One of the funniest stories about Le Clos des Guyons was when we let the two apartments for the very first time. All the advertising had to be placed as much as nine months in advance. So, we were desperately working to a self- imposed deadline.
As you can image it was total chaos. As the first guests drove through the gates I was still assembling the cupboard in their bedroom, the swimming pool was still filling with water and the grouting between the ceramic tiles in the lounge was still wet!
However, we managed to get over these problems, with the help of a good friend, and the local sparkling wine, we sat our new arrivals on the sun terrace.
I reckoned that if we could entertain them for about an hour the grouting would be dry(ish) and I could sneak into the gite for five minutes to tighten the screws in the furniture. All this was achieved with almost military precision and every thing seemed finally and just about OK.
Except, that is, for the bed.
When we moved from our house at Cléré sur Layon we had carefully dismantled all the furniture that could be disassembled and even more carefully put all the bolts, screws etc., “somewhere safe”, with the totally inevitable consequence that we did not have a clue where they were when we came to need them (and still don’t, even to this day).
Thus, when I came to attach the headboard and the foot end I had to use the nearest size bolts I could find which were much too small. The consequence being that the assembled bed veered on the side of what could be described as, “rickety”, to say the least.
Anyway, we finally got to bed about 2am, having had about three hours sleep the previous night, hoping against hope that we would not have a knock on the door in the early hours with two people complaining that their bed had collapsed underneath them. Which was rather ironic, because in the small hours, a bed did collapse, ours!
In the panic to get everything ready we had moved one bed from our room to the apartment and replaced it with another. However, I had forgotten to replace the screws in the hinges which allow the base to fold in the centre, with the result that it did fold, under us!!
So there we were, at four in the morning, with our feet and our heads at the same height and our hips two feet below, at the bottom of the “V” shaped valley created by the folding bed. It is a testament to how tired we were that we could not bring ourselves to do anything about it, and actually slept like logs in that position all night long!!
The next morning, after our visitors had departed for the Zoo at Doué la Fontaine, I crept (the french verb,”glisser”, is, I think, much more evocative), into their gite and had a look at the bed and, sure enough, the whole thing was hanging together by only half an inch of bolt. At which point I went to the toolshed, found a hammer and bashed the bolts back home.
I then spent the rest of the day travelling around the regions DIY stores trying to find the correct size bolts. Could I find them?
No, of course not. Smaller bolts, no problem, larger bolts, by the case load, but the exact size, not a hint.
Thus for the next two mornings I,”glissé”, into the apartment and had a ritual bash at the bolts.
Finally, unable to live the lie any longer and over aperitifs one night, I came clean to our guests and confessed all.
There was a seconds silence whilst we waited for a reaction and then, to our great relief, uproarious laughter!
Finally, with tears of mirth in their eyes, we came to an agreement. If I would provide the hammer, they would bash the bolts back home every morning and night.
The happy ending is that Margaret and Allan became good friends, in spite of, or even because of, all the chaos that surrounded them when they arrived.
As I write this now,almost a year to the day afterwards, they are again sitting on the garden terrace, enjoying the
sunshine, content in the knowledge that they no longer need to wield a hammer before they can go to bed.
And did I repair our own bed? Too damm right I did!