On a warm summer’s evening in Brittany, where else would you want to eat your dinner but outside on the patio, seated at a cheap plastic table on cheap plastic chairs?
The drawback of flying biting creatures would be solved, I was convinced, by the dinner-plate sized mosquito coil I bought at the local supermarket. After discovering that suspending it from either the nearby tree or the overhang above the rear door meant the smoke utterly failed to float anywhere near us, I had the brainwave of attaching it to the underside of the sunshade poking through the middle of the table. Mosquito-repellent-smoke-tasting food seemed a small price to pay to remain bite-free.
Unfortunately I hadn’t reckoned on the local French teenage-punk midges that liked to live dangerously by recklessly flying through the fumes, then doubling back for more in some kind of intoxicating game of double-dare. I’d swear this coil was attracting rather than repelling the damned beasts.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been drawn to the box by the fact that it had been written in two languages. The English part may have waxed lyrical about enjoying a mosquito free area for up to 36 continuous hours over an area the size of a football pitch, but did the French part actually say the same thing? I'm beginning to suspect it may in fact point out that it had been specially formulated with the pheromones of female mosquitoes on heat of to ensure that British tourists who can’t be bothered to learn the language to a sufficient degree will be eaten alive.