I often ask myself when and where my love affair with France begin. A cycling holiday from Dieppe to the Ardeche had a huge effect on my life, but I think my love of France begin at a much earlier age.
As a child our summer holidays were almost all spent in France. Loading up a car, so there was little space for passengers, the whole family would then descend France at a snails-pace to a sound track or Dire Straights, Ernei the Milkman and Gilbert and Sullivan.
In the days before air conditions the heat and claustrophobia on these rides south was memorable and caused my sister and I to fight like cat on dog on the back seat, much to my parents despair.
Stopping for lunch in local restaurants I enjoyed my first snails, frogs-legs and real cheese, but the only other pits-stops were to pee, visit countless churches and also antique shops or 'brocante'.
As a child it seemed that both my parents had some in-built inability to drive past one of these shabby establishments. The car would swerve off the road into a dusty parking lot and bribed with ice creams and sweets my sister and I would either wait in the car arguing or go inside.
Soon I begin to enjoy these dusty Aladdin's caves piled high with forgotten treasures. With a little pocket money and childish charm an English boy could pick a dagger, a stuffed tortoise or even a fires mans helmet. Without knowing it a collecting habit was born.
I now suffer from the same affliction as my parents. I can not drive or cycle past a 'brocante' or antique shop without pulling over. It is just impossible and even when cycling in South America or South East Asia I could not cycle past. Even now I wake in the early hours to visit the local antique fairs and 'brocante' of Burgundy always on the look out for the next abandoned object that catches my eye and needs a new home.
Because of this addiction The Hungry Cyclist Lodge as a style all of its own. After thirty years of collecting and travel all my 'stuff' finally has a home and one of few pleasure of renovating the house has been planning where to put everything.
Last week my great friend and exceptional photographer Greg Funnell came to stay. Greg also has an eye for an interesting object and getting to work with his camera he grasped the style of The Hungry Cyclist Lodge perfectly.
Enjoy his collection of his photographs in the gallery below and if you want to visit a 'brocante' during your stay I am only too happy to take you.