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Monday, 24 September 2012

The final morning

The alarm goes off at 6am, I wish I had gone to bed earlier. I stumble over to the Chateau and make coffee for Amanda and Danny who have to leave at 7 to catch their train to Biarritz and continue their European tour. After breakfast Culli and I drive 12 guests to the station and wave sad goodbyes, then back to the Chateau to finish clearing up say goodbye to Jane, Andy, Debbie and Steve and take the final five to the station. We discover that Chris has left her bag of knitting behind, fortunately she lives in France, but having made the 3/4 hour long drive home and realised she has no knitting she jumps in the car and comes back to collect it.
By the time Culli gets back from the final trip to the station I am packed up and ready to go, the drive home seems to take forever, but we are home by 3. After collecting the dogs we have an early supper of leftovers from the Chateau sitting in the sunshine, I am asleep in front of the television by 7.30.
Sunday morning is spent unpacking everything and catching up with the washing, we decide to treat ourselves to lunch out, no cooking and no washing up, so head off to La Goule Beneze in St Jean d'Angely for a lovely lunch of melon gazpacho with parma ham and salmon nicoise starters followed by entrecote steak with herb butter and duck breast with peach sauce and for dessert creme brulee and the most divine trio of strawberry puds, now if I could produce food like that every day.............!

Day 5 at the Kaleidoscope workshop

Sadly it is the final full day, the week seems to have flown by and I haven't picked up a knitting needle or had much of a chance to talk to anyone. I have decided that cooking for 24 people every day is hard work! and am looking forward to the smaller workshops at La Verderie next year. It will be sad not to come back to the Chateau, but this has been such a good week I think it will be hard to repeat, so a good time to move on to a smaller venue. We certainly couldn't have managed without Andy and Steve helping with the washing up and trundling the trolley backwards and forwards from the dining room - thanks guys!
A quick trip upstairs in search of coffee mugs reveals where all the wine bottles have been disappearing to at night!
Early morning in the workroom
 We have a free morning with an offer of a trip to Poitiers, but all are keen to carry on with their projects so Culli and I take only Katrin into town, we drop her off to do some shopping and make our final run to the supermarket. Back to the Chateau for lunch with Katrin cursing because she had forgotten to take her purse with her, so it was a cheap outing for her!
The afternoon is spent finishing projects, Toril has decided she doesn't like the beading on her project so takes a hammer to it smashing all the glass beads, how could she after all that work!

At the end of the afternoon everyone lays out their projects in the first floor sitting room for a show and tell. The results are beautiful and do justice to the title of the course with a stunning blend of colours.

Afterwards everyone receives a certificate hand drawn by Culli, we are thoroughly spoiled with gifts of whisky for Culli, bubbly for Steve and Andy and goody bags for Jane, Debbie and I with beautiful necklaces, bracelets, nail varnish and gorgeous Liz Earle products.
The final supper of provencal beef, fish pie or veggie crumble is finished off with pavlova and chocolate brownies. Then Wendy treats us to another of her stories about her trip to Russia, reducing everyone to tears of laughter. Culli has christened her the Kangaloonies answer to Ronnie Corbett.
Listen with Wendy

Andy and Steve at their chores
The traditional tour of the Chateau takes place, followed by more wine and another late night.

Days 4 at the Kaleidoscope workshop

 The sun is just coming up as I walk from the cottage to the Chateau, casting a beautiful light on the impressive church spire. It is another chilly morning but hopefully will warm up later.
After breakfast we take everyone to Chauvigny, a beautiful market town on the river Vienne. Some make the steep climb up to the old town to visit the church. 

The interior of the church is very light with white painted bricks and gorgeous painted friezes in soft subtle shades, perfect for knitting inspiration. We meet the group at a cafe ready for the trip back to the Chateau, Danny has picked up a brochure from a local estate agent and is scouring it for a property to buy, not sure if he is serious!

After lunch most of the group are back outside with their knitting and crochet in the sunshine. 
We have supper of paella, followed by croissant and brioche bread pudding. My feet are starting to hurt, it is a 70m round trip from the kitchen to the dining room, I reckon that in the course of a day I probably walk around 5km, it should be good for the figure but I fear all the left over croissant, cheese and puddings that I pick at all day long are not helping!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Day three at the Kaleidoscope workshop

Early morning in the Chateau

It is a bright sunny morning at Chateau St Julien, with golden light streaming through the windows. Today is another full day workshop working on chosen projects and being helped through various techniques by Jane and Debbie. Steve (Debbie's husband) gives a short presentation on the Debbie Abrahams Bead collection and the Bead Club visit here for full details and to purchase online. He has heaps of colourful knitting beads to sell, I know I will be tempted before the end of the week!

Debbie Abrahams knitting beads

Jane Crowfoot's Crochet club projects

Projects from the Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket Club

The work is growing quickly, with everyone keen to finish their project by Friday evening. Culli takes Katrin, Danny and I into Poitiers in the morning, Danny to book a train ticket, Katrin to buy a crochet hook and another supermarket run for me. We all meet for coffee in the sunshine then back to the Chateau for lunch.

Most of the workshop is now outside enjoying the sunshine. We serve apero's of rose and pamplemousse and cook supper of Normandy pork, moules a la mariniere and roasted veg and pasta gratin followed by chocolate pots. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day 2 of the Kaleidoscope workshop

A cool and cloudy morning, but never mind the knitting and crochet frenzy has started with everyone desperate to start their projects. Jane and Debbie have provided yarn for those who want to make their own designs from scratch and kits for those who want a starting point.

 Most of the day was spent in the workshop rooms on the first floor of the Chateau, a few brave souls ventured outside for apero's in the evening but after supper all were back upstairs working on their projects.