This was the chateau that we hired with a group of our friends to celebrate New Year’s. It was huge and quaint and exactly perfect to house/entertain 26+ people. We never felt like we were falling over each other; there was enough space for each one to do as he/she pleased. Ironically (or perhaps not so), most often the greatest gathering of numbers was in the kitchen. A special bonding takes place when making making meals together. Plus, the great big fireplace was a drawing point for those of us (mainly me) that came from warm climate places and couldn’t shake the chill. The grounds were expansive, with great opportunities for exploration and creation of “bases” for the kids. There was a point when The Mister looked at me and said, “I don’t think I’ve seen the kids for an hour and a half.” It was really wonderful. Thankfully, the weather wasn’t as desperately cold as in Paris, so the children could actually enjoy their outdoor activities.
The first evening, we sat together by the fire in the library, located off the formal dining room (oh how this environment suited me!). Initially, the door was closed, but the children kept coming in for one reason or another. Each time the door was opened, the air would be sucked back into the room through the chimney, drawing in all sorts of ash and soot. By the end of the evening, a number of us had developed quite the tickle in our throats. Unfortunately for me, my tickle deepened through the night. In the morning, I said to The Mister, “I don’t think I’m feeling very well. My chest is really tight and my skin hurts.” (does that happen to anyone else? I know it happens to my sister. When we get sick, our skin hurts. The feeling of clothing rubbing over my skin is agony. Even the shower water hitting my scalp causes me to wince.) The Mister kindly asked, “Would you like me to draw you a bath?”
Looking at my surroundings:
I swept my arm through the air in a grand gesture and said, “Why, yes! I’d love for you to draw me a bath! Fiddledeedee! There are no water restrictions here, I just might follow up my bath with a shower!”
And let’s play “keep away” with that pink balloon while we are at it!
By the afternoon, however, my skin pain had become worse and I knew that I was headed for the thicket of sickness. The next 3 days were spent in bed, mainly. But did you see that bed? I’m not really complaining! The timing kind of stunk because I missed out on some good times with friends (no outing to the city of Bordeaux, no trek to the neighbouring abbey, no marshmallow roast, no fencing lessons, no settling past rivalries in Settlers), but if one had to get sick, the chateau was the ideal spot. I didn’t have to worry about my children. Lola needed her boots zipped up one morning and I was too weak to do it, so I sent her out of my room to find someone else to help her. She did. The children were surrounded by old friends that occupied their every waking moment. All meals were taken care of, so I didn’t have to worry about my family in that regard either. I was able to get the sleep and rest that I needed, which is why I think I recovered as quickly as I did. Some may say that it was all a ruse since I missed my scheduled day for meal prep. As soon as my day had passed, I miraculously improved! Although, my coughing, wheezing, feverish self hovering close by to watch the others make the perogies while they yelled at me to stay away just might prove otherwise.
Despite the sickness, it was a great time together with our family away from family. The setting was ideal. The company was warm. The food was plentiful and delicious (we know some great cooks!). My favourite part was the murder mystery during our final formal meal together. Trying to figure out who had killed the wealthy chateau owner became just that more creepy since we were actually IN a Chateau! (It wasn’t me. But I did share a passionate kiss with the murder victim minutes before his death. Tragedy) It all ended too soon, in my opinion. “I thought we had another day at least,” I cried to The Mister as we packed up our things. “You may have lost a day, White Girl.” Lost a day? I want it back!
Too quickly 5:00 a.m. arrived and we were heading to the train station to catch our train back to Paris. Oui! Oui! Paris!