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Chez Cesarine Holiday Diary

DAY 14: Friday 11th August

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In Lanvollon it was market day and we felt compelled to go and spend the last of our French francs. As usual, the adults were feeling a little fragile from the night before courtesy of something even cheaper than Père Benoit from the EU wine lake, and the symptoms were not softened by the audio nightmare that bellowed through the humid air from the market public address system. Something along the lines of: "un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, blah-blah, blah de blah". Maybe it had been a French version of Tony Robinson's "two, four, six, eight, motorway". No-one knew, no-one cared but what a din; sound pollution of the worst order.

Notwithstanding this distraction, we set about our task with fortitude. Henri was looking for a carborundum stone for his assortment of daggers and lock-knives, I was after the quintessentially French cutting implement: an Opinel folding knife. I let market forces prevail and sought the best terms before accepting £10 for a number 12 Opinel - the second largest of the range, the largest is a fourteen, superstitiously there appears to be no number 13. I also managed to get a sharpening stone thrown in for seven francs. Henri was disappointed when I told him this because he had paid 20 francs for his grindstone. The boy looked downcast. Perhaps he should erase the experience and follow the motto "non illegitimi carborundum".

The problems of shopping as a group are understandably numerous, but it was soon apparent that Gavin had gone off somewhere. So after sitting patiently in the road with our shopping, we decided to install ourselves in the nearest café bar where I had imprudently offered to buy everyone a drink. This act of generosity, like a rush of blood to the head, was induced by reading in a three days-old copy of the Daily Express that my shares had rocketed to new highs in my absence.

Having been seated drinks were ordered but Isabel struggled to decide which flavour syrop she wanted from the many available a problem compounded by the language barrier. The barmaid showed growing signs of impatience.

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