Contrary to our usual form, when we arrive in a new place to find everything closed since yesterday, we managed to sneak up on Commercy at a time when its weekly market was in full swing. We thought perhaps we should take advantage of the market, replenish our nowhere near in need of replenishing supplies, have lunch and spend the afternoon in exploration mode. The moment we arrived we had concluded that our forty minutes on the move today had been more than enough.
After a cursory look around, we managed to return to the boat with the makings of a fine lunch: fresh baguette, a ham roast from the rotissery lady complete with a giant scoop of what she called “sauce” but unless our eyes deceived us actually comprised the extraordinarily tasty but not entirely fat-free drippings of the chicken roasting machine. To accompany these we bought twice as many kilograms of cherries than we would have preferred, and a huge bag of Madelines, that particular small sponge cake traditionally baked with a mirabelle plum in the centre but in the absence of mirabelles in season, mirabelle conserve in the mix does just fine.
Lunch was a feast fit for the good Duke Stansilas himself, the very person for whom some centuries ago, the pastry chefs in Commercy lay claim to having invented the Madeline, and hold it today as a symbol of the town's inventiveness.
I’m not sure how lunches of that magnitude affected Stanislas, but we found ourselves well satisfied and considering our afternoon prospects. After looking at the calendar and wondering just how many Public Holidays we had missed out on since the advent of our “retirement’. “Too many”. We decided that we should take the rest of the day off to make up.
Tomorrow, we will be back in the office. We shall wander the streets, marvelling at the Art Nouveau facades of the buildings, and the scale of the chateau and the factory that still produces horse-shoes. We shall poke down narrow winding alleys and scale embankments for a better view. Or perhaps we’ll sit quietly and see what sort of lunch we can cobble together from today’s left overs.