I arrived at the Chambres d’Hôtes to find Claude the builder just packing up. He’s been doing some extension work for Pierre, basically adding a rather swish apartment to the end of the barn. Claude also loves motorbikes, though he’s never ridden one and say that in his sixties he’s not about to start!
Pierre is inspecting the work, he acts tough, but as the two of them are old school friends it’s a bit of an act. Claude appears to look at my motorbike; time to wind him up a bit?
“Vous n’avez pas fini!” You’ve not finished? I grin at him!
“Pas vous aussi, vous voulez tous le sang de Claude!” Not you as well, you all want the blood of Claude! “Vous êtes encore en vie en dépit de votre moto, eh!” You are still alive, despite your motorcycle, eh?
We laugh and smile. “Ça va?” ” Oui, ça va bien!”
It’s nice, we hardly know each other yet can insult like we have been friends for years.
I start to unpack Baby Harls.
Did you know that chocolate melts at 30degrees Celcius? I do now, as a big bar of dark chocolate with almonds has run just about everywhere in the right hand pannier.
Claude can hardly contain himself, this is the best part of the week for him! Well almost, he and Pierre were just about to have “Un petit verre,” a little drink.
The chocolate has covered the inside of the pannier liner, my Michelin Italian road atlas, a mains lead and various other bits and bobs! Pierre finds a large plastic bag and we dump most of the stuff in it, I’ll sort it when I get home.
I’m invited to join them for a glass.
My eyes are gritty from the ride, I’m still in my leathers and I stink; I need a shave and a shower, but these guys won’t take no for the answer. “OK, seulement un café!” Just a coffee! They look at me like I’m crazy, it so hot and he wants a coffee? Yes, but I could do with the caffeine from an espresso.
Pierre arrives with the small cup of dark, almost black liquid. Then from nowhere brandishes an Armagnac bottle and adds a splash to the coffee. “Pour la route et pour le chocolat!” For the road and for the chocolate!
What is there not to like about La France?