La Soupe a Cailloux, Amiens

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Wednesday evening, 11th August 1999

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La Soupe a Cailloux PERONNE lies on the River Somme. We pass several military cemeteries on the dead straight road to Amiens.

In the early 1960s I veiwed a partial eclipse of the Sun from our school playground in Yorkshire. The teachers lined us up to view it through a large sheet of smoked glass in a picture frame mounted on a blackboard easel.

We were told that the next total eclipse to be visible in Britain would be in Cornwall in 1999. It seemed an age away, but I made up my mind to be there . . .

However, here we are in France. We try a local dish, Ficelle Picarde, at La Soupe a Cailloux (Soup of Stones). It is a pancake containing mushroom, ham and gruyere. And that is just the starter.

As my sketch shows La Soupe is part of the old town, and the interior is in keeping with it, friendly and inviting. There's fresh food, freshly prepared from the small kitchens behind the bar. This is a huge contrast to England where a marketing consultant would hire a designer to re-vamp the interior, there'd be a flashy new frontage, a glossy themed menu . . . and the food would probably be boil-in-the-bag straight from the freezer.

I'm being unfair, but enough of restaurant reviews, on with the natural history . . .

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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