In Provence in Southern France on a summers morning just before the sun smiles on that beautiful land, the woodlands are already awoken by the snorts of pigs (hogs) snuffling through the undergrowth. These hogs are prized possessions and valued at around $20 000, some are even more but valued nonetheless. These snuffling porkers are trained to hunt for a natural root tuba piced higher than gold. Yes really! This gold is truffles. A hog may snuffle out enough in one day to keep the owner in good stead for a year. I have been only once in my life. Soon after I went to bed I was awoken by a Claude in his Citroen 2CV van outside our caravan. In the back were two hogs. It was 3am in the morning and a time I never knew existed. Claude was a portly Frenchman and was calling from outside our door 'Get up Englishman. We will miss the hunt'. I dressed and sploshed my face to rinse the sleep from my eyes and snap me back into wide awake land. Slipping into this batterd van we headed out to the country. Claude swigged a bottle of Pinot Noir and handed it to me. Gulping plonk at 3:30 in the morning was a new revelation to me but nonetheless I swigged and it vitalised me. Claude drove into the morning gulping the wine as we drove. We arrived at this place where I was asked to put a black cloth bag over my head. The woods where the 'gold' could be found was secret. We drove about twenty more minutes and stopped. I was told to take off the bag and we were in these woods. The hogs set about snuffling out truffles and after three or four hours passed, Claude and I had bagged about twenty of these grotesque looking tubas. Satisfied we set off with the truffles safely stashed and me with this bag on my head. On our way back we stopped at a cafe for breakfast. French cafes serve alcohol all the time as well as coffee and croissants and full breakfasts if you want one. We did - We feasted like Kings and drank coffee and Claude tickled his with a shot of Brandy. While there a couple of guys were voiciferously negotiating the sale of some livestock, money changed hands and the guy left the cafe. We saw his van kicking up the dust as it dissapeared down the lane we had driven along. Twenty minutes later we were to follow in his tyre tracks. On leaving, Claude kicked his van to life and started to drive away when to his horror he saw his prized hogs had gone. We turned round and went back to find this guy who had earlier been so noisy in his sales pitch, leaving the cafe. In his van he had two hogs. They were learly not Claudes. It transpired that he had sold these pigs to this guy who was seeking two hogs for a garden feast to be spit roasted that very day and clearly he had taken Claudes pork treasure by mistake. All three of us sqeezed into this rattling van and sped across France to save Pinky and Perky. Yup you guessed! We got to this farm to find this blood spattered Frenchman poking a spit rod through the second of Claudes babies the other was rotating round the sit with an apple in his mouth. It hate it when you see a grown man cry - That what I had to see that day. So undelighted was Claude that he told the other guy, he deemed responsible for this act of treachery, to walk the ten miles back to his van. He spoke very little on our drive back. I was outcast by the locals as a bad luck jinx and when I visited the local bar, known truffle hunters would shift away to the opposite corner of the bar. I often wondered what $40 000 spit roasted pigs actually taste like - Guess I'll never know. We have never stayed at that campsite again or seen Claude either.