Thursday, 1 October 2015


I have just spent a week in Cognac. The town, that is, not the brandy. Actually both are accurate.

It seems to me to be an incredible coincidence that the drink 'Cognac' is made in a town of the same name, but when I pointed this out to the natives they seemed non-plussed.

My overriding memory of Cognac is trying to get served. On one day we spent 5 hours looking for somewhere that would serve us lunch. The problem wasn't that nothing was open. The problem was that in France, sitting in a café does not always lead to being served in a café. I remember sitting in one particularly frayed café for 45 minutes while the waitress periodically glowered at us from a distance of 12 metres without ever taking our order. Eventually we tried to leave but she said we couldn't because we had ordered. When I asked her what we had ordered she checked her till, realised her mistake and said "Ok, you can go" as if she had verified our papers at a military checkpoint.

We decided eventually to go to our local Flunch outlet. For those of you that don't know the French restaurant chain Flunch, it is the restaurant with the worst name in the entire galaxy. Flunch. It's the sound of somebody sitting on a matchstick model of the provincial headquarters of an insurance firm. Needless to say it was shut, which was disappointing, but I suspect not nearly as disappointing as it would have been had it been open. One day I will dine at a Flunch outlet and I will let you, my readers, know exactly how it makes me feel.