In our garden, there are cherry trees. On Tuesday, we got up and got packed to go to a secret lake that our host had programmed into our Garmin. He told us that we probably wouldn’t see anyone else there and the it was a real hidden treasure. We loaded the car, hopped in and when James started the car it lurched backward, even though the clutch was depressed. Ut oh, this didn’t look good. Sure enough, he restarted the car and it then refused to go into gear. He tried for a bit, but the car was not cooperating. I had some choice words to say...and then we all piled out of the car.
Since we still had no phone and no internet, James took off on one of the ancient bikes to go to town to find a mechanic (or our host’s friends, who might be able to call our host for us.) James was gone for a LONG time, but when he returned (on foot), our new French friends arrived also with their father-in-law...who was mechanically inclined (he and his American wife have a working farm and winery...this guy was a quintessential French farmer. He worked on the car for awhile, but to no avail. We offered him some water and he refused, saying “I only drink wine.”) So, I poured him a glass of wine (and then another). At this point, James started drinking too! (Turns out the bicycle got a flat tire about 1/4 of the way into town, so he had to push it in to town and then walk back (about 2.5 miles round trip).)
Our French friend told us he would call our host and find out where he wanted the car taken and get back to us about a rental car place. He told us that getting the car fixed would likely take at least a week (given that the phones had been out for three days at this point, I thought a week to fix a car was probably pretty quick!)
You can imagine what we were all thinking at this point...tv, internet and phone don’t work and now our only mode of transport isn’t working. And it’s not like we’re close to any major town. Our little village a little over a mile away, is just that. It has a church, a boulangerie, and a little market and not much more. The nearest car rental place is 40-50 miles away. We weren’t quite sure how we were going to get there...things were getting so complicated.
We finally figured out how to get the iphone that we had brought with us (with the french sim card) to work, so now people could call us. Our host called us to let us know a mechanic was on the way to look at the car. He said it had a new clutch, so he didn’t know why it was acting up, but he was quite embarrassed. We told him not to worry, we were starting to find it all quite amusing.
The mechanic arrived shortly and at first experienced the same problem we did. But after turning the car off and back on, it miraculously went into gear! No idea why it wouldn’t, but now it did...so it was fixed and he told us not to worry about it. (We are a little more skeptical, but are using the car again.)
Instead of going to the lake (we decided we didn’t want to get stuck at a remote location), we decided to pick cherries from the garden and bake a pie.
Here’s the pie...it was quite delicious. So, if you’re American and the French throw you pits...you make pie!!!