A quiet Christmas and a quick New Year’s escape to the Loire Valley.

First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas 2019 and that the beginning of 2020 has been a happy and healthy one!

Christmas 2019 was the first year that the Ray family did not celebrate as a complete family – a sure sign that our ‘children’ are growing up and spreading their wings! Our girls, Alice and Lily, decided to stay in the southwest to work during Christmas and New Year. They are both living in Falmouth at the moment; Lily is halfway through her degree in Film and Alice is enjoying life after Uni and preparing to interview for the Royal Navy in September 2020. So, as you can imagine, it was a bit strange and quiet not to have the chatty girls in the house, keeping the momentum going! It is amazing how much time teenage boys spend snoozing in their beds…

Tim and I took the opportunity to make a dash across to France for a few days, leaving early on New Year’s Day. We stayed for a few days at the new hotel we have chosen for our ‘Chateaux of the Loire’ tour in June 2020. We did some major re-writing and planning of this tour, very late in the day, when we realised that our previously chosen hotel was lovely….but in the wrong area. It would have meant long drives in the minibus across a large tour area and it just didn’t work.

Our new hotel – Auberge du Bon Laboureur – is in a much better location, even within walking distance of Château de Chenonceau. It is a lovely hotel with a lot of charm and character, lovely rooms and a super restaurant. We really do put in the milage on our reconnaissance trips, so after a long day driving we really enjoyed returning to a comfortable lounge & bar area where we could have a drink and read for a bit. The hotel had the most impressive wine list (for Tim) and even a heated outdoor pool in the garden (for me)!

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