France 1998

We finally sold Chadlington in the summer of 1996. We then bought Corisande Manor in Newquay, Cornwall: it was already a hotel but at the bottom end of the market. There was a 2 months gap between the 2 transactions, so we put all our furniture into store and spent several weeks in France, then Ireland. We went, via the Gunns, to Montpardiac, visited Lourdes, called in at the Batemans, then back via Burgundy. I left Chris in Caen for a summer school for the French degree she was doing with the Open University. I then drove back to Dover, then up to Stranraer, over to Larne and spent a week with his parents before driving down to Cork, where I picked Chris up from the Deauville-Cork ferry .

We have been to the Gunns many times since, but this was the first time, and finding it was difficult, especially in the dark. It was getting on for midnight when we finally pulled up outside their house


From the Gunns in Dordogne, we went on to the Pyrenees for a self catering stay. We went on a day trip to Lourdes, a nasty cheesy tourist trap, where I was unlikely to see anyone that knew me, though we did see the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster relaxing in a cafe

We also visited the Batemans who had had a hotel in the Lake District, and whose son was at Aysgarth. They had retired to this part of France. Though sadly Simon Bateman died soon after our visit


Our next stop was in the Burgundy wine growing area




So from Burgundy it was north to Normandy where I dropped Chris off for her OU Summer School. I got stopped at Dover by an over officious Customs Officer who thought that I as a single male might have been trafficing narcotics. I told him that if I really wanted to smuggle drugs, then I would have my children in the car, and he would never have thought to stop me then. I also told him that I would see an ever stupider man at Stranraer, who would think I was smuggling guns - in fact they check ou out painlessly at Stranraer by reading your car number plate, and checking computer records while you are at sea, and only pull you up at Larne if it is really necessary.


All Holidays