Posted by: kathandroger | May 14, 2015

The Reunion.

The family Travouillon came to La Belardiere, our farm, in 1917. They worked it until it was sold in 1992, following the tragic accidental death of the Patriarch. There were six children, three of each kind, and now also innumerable offspring,  many of whom had not been back to the property since they left. So the grand  reunion of last weekend was a big event, with seeming endless families arriving, and even our large carpark being filled. Needless to say there were tons and tons of provisions, mainly of the consumable variety, and all were duly enveloped in the seething mass of revelers. It was an emotional time. Lots of tears, lots of laughter. Our property now only consists of the farm buildings and immediate surrounds, but in its heyday all the surrounding fields and pond were part of the farm, and we heard endless stories of the then childrens escapades. The buildings have been completely  transformed over the past few years, and the company was accommodated in what used to be the old barns-now our two big gites. We have kept lots of bits and pieces from the old property and used them in the new, and it was lovely to hear of how the old business worked. For instance the wine was made from a large vineyard now growing rapeseed in the adjacent field.The old wine press, which I have installed in the courtyard, had a conduit direct to the cellar, and I was shown exactly where it still exits. The wine was well known and sold to the locals. We are not sure whether the toad who lives in the cellar is the same one that the family knew, but they were adamant that they recognized the same swallows! We had demolished some concrete rabbit hutches behind one barn, and I reckoned they must have kept about a dozen for meat. In fact it was over 80!

During the war the Germans apparently wanted to install a large cannon on the building behind the farm, which had a good view over the Creuse valley. Negotiations took place in which it was pointed out that this placement could conceivably make the building a target for reprisals, and that the pickings from the farm would no longer exist. The case was won and no gun appeared!

The weekend passed too rapidly. All the family were keen for us to join them in the celebrations, and it was a delight to spend a typically long French lunch with them. Most of the younger generation left after the party of the first evening-finally ending at around 5 am, and I am still not sure how many people slept in our own house that night. The following days were spent with gentle rambles around well known environs and even some time spent in the swimming pool, now on the site which housed the farm effluent! The weather was kind, Madame Travouillon presided regally over her brood, and all left contented. I think they appreciate how much their family home is still loved.IMG_3029


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