Happy new year to you all and we hope that all of the Christmas festivities went well… for us it was an odd one. For the first time in many years Gerard and I were not together over the festive time as I was working at the hotel, with the help of Romané, our son and our lovely team and Gerard was recuperating at home with my parents… in fact both he and my mum had chemo treatment in the immediate lead up to Christmas day and so dad was in charge of them both. New Year’s eve was similar, except I was “flying solo” as Romy went back home to London to enjoy some time with his university pals. I was very grateful to have such a lovely group of guests stay on NY eve- they, along with our marvellous team, ensured it was a great end to what has been a fairly traumatic year all told and thus as we start a new year, Gerard and I have had much to discuss and reconsider and for sure 2018 is going to bring some very real and positive changes both personally and professionally and we will share some of these changes with you as the weeks and months progress.
For the start of January I had a very important mission… Gerard has been in hibernation since the start of his chemo treatment- the only places he has ventured out to being the doctor’s surgery and the hospital and gentle walks in the forest with our beloved Boxer dog Malmsey, when he has felt strong and well enough… thus when we were told that Gerard was amongst four prominent figures from the British wine trade to receive the ‘Ordre du Mérite Agricole’ we were thrilled. The ceremony was attended by the French Ambassador, M. Jean-Pierre Jouyet at W8 restaurant in London on Monday 8th January and Gerard was determined to be well enough to attend…however, his consultants were not so sure he would be able to so soon after his last and final treatment, thus I had to come up with a plan to appease the doctors and medical team, who have all worked so brilliantly to look after Gerard in recent months AND ensure Gerard could attend to receive his award.
I planned the trip to London with military precision and covered all eventualities… I drove Gerard to London, to ensure no contact with anyone poorly on the train…. I picked a hotel with car parking and taxi rank on the doorstep and with a central location, close to a pharmacy and hospital. I packed a suitcase full of medication, chemo alert card, lists of drugs recently administered and clothes for all weathers. In case Gerard was well enough to attend the ceremony and spend time with Romané in the evening, I booked a restaurant with secluded tables and booths and asked that we be completely isolated from any other diners. We took taxis across London so as not to have to endure the tube and all the germs it harbours; in short, I thought of everything I could to ensure Gerard was as safe and well as he possibly could be… it paid off as he had a great day. Seeing friends and past colleagues at the event really boosted him up. We left after lunch with ample time for him to rest and relax before we met with Romy for an early dinner and Gerard was back at the hotel and tucked up in bed by 9.30pm…..I was like a demon, planning, stressing and keeping a watchful eye on him, but it was so lovely to see him back amongst his wine industry friends that all the planning was worth it.
Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency, the French Ambassador in the UK M. Jean-Pierre Jouyet commented, “The ‘Mérite Agricole’ is highly regarded in France due to the importance of the agricultural and rural community. Therefore, I am delighted to present this medal of ‘Chevalier of the Mérite Agricole’ to Gerard who has done so much to promote French wines.” It was an emotional occasion for Gerard and it was great to have played a part in ensuring he could be there to receive the award in person.
That said, as with all the best laid plans…….on Tuesday morning before Gerard and I drove home, we met with Romy for breakfast and both Romy and I had woken up with shocking colds… despite all of the careful planning, Gerard was surrounded by us both coughing and sneezing, but amazingly, so far he has resisted catching our germs and is doing very well and already planning another London trip at the end of the month, before his operation ensures he is out of action for a number of months!
Do keep an eye on our newsletters, the blog and our social media pages as we have much to share with you in the coming months
Until then we hope to welcome some of you back to TerraVina very soon and happy new year from us all