29 December 2017



Chenonceau never fails to enthral me with its sheer beauty but never as much as in February this year when there was hardly anybody else there.  To be able to stand back and look at its treasures in proper perspective without dozens of other people swirling about in front of me was a total joy.


Of all the châteaux we have visited over the years, Chenonceau always has the best flower arrangements.  They are quite breathtaking and must take hours and a lot of skill to produce.  Even in the middle of February the flowers were fresh and the arrangements in good condition.  And of course with nobody much about I could see them in their full glory instead of only bits at a time.


Hyacinths featured greatly in many of the displays, filling the rooms with their glorious perfume.



I do admire people who can produce a nice flower arrangement, being a put them in the vase and hope for the best kind of flower arranger myself.  One day I will take myself off on a course to learn how to do it properly and make it look effortless, when I have the time.


Time being something I seem to have a lot of at the moment, but not able to do anything very useful with it, still being quite poorly with this horrible cold/flu.  Sitting in front of the computer and tinkering with pictures is about all I have had the energy to do since I gave in to the illness and went to bed on Christmas afternoon. Each day I try to do a few easy chores, like clear the table or stack the dishwasher, but it’s exhausting.  I’m pretty fed up with it.


However, I’m consoling myself with the fact that at least I am retired.  If this had happened whilst I was working, having to spend a precious holiday being ill instead of enjoying myself, I would have been much more upset about it.


At least now that we’re both retired we can just write off the time, batten down the hatches until we’re better (Nick has had a milder version of it, lingering slightly) and just pick up the decorating and other stuff where we left off when we feel up to it.  That is one of the advantages of being retired, I think, knowing that if today doesn’t work out as planned, there’s always tomorrow.


It snowed again here today, putting the kibosh on any plans we might have had to go anywhere.  We often get a bit of snow in Derbyshire between Christmas and New Year and being stuck in the house gives me the time to do a bit of sorting out of the year’s photos, something I actually look forward to.  It’s good to be reminded of the wonderful things we have done during the year and to think of how we will enjoy doing it all again next year!


  1. Thank you again for the lovely photos. Hope you soon feel better.

  2. Definitely MAN flu by the sound of it. Hope you feel better soon. Happy New Year to you both.

  3. If you want to do a floristry lesson why not do it at Chenonceau? They do classes.

    The chateau employs two full time florists, one of whom they enticed to close his shop in Tours and come and work for them. As far as possible the flowers are grown on the estate, but they make a run to Rungis market in Paris once a week to pick up things like orchids that they can't grow in house. I forget how much they spend annually on flowers, but it's in the tens of thousands. The arrangements are refreshed or changed as necessary about every 4 days. I am in awe of the florists' imagination and hard work.

    However, they are the only historic attraction you will see this sort of thing. The risks are too high if you have authentic furniture and decor. People touch the arrangements and I have seen flowers ground into the floor and arrangements knocked over. At Chenonceau they have presumably decided that the furniture (bought at auction in the 20C to provide set dressing) and the decor (largely redone in the 19C) can be viewed as sacrificial. The flower arrangements are their USP, although they don't trumpet the fact to the public. Very cleverly, they allow the visitor to simply discover them for themselves. They probably also feel they are continuing a 500 year tradition, growing flowers for the house in Diane de Poitiers kitchen garden.

    1. Susan, thanks for the info and the tip about floristry classes, I would love to do that! Maybe in the coming year.