Holiday in the Charente, France

Loved this, in the village of Virollet

Loved this, in the village of Virollet

For the last week I have been on holiday in France. A cousin’s wedding in Vouharte, in the Charente, gave us the perfect opportunity to get together as an extended family. So the four Goode children, their spouses, and their 11 children (ranging in age from 8-18, but with a strong focus on the teen years) shared some time at a set of Gites in Gemozac, before repairing to Vouharte where the 19 of us shared a house in the village that was in the process of renovation, sleeping a family to a room. It was like a very posh squat, but accommodation options in a small village are limited, and none of us fancied the trek to Angouleme and back each evening.

Saintes

Saintes

Saint Palais sur Mer

Saint Palais sur Mer

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The wedding itself was the first time that all my cousins, plus the cousins of the other side of the family, had found the chance to get together, and it was superb fun. It’s great to have a very large extended family event like this, although the groom’s side of the family may have felt a little outnumbered.
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Dominic, Jamie and William

Dominic, Jamie and William

Having three generations together like this brings a sense of perspective. It helps us understand our place in the order of things. It helps me remember that not everything revolves around me and my peers: we are just part of a circle, and soon others will take our place, and our role will have changed. The transitions of life are not something to be avoided or resisted.

Verteuil

Verteuil

We managed to have some enjoyable experiences, including a day at the beach, some go-karting, visiting a Cognac producer, a trip down a beautiful river in Pons via kayak, an outing to Saintes, a trip to Vertuil where other cousins have a pad, and a large volleyball tournament (where our side, the Steeles, narrowly missed out on the final to Met Police 1). And of course, the wedding itself.
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The Charente is not an obvious holiday destination, but it’s a wonderfully French part of France, dominated by small, mostly pretty villages and towns, and a gently undulating vista dominated by fields of sunflowers and Cognac vineyards.

So, wine. This wasn’t really a wine-focused holiday. I had some nice local wines, including a couple of good whites from Domaine Garderat: a zippy Colombard 2013 and a bright, focused Sauvignon 2013.

Rosé was the key wine. My brother-in-law had ordered 108 bottles from Patrick Mourlan at Domaine Bastide des Oliviers, almost all of which were the regular 2013 cuvée. It’s an organic domaine and the wine is very good. In the mix Patrick included a bottle of ‘Le Naturel de Vigneron’ 2013. This was the sans soufre cuvée he makes, and it was quite delicious.

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