JG - Farewell Claudio and Louise
Farewell Claudio and Louise
published: Sunday August 27, 2006
Chester Francis-Jackson, Contributor
(From left) Brian Schmidt, Allison Peart, High Commissioner Claudio and Louise Valle, after a dinner hosted in the retiring High Commissioner's honour by Janet Farrow at her Jacks Hill residence. - Contributed
And so, after nearly three years here in Kingston, their Excellencies, Claudio and Louise Valle's tour of duty is drawing to its end. And emotionally so all around as he is the Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, and non-resident envoy to The Cayman Islands and The Bahamas, and she is the head of the Senior Governance Advisor to the Canadian International Development Agency, headquartered in Kingston.
Their imminent departure has left a kind of a pall of gloom along the hallowed social boulevards of Kingston, and within the ranks of the corps - diplomatic and consular. And little wonder really, as Claudio and Louise Valle have served with true distinction, proving stimulating company for those privileged enough to have met them.
My daahlings, good company is really hard to come by, and the Valles have been very good company over the years they have served their country here, and then some! They have been good company socially! They have been good company in the mode in which they have both executed their duties here! And above all, they have been good company!
To begin with, this has not been their first trip in their country's foreign service here in Jamaica, as it was the fabulously charming Louise Valle who first came to Jamaica on a Canadian aid mission, following on the destruction with the passage of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.
That visit planted the seed for a budding love affair between Louise Valle and Jamaica that eventually enveloped her husband and saw them seeking active duty here. Their first tour of duty came in the early '90s and by the turn of the decade, both had totally fallen in love with the island, its beauty, charm, not to mention the wholesome nature of its people.
And so, at the end of their second stint which ended with Claudio Valle being the High Commission's deputy High Commissioner, and the retirement of High Commissioner John Robinson, Claudio Valle was offered an assignment with his country's Foreign Service Parisian High Commission, but with his love affair really just taking roots, instead of taking up the Paris or Brussels offer, the Valles decided on requesting another Jamaican posting, and so they returned to Jamaica, in 2003.
Committed to a life of service, Claudio and Louise Valle proved exemplary in the assistance and development aid they piloted and/or represented to their own government on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica. And their respective tours of duty here have not only served the bilateral needs of both countries, but also greatly assisted with the promotion of infrastructure development here, 'cause if anything, they championed the Jamaican cause.
Now, for all intents and purposes, the Valles bade their farewell at the last Canada Day celebration on July 1. Not wanting their departure to become a spectacle of unending goodbye parties, dinners, soirées and/or receptions, they opted not to announce the date of their departure with any fanfare, so as to avoid the hoopla which always attaches itself to such eventualities.
They have, however, been quietly saying their goodbyes and have been attending a number of intimate dos being thrown in their honour by friends and colleagues.
My dears, one such do was a charming and really quiet intimate dinner party the lovely Janet Farrow, of the Jamaica Redevelopment Foundation, threw at her très chic Jacks Hill residence, on Wednesday evening of this week.
Ms. Farrow was truly a charming host, paying attention to style and substance in hosting what was truly a fabulous affair, made that much more so due to the warmth of the occasion.
Now, there's nothing like a fabulous theme to get the creative juices flowing for a do, and for this intimate do, the hostess decided on a themed dinner. And so it was, that with High Commissioner Valle being Italian by birth and Canadian by process of naturalisation, dinner was an Italian fare with a continental dash!
My daahlings, no culinary drama here, just the fabulous and continental ease with which the Italian culinary wonders are prepared and received around the globe. And here, Ms. Farrow did not disappoint in her presentation.
The evening began with cocktails in the drawing-room of the entertainment wing of the house, with that fabulous party elixir known as champagne being the preferred premier libation. And with two of Kingston's finest waiters acting as the evening's butlers, y'all know, we are talking a white-gloved affair here. So the Waterford flutes were replenished at the slightest hint that they were dipping below the 'acceptable' level for constant social discourse; the tumblers treated with no less dispatch.
Now, dinner was really a four-course affair, the appetisers, cheeses, and lemon taken with cocktails, and followed by a garden salad, the main course a rich lasagne, followed by a 'dee-vinely' wicked chocolate cake with an awesome mousse for a topping, all taken in the dining hall.
But what's a good dinner without a fabulous twist? Well my daahlings, the hostess knows the value of a fab surprise to complement a fine meal and so for brandy, she served up the most 'dee-vinely' decadent of Italian libations: Limon-Cello. And honeys, so fine was this 'liqueur', it was criminally delicious!
Oh mama mia! Talk about the way to go! Dears, is there another save and except enjoying the bounties of life in the society of friends?
Pumpkins, no! And trust moi!
Anyways mah dears, it was that kind of an outing - a fabulous love-fest and then some as guests not only shared their anecdotal memories of their first encounters with the fab couple, but the couple themselves bared a little of their souls in their responses to the many toasts and compliments made in their honour, and dears, it all made for some heart-warming, tear- teasing moments, shared with a hand-picked shortlist of friends.
The list included Joe Matalon, Kenny Benjamin, James Gill and wife Marina Sahkno-Gill, Brian Schmidt and the lovely Allison Peart; and Robert Haughton. But what a charmer of an evening, steeped though it was in an element of sadness, as indeed, the Valles depart on September 5, and dearly beloveds, they will be missed!