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Deborah C Dooley Headshot

The Sound of Gerard

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David Beckham is undeniably gorgeous. But for me, the second he begins to speak, that gorgeousness becomes a distant memory. Conversely, Gerard Depardieu does not, perhaps, immediately strike one as conventionally appealing. But the minute he opens his mouth - quel delight! Personally I am nothing less than captivated by those mellifluous Gallic tones, which wash over me, bathing me in pleasure - and endowing me with spectacles of the rose tinted variety.

A few days ago, my daughter and I were welcomed into the dining room at Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives Cornwall, by the charming maitre d'. Immaculately attired in a well pressed suit, he was already pretty easy on the eye. And as, with a graceful inclination of the head, he greeted us in an - oh joy - softly spoken French accent, we would almost certainly have followed him over the nearby cliff edge. As it was, he led the way to our table and ushered us to our seats, offering just the right amount of help when it came to the chair pulling out and pushing in again business.
Our choice of the house white was given a gentle nod of approval - and poured, with a discreet flourish, as Gerard - I mean the maitre d'- murmured something that could have been 'You are the most beautiful woman in the world,' but was probably 'Allow me to pour for you, Madame.'
He supervised the arrival of our food, hovering for a second to ensure that everything was perfect, before leaving us to enjoy our meal, popping back once, not at all intrusively, to check that all was well and top up our glasses.

Leaving was a laborious process. I'd eaten three courses and drunk several glasses of wine, on top of the two glasses of Prosecco I'd had earlier, in the hotel bar. The distance between our table and the door seemed three times as far as it had when we arrived and the thick carpet seemed to cling to my shoes, hindering my gait.

As we reached the door, Monsieur le maitre d' sprang as if from nowhere, and, with the kind of smile that could melt a glacier, let alone the heart of a slightly inebriated middle aged woman, extended his hand.

He grasped each of ours in turn, warmly and with a slight bow, holding on for exactly the right amount of time - neither creepily too long nor brusquely too short - and explained that it had been nothing less than a joy to meet us both. His calm French accented tones completely convinced us both that this was indeed the case and my hitherto dragging steps were immediately lightened.

Our accommodation was clean and comfortable, the food delicious and beautifully presented, all the staff courteous and helpful and our beauty treatments professional and delightful. But I know that whenever I think of my short stay at Tregenna Castle Hotel, it will be the memory of the maitre d' which makes me smile the most. His charm, his smooth efficiency, his ability to make every customer feel as if they are the only important person in the dining room. And his voice.
For one night and one night only, my very own Gerard Depardieu..