Our wonderful Friends

We will be holding a raffle at the Great Dixter Christmas Fair on 24th and 25th November 2012. The top prize is a week in a cottage in the Loire Valley, thanks to the generosity of our good friends and Friends of Great Dixter, Benny and Patrick.

Friend, Sue Giddings gives her account of picking the winning ticket:

Having recovered from the shock of actually having won first prize in the Friends’ raffle at Great Dixter in October 2011, I invited friends to share our holiday in the cottage at Baulay in the Loire Valley, for a week in September. What an amazing prize! Benny and Patrick, our hosts, have created a bit of Dixter magic in France and could not have made us more welcome to their wonderful home!

We drove through fields of sunflowers and rows of vines to reach this oasis of tranquillity. A bottle of local wine and glasses were waiting for us on the table on our terrace and we explored their nine acres of beautiful gardens, with the lake, pond, orchard, vines and vegetable garden. We all very soon totally chilled out and, helped by the local red wine, we have never slept so well!

Our excellent hosts, who both speak perfect English, provided us with a wealth of local information enabling us to make the most of trips to the numerous stunning chateaux, to Tours, Chinon and the picturesque local villages and pretty countryside. One of the many highlights was a late afternoon visit to the beautiful chateau and amazing gardens at Villandry- most of the tourists had left and we almost had the gardens to ourselves!

We even had an international boules match, competing with the Norwegian family staying in the barn at Baulay. Patrick provided the rules and the wine and our play improved with our wine consumption! The next day we just had to sample and buy this excellent wine at Pascal’s vineyard- an interesting experience which really tested my French!

We ate delicious food at local restaurants in Azay le Rideau and dined on our patio, listening to the birdsong and the owls and enjoying the sunsets and the tranquillity. The last night was a birthday celebration dinner at the Michelin restaurant in Sache, five minutes away. After an excellent and extremely reasonable meal, we returned to Baulay to gaze at the expanse of clear star-filled sky- and the magical finale of the evening- shooting stars! A wonderful and truly memorable holiday!!  I can only recommend that you buy a ticket for the next raffle for an opportunity to share this amazing experience!