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

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A new baby in a small world

Last June, at Susan and Simon’s barbecue party, I met a charming young Belgian couple, Caroline and Alexander and their cute daughter Florence. During the summer months – from May to September – they reside in Southern Touraine where they run a beautiful chambers hôtes located in an exquisite castle near the town of La Roche Posay.  

Susan and Simon run ‘Loire Valley TimeTravel’, a unique concept of driving and guiding tourists around La Touraine in their elegant 1950-ties Citroën Traction Avant, lovingly called ‘Célestine’. They occasionally pick up clients who stay at A. and C.'s Château Valcreuse and have become friends with Alex and Caroline. 

When we met at the party, Caroline was pregnant with a little brother or sister for Florence. The baby was expected to make its appearance early September. During the barbecue we got acquainted and found out that we had a common acquaintance: a young woman called I., who’s a colleague of mine and who at one point in 2008 almost became my direct manager. As she works in our Antwerp office we only meet occasionally, and we do not have any or very projects in common. However, we do work in the same company and the same department. A. and C. being I.’s long-time friends and me knowing the latter, once again showed that this is really a very small world ...

During lunch, A. and C. were seated next to Mats and Vera, and one thing led to another. When we left S and S’s house around 7 p.m. my travelling companions immediately headed out to La Poche Posay, to honour A. and C. invitation to visit their ‘château d’hôtes’ and to have a night-cap together.
From left to right: Alexander, Vera, Caroline
and Mats with Florence sitting on his lap
When we arrived, we were clearly expected. We were given the grand tour of a castle too beautiful for words. The castle has a lot of character. The rooms are exquisite and cosy and a lot of attention has been put into details, comfort and a warm welcome. After the tour, we were invited to sit in the park – not a garden!! – to enjoy a drink and some nibbles. We had a lovely time, with a lively conversation and little Florence providing the entertainment. 
It wasn’t until about six weeks ago that I ran into I. – A. and C. friend at the coffee machine in our Brussels’ office. I told her about our meeting and asked whether C. had had the baby yet. I.’s answer was negative but she promised to give her friends my regards and to let me know when the baby was born.
Yesterday, I was back at the coffee machine – a place I rarely visit, but with the imminent reorganization of our department (more about that later), I try to partake in social office life as much as possible to pick up the ‘bruits de couloir’ (office gossip) in a poor attempt to learn what ‘ordeal’ is awaiting us. I was so engulfed in this gossip that I almost failed to notice I. who was making big waving signs at me, while waiting for her coffee to come out of the machine. “I’ve heard from A. and C.” she said. “The baby was born last week. It’s a boy, called A. “(not after his father, in case that is what you were thinking … 
Alexander and Caroline, I don’t know if you read my blog, but if you do: Congratulations on the birth of baby boy A.!! I’m sure Florence will enjoy having a little brother around in your lovely château! Thanks again for the warm welcome you gave us in June and I hope we’ll have a chance to meet again in Belgium or France!


GaynorB said...

Hi Martine,

Wasn't it a fantastic day. We must all do it again....soon.
Great news about a baby brother for Florence.

You are correct about it being a small world. There have been so many instances where this has been demonstrated to me.

Susan said...

We got a card from from young A's parents announcing his arrival the other day. Good news and it is nice they had a boy I think.

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

Fantastic news, bet Florence is happy to have a new playmate. Diane & nigel

ladybird said...

Hi Gaynor, Yes, I guess little Florence will be thrilled ... maybe we'll see her and her baby brother at the next blogger BBQ ;)

Susan, How kind of them to send you a card. They now make the perfect family ... a boy and a girl!

Diane & Nigel, I hope to see my colleague/A&C's friend soon to have more news and maybe see a photo of little A.