There are few advantages to an air traffic controllers strike. Indeed, now that I have suggested the possibility, I imagine you are struggling to think if there can really be any advantages at all. But I am sure you can think of something. Missing out on a visit to your least-favourite group of in-laws, perhaps?
I had just pulled off the autoroute, heading in the direction of Nantes Atlantique Airport, when the text message informing me my flight had been cancelled set my mobile phone abuzz. I groaned, but immediately began the search for the silver lining. I identified two good candidates. First, a delay at the end of a trip is never as bad as a delay at the start of a trip, which only leads to cancelled appointments and missed tasting opportunities. Second, having hurriedly booked the next available flight (in three days’ time), I now had the weekend to explore Muscadet country. First, though, came a few organisational tasks. I needed to extend my car hire by a few days. And I needed to find somewhere to stay.
This was how the next morning I came to be sitting, not quite alone, in the breakfast room at Domaine Fief aux Dames. Accompanying me was the proprietor, Daniel Braud, a gruff-voiced but friendly old soul. A fifth-generation vigneron, I thought he might be eager to tell me of his family’s history, their extensive vineyard – the source of the delicious grape juice I was drinking – and of course his wines, but Daniel was more interested in looking forward rather than back.
“You should meet my son, Julien”, he told me.
It has taken me a year or two to get around to it (that’s pandemics for you), but ultimately that is exactly what I did.