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Escape to the Chateau

With Dick and Angel Strawbridge

I started watching this programme during the first lockdowns back in 2019 as it is on at a time when I am usually busy with dinners, but as we were eating earlier and making longer evenings with no guests in, this became the beginning of my evening after dinner and quickly - oh so quickly, I absolutely fell in love.

1) The building work fascinates me with all the DIY and plumbing etc.

2) The Arts & Craft from Angel is right up my street and I have adapted and copied several things she has shown us how to do, here at Hamilton Hall. See if you can spot them when you visit...

3) Catering and the weddings, as training as a chef from the age of 16 and having now owned two hotels and one restaurant over the years and finishing up at Hamilton Hall where I can do my own thing as and when I please, as I own this venue and do not just work here, is a delight to watch.

4) The family. How I love their interaction and affection shared between them all. While we only see the good bits and there will inevitably be arguments and harsh words sometimes as stress bites and money is short, their commitment to each other and the love that shines through - is an absolute delight.

5) The grounds. I have a small garden here but to have that much space would be a delight. A huge amount of work, but an absolute delight.

If I had spoken French or Spanish and maybe if I had a partner / lover who was as willing as myself, then 22 years ago I WOULD have gone to Spain or France and opened a venue like the chateau, but being on my own it was a daunting task and not speaking the language - I opted for staying in the UK where I knew the way things worked and returned to Bournemouth after decades away from my hometown in America and London, and was guided to Bournemouth after asking ' my guides' where to go and was shown Bournemouth in two visions, so Bournemouth it was.

The Bournemouth International Centre hosted the evening and while it site around 4,000, it held around 3,000 for this evenings event and while they are touring the entire UK, I was thrilled to be able to attend.

Philip, who lives at Hamilton Hall bought the tickets and gave them to Gary and myself - so thanks Philip, and at £37.50 per ticket, worth every penny.

( I paid £250 over 25 years ago to see Streisand and £520 about 15 years ago to see her again, so, £37.50 is nothing...)

Throughout the evening they spoke about their relationship and how they met and their histories with TV - as Angel had been on 'Dragons Den' and Dick 'Scrap Heap Challenge' and several cooking programmes, and came together with their relationship and brought 'Escape to the Chateau' to us 7 years ago with Channel 4.

Apparently it is watched hugely in the USA as well, and is internationally watched and I completely understand why so many people fall in love with them and the programme.

It was a more mature audience - as was to be expected - and a jolly one as everyone had that vibe of excitement and like me, were thrilled to be there. I mean, I know they are not famous singers or actors or anything like that, but when you watch and adore a family for being who they are - not acted, not scripted, not rehearsed and not done for the cameras, you really feel you are part of their world and like any soap opera you become attached to, it becomes part of your world and your thinking and it helps through the dark times, which was when I discovered the programme and remember, this is real life and NOT a soap opera.

LEFT:- Bit fuzzy but here they are on stage... In these troubled times of Covid - Russia threatening war - China waiting for the end of the Olympics to ALLOW Russia to invade as long as it does not detract from their Winter Olympics which have been full of controversy over drugs - and where today ( Friday 18th Feb 2022 ) we have a RED WEATHER WARNING - and sometimes it all becomes too much, - TOO MUCH to take on board - too much to worry about - just too much negativity going on around us - and to sit and relax and watch 'Escape to the Chateau' is so peaceful and rewarding to your soul, it does leave you with a warm smile on your face and a fuzzy feeling inside of joy.

It really does.


This e mail below is from Australia...

Great to hear from you and hope the 'Escape to the Chateau' was fun. I did see it on tv and very interesting hair colour on Angel. I do like vintage. Perhaps I could have fallen in love with Robert Redford in the great Gatsby...or maybe it was his hairy chest? Different sort of vintage.

Hugs Todd



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