I dealt with the coffee while Howard visited the bakery. He came back with the news that all the breakfast-type pastries had been sold and it was cake time instead. Well, darn.
This was the day a police motorcyclist terrified us by zooming out of a layby just after we'd passed, and following us for a while before overtaking and diving up a track into the roadside forest. Later we were confounded by more police bikes approaching us up the wrong side of the road, escorting a convoy of long vehicles.
Around six we arrived in a pretty little town that would, I thought, be delightful to stay in. Alas, the sat-nav led us down a side road and out into the countryside again.
It was a delightful road, winding upwards with views of the green Auvergne, but it seemed to be getting progressively smaller and fuller of various animal droppings without really going anywhere.
Howard stopped at the foot of a steep track lined with loose shingle, and informed me that the sat-nav said our hotel was at the top. I suggested he go on a recce and tell me what he found.
Luckily, just then, the occupant of a nearby house drove up and we interrogated her.
"It is necessary to descend," she told us. "You are in the countryside. The hotel is in the commune."
Relieved, we continued on our way, which dropped down again and led us to a village. A tiny cat ran across our path as we pulled in to the hotel.
"Good evening! We have a reservation!" I said to the man behind the desk.
"You have a kitten!" I added as another miniature cat appeared.
"Vingt," he smiled.
The most I saw at one time was three, sprinting from one hiding-place to the next on their skinny legs.
We were asked whether we wanted to dine at the hotel or elsewhere. We said we'd decide later, but by the time we'd unpacked and had a bath our friendly manager was nowhere to be seen.
We ventured out into the village, which at half-past eight on a Thursday evening was entirely deserted, locked and darkened.
One other hotel was open. The waitress was desolée, but dinner was over.
She wasn't bloody desolée enough to knock us up an omelette or something, was she?
So we dined on squashed Mr Kipling cake bars, Kelloggs Nutri-Grain, a bag of crisps and two servings of Nutella pilfered from the breakfast buffet at the Hotel Locanda Milano in Brunate.