I spent yesterday in a part of France that has not been touched by time or fashion . A friend of ours, to be known henceforth as Rob “the Carpenter”, had mentioned the existence of some excellent “cabanes huitrières” in the Vieux Port of a small local coastal town, Talmud St Hilaire. An unusual morning found me, “the Walrus”, involved in towing a caravan towards this unspoilt coast, an activity that I have forsworn on many an occasion. Everyone has his price and in my case the tarif is very low. Running late and at times on empty we rounded the final corner of the Tomtom’s directions packed with pessimism, but there before us stood the Grail displaying that purposeful lack of style which fills me with elation. We each ate a dozen of the best No.2 oysters with brown bread and butter and shared a 50cl bottle of local white wine from Mareuil. This way of eating is amongst my ideals. Kind people serve you the very best of their produce with no fanfare. They relish your interest, and the more interest you show the more they care. There is no waste on pointless design features, as they produce finest oysters in a similar way to their Greco- Roman ancestors. A love of this way of life is the reason to live here and not London – if that’s not understood it’s not worth trying it, you’re just taking up space. At the end of this feast, during which I had been ranting about the perversion of cooking oysters, the Carpenter asked me if I had ever tried “0” oysters (as opposed to nos 1, 2, 3 etc) , which I hadn’t. Madame la Patrone was only too happy to show me some examples of this heroic mollusc, explaining that they are normally cooked as they are too large to swallow – maybe Californian porn stars train on the Vendéen coast in the quiet season. Tonight I shall be cooking them and, all being well, I shall share the result with you tomorrow.