12 Feb Escape to the Chateau
Escape to the Château ! Did Dr Hoch really dynamite the Château ? The remains of Château de Lacomté, lay eerily quiet but not forgotton, just about visible amongst the foliage & trees that have over time grown over the Chateau ruins. The remaining stone and area where the Château once stood, harbours, I am sure, many secrets from all those years ago,I have no doubt ! The Château’s recorded history was apparently burnt by the Vicar, when the old village school where the history was kept, was sold to become a private dwelling. Years of history that just melted away in the heat of the moment. There are so many rumours of just how, what is left of this wonderful building that now lays suffocated below ground, came to be that way. There are those that say Dr Hoch, who lived here, dynamited the Château as he was fed up with passers by calling in to see it. His daughter says not. Yes, we luckily met his daughter who is now 90, 10 years ago. Wonderful lady, with so much to tell. What we have excavated, does not give away any clues. It would be wonderful to be able to connect with the past to have some of our questions answered, maybe one day a guest who was born with the gift of being able to connect with spirits and energies from the past will pass our away and will be able to tell us more. I am sure that the Chateau holds a secret, I can feel it, and I hope to one day find out what that secret is. 29 years ago we escaped to our Chateau, or rather to the stables and outbuildings that once belonged to this amazing building. We left the UK on the 8th of Feb 1991 in heavy snow and slid off of the boat in Caen onto freshly fallen snow on the 9th. That was a bit disconcerting to say the least. Arriving in Carlucet they had not had snow, that was a plus. We could not get up the drive because of a fallen tree, and the house had no water, no electrics and no telephone connection. All of which the estate agents told us they would do before we arrived. They lied, not funny when arriving on a Sunday afternoon when all the offices are closed. They actually lied about so much, as did their Notaire dealing with the sale, which in turn caused us so many problems, another story !!!!!! Three days later we were snowed in, what a start to our adventure, we were so cold, but still smiling with enthusiasm as we opened the windows to let the warmth of the winter sunshine inside to warm the house. The warmth of our bodies within the building had caused so much condensation to cascade down the walls, our make-do beds of caravan mattresses became absolutely soaked. Our sheets remained crispy hard all day, where our breath, dampness of the room and the freezing cold temperature had frozen them. Oh, did I mention our removal truck had broken down on the ferry so sailed back to the UK, I don’t think so !!! As we could not be contacted, we had no idea why it had not arrived. So fortunate to have a caravan that had some home comforts inside ! Sadly we were unable to stay in it though, it was so cold the gaz had frozen ! It was artic cold here during that week, (so rare we experience temperatures like that now) and we were moving into a building with no water, electrics or phone, three small children who wanted to play in the snow, but no snow gear, no welly boots, infact barely anything at all to keep them warm, oh dear! At this time technology did not offer an easy way to move abroad, there was simply an old fashioned telephone to keep in touch with loved ones and treasured friends. And telephone calls were mega expensive too. No skype, no facetime, no facebook, no google translate, no twitter, no nothing. We were a young family of five, children then aged just 3, almost 8 and 9. We were alone, with no family to help or friends to support us, and no helpful technology. We really were “Home Alone”, our adventure had well and truly begun in a way we could not have even imagined !!! And madly we had moved away to create and build a business, a huge adventure? Or was it stupidity ?!! I can answer that question now, it was both ! We spent almost two months visiting officials, banks, schools, doctors etc, etc, with a translator before we moved. We had done our homework, or so we thought, only to find when we moved over absolutely no one we had spoken with kept to their word. Although we had everything in place, or so we thought, once we arrived it was a very different story. It was sink or swim. Before we moved I taught all of my children to say their name , where they lived, and also, once we had one, our telepohone number. I was terrified if they, or one of them ever got lost how scared they would be not speaking the language. Their little lives here in the beginning were so difficult for them; School, oh jeeze ! Did they have some incredibly tough moments ? Yes they did, but that is another story ! When I read now, how excited people are to move over on various expat pages of certain social media, I envy them how easy it is to make that move, but also wish them good luck. It is not always as easy as so many think. With many programmes portraying enviable life styles, with any problems arising being easily solved and sorted out with no worries of costs involved, no mention of living taxes we all have to pay and many other hidden problems that so often arise. M’mm, sorry, it is just not always like that. I will be quite honest, when we moved I was absolutely petrified and as a young Mother of 3 young children, felt totally ill at ease in our new environment. It really did feel as if we had fallen from the moon into an alien world at the time and not speaking the language was tough. No, we did not speak French, oh my goodness, was that ever a huge mistake, huge. Really is not something we would advise, you are out of your comfort zone and so trusting which can work against you, as we found out. From what I have read, fortunately not many have fallen upon this sort of situation, luckily ! But then there is not many that have undertaken to do what we did. Even though we had translators, we were never told the true facts of any meeting we had with regards to creating and building our business. We were told by translators, what people wanted us to know, so often leading us in a direction that we should not have followed, but at the time of course we did not know that. We had not expected that at all. “The pigeons had landed” !!!!! We, being the pigeons ! I lost count how many times I made errors when speaking and was mocked, not great for one’s moral, but I could not give up, even though so often I wanted to. There were times I just wanted to hide away, but if you are building and creating a business, that is just not an option. Stuart’s progress with French was way quicker than myself, he too was ridiculed, but hey, some people are just like that aren’t they. His character so much stronger at dealing with the huge & many set-backs we experienced during the time we were building our business and beyond. My goodness it was all so complicated back in the nineties and early noughties ! But that was then, and now is now! I only ever saw life through rose tinted glasses, and they were very rosy when we moved. My positivity at an all time high. So I was stunned at how we were treated and that they, they being my glasses, could become so discoloured with problems made for us and attitudes towards us, we simply had just not envisaged. Have those glasses become rose tinted again, well yes of course they have ! It is just so beautiful and tranquil here, a bubble of tranquility away from it all, in a little corner of Paradise. So keep an eye out for our wonderful Valentine Surprise coming your way. May the 1st is not far away and Château de Lacomté is a wonderful calming destination, an oasis of tranquility within the heart of “la vallée de la dordogne”. Blissful moments to share, places to see, places to go, gastronomic delights, wonderful wines and so much more. Do not only see this stunning region, taste it as well ! And guess what ? Hidden away within the depths of Carlucet, there is a vinyard producing excellent wines a little something you may not have known. Will tell you all about this hidden secret of Vines soon. Hopefully look forward to welcoming you later this year.