A Travel Writer describes La Touche

La Touche sits on top of a shallow, carving hillock, peering out over the surrounding countryside. It’s embraced by meadows of sunflowers and corn, and there’s a dark wood across the field behind. Out the front, over the lawn and fields, a bedraggled hay shed stares back, built as if inspired by the Impressionists.

Circling the outer walls, a worn chalk path winds up between the fields, to the main gates. A skinny lizard spreads itself out in the sun, using the pathway as a sun bed. As its blood warms its eyes twitch, searching above for the sweeping swallows which dart across the sky and bound between the tiled roofs of La Touche’s pretty buildings. A rustling breeze brushes the tops of the trees, shakes the sunflowers from their upward glance and slowly arrives through the front gates.

Through these gates the house cat sits upon the gravel which separates the buildings, seemingly oblivious to the air show above. The courtyard around which the three gîtes and long barn are surrounded is hung with a sweet and attractive paraphernalia: roses mark the edges, bringing light to the stone walls; a rich greenery climbs the wooden frames which roof each gîtes’ terrace. A faint splash from the pool through another small doorway is a familiarly inviting sound. It’s warm in the summer and a quick dip brings an impossibly quick relief.

The gîtes – two sat snugly apart and a third long barn which back out of the open courtyard – remain cool throughout the day, protected from the sunshine which bounces off the rooftops. Each have comfy beds and tiled floors, a private kitchen and the obligatory breadbasket – this beingFrance. Large wooden windows allow a fresh clean breeze to whisk through.

As evening comes and the sun dips and the stars appear, the swallows take one last tuck and dive across the sky as if in fits of laughter. A hand reaches for the rosé and endless sun-kissed arguments about the direction of Venus, the brightest star in the sky, replace the sound of the buzzing fields. Perhaps somewhere out in those fields, the lizard turns in, blood cooling with the midnight air and, like La Touche’s guests, awaits the renewed heat of tomorrow.

Freddie Reynolds

Freddie  works with Traveller Magazine

An amazing and different concert at La Touche

Occasionally we are privileged to experience a rather special musical performance. Billed as Une famille de musiciens Anglais Jacobs Street recently gave just such a performance in the music room at La Touche.

They set the tone with their opening number “I want you back” a cutely choreographed Jackson 5 number and the audience of 60 of French and Brits was hooked. Jacobs Street comprise mother and father Bebe and Laurence, daughters Avi and Shira, and son Alex now joined by his stunning new bride Carling.

Jacobs Street continued to delight with a series of sixteen solos, duets and ensemble numbers ranging from Mendelssohn to recent show stoppers mixed with iconic classics from Elton John and Gershwin. Laurence’s Cantor-like rendition of Handel’sWhere e’er you Walk was strangely moving as was the family’s hauntingly beautiful traditional Hebrew Hava Nashira.

Carling (Connor) is Alex’s bride of but a few weeks and has a beautiful voice and polished style. Her solo numbers, ShenandoahI could have danced all night, and (especially for the French section of the audience) J’avais rêvé were quite beautiful. Alex and Carlings closing duet (Suddenly Seymour) was of two young lovers who sang and performed magnificently together.

In spite of her slight frame Shira has a powerful almost jazzy voice and sang two terrific duets with brother Alex, The Prayer and Summertime. And Alex too in his solo numbers showed his range and power.

Avi choreographed the ensemble numbers and Bebe provided the intros and links.

Altogether a memorable evening skilfully organised, as ever, by Penny and Peter. The audience showed their appreciation by donating 500 Euros for famine in Africa However good we all felt before the performance we felt even better at the close and after only one encore the audience were on their feet and calling for more. A real musical treat.

Anthony Crandon

August 2011

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