I stopped at a bar in a tiny crossroads town for a coffee and a chocolate-coated almond, planning to have lunch somewhere around Abbéville. I thought this would probably take the form of a supermarket sandwich, perhaps an omelette or croque-monsieur if I was lucky and passed the right place at the right time.
Instead, I happened upon a restaurant with a big OUVERT sign and easy parking on the pavement outside, and decided to give it a go. And so I lunched at La Picardière in Épagne-Épagnette, and had a wonderful meal.
I ordered dorade royale with the vague notion it was some sort of fish, in hollandaise sauce because I overheard a diner at the next table ask for that. It arrived under a silver cloche, accompanied by neat little cubes of dauphinoise potatoes, mashed vegetables, and cabbage wrapped in bacon.
callmemadam asked me if there were pink tablecloths, this being her definition of French fine dining. There were. I asked for coffee and was given the coffee menu so I could choose which variety of beans I wanted. Around me, groups of friends or family talked quietly over their leisurely meals.
The proprietor wished me Bonne route, and I was on my way again. I arrived at the Eurotunnel in plenty of time for my train, even hopeful of catching an earlier one, but the queue for passport control put paid to that ambition. Another biker joined me as I waited for the call to board and we started chatting, as bikers will. He turned out to be heading back to East Dulwich, about ten minutes away from my place.
I arrived home having covered 500 road miles since Friday...not to mention 2.5k in the water.