The sunflowers were somewhat vexed and not a little confused. The massed ranks of bright yellow flower heads, normally drilled to parade ground perfection, were in disarray. The hot Cognac sun had balked after last night’s thunderstorm and opted for a long lie-in. To add insult to injury the temperature had dropped 15C and the dull grey sky could best be described as Scottish – minus the rain. The sunflowers didn’t know where to look. The old guard steadfastly faced southward in the firm belief the sun would appear at any second whereas the younger, more politicised, plants faced any way other than south more out of a sense of rebelliousness rather than out of any firm conviction.
As usual we started late.
We were doing the tourist thingy – a mad dash around a couple of Charentais “must sees” then off to Cognac for our first eating out dinner of the trip. At least that was the plan.
The ruins of the Gallo-Roman theatre at Les Bouchauds were impressive. Situated on the side of a low wooded hill, the 7000 seated amphitheatre suggested the local landscape was far more densely populated than it is now. Built in the local limestone the structure, with it’s temple complex sitting on the hilltop above, it must have dominated the surrounding countryside in the early centuries AD.
An hour later we found ourselves at Saint-Simeux on the north bank of the Charente at 17C pecheries where eels were caught en masse, something not allowed these days…mainly due to the lack of eels.
We were too early for dinner. The restaurant didn’t start serving until 7…maybe 7.30…according to the waiters who failed to impress J with what passes for good service in this part of the world. It was 6.30 and we were hungry. I looked at the menu and reckoned it wasn’t worth waiting for anyway. It exuded mediocrity. We made a mental menu of what we thought was still in the fridge, raided the local boulangerie on the way home and spent another night eating in. Fussy eaters!