Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Grape Left Unpicked (part 2)

by guest blogger Sami

It all started off so well: an easy drive through the French countryside, snowy peaks a background to the vined hills of the Jurancon region of the Pyrenees, just me and my stylish and somewhat temperamental Citroen BX, a tent, some clothes and canned goods. I daydreamed of picking grapes in the fields, sun on my back, a fresh mountain breeze cooling the air and French country maidens singing while we all worked at a leisurely pace.

Unfortunately, for all of these delicious things to occur, I first had to find the bloody vineyard.

This was proving more difficult than I had thought, and to make matters worse, it had begun to pour with heavy rain. I stopped every once in a while to ask a stony faced local where in God's name I was? However, my distinct lack of perfect French meant they often thought I was actually asking what God's name was and, needless to say, many of them beat a hasty retreat.

Some half an hour later I found the campsite and vineyard. I stepped out of my igloo the next morning to behold the cold mountain dawn with a grimace. The car wouldn't start very easily. I thought nothing of it, putting the problem down to the coldness of the day. Finally it kicked in and I set off at a sturdy pace. At the top of the first steep hill, surrounded by nothing but fields, the car came to a spluttering halt.

Pause. Try again. No response.

I tried to stay positive - it had stopped raining during the night and I drank in the blue sky like a tonic to soothe my growing problems. Then I got out of the car in order to hail a passer-by...


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