One Summer In France – Episode 34

With so many breakfasts to prepare, serve and clear up afterwards, it was nearly eleven o’clock on Sunday morning before Libby was able to begin to relax for the day. She’d promised to show Helen around a local beauty spot followed by lunch at a riverside restaurant.

The sight of the sun trying to break through the clouds just as she and Helen were leaving for Châteauneuf-du-Faou Libby took as an auspicious sign, and she folded down the roof on her car before they set off.

“The last week has gone so quickly,” Helen said as Libby negotiated one of the many bends on the road leading down to the small town.

“That’s probably because I’ve been working you so hard,” Libby said. “I’m sorry.”

“No. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s a beautiful part of France. Oh, look at that château across the valley,” Helen said. “It’s pink.”

Libby laughed.

“That’s Trévarez – known locally as the Pink Château, for obvious reasons. I don’t think we’ve got time to go there today. Next time you’re over we’ll go. You’ll love exploring the grounds. Peter would be interested in the château’s wartime history, too, I think.”

Libby parked in the centre of the small town and they had a coffee at a flower-decorated pavement café before returning to the car and heading down the long hill to the river at the bottom. Before starting to walk alongside the river, Libby booked a table for lunch at one of the waterside restaurants.

“Right – let’s work up an appetite,” she said, moving to one side of the path to let a woman with two excited border collies on leads pass. “We’ll go this way.”

“Has Chloe told you about her new boyfriend?” Helen asked as they walked.

“Didn’t even know she had a new one,” Libby said now. “Do tell.” She really missed having Chloe around and hearing about her new life face to face. Chats on the phone or on Skype weren’t the same. Besides, there hadn’t been that many recently. Had she taken to confiding in Helen instead? Libby pushed a tiny tremor of jealousy away.

Helen shrugged.

“Not much to tell. He’s someone she’s met through work. I think his name is Alastair and he comes from Edinburgh. That’s basically all I know.”

Chloe and Alastair had a good ring to it, but why hadn’t Chloe mentioned him to her? After Dan’s death they’d leaned on each other for support and had grown close in the process. There had been times when Libby had thought their relationship was more akin to sisters than mother and daughter, especially when Chloe was being up front with her about boyfriends and the things she and her friends got up to.

Libby sighed, hoping Helen wouldn’t notice. She was as guilty as Chloe, really. She’d stopped telling her about all the little day-to-day things that were happening in her life, and instead just filling her in with the big events. Maybe if she’d stayed in the UK she and Chloe would still be chatting about the more personal events in their lives. Not that she had anything personal to tell Chloe.

It was silly to think things wouldn’t change as Chloe became more independent. Inevitably she would meet somebody to love and spend her life with. Was it going to be this Alastair?



Margaret Scott

Margaret is a sub-editor within the Production Team on the "Friend". Her main job is to work on the stories and make sure the magazine leaves us in its best possible guise. When not doing that, however, she either has her head buried in the old “Friend” volumes or is out and about giving talks or going on Warner trips (fab!). She hates cheese.