Ah, the post-Christmas, post-New Year’s Day period, which in the UK at least, has often been associated with melancholy, greyness and wondering why certain EastEnders cast members sound like Anthony Newley impersonators. Actually, the last-named is probably an obsession of this writer, but I still prefer to listen to Françoise Hardy singing Pas Gentille and contemplate a dish of tartiflette – a potato gratin made with bacon and onions topped with Reblochon cheese: both lend a sense of joi de vivre to the day.

However, January is far from devoid of entertainments in the Loire Valley. At the end of the month, some may wish to make the journey to Nantes to partake of La Folle Journée; a festival of classical music that has enjoyed nearly a quarter of a century of success. You will be able to enjoy around 250 performances (over a five-day programme) at a very reasonable price – http://www.follejournee.fr/en- and be a part of an event that has inspired so many young composers.

Back at Chateau de Bois Giraud, there can be no real chance of wondering the grounds in the sense of Left Bank existentialist angst, quoting lines from Camus at any passing woodland creature, for three very good reasons. Firstly, even when clad in a fetching dark glasses and black roll neck pullover combination, one would like less like the founder of a new school of philosophy and more like Tony Hancock in The Rebel. Secondly, those of you who saw the television programme Escape to the Chateau: DIY will have appreciated that it is an ongoing concern. Thirdly, as is almost always the way, spring will be upon us sooner than we think.

And on that profound note, I am going to listen to some more 1960s yé-yé music. Little known fact – Pas Gentille is a cover of the 1959 Marty Wilde hit Bad Boy. I sincerely trust this information has enlightened your afternoon…