Past Research Network events
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33 Years of a parallel French life

Friday, February 16th, 2024

The first of our 2024 NED (Network Evening Drinks) Talks took place on Zoom on the evening of Wednesday 14th February, when Graham Woodham gave us a wonderful glimpse into his parallel life in the Bordeaux region in France.

Having enjoyed a number of road trips round France and Italy, Graham and his family decided they would like to have a place of their own to visit and use as a base for further adventures. This led to the purchase and slow restoration of a charming old stone farmhouse with a pigeon loft, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary.

Graham gave us a brief travelogue of the area, which as well as producing world renowned wines, has beautiful countryside, beaches and towns of various types, sizes and antiquity to be enjoyed, all just a short distance away. The children have hunted for and found beautiful fossils in the limestone soil and at night there are shooting stars to be watched from the terrace.

As well as acquiring a home, Graham and his family have become integrated into and assimilated by their warm and welcoming local community and have made close friends. They are regularly invited to participate in various local activities such as sunset walks (with food and wine, of course), helping with the grape harvest, apricot picking – and Graham was relieved to find that the area has a thriving rock music scene.

The family are now the proud owners of a parcel of 2 hectares of vines on the slopes near their house. These are tended and harvested by their friends and neighbours, a local family of vineyard owners who are currently producing fine cognac for Martel. So if you ever find yourself sipping a glass, you might be drinking some of the Woodham family’s grapes.