(Bending with the bend)
We stayed in a beautiful Chambre d’Hote last night. It was run by a british husband and wife, along with her daughter and family. The daughter’s husband was the builder and he had done an amazing job of renovating a barn into a seven room guest house. They also renovated the old farm house for themselves. Our bedroom was very tastefully decorated and there was a dining room downstairs where we were served dinner. Just off the dining-room there was a large room looking out onto a deck, with a stone buddha and the swimming pool. The large room was completely empty. Over dinner Denis and I both wondered what the room might be intended for.
(French Poppies – For Bairbre)
This morning as I was carrying my bag out to the bike, I met the wife. I felt the peace of the place so strongly I mentioned it to her and asked if that was the reason that choose to move here. She had a funny smile on her face and said they had originally intended it to be a retreat center but they had to run it as a Chambre d’Hote to make enough money. The empty room’s purpose was becoming clear.
That’s all the information I have but something about it got me thinking. So I made up a story about them…..
We have stayed with a few different families through airbnb.com, who have moved to France and welcomed guests to fund their dream. It has always been inspiring to sit with these people who have taken a big step and changed everything. People with small children who have stood at the school doors with their little ones and handed them over in the full knowledge that their child would understand nothing and their parent could not help them – that takes courage. So whenever we get a chance we choose to eat the table d’Hote,table of the house – everyone eating with the family, because then you get to sit with the family and since they can speak English all the better.
(Little short cut the Sat. nav. liked)
Last night we were served dinner on our own! Was it the odour from hours in the sun and fog and rain? We didn’t know, but we missed the chat. Maybe we’re needy or just something about being Irish?
(The rows of Vines…looking towards the sun in perfect drainage… optimum location)
But back to France, the food was great and we asked lots of questions each time the wife came in with another course. The whole family up and moved to France with an amazing plan. The son-in-law would do the building, the husband/step-father/father-in-law would be a helper. The wife and daughter would cook and decorate and run the retreat centre. But not enough people know they need a retreat centre. So they had to come up with a different plan. They would do Chambre d’Hote, B & B, guesthouse whatever you want to call it. But their hearts just weren’t in it. They didn’t want to eat with the guests. They put up notices to make sure the guests checked out by 10am. They did everything they could to keep their input to a minimum, because this wasn’t the dream, this was just a temporary blip.
(Old Fashioned car – in the distance – in dappled sunlight)
Sometimes the thing I get is not exactly as I expected and I think something is wrong, and I give up. What if the thing we get is exactly the thing we were looking for, it’s just wrapped a little differently? Last night that wife and husband and maybe the daughter and son and two small children had provided a retreat for two weary travellers, but they didn’t know it because they didn’t sit at the table.
(Wouldn’t you love to know who lives here?)
Wherever you are right now is exactly the place to be…. right now… just now…. notice how much it’s exactly right.
We are staying in a Logis hotel tonight (Thank you, Dave!), the owner is French and speaks great English. I have told him I will be speaking French, he’s speaking more slowly every time I see him! He and his wife have also taken a big step and changed everything – she was a teacher and he was working in a bank. We have SO lucked out! Even though they had a full house tonight, seven tables, he found time to tell us his story. We will bring more news tomorrow….
Saludos (Salutations), Mairead.