As noon approached on Saturday the second of August, the sky was dark with cloud over the Château de la Burronière. Thunder rumbled and there were flashes of lightning. The rain fell in torrents. It was a scene more suited to a country house mystery than to a summer barbecue.
However, by the time most of us arrived at the château, the rain had slowed considerably, and the barbecues had been lit, giving a promise of at least some outdoor activity. Leaving our umbrellas to roost, we were welcomed into the grand gallery by Willemien and Pieter Van der Nat-Verkage. Over apéritif, we were able to chat, and stroll along this splendid gallery, admiring the elegant rooms that opened off. It was also pleasant to meet new members included in our group on this visit.
When we returned to the terrace, summer had established itself once more. The barbecues, under the supervision of Mike Small and John Turnbull, were producing a range of grilled meats, and tempting salads and sauces were laid out.
We enjoyed a relaxed and sociable meal in the sunshine. We were also able to look around us and admire the château, which underwent a rebuilding in the renaissance style sometime after 1684. Subsequently, it was altered and enlarged around 1860, to create the imposing building one sees today. It is surrounded by attractive gardens, and parkland that includes a group of tall redwoods.
A raffle, with many intriguing prizes, raised money for the ESU funds. John Barritt thanked Willemien and Pieter for their hospitality, and also all those who had helped to make the day a success, including Irene Small, Jackie Sheppard, Helen Bye and Mary Dunsten.
We ended the afternoon on the thought that it had been a most enjoyable summer barbecue, with good company, and in beautiful surroundings.