It is good to be back.

Over the past weeks, I have been spending my time marvelling at the Hades that is British daytime television, re-reading novels, and watching box-sets. For that reason, Venetta for the Saint will forever remain in my memory, not least because of the hilariously inept attempts to create “Italy” from Malta. If the reader may justifiably ask why I was spending my time watching ITC productions from the 1960s, my answer is simple: the alternative was Judge Rinder.

And I have been reading countless newspaper and magazine articles. Some were beautiful in their artless simplicity. Others made me wonder if the writer should not consider another career as a matter of great urgency. My purpose here is to avoid joining the ranks of the latter with observations that are variously fatuous, vacuous, or utterly dim-witted. Sometimes all three within the same paragraph.

All I will merely observe is that during July, the Loire Valley is host to an abundance of flora and fauna – and you do not even have to roam beyond the grounds of Chateau de Bois Giraud. Merely relax in the garden one afternoon, and you might be astonished as to the variety of wildlife.  From time to time you might also notice some tree trunks chewed around the base  – the work of the very shy European Beaver.

And there is the food of the region. The asparagus season has only just passed, and there are  Charlotte strawberries to enjoy with a small quantity of sugar, some lemon juice, and a few mint leaves, in the style of the region. Some, such as this scribe, might also add crême fraiche to the dish. Of course, before such delicacies may be sampled, the Chateau needs to be readied for the summer. It is a process that involves much effort and welding of brooms so that we may greet our guests in style.

See you all soon.