What a sociable week this has been! For my “HK family” we caught up with Jon (who I taught with and have known for the past 17 years). He’s now retired to France and, as soon as I knew we were heading off on this French adventure, I started planning to meet up with him. Well, this week the plans came to fruition as we drove down to his part of France (out of Charente Maritime, through Charente and into the Dordogne region) for the day. We had a great day exploring his town and having a lovely lunch in the square before taking him to his little “country house” out in the sticks to survey his estate! He’s toying with the idea of spending some time over the Winter months just being at one with nature at his cabin in the woods. Well it certainly is idyllic, but it needs a bit of TLC to be properly habitable. Maybe next time we see him he’ll have gone all “man of the woods” (just like you, Ho Mei)!
The other social highlight of our week has been a Quiz and Curry night. Now for those of you who know me, I love a good quiz and I was rather missing our regular pub quiz back in HK. Luckily our very kind and helpful electrician, Rob, has been giving us hints and tips about life in France and he brought round a magazine in English which detailed all the events in the area. Lo and behold, there is a monthly quiz in a town not too far away called Chef-Boutonne so we booked a table (rather sadly, just for 2 people this time) and off we ventured.
We decided to take our time and to wend our way through some of the villages en route. I’m glad we did because we happened upon some gorgeous places which we will surely revisit some time in the future to get some better photos.
We got to Chef-Boutonne and were slowly cruising round in the car when Rich noticed another car following us. He slowed to let it pass and who should draw up alongside but… Rob! It turns out he lives not five minutes from there and had spotted our car (easy to spot with British number plates yet a left-hand drive…) and wondered if we were lost. We stopped and chatted to him for a few minutes while he gave us the low-down on all that Chef-Boutonne had to offer then off we went to the quiz venue (or so we thought)…
On turning up to the place, we thought it looked a bit quiet with just one other couple but nevertheless we sat down and waited until the guy came over.
“We’re here for the quiz,” said Rich tentatively.
“Well then you’re in the wrong place! We do have a quiz night but it’s not tonight. You want the château back down the road.” replied the guy with a chuckle.
We didn’t feel so clever after that! But we hopped in the car and just down the road is a lovely château on the outskirts of Chef-Boutonne called Château de Javarzay (which Rich has renamed Château Jalfrezi due to the curry element)! There’s a Salle des Fêtes (or community hall) next to the château and, judging by the full car park and the throngs of people streaming in, we were more confident that this was indeed the right place!
So this was clearly where all the British expats of the region hung out! There was a hall full of tables of up to 6 people, a cash bar, a raffle, greeting cards on sale, a screen showing all the team names & scores and there was also a curry dinner halfway through the quiz.
I’d love to tell you we won but I’d be lying!
We didn’t come last, we didn’t win anything in the raffle but we did get vouchers to come back next time and have a bottle of wine on the house (so that’s a win in my book)!
We’ll definitely be back, and maybe rope in some more people to swell our team numbers next time!
On the drive back, Rich spotted a fox and a genet (think grey cat with a long stripy tail) skulking at the side of the road which have both added to our wildlife tally and, back at the château, Rich got a good evening photo of the nearly full moon.
À bientôt, bisous.