Wednesday, 20th June 2012
Síle and my decision to move to France was far from a sudden one, we had been doing research for years on where and how we were going to retire there. One of the nicer aspects of this research was that we spent any available moment in the country trying to decide which spot we would grace with our presence and, while we did this we found the best and cheapest option was to stay in a Chambres d'Hotes, or French style B&B. The ones we searched out were the ones which also provided an evening meal (Tables d'Hotes) which you always ate with the family. These dinners often became highlights of our holiday, never cutting-edge gourmet cooking they were often very simple affairs a stuffed tomato (but from Madame's garden), some rabbit (once when one of our daughter's asked what Lapin was we both firmly said "chicken of course" there was no way we were going to admit that they were eating the balls of fluff they had been admiring in their hutches in the garden) and then after some local cheese perhaps a Clafoutis of Raspberries, which is really a simple batter pudding, made delicious by Madame herself having picked the raspberries that morning.
We realised after a while that the best Chambres d'Hotes were those that sported the distinctive Gite de France logo, and that we could search these out by buying their guide or, as time went on, by searching them out on their website. Inevitably we decided that, once we were up and running with our own Chambres d'Hotes here in France, that we should apply for membership of this rather exclusive society so we wrote and asked them what we had to do to join
We were told that if we sent them a cheque for €60, they would come and inspect us and, then if we passed this inspection we would be presented with our very own Gite de France plaque for the wall.
Two months ago, on appointment, six ladies arrived at the door of Le Presbytere. They then proceeded to give us a most thorough inspection. They studied the breakfast table which we, as commanded, had set up with all the necessary fruits and breads, jams and brioches. Then they set-to to examine the bedrooms, this was done very thoroughly, the beds were stripped, the pillows were stripped, fingers were run over the tops of wardrobes, beds were peered under- it was a thorough strip search. They seemed to approve but were a bit inscrutable so it was hard to be sure. A week later we got back the report. We were informed that provided we made some minor adjustments (easily done and now completed) we would be graciously accepted into their number and then, just last week Madame the Chief Inspector, arrived and presented us with our plaque.
Letters to the Editor
- A Government Successread more »
Once in a blue moon. As rare as hen's teeth. A Government success. Each of those three sentences are as unusual and as rare as each other. But the last one seems to be about to take place. The Government has announced that it plans to give each child in the State a second year of free pre-school. It might not sound like earth shattering news but if it does happen then it could be one of the most significant things that this Government has done since it took office. Any money that is given over to education is a …
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