Le Manoir – French dream is a reality.

IMG_1747When I imagined staying in a French house overnight with food and wine and lovely hospitality – I thought it was just a dream  but good news – it exists. And here it is. Le Manoir only an hour from the ferry in Calais – Calais is another tale for another day but today is all about Le Manoir a lovely story……

We read about it on Sawdays website and had booked ahead. Plugging in the co-orindates our Sat Nav took us round the houses, across the rues, over the montagnes and meandering for ages but eventually we found it – in a small village called Gouy-St-Andre in Pas De Calais, and it was well worth the wait. Look.  Sometimes photos speak louder than words. But being me you will get words as well.

We arrived on 8th May and the whole area was completely shut. We wondered if the Triffids had landed, or some huge global disaster had happened and we were the only ones not to know about it but when we finally found our way to Le Manoir and met our hosts Ceclia and Raphael they informed us every 8th May in France  it is a massive public holiday to commemorate the signing of the peace agreement marking the end of the war by Charles De Gaulle in 1945. So we arrived on a party day!. Splendide!

On arrival a delicious afternoon tea of homemade cake and cups of loose leaf tea before being shown to the gorgeous room where we collapsed in to a bubbly bath before dinner at 7pm. When we came down there was a roaring open fire with a fireplace the size of Uist  and two huge sofas which we sank into before being handed a glass of chilled wine and some canapés. How we suffer. NOT.

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This is the label – fresh. light and really easy to drink. Being a philistine I don’t care how much a wine costs as long as it tastes good and this tasted great. Only later I learnt it was about 5 -7 euros! So I have decided to give up water and just drink this instead. Have a look here  and try it sometime you will thank moi (French bi-lingual now obviously)

At this point we mentioned dinner and of course being a daftie I had forgotten to mention to Cecilia, our hostess that we would like to eat with them. But she whipped it up in no time at all. If it had been me it would have been cheese on toast but at Le Manoir we were in the hands of a gourmet. The dining room was set for two overlooking the garden and we indulged in an entirely homemade feast. Rillette, gherkins, bread, mushroom tart, then an omelette bursting with fresh veg from the garden and Le Touquet potatoes from the host Raphaels Fathers garden with butter.     At this point we should have had our jaws wired but on we went to enjoy home baked apple tart, miniature cheesecake and ice cream. Be still my beating heart.  We managed to move to the lounge and the couch where we met this handsome chap. Charlie the cat.

A man who also enjoys his food. I am now his body double – with slightly less hair.

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Some more photos to give you a taste – see what I mean about the fire? Its a beezer!

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Breakfast – you can see here – beautifully laid out table was  homemade yoghurt, bread, jam, ,fresh fruit salad, hot fresh pancakes and maple syrup, homemade Granola, pastries. I could go on and on as I do but I think you get the gist…..

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Oh and meet Alfred and Marcelle, the geese. These two meander around outside like a pair of Disney characters keeping an eye on all the comings and goings.

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So to sum up. The ambience of Le Manoir is quite magical. The X factor. We were the first Scots they had to stay – and hopefully we have not spoilt it for the rest of you because we behaved rather well for a change.  From the horses, geese, cats, oh and of course the humans! They were wonderful….oh and their children who speak better Spanish, German and almost English than us. Yes we were very taken with the whole place……

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Le Manoir An hour from Calais and well worth straining your SatNav to find.

High Visibility Pillock Spotted In Mirror. Me.

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So the road trip plan is going on – and on – and on. I am the culprit. I could organise I piss up in a brewery but other than that organising anything confuses my brain completely.

I need to drive from Edinburgh to Barcelona by car.

I can’t fly. It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t so I have no choice.

So I look at the map.

I can see where I am and where I want to go but how do you plan it?
How do you know where to stop?

When to stop?
How many miles you can realistically drive on a day to day in a right hand drive car in France or Spain?

A pal told me I need a breathalyser – thanks I said – no he meant legally in France you must have two in the car. Oh. OK

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Also on the list are two high viz jackets.
Where do you get those? I said arriving to buy some tea lights from IKEA and instantly stumbling into a huge pile of high viz jackets for about 90p each. Weird.

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But as it’s IKEA not only is it weird – its a bargain.

Though I do get distracted with why one earth do IKEa sell high viz jackets?

Is it  for people who fall asleep half way through building a flat pack so their family don’t trip over their  prone exhausted  bodies as they go about their business. Anyway it was a happy coincidence whatever the reason.

So I bought 2 for me and 2 for him and so he got the breathalysers so all we need now is the route.

Even the drive to Dover is confusing.

Drive all the way in a day or stop over somewhere and if so where?

Or get a ferry from Newcastle?

And so it goes on so prevarication wins out as usual.

Speaking of which it’s Good Friday – Happy Easter – I am off to stuff my chops with chocolate eggs in the hope the rush of sugar to the brain will effect a shift in my capacity to plan…