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Harbouring ill thoughts

September 6, 2012

After worshipping wine at St Emilion, and then buying a ridiculous amount of it to ship into the UK, we set off for the village of Pomerol, the home of the best wine in the world, Chateau Petrus. I had earlier asked the salesman in the wine merchants what was the cost of the least expensive Petrus and he said 1600 euros. I was weighing up whether 135 euros a bottle for a case  of 12 was in any way a justifiable business expense when he finished his sentence with “a bottle”. So no Petrus for me, but just a fleeting drive through the best vineyard in the world in the warm sunshine.

Homage paid, we set off for the Loire Valley. So how we came to stay in the Isle de Re close to La Rochelle is a bit of a mystery. You will understand that in my twin roles as designated driver, and hen-pecked husband, it is my duty to follow barked female instructions however imprecise, confusing or contradictory to the letter and without question. After several hours of this chaos, we found a beach in the “Loire” on the Atlantic coast of France close to somewhere called Royan where I was allowed out of the car for a toilet stop. My polite observation, before I had been given time to acclimatise,  that I did not think the Loire was tidal this far  inland, was met with the customary intransigent stare.

It seems there had been a change in plan en route, and a drive up the beautiful banks of the Gironde and the west coast of France had been substituted, but there is no way this had anything to do with taking the wrong road, no siree. Let us be crystal clear about that.

After avoiding La Rochelle which looked a bit too city for the like for me, we headed over to the islands across a very impressive bridge. It was impressively priced as well at 16 Euros a trip, more than I had paid for a St Emilion Grand Cru some hours earlier.  We happened upon a charming Atlantic fishing village called La Flotte where we took early evening beers in hot sunshine, as my picture today shows.

The harbour at La Flotte

I am berated yesterday in this column by Paul “Slash and Burn” Thornton Allan for suggesting the autumn has arrived in England. It seems that an indian summer is taking place over there, but I have money on its demise as soon as I set foot back in the old country.

I am also “corrected” by the Reverend Jeff about the placing of an apostrophe in yesterdays column. I did not quite get the gist of what was his point, in fact I think I began to glaze over, but from my little knowledge of the bible I thought there were 12 apostles, or was that 12 horseman of the apocalypse? Who knows? Who cares?

I believe that there will be a second attempt to reach the foothills for the Loire Valley tomorrow but in order to raise the chances of success I have suggested that perhaps we should make more use of the sat nav in the car, rather than rely on the old-fashioned maps that the nice lady decorator swears by. As I write I am locked in the loo whilst she calms down.

With every dawn there comes the elation of seeing blue skies and then the dread as by early next week my love affair with La Belle France will be subject to a trial separation, but not for me from my contractually satisfying activities with Currencies Direct you understand.

Chris France

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