The Chateau de Gudanes, an eighteenth-century rotting French relic purchased by an Australian couple who are now renovating it, has appeared in numerous news stories on various different blogs. It’s a romantic story: Australian couple looking for a farm stumbles on the remains of a castle and, in a fit of whimsy and inspiration, buys it and then starts the arduous task of renovating and recovering it. There’s something fairytale-like about this narrative: perhaps we can all live in a castle, it suggests. Perhaps dreams do come true.
It also makes me think of Vancouver colleagues who, in the early 2000s purchased a French farmhouse and outbuildings together. They were in their twenties when they made this decision. And together they undertook the work of fixing it up. In the intervening years, they’ve hosted vocal and other retreats there. And now it’s available for tourists (or longer term visitors) to rent. I didn’t have that much foresight, or that much vision, when I was that age, at least not in relation to material things like property. But this, again, is a romantic story that reminds us that with hard work and serendipity and being in the right place at the right time, sometimes magic is possible.
Dreaming and wondering, I imagine the Château being the mastermind and measurer of its own serendipity, not as a commander or master, but to gently steer and guide the journey, allowing time to remember the past and giving longing for the future.
The Chateau as the teller of its own stories, as Scheherazade who weaves her seductions over a captive audience. Of course.