurking in each and everyone of us and that peeking into somebody else’s private life can be very stimulating indeed. I guess we bloggers all have an exhibitionistic streak; mind you not the kind of ‘suspicious-man-in-trenchcoat’ exhibitionist. More the kind that likes to share his or her experiences and thoughts with people who think alike and have the same interests in life. 

After a pleasant 30 minute drive, we arrived at Le Grand Pressigny where we were warmly greeted by Lulu. While Nick poured us some drinks, Jean showed me around the house. It’s lovely! Actually, the word I used was ‘sweet’, which made Jean laugh. But it is, believe me. Although it’s not very big, it has all the modern commodities, with a very nice and relatively large kitchen, an inviting fireplace, cosy armchairs, two comfortable and tastefully decorated bedrooms and a garden and terrace to die for. We sat outside for a while, sipping our drinks and playing with Lulu. She’s quite a character and ever so friendly. 

When the local bell tower chimed half past four, it was time to go. This time Lulu came with us. We were running a bit late, and I called Mats on his mobile phone to tell him not to worry and that we would be at our rendezvous point by half past five at the latest. We made good progress though and arrived at the café in Loches well before my friends did. We decided to have another drink together and although it had started to rain again, we huddled together under the parasols, with Lulu happily running around.  

Mats and Vera had enjoyed their visit of the donjon and the medieval town of Loches. They had done some food shopping, but unfortunately had forgotten to buy a baguette for our evening picnic. So I dashed off to the nearest bakery to get one. Next door to the bakery was a butcher where I bought a smelly garlic sausage. Back at the café, Lulu immediately picked up the smell, and looked at the package with anticipation (in vain though). 

It was well over six when we decided to say goodbye, with Nick and Jean returning to their cottage for a last night in Le Grand Pressigny before heading home to the UK the next morning. We headed north, back to Vouvray and our B&B. Thank you Jean and Nick for a lovely day. I hope to see you again, soon … in France, the UK or why not Belgium!

I wanted to post some legends with the photos, but blogger is playing up again.  But I guess you've figured out 'who's who' :)


chm said...

It looks like you had a great busy day, meeting blogger friends and enjoying the food and the countryside.

The Broad said...

How great you were able to see Le Grand Presigny for yourself! It sounds absolutely idylic and Jean and Nick sound like the ideal couple to be visiting!

I agree that people seem to like hearing about what's happening in the blogger's life the most. It's the 'personal' that's important to us all. The best to me are those blogs that are able to combine both aspects.

GaynorB said...

I agree about being interested in the personal bits.
When I posted about a difficult day at work there were many comments and quite a few personal emails. We may be 'nosey' but we are also supportive of each other.

Sounds like you shared an excellent afternoon. If you return to Le Grand-Pressigny remember that Le Petit-Pressigny is close by!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Lulu is a honey. When Nick and Jean brought her to us for the day she was so well behaved. We have yet to see Le Grand Presigny. Diane

Jean said...

It was a real delight to meet you Martine, and we were thrilled to be able to show you the little place that we are so fond of. It was nice to meet your friends Mats and Vera too - they are very good company and were not at all fazed when a boistrous and ludicrously large poodle joined them for drinks. Lulu definitely had her eye on your garlic sausage and as you saw, she doesn't easily fit under the table - which is why we chickened out of bringing her to lunch with us !!

We had a lovely day with you I'm glad you enjoyed the little trek into the hills !! Hopefully we can meet up again one day.

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Sounds like a very enjoyable day had by all. Having been through Le Grand Presigny a few years back, you can see why it charmed Jean and Nick.

Carolyn said...

Yes, the personal parts are fun to read, but so is everything else you (and others) write.

I like the way you brought together on this trip so many people whose blogs I read frequently. What a congenial group you are.

Bob said...

your blog has surely brought you in contact with some new and interesting people. i am sure they have enjoyed meeting YOU, just as we did.

ladybird said...

Chm, We had ... and this was just the beginning, as you know ... because you were part of most of it! ;)

Kathie, Meeting and spending time with Jean and Nick was really fantastic. I hope we can do this again in a not too distant future.

Gaynor, I will, I certainly will!!! Thank you :)

Diane, Lulu is a real peach and I'm sure that - like Jean and Nick - she will be happy to see you in LGP!

Jean, So do I. It may not be possible to align our travel plans every time, but I'm sure we'll meet again ;). Thanks again for your hospitality.

L&S, I still have my doubts about the modern addition to the castle, but the village and Jean and Nick's cottage are charming! Sitting on their terrace in the evening with a nice drink and some nibbles must be sheer bliss.

Carolyn, At times I feel that I'm closer to my blog friends - and not only those whom I've met, if you get my meaning - than to my friends at home.

Bob, Thank you. So far, all the people I've met through my blog have to turned out be extremely kind, warm and genuinely interesting and interested.