Last week we had friends from Scotland coming for a visit. At the last minute they had to postpone due to Volcanic Activity. Isn't that awesome!! Not that our friends couldn't come of course, but that they couldn't come due to a spewing volcano!!! My heart goes out to all the people who had plans gone wrong, but really - Mother Nature managed to disrupt quite a lot of the world there for a while, and I can't help it. I think that's kinda cool.
But of course we were disappointed. Well - actually the kids were shattered. So on Monday morning I decided that a roadtrip was in order. We were on our way to the Loire Valley by noon. Booking.com rules for finding last-minute hotels in Europe!
There were fields and fields like this all around the little village where we stayed. We thought it was mustard, and hollered 'Mustard' every time we passed a field. Turns out it's actually Oil Seed Rape, according to our friends. As Ian says - guess it's good that we didn't know. Yelling 'Mustard' is probably better.
This is the Chateau we stayed in. It was very lovely, if a bit stuffy. We felt like we had to whisper. The grounds were awesome! The land was beautiful, and massive, and filled with animals: Llamas, horses, alpacas, geese, peacocks, ducks, billy-goats (terrifically cute from the front, and horrible from the back - curly-haired goats should be helped with personal hygiene!)... Here was our favorite pony:
We're currently reading the Hobbit. It's Eleanor's first time! It's Owen's - what - fifth? We imagined Bilbo Baggins riding on this pony, and feeling a bit irked that he was on a pretty little white pony, and not a rugged brown one, or slightly sinister black.
At Chenonceau I bought Owen a book on French history. He spent the rest of the week reading. Have you tried your kids on the Horrible History series? A word of advice: Don't buy it for them just before you rent a rowboat at Chenonceau. You won't get their head out of the book, and you won't get any help with the rowing, and you'll be so busy keeping out of the way of the other boats on the canal that you won't get decent pictures of the castle. Ahem...
But you do get a picture of a charming little nook. This guy might be my favorite thing I saw all week. He's peering over at a very fancy bed that used to belong to Francois 1. I've named him Germaine.
Yesterday our friends did arrive, a week late, but just as fun as always, and we'll be spending the week running round the countryside. Ian wonders why I keep calling him 'Julie Our Cruise Director'. Being from the UK, he's never seen the Love Boat. I really should stop. I'm afraid he's getting a bit bothered.
It's good to have people here to get us out and about. That way you get to see a lot more of France!