“Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star, How I Wonder What You Are”, the softly sung words of our five year old granddaughter Katie drifted into our bedroom stirring us from slumber. Katie had risen earlier than the rest of our family; she was so excited about visiting France for the first time. Her happy singing suggested to us that she had ventured downstairs to discover her new surroundings. She had spoken excitedly of her eagerness to explore her “new house” from the moment she knew that she was to accompany us on holiday. The words of her favourite song were pure joy to listen to and a poignant reminder of the day she had resolutely refused to leave her maternal grandfather’s commemorative plaque until she had sung them especially for him. We lay listening to her gentle singing which did nothing to disturb the early morning serenity of the villa. It was the most perfect introduction to our newly discovered holiday location in the Lot-et-Garonne. Romanticism engendered by the beautifully produced brochure from Dominique’s Villas had suddenly become reality and we knew that the ensuing days were going to be something really special. Our bedroom window was slightly open and a warm gentle breeze stirred the net curtains. Innumerable crickets had ceased their nightly cacophony of chirping and the rich scent of a gardenia bush wafted into our room. A multitude of birds were still competing for a place in the dawn chorus, their cheerful twittering forming a fitting backdrop to the happy little vocalist downstairs.
Unwittingly, Katie had earlier spread her unique magic over our holiday. Her expectations had been steadily building as we completed the final leg of the journey, then as we rounded the last bend and caught sight of the villa she could no longer contain her excitement and let out a string of joyous little squeals that were music to the ear. We were so glad that she had opted to travel the final leg of the journey in our car rather than her parents’ and felt very privileged to have shared that special moment with her. With arms outstretched she ran to greet us as we entered the kitchen to prepare breakfast, “I love it here Nana” she shouted excitedly. Her youthful enthusiasm and simplistic love of life continued throughout our stay at Belle Combe making it a never to be forgotten holiday.