A bit fishy

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of France  ,
Monday, September 15, 2008

We drove to Cherveix-Cubas, just north of Hautefort, looking for a nice place to picnic.
The Auvézere runs through the lower part of the village and we followed it for a while till we found an idyllic and secluded spot.
A clearing in the woods where the river rushes over big smooth stones, the water splashing, forming bubbles and froth on the surface of the perfectly clear stream.
We sighed contently and carried the hamper and blanket towards the riverbank.

A kingfisher! I know they are not that uncommon, but how many of you have seen one and not gasped?
To our surprise we also encountered another fisher, a stout fellow clad in camouflage  things, clothes, of course, but of unusual design. Just the legs of trousers, a kind of belt or support around the waist with strange things attached. Green cap and a militant looking shirt.
He was up to his bottom in the water, standing dead still and concentrating hard.
That was until Sheppie jumped in, charging though the water, yelping and barking for joy.
He gave up and waded out - we went to apologize but he was a good sport.
He showed us his catch. Some beautiful fish, small, I forget their names, kept in a plastic bag tucked under his belt.
Very tasty, he assured us, and though I am partial to fish, I wanted to snatch them from him and release their poor limp bodies, see them come back to life in the fresh, sparkling river, where they belong.
We asked him about the weather. 'Deux jours de temps mauvais' was the verdict, confirming what we'd already heard. I inquired about restaurants, as I always do when talking to locals, hoping for tips. Our fisherman told us Bernard, the proprietor of Le Grand Coderc, was a mate of his and then  burst out laughing, saying he was a bit of a character.
More and more I get the feeling there is something fishy going on there.

Last time we visited that place Patsy refused to eat the foie gras, thinking of her own pet geese at home. 
The owner was deeply insulted, and left our table  (he had decided to grace us with his presence and was very much present), stormed out of the restaurant, opened his flies and peed over the flowerbeds, narrowly missing his grandchild's plastic bucket and toy tractor. This in full view of his guests.
We were totally gob smacked, especially as he shoddily put his thing back, not taking much trouble to button up properly, marched back in again and reached for the - our - bread without having washed his hands.
Scratching his head, he gave Patsy a stern look and grudgingly offered an alternative dish.
Poor Patsy, she's rather shy and not very worldly, so she let herself be bullied into eating something unsightly and unappetizing. Bernard looming over her making sure she was actually swallowing and making the right noises, still shaking his head in disbelief that this silly woman had turn her nose up at his prize dish.
Femke was so intimidated by the whole scene she was franticly stuffing food into her handbag whenever he left our table, so he wouldn't notice we weren't emptying our plates.
It reminded me of school-dinners, feeling naughty, stifling our giggles. Daring each other to say something or be brave enough to just leave the table.

You must know this restaurant is famous across the borders. To be the chosen ones you have to make reservations well in advance. There's no menu, you eat what's put in front of you, in the company of who ever is seated next to you.
To be fair, it is usually very good and at a reasonable price.
Variations of duck and goose, great quantities, born, bred and slaughtered at Le Grand Coderc, are brought on.
Bernard fancies himself an entertainer, going from table to table like a jester. Craving attention and praise. Sometimes hilarious and sometimes a bore.
A bit of a rogue but behind the pose a keen business man - he's raking it in!
A clever man, no flies on him, and to make us sorry for not playing along, not behaving as expected, he skipped our table when pouring out the delicious eau de vie, the best part of the meal, more or less my reason for being there.

I don't know how I got here, was telling you about the picnic then one thing lead to another.
Well, I meant to tell you about Le Grand Coderc anyway, so.......
And I know this might come as a surprise, but I strongly recommend, if you ever get the chance, to go and eat there.
It's such an extraordinary and bizarre experience; something you're not likely to forget soon, and isn't that what life's about?

And then, if you do, please tell me all about it,
for if Bernard ever gets word of this story it will have been the last time I've ever frequented his establishment!
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