A gratifying number of readers seem to recall our appearance on Escape to The
Chateau; DIY, especially the Australian gentleman complaining about the
slavery he regularly endured as part of his lot. This, of course, was a gross
exaggeration as Chateau de Bois Giraud abolished the practice circa 2015,
although it retained the option for its immediate reintroduction for certain
teenage family members. Also, Jon has clearly recovered from his many
travails, for today marks his 52nd birthday, celebrated by a “Fusion Party” later
this evening.
To the uninitiated, this event will combine the best of Loire Valley and
Australian culture. A bottle or two of Domaine Chavet La Côte Rouge might be
on the cards – the region deserves to be better known for its red wines – while
the steaks, acquired from the village boucherie, will be carefully barbequed.
In France, “ À point” is quite rare by Australian and British standards so we will
probably aim for “Bien cuit”, which translates as well-cooked but appears
medium-rare to our tastes.
As for the music, tributes will be paid to the late Judith Durham and Olivia
Newton-John, in addition to a playlist including AC/DC and Slim Dusty
lamenting a pub that lacked beer. And who could resist jiving to Johnny
Hallyday singing C’est Le Mashed Potato? Well, possibly some of the party’s
younger members, but they would be wise to refrain from criticising the
dancing of their elders and betters, within earshot at least.
In fact, the Chateau really does come alive at such family gatherings. To many,
this may seem a cliché typically found in the travel brochures for dubious 1980s

package holidays in Mallorca, but it remains true. The building and the grounds
are there to be enjoyed, explored, and, above all, used. Besides, if any member
of the family decides to regale us with some memorable Australian rugby songs,
our nearest neighbours are literally miles away…