Well time is moving on apace here at le chateau. I’ve been a bit slack with the blog again as we have been so busy and I’ve been too tired to write it up! I was hoping to get this blog post out on Friday but we’ve had flaky wifi for the last three days so my plans were scuppered. Being so busy at the chateau has been our choice, though, as we are enjoying all the tasks that have been thrown at us and we have felt like we are being useful. I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen doing various catering tasks which have stretched my culinary skills to the limit! We had ten people to provide a meal for before the first concert of the Chamber Music Festival. Michael bought all the food and Jonathan and I were earmarked to do all the preparation. Jonathan happened to mention that he needed to pick up some more musicians from Nantes airport and may not be back in time to help. Oh crap. He detailed ‘his vision’ to me for what he wanted everything to look like. Jonathan did tell me the French name of what was being served but I can’t remember what it was but it was basically a posh French buffet. There wasn’t much cooking as such as most things were pre prepared but presentation was key – yeah right, like I do presentation!! You know how foodie the French are, so no pressure like! Everything I cook is normally just slapped on a plate and grudgingly dumped on the table with a look that say’s ‘if you think you can do better, do it yourself’! Ah well, keep calm and carry on as they say. So, armed with blunt knives, I set about presenting a posh buffet fit for a French audience. All I can say is fiddly, fiddly, fiddly. I know how they feel on Masterchef now. Fortunately Jonathan did get back from Nantes in time to give some help and guidance which was much appreciated.
Tim, meanwhile, had been helping David complete the finishing touches on one of the apartments putting up pictures and mirrors etc. I sent him a text to see what he was doing as we could use some help in the kitchen to which I got a reply that he and David were sitting on the settee, in said apartment, having a beer whilst tuning in the TV!! I won’t say what my reply to that one was.
Anyway, the buffet apparently went down a treat and everyone was happy. Needless to say I was so stressed I didn’t get take any pictures.
Just when I thought I was in the clear Jonathan let me know that twelve people were booked for a traditional English afternoon tea the next day. Just as well I’d had a bit of practice scone making on our last Helpx assignment then. Fortunately, lots of helpers were roped in for this one though so scones and butter icing were my tasks. Jonathan did look at me like I was some sort of imbecile when I asked how to make butter icing though! As I’ve said before baking has never been my forte and I can’t remember the last time I made a cake – we’re talking thirty plus years ago. What can I say? It’s been a steep learning curve! Again, I completely forgot to take any pictures.
Despite being so busy we did get out to go to the church mass in the village last Sunday. We went because the musicians were playing with the choir for the service. It was a Catholic Mass and Tim freaked out when it came to the ‘Peace be upon you’ part as, this being France, we would have to kiss the people around us! We got away with shaking hands in the end though. Tim freaked out even more, however, when the collection plate came round and he didn’t have any change whatsoever and I made him hand over a crispy five euro note! It took him a while to recover from that one!
Tim has also helped set up the crypt under the chapel for a wine tasting evening which we were able to catch the tail end of.
Unfortunately, the pictures came out really badly and this was the only one I could put on the blog, which is still rubbish.
We were also invited to a talk on the history of the chateau and a tour of the apartments and caves. I didn’t take any pictures of the apartments but just managed to capture this one of an old wine press in one of the caves and some pictures of the moat.
On Thursday we took two guests to the railway station in Tours and stopped off in Langeais on the way back which is a very pretty small town with a chateau.
We had a mooch around and then decided to have lunch at a little cafe. We opted for the formule which is a set meal of three courses including coffee.
Entree was self service and I had good intentions when I put this snail/winkle type thing on my plate but after Tim suggested it might still be alive I went weak at the knees and had to leave it!
There were two choices for the main meal so we ordered one of each and hoped for the best as we weren’t able to translate the menu! Mmmm, a giant piece of black pudding for me (yum….not) and a chicken liver/kidney (read Offal) stew for Tim.
The black pudding was a step too far for me so we swapped and I ate the stew which wasn’t actually too bad but I can’t say I’d be having it again any time soon.
Thursday evening was the final day of the Chamber Music Festival which was celebrated with guests attending a gala dinner served in the chapel. Thankfully outside caterers were in for this gig! We snuck up onto the balcony where no-one could see us and supped wine whilst listening to the music (two pianos and two flutes).
Now that the music festival has finished we are taking Friday, Saturday and Sunday off to have a break and a bit of the tour around the area.