A very surreal meal

We decided to eat at the hotel for our first night in Corsica and had been given the option of the restaurant or a barbecue.

After a delicious glass of chilled rosé on our deck, it was getting on for 9 o’clock and so we ambled down to the poolside tables to see what was going on.

We sat at a small table in the grass with one mosquito coil and a candle for light. We sat for a while before a bowl of crisps, some olives and a few small slices of bread spread with various dips arrived.

At 10pm, after the slightly underwhelming first course, a plate of meat arrived. It was dark by that point and the meat wasn’t easy to see. Probably not a bad thing as two dubious sausages, a chicken leg, a small chop of some unknown animal and what might have been a piece of bacon sat sadly on the plate.

I decided not to partake and enjoyed the large vat of rosé I’d been given (in contrast to Letad’s smaller glass) while he bravely worked his way through the meat.

His ‘n Hers glasses of Rosé – mine was the big one!

In a strangely disconnected way, after the meat we were given salad and vegetables. And finally what looked like chewed fruit.

During the course of the meal several wine glasses had been dropped by the staff and Letad’s wine had accidentally been knocked over him. 

We decided it was time to leave the surreal Corsican barbecue as we’d given the mosquitoes enough blood.

And so to bed.

Corsica – Day One

Arriving on the car ferry at Ile Rouse, we disembarked and set off to wind our way south towards Porto Veccio.


Corsica is a land of many terrains it would seem and we drove from the turquoise coastal waters through craggy mountains and low hung clouds and back.

Through the mountains

We stopped for a spontaneous lunch at Chez Theresa, a small beach shack reminiscent of Mexico where fresh oysters and prawns were simply delicious.

Almost deserted beach
At Chez Theresa

Continuing on we discovered a rustic brocante where wrought iron bedsteads and old French shutters filled us with inspiration. We resisted the temptation to fill the car with crap on our first day, perhaps we’ll go back before we leave.

Resisting the crap

Arriving at the Ambassador hotel, a poorly named delightful cluster of adobe-style stone villas nestled around irregular shaped pools reminiscent of fresh water rock pools, we discovered our delightful room and sat on the deck enjoying the view before heading down, by golf cart, to the Plage de Palombaggio for a lazy swim. www.ambassador-palombaggia.com

View of the garden, The Ambassador
Private deck at The Ambassador

By early evening we returned and sat enjoying a delicious cold glass of rosé on our deck before deciding to join the barbecue.

The pool at The Ambassador

And that turned out to be quite surreal…

La Lune de Miel… Heading to Corsica

5:30am and the alarm went off. We awoke to the sound of harps and from my deep sleep of the truly exhausted, I struggled to surface.

Sunrise, heading to Nice

I had accidentally booked us on a 7:30am ferry from Nice. Time to get up.

The Ferry
Always good to remember where one has parked
Leaving Nice

By 6 o’clock we found the nondescript but functioning hire car and we were on our way and by 7am we were parked in the bowels of the car ferry.

Approaching Corsica, with helpful hand

Time to start to relax, we hoped.

The Wedding… Part Seven

After breakfast we spent an hour at the pool. There were a few people the worse for wear, a few missing jackets from the night before but in general, good moods all round as the diving competition began. 

The challenge… to dive through an inflatable rubber ring. The success… dependent on body size. 

By early afternoon, subtle remarks about hunger resulted in us serving lunch on the terrace, a combination of leftovers, charcuterie, cheeses and bread. It was a very hot day and while the intention had been to play rounders, there was a general lack of enthusiasm. 

Letad and I spent the day serving food, drinks and cleaning up. We were exhausted by the time we left the chateau, the Mini was complaining loudly and we weren’t sure we’d make it home. 

Thankfully we finally made it after screaming along the péage, the hot wind blowing in our faces and the car about to die. We dropped the kids off and then Letad set off to the airport to pick up an emergency rental car to take to Corsica as we feared the Mini wouldn’t make it. A very good decision as it turned out. 

With that done we made our way to the square in Valbonne for dinner and farewells to family and friends. 
The wedding was finally over. Next stop… Corsica!

The Wedding… Part Six

At 7am, after a few hours sleep, it was time to organise breakfast for the thirty guests staying in the chateau.

I went downstairs only to discover that breakfast had gone missing.
Letad had gone to pick up baguettes and croissants and when he returned, we set off in the ailing Mini to buy tea, coffee, milk, jam and all the other missing items.
Shops in France aren’t usually open on Sundays so we were extremely lucky to find a nearby supermarket not only open, but with everything we needed.
We hurried back and before long had breakfast set up and no one knew the saga of the missing breakfast.

The Wedding – Part Five

The setting was perfect as we sat down and helped ourselves to an array of Provençal salads, tomatoes and mozzarella, artichoke, delicious pesto.

The wine poured and the conversation flowed. I said a few words of welcome and then we settled down to enjoy the ambiance.

Before long the wine took effect and a Mexican wave went around the tables. It seemed to break any remaining ice as everyone joined in and around it went again and again.

By the time the main course of poached salmon and lemon risotto was served, a great time was being had by all. Photos were taken against the sunset (and will be posted soon) and the evening was perfect.

A best man’s speech, witty, personal and very well received set the tone for spontaneous speeches from friends and family alike and it seemed new friendships were being formed all around.

We cut the gorgeous fruit-covered, cream filled sponge wedding cake and then, with the troublesome playlists finally complete, the dancing began.

It was fantastic to see so many people spontaneously dancing especially as Neil Diamond proved to be a popular choice for many. Arms were waved and hands were clapped.

By 2:30am, a few stragglers remained and Letad and I said goodnight. It had been over so quickly. Six months of hard work but a great success and while it was a blur for us, everyone had loved it.

The Wedding… Part Four

We carefully picked our way from the chapel to the reflecting pool where champagne and delicious canapés were served.

We mingled among friends and family with Christian Dior’s beautiful chateau creating a stunning backdrop.

The grass was damp and the ground soft. Those wearing heels found themselves sinking slowly, slowly into the earth and looking around there were images of friends heel deep in the mud. We moved to find higher ground. Sadly the gorgeous suede impractical Prada wedding shoes had a tide line of mud. Hopefully they’ll recover when the mud has dried.

I made my way to a drain cover and there Letad and I stood for a while as we were greeted, congratulated and kissed.

Pious Giles refused to stay for a drink and as he left, I finally started to relax.

Delicious canapés circulated in the form of fig on warm polenta and a caramelised onion tartlet; bruschetta including a pea purée and mint and an olive tapenade. Accompanied by crisp, cold champagne, it was the perfect start to our Provençal banquet.

We slowly moved to the terrace where two long banquet tables were, by some miracle, set for dinner. Ten white table cloths had been washed, dried and ironed between the torrential rain and the ceremony. Gorgeous flowers and candles in jam jars created the perfect balance of casual beauty and the scene was set for the evening to come.

I found my way to my seat and sat down… next to my husband.

The Wedding… Part Three

By 4:15pm I was finally getting ready. The skies had started to clear and a faint shadow appeared on the ground. The tables were being reset outside and it was game on.

I was getting ready with three of my closest friends who had come from LA. We had shared a bottle of champagne (much needed by that point) and were starting to laugh about the catastrophic day.

At 5pm on the dot, the bell of the chapel began to ring and ring incessantly. I wasn’t ready and there was no way I was going to hurry.

Eventually by 5:30pm, my father, my dear friend Stella and I walked slowly down the path to the chapel. The ground was damp and muddy and I feared for my poor Pradas but otherwise all was well.

Outside the chapel we paused as Pious Giles began the ceremony.

I had gone off Pi-Gi at our previous meeting as it appeared there was a lot of ego involved. Sure enough, as the ceremony began, Giles announced to our gathered family and friends that we had already married in a civil ceremony and this was, in fact, only a blessing.

It was true as under French law a religious ceremony has to be preceded by a civil ceremony and while we’d planned on telling people, we hadn’t wanted to detract from the French celebration. So thanks for that, Giles the vicar.

As I entered the chapel, family and friends turned towards me. I kept my eyes on Letad as I walked the ten steps to the altar.

I held my father’s arm and Letad’s hand and wasn’t sure which of us was shaking. The marriage vows were brief, the sermon was long and the sweat poured from the brow of my now father-in-law as he read from Corinthians Chapter Two.

Finally we waked back down the aisle and were released into the glorious sunshine. The fickle weather was now absolutely perfect.

Ivory rose petals were strewn over us and photos were taken before we squelched our way along the muddy path to the reflecting pool for a very welcome glass of cold champagne.

At the risk of sounding unromantic, the worst was over. Let the celebrations begin!

The Wedding… Part Two

While the torrential rain was destroying the table plan, Letad was having his own drama… the Mini was breaking down.

We’d had the air conditioning repaired in anticipation of going to Corsica on our honeymoon and afterwards had noticed the car didn’t seem quite the same. The automatic gearbox wasn’t changing properly (this is why I insist on driving a manual) and the revs were extremely high. And it was getting worse.

For his third trip to the chateau, Letad had gone to pick up the kids. He was gone for a very long time. It turned out the car was shuddering, over-revving and very hot. It didn’t bode well.

Worried that he was going to miss the wedding, Letad pressed on. The Mini was in a bad way but there was nothing he could do.

Eventually they all made it to the chateau, just in time to witness Operation Table Cloth.

Stress levels were running high!

The Wedding… Part One

Saturday morning and we were up early. By 9am we were packed and heading to the chateau for the first of several trips.

My job was to set up the tables for dinner, greet guests and take them to their assigned rooms, organise the caterer and flowers and get to the chapel at 5pm. Didn’t seem that hard.

Letad was faced with three trips between Valbonne and the chateau, organizing the sound system, picking up the kids, doing pretty much everything else and also getting to the chapel at 5pm.

By 1:30pm things were progressing well. It was very hot and we’d managed to get two long banquet tables set up with sixty four chairs. The tables were set, the lavender bag place names which I’d spent hours making were finally done and everything looked gorgeous.

Things were on track and with three hours to go, all looked good. Except for the sky.

It had become increasingly cloudy and the ominous rumble of the thunder filled our ears. We glanced anxiously at the sky while we ate a quick lunch. Surely it couldn’t rain, today of all days. After all, it’s the south of France.

The thunder became louder and lightning streaked through the sky. Letad had left to pick up the kids and so I waited with a group of friends and family to see what would happen next.

Suddenly a storm was overhead. The lightening flashed above us as an enormous crack of thunder immediately followed and the first drops of rain became a torrential downpour.

It was all hands on deck as we ran to strip the tables. The caterers had arrived, the guys delivering the flowers, friends, cousins, anyone who could, jumped to help.

The tables were stripped, the wet crockery, cutlery, glasses piled hurriedly inside. The chairs were quickly stacked, seat pads were salvaged, the lavender bags I’d so carefully toiled over were ruined but the real casualties were the drenched table cloths.

Sodden and dirty, they lay on the terrace, a heap of soaked, heavy cotton. It was a catastrophe.

The rain continued to pour down outside as the storm passed overhead.

The catering crew wrung out the table cloths and everyone jumped in to help but a decision had to be made. It was 3pm, the ceremony was in two hours, we had sixty four people and no reception dinner. Could we pull it together in time?

I decided to give it until 4pm to decide whether to move inside or reset everything outside. It started to brighten and a tiny patch of blue sky gave me hope that we could still have dinner on the terrace, but would we have it ready and could we even set the tables again?

Behind the scenes my incredible friends worked tirelessly. The table cloths were washed and dried. My cousin’s wife ironed them dry. The catering crew started to reassemble the tables.

At 4:15pm I left to get dressed. I had no idea if we would make it but we had to try and so with rain soaked hair, I went to get ready.

Forty five minutes to go…