Some Visits and Facts

Monday August 29th 2022

As you know, my view of foreign Statelies is dim, with some exceptions. Our visit to that mansion near Deuville racecourse some years ago – no wonder Rollup de Malbuoys leapt over the rope and occupied the German General’s massive concrete bath, left over from the War. There was nothing else to do.

But in Normandy this year we paid an intensely charming visit to Chateau Boutemont. Minimal interior touring on offer but the drawing room certainly had life. Not the usual dessication brought on by the Revolutionaries having burnt all the furniture in the C18th. But the walks and vistas, the features and choice trees and shrubs – well done, for not being the usual foreign idea of a garden, which is dusty paths, urns and uniform conifers in rows. Here every tree was an unusual specimen and choice. There were Brugmansia by the pool which used to be called Datura and are supremely poisonous, therefore not often grown.

Otherwise the Laird was intensely informative at all times. Only once did the Lairdess have to say nobody was listening. I never knew that the Plimsoll Line was the inspiration of the insignia of London Transport, nor that a corkscrew must be made of wire not foil. A foil corkscrew will be less secure if the cork is weak. Here is a man with connections as well as qualifications. The Laird is a Qualified Chain Saw User. In addition ┬áhe has completed an Asbestos Awareness Course. He solved the creaking door hinge problem by inserting lead from a pencil. This is something you too could try at home. Meanwhile, in his address book is the leading valuer of caravan parks in the UK. Don’t mock. How do you know that you’re not going to need your caravan park valued one day – or better still, your fields assessed for caravan-park potential? Matt Driver on the other hand was preoccupied with wasp control. ‘Get the scout wasp,’ was his approach, the theory being that wasps send out a scouting party. Once stickiness has been discovered, the others follow. So he was stamping down upturned glasses at the luncheon table with intensity then glaring at the considerable number accumulating. Concentration of this quality is how Matt Driver became one of the world’s leading taste-shapers of all time, with a salary to match Robin Smallmeal’s i.e. one of the highest, far exceeding the Prime Minister’s.

In the restaurant, Matt Driver rejected the Prix Fixe menu on the grounds that the chef needed to work harder. His other furrow was the aggrandisement of the chateau fragment. Another wing is now contemplated at the opposite end to the drawing room wing completed six or seven years ago. I said, ‘Why not pull it down completely and build it fourteen times bigger and on a mound while you’re about it, so you can have terraces and a water cascade, as at Chatsworth?’

A visit was also paid to the small town of Cambremer and lunch taken at Beuvron-en-Auge. Both were beamy, ancient and boutique and greatly enjoyed by the party. On the Saturday we visited Bernay, which is Paris-in-Normandy. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife – the iron chic.

So although often asleep in the afternoon, Poor Little Rich Gays did carry out engagements in Normandy.

The Drawing Room at Chateau Boutemont near Lisieux: A Modern Family live Here, not the Medieval One But Better than Nothing

The Drawing Room at Chateau Boutemont near Lisieux: A Modern Family live Here, not the Medieval One But Better than Nothing

Chateau Boutemont: True Charme and Ancientness with a Later Boost of Design and Gardening

Chateau Boutemont: True Charme and Ancientness with a Later Boost of Design and Gardening

Chateau Boutemont: Medieval but with None of the Drawbacks: Moat here as Styling. So much Better

Chateau Boutemont: Medieval but with None of the Drawbacks: Moat here as Styling. So much Better

Topiary Exceptionelle:

Topiary Exceptionelle:

The Private Parterre

The Private Parterre

The Pool

The Pool – with Poison Plants

Shapes and Interest

Shapes and Interest

Posted Monday, August 29, 2022 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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