Day 2 – Tuesday 4th August
Doug, Liz and I had been invited to join Jacques and his wife for breakfast at their house opposite. An al fresco breakfast was followed by a quick look at our host’s thousand year old wine cellar full of dozens of cases of dusty bottles of vintage wines. Jacques is known to be a fine judge of wines.
After saying our goodbyes to AJ and Joanne who had to return to the UK, the three of us set off for an appointment with Mme d’ Amecourt at her Chateau Pechesseul on the other side of river. In early discussions Raglan Scouts had expressed an interest in coming to Raglan and it was suggested that the grounds of the Chateau may be a convenient location.
The Chateau, a private house not open to the public, was truly awe-inspiring set in an estate bordering the river and has one Italianate and one French facade. All was in excellent state of repair. Apparently the family own some of the largest and best vineyards in Bordeaux.
Liz presented Mme d’Amecourt with a Raglan Scout neckerchief which she immediately put around her neck before giving us the guided tour of the facilities including the family chapel, an untouched Victorian laundry room and various outbuildings the Scouts would be welcome to use. It was explained that the camping would be ‘rustique’ and there were plenty of fallen trees if the scouts wanted to make their own tables, chairs and fires. She kindly said there would be no charge for the scouts to stay and would see if she could get some of the local scout groups to join the Raglan troop if they decided to visit.
Returning to Parcé all the Raglan contingent joined up for a fantastic barbeque at the home of Michel and Blondine whose house was an antique shop in the centre of the village. Their large garden ran down to the river at the end of which was the plage – where the Parisians used to come to swim in Victorian times.
The meal was superb laid out on long trestles with veal kebabs, pork rilletes, local wines and ciders and superb puddings. We handed out our Welsh flags to the local children and ended to lunch with recitations of French and Welsh national anthems with the mayor leading the singing of the French national anthem (forgetting many of the words).
The previous night we had been introduced to John Hodgkinson a retired English naval commander who lived in Parcé three months a year. John had built his own steam launch which he had used to cruise up and down the river. Sadly he had had problems getting his paraffin fired boiler certified and had converted it to run on batteries. John kindly took half the party for a trip on the river and agreed a similar trip for the rest of party the next day.
Those that did not join the boat trip caught up on a few hours sleep before being given a guided tour of the village by delightful young lady called Noel who had an excellent understanding of English and was very knowledgeable about the fascinating history of the village. A rather eccentric French maths teacher gatecrashed the tour and contributed to the light hearted banter.
During the evening Doug Liz and I joined the Rowlands family for a light meal at their delightful gîtes just outside the village before taking a brief trip to Sable and Solemnes to see the illuminations. Meanwhile Anne and Andrew were treated to a gourmet meal by their hosts Jackie and Sylvie including many local delicacies and comprising,we understand, at least six different courses and assorted alcoholic beverages.