Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sad story

Sad, sad day
I’ve been rather down in the dumps the last few weeks; I put it down to the unusually wet and cold weather we have had in May and early June, but the scaremongering and Armageddon predictions tumbling out of my mother country have not helped my mood either. You see, I am one of the disenfranchised British citizens who stood to lose a lot with an exit of the UK from Europe, but who were not allowed to vote.

As it got closer to the 23rd (referendum day) I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I still hoped that (what I deemed to be) reason would prevail. As I got up in the early hours of Friday to watch live streaming of the results of the referendum, that sinking feeling proved to be justified. The British people, had decided that they wanted to leave the European Union.

The new Europe
It brought back a memory of my early days in continental Europe, when I would moan about Dutch bureaucracy or another “European” oddity that I couldn’t grasp and a colleague would say to me “why don’t you just f.. off back to your little island”. That was a cue to me to rethink what I was moaning about and see if maybe, just maybe, it was me and my way of thinking that could do with a tweak and maybe, just maybe I could learn something from another way of thinking.

Now the British population has spat out its collective dummy and f..ed off back to its little island and pulled up the drawbridge to boot. I fail to see how this will help them, but as I have come to realise, I am no longer really British and as I have felt more and more on each visit back to my homeland, I am well and truly out of step with this current British mentality.

I wish them well and as they sort out their messy divorce, I must now also start the process of extracting myself financially and emotionally from the island that no longer wants me or my kind.

Yesterday the weather was heavy and oppressive, matching my mood after the vote, and last night we had one humdinger of a storm. Scary though the storm was, it cleared the air and today has dawned sunny and calm. A new start for everyone. Let’s hope the British population does not live to regret its decision, but whatever happens to them, I am very grateful that I have a passport from a real European country and not just a British one, so that I can continue to live in a great community of countries, striving to work together to make a better life for all their citizens, not just the rich and petulant ones.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Birthday Dinner

Cees' favourite starter- escargots
This year on Cees’ birthday the weather was so atrocious that we aborted mission on a day out and stayed at home in the dry instead. We did however go out for a celebratory meal.

We have been trying to get into Hostellerie Héloise in Cluny almost since we came to live here. It has a good reputation, but every time we have tried, it has been closed that day, closed because of holidays or just plain full up. Not that I was getting paranoid you understand, but we did get the feeling we weren’t welcome. So on Tuesday it was one last try and this time we succeeded in getting a table.

Duck breast done to perfection
When you get inside the restaurant you realise why they are more often than not full up. The restaurant area is not exceptionally small but when you give your clientele a modicum of personal space (unknown in most French restaurants) combined with the fact that they also have a thriving hotel business, tables are at a premium. They can only seat about 30 people, so if you want a table you must book in advance.

Cees tucks into his steak
After all the time that we have been waiting to get into this restaurant and the build up of expectation, this could have been a big let down. I am very happy to say that it was not. The service was perfect and the food was better than that. The wine was on the recommendation of the restaurant and with a three course meal for me and four course meal for Cees we did not reach the 100 Euros mark. Quite amazing.

The menus couldn't have been better designed for our own personal tastes. I started with warm asparagus, something I am particularly fond of and Cees chose his favourite - escargots. For the main course Cees could not have been happier when he saw pavé de boeuf (thick steak) in a red wine sauce was on offer. I was rather jealous of his pommes dauphinois (potatoes in a cream sauce browned in the oven) but my tiny new potatoes were a better accompaniment to the magret de canard (duck breast) that I had ordered.

Aren't these the cutest baby baguettes you have ever seen?
We both had a selection of local cheese - I didn't know there were so many different types of Epoisse and Cees finished off with sorbet. I must give a mention to the bread "rolls" They were individual baby baguettes, warm from the oven, how luxurious is that?

The view over the river just added the finishing touches to a perfect meal. We will certainly be visiting again, roll on the next birthday or maybe we can come up with a different excuse to sample their cuisine again.
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