I have just returned from a visit to my neighbour Fernand, a retired farmer who is proud to be a “paysan de la Vendée”. His family had bought him a digital camera for his birthday and he had asked me if I would show him, not so much how it worked, but how to store pictures, how to read the menu, in fact how to understand a little more about his camera. This was all achieved without stress in their pleasant sunlit kitchen. Once the technical stuff had been dealt with we were joined by his wife Jeanette. At that point the Pastis was poured and the conversation turned to food. As usual, I learnt a great deal and enjoyed a civilised aperitif. He had previously mentioned payment for the tuition, which I had rejected as this man never ceases to dig me out of the holes that I endlessly fall into. If I lived in Blackburn, Lancashire I would have fallen down all 4000. Nonetheless, he demanded to pay me and I chose potatoes.