August 2014 - Drug

There is no law restricting how long we choose to work. And there is no doubt that after a succession of 16 hour days or maybe weeks, we can be running on adrenalin alone. And the easiest thing to do is to carry on working.

The ancient French town of Cognac has lots of 'chain' hotels and this is no surprise with all the global brands it hosts; Remy Martin, Martell, Hennessy and Courvoisier to name just four. But nestling in the middle of all this is the privately owned Hotel Heritage, a veritable oasis of individual charm and quality. Two summers ago we had a great stay there watching the husband and wife team and their few staff. They did breakfasts, cleaned up, cooked and served lunch, manned reception, operated the bar and then amazingly oversaw, prepared and dished up thirty 'a la carte' covers in the restaurant.

Two years on, now even further past UK retirement age, we watched the couple repeat their performance despite appearing to be dead on their feet. "It's la crise", madame explained, "no one has any money. We can't afford the staff, but we have to compete or we disappear."

Nothing is as it seems and the line between obsession and survival is hard to draw, but these people do, to our certain knowledge, have a choice. As we all do.


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