Alex Bore D’Eaux may be as mc-British as it gets – ex-minor public school, plays rugby, works in financial services – but his true amour is France. From Spring onwards he lives for the moment when he loads the wife and their two children into the Audi estate and heads off for the Midi or Sud-Ouest.
They’ve tried a few places over the years, but now tend to stay at the same gite, where they know the owner and locals (and the local wines!!!) really well. Once there he goes native, cycling up to the café for breakfast in the morning, living on bread and cheese, visiting the vineyards and soaking up as much of the culture as he can. He’s popular and gregarious – all the more so over there – but, get him on his pet subject – France, obviously – and he can, well, go on a bit.
Ask if it’s better to fly or drive, and he’ll tell you not only why you should drive, but also everything about the motorway system, and the relative merits of the Eurostar versus the St Malo ferry. Mention the wine, and he’ll whip out his Kindle to show you every local mention in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book. Ask about the local area, and he’ll describe every single local point of interest, with place names all pronounced in perfect French, naturellement, and a bit of history thrown in.
His wife Sophie humours him, and the kids gnaw their way through crusty baguettes dreaming of the pizza the other kids get. Alex meanwhile imagines himself selling up and moving out in few years time, because the French just seem to have life sorted out better than we do. It would be wonderful, of course, but the only question would be – who would he have to tell about it?
How to spot Bore D’Eaux
- Lucky Breton sweater, deck shoes, mirrored shades as “good for driving”
- Has Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Guide on his Kindle
- Back of car stacked with wine on return to England, Liber-t tag attached to windscreen
- Speaks excellent restaurant French
- Large collection of yellow Michelin road maps
- Drinks “33” Export when not quaffing wines. Also knows about unusual local alcoholic drinks. Wishes he liked Pernod.
- Passionately believes Britain has got its priorities all wrong, and quality of live could be doubled at a stroke if lunches lasted two hours and shops opened till 7pm
- Obsessed by cheese