Thursday, June 17, 2021

Some dump in Cognac

OMGYOUGUYS, so remember me saying we were going to Cognac to visit a friend last weekend? This is a friend we know from our neighbourhood in London, who lives much like we do there, in a flat superbly tiny but of course terrifically glamorous. When we realised our places in France were so close, we decided to co-host each other over a couple of weekends, a la how they did things in Jane Austin times, except with fewer ballgowns. 

Our friend offered to welcome us first (mostly because his car was out of commission while planning) so we packed a handful of flip-flops for our casual weekend and hit the road. 'It's just a small place,' he assured us, before we headed up. 'Your typical run-down French house.' Ah, excellent! We know it well.

We arrive just after sunset to his village and, following the satnav, we pull up to a walled property with an arched gate set in the wall. This ... is this his gate? The one with a smaller side gate, presumably for the guards and city watch? 

We stop the car and I text him: 'We're outside a gate -- are we here?'

Yes, my friends. Of course we were. 

We pulled through to find out our friend is a BIG. FAT. LIAR. Because this was his old run-down pile of house: 

I should have packed my ballgowns. 

So, parking next to the bubbling fountain - as one does - we disembark and look around, trying to play cool, like we just stay at places like this all the time. Even though, immediately to the right, there is another archway containing this:

Just another run-of-the-mill open-air dining space.

We didn't actually sit and eat here at any point -- why, when there are eighteen other dining spaces to choose from? -- but MAN, I'm marking this for my 50th.

Then we go in, and the house tour commences. We have to choose which bedroom we want, you see. 

Pick a floor! Any floor!

Our first option was in the old-timey servants' wing (advantage: near the kitchen, always a pro), followed by the second option, which he discouraged because 'it's a little haunted'.  

How, with so many guardians right outside the door?

Then we peek in:

Yeah, okay.

Needless to say, we went with Door Number Three: 


The next morning we woke up and I put on my fanciest pair of shorts (AGAIN, WHY DIDN'T I PACK MY BALLGOWN) to take myself upon a daylight tour of the house, so please: enjoy this interior design porn as much as I did, before immediately deciding I had to cut this guy out of our lives before he came to visit us. 

Oh, he carved that white stone head himself, by the way. Of course.

In his studio, where he just -- and I quote -- 'messes around':
This is just like where I watch Netflix.

Living Room #86

Dining Room #12

See that white bowl? You can't tell from here, but that is full of eggs, FROM HIS CHICKENS. 

After my nose around, I found a steaming carafe of coffee on the table and helped myself to a mug that I then took out to the garden, where our down-to-earth host was already up and about watering his garden:

I have so much to learn.

The rest of the weekend was filled with other delights: 

We went to a trout farm to pick out fresh fish for dinner: 

Went antiquing:

And, of course, when in Cognac: a distillery tour:

Then back to the hovel for oysters and smoked trout, putting Alan to work gathering wood: 

It was a pretty awful weekend, really.

The last photo you'll ever see of us together, because he's dead to us.

Except, of course, we aren't nearly so lucky, because HE'S COMING TOMORROW TO VISIT. Honestly at this point, I think we might be better off just changing our names and heading for the border.

Alas, too late, his ballgown is packed. Now if you'll excuse me; I've got a futon to dust.

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