If you don’t ask, you don’t get – that was my thinking as I approached guesthouse owners Micaela and Sue. I was interested in finding out more about the couple’s chambres d’hôtes in the Loire Valley. Only trouble was, we’d already booked our accommodation.
Micaela and her partner Sue live about 20km south of Saumur, where we are staying. Their home is a 17th century former wine-producing estate called La Grande Maison d’Arthenay.
I’ve been following the pair on Twitter for a couple of years now. Frankly, I was intrigued to see how a same-sex British couple made a go of a wine-related business in France. No prizes for guessing why.
When I talked about my holiday with my boss, she replied, “Oh, you must look up two women I know who run a B&B and wine-tour business near Saumur…”
What were the chances of there being another lesbian couple running a B&B and wine business, I wondered? It turns out that they are friends with my boss’s cousin, who lives nearby.
I decided to drop Micaela and Sue a line via Twitter. Firstly, I was keen to get some recommendations for local wines. Secondly, I wondered if it might be possible to have dinner at their house. I knew they offered table d’hôte and as we knew people in common, maybe…?
They agreed, and as we made our way to the house on Sunday night, I began telling Damon all I knew about them. After a pause, he said, “They must be the same couple that David told us about…”
Another connection. Sue had studied wine with our friend David at Plumpton College in the early 2000s. So, we have one degree of separation from the pair in three ways: Twitter, my boss and our friend David.
“Frankly, I was intrigued to see how a same-sex British couple made a go of a wine-related business in France. No prizes for guessing why”
Dinner turned out to be great. Micaela and Sue were charming hosts, who helped us mix with their other guests over drinks in the garden.
They then led us into the dining room (pictured), where we had goat’s cheese stacks with a lemon dressing and seared cherry tomatoes as a starter. That was followed by tarragon chicken with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Proving just how French they had become, they served the cheese course before dessert.
They served a different wine with each course – and the wines flowed as readily as the conversation.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely talking to their other guests… and finding more connections. Sat next to me was a guy who went to the same school as me. Yet more proof that it really is a small world.