The boutique hotel chosen by 'The Font' is eerily quiet. Early December is not peak tourism season in provincial England. The receptionist, who spends most of her time talking to the two Australian barmen, seems surprised to see us. ' We're very busy in summer' she says by way of welcome.
The bedroom boasts an eclectic mix of furniture. This includes a three poster bed ( it had been a four poster but one of the posts has had a mishap and is now propped up against a wall ), a beige silk sofa that appears to have been inexpertly cleaned and an interesting collection of Indian themed tables with almost matching lamps.
Over dinner Angus chooses a bottle of wine from a long and undistinguished list. '' Good choice Mate !" says one of the young Australian barmen. His enthusiastic tone suggests I've scored seven out of ten in a general knowledge quiz. He returns with a bottle and pours two glasses. We are not invited to try it. 'The Font' is encouraged into the Christmas spirit with an admonition to 'Get that down you'. Modern man has clearly not reached Woomera.
For breakfast the next morning 'The Font' orders porridge and wonders if there is some fresh fruit to go with it. The Lithuanian waitress ponders this request. She consults with a colleague then disappears into the kitchen. Finally, she returns and announces " Jesus has gone to buy you a banana !". Jesus, it transpires, is the Spanish commi-chef. 'It's not every day that someone says that to you ' observes 'The Font' brightly.
We buy an anti-gulp bowl for Sophie.
Some goats milk chocolate for Angus.
The ducks on the High Street have a rather exotic companion.
Brussel Sprouts are now sold enriched with Selenium. What will they think of next ?
There are strong winds so our flight is delayed. Bob and Sophie will be picked up from the kennels this morning.
A message on the answer machine from the builders to say they will be coming to finish off 'the work'. Neither of us can imagine what this might be.
So starts a new week in deepest, deepest France profonde.