If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Appointment with Destiny

Or a French mechanic, which amounts to the same thing. The campsite owner has made me an appointment with a garage tomorrow at 3 pm for an 'investigation'.

I have been studying my Hachette and I think I know all the relevant words (the "palier" is "bruyant" on the "roue arrière à droite", or something along those lines). I'm just hoping it's not too expensive ...


  1. I hired a 750 out of Limassol once - 750 what? - I forget - it had two wheels and only two wheels. Guy renting it to me was good, dead casual - keep it as long as you want, just let me know. Rode around for three days feeling pretty good. Checked with the guy that it was OK to keep it one more day. I wanted to go to Paphos.

    Beautiful drive - open face helmet - scent of the citrus groves - high view west, from the clifftop road, over the eastern Med. Idyllic. Had one half-pint of lager - one - in Paphos - well below the legal Cyprus limit and well within my tolerance zone.

    Back in Limassol, nearly there, I fell off rounding a roundabout at about 25 mph. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before. I have no idea why it happened. Conditions were perfect.

    About five Cypriot guys appeared out of nowhere and helped me up. 'How's the bike' was all I asked. 'Never mind that, how are you?' was all they said.

    I took it back to the rental guy expecting to be out by several hundred quid and to find him seriously cheesed. There were dents in the bike - busted indicator, handlebar bent, busted mirror.

    He looked it over and said, still dead casual, 'No trouble but that will be £85 extra I'm afraid'.

    I hope French repais bills are as reasonable.

  2. That seems quite reasonable. Pity the Brits aren't as casual about such things. Curiously, the last time I was here I had to take the Land Rover to a garage as the air suspension had failed. That ended up about half the price I expected. So I'm hopeful that this won't be too bad.

  3. I hope all goes well with the car, nothing worse on holiday. That said, as a long-time resident of the New Forest who spent 40% of every summer trapped behind caravans, I feel I have to tell you this is clearly God's way of telling you that you ought to have taken the bike!

  4. endemoniada_8817 June 2010 at 19:25

    My experience of French mechanics...

    Our old Talbot-based camper van shed the back box and silencer halfway up a mountain, whilst on our extended honeymoon. Some determined bodgery got it mostly fixed, if a lot louder and more rattly than before. Luckily, it turned out the biggest Talbot centre in France was not so far away, in Nimes, so we decided to loop through there, probably adding an extra day's driving.

    We got there. They were shut for lunch. Two hours passed and eventually, they reopened. I tried to explain the problem at the front office; they said to wait for the English-speaking mechanic. Two more hours passed. He didn't speak that much English, as it turned out. Still better than my French, though, to be fair. Fired up the van, and he nodded sagely, peered about at the side where the exhaust exited and eventually said: "I see, m'sieur. It is grave." "Yes," said I: "Can we get a replacement?" He nodded, thought for a bit longer, and said: "We have none at the moment." "Okay. How long?"

    A very long pause, then a slight shrug: "Two, maybe three weeks, m'sieur."

    It stayed unreplaced, held together with exhaust tape and an over-torqued jubilee clip, right up until we sold the van.

  5. @Oscar - thanks, mate! Actually I wholeheartedly agree. When I am in the car, and to a lesser extent on the bike, I loathe caravans with a passion. But I have to admit they are a very fine way of having a holiday - well, up to a point anyway. And believe me, I would rather have been on the bike by a factor of lots, but circs dictate that it's the caravan or nothing if we are to holiday as a couple these days.

    @Endo - good story, and very typical of my experience too. I'll up date on the car in the next post. It isn't good news.


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