Somewhere between the Jura Mountains and Dijon our relaxed, care-free and uneventful trip took a turn for the worse. We were cruising along, enjoying the sun and music as we coasted through small towns and villages, all slumbering on this Sunday afternoon. Turning off at a small junction on the outer edge of a small village we heard the tell-tale repetitive click of something stuck in the tyre.
Optimistically hoping it might just be a large stone wedged in the tread (but not at all convinced by this theory) we took a look. Our optimism was put firmly in its place once we had seen the huge screw head burrowed deep in the middle of our front tyre. We didn’t have our spare in the van, there wasn’t a soul around and as previously mentioned it was Sunday afternoon, so our chances of finding an open garage were slim to none.
All of a sudden a noble steed, in the shape of an old white Citroën, turned the corner and came to our rescue! A father and son duo, on their way back from martial arts class (I assume from the kid’s outfit) pulled over to see if we were okay. After much gesticulation, along with my very broken French and his very broken English and a quick phone call to his friend, we were slowly ‘clicking’ along behind them. The quiet road turned off onto a single track lane heading further into the countryside, we couldn’t help but wonder if our heroes might yet turn out to be an unconventional father-son serial killing team.
These thoughts were debunked as we pulled into the driveway of a very pretty little house. Even nicer was the garage opposite, which was being opened by the friend, exposing stacks of tyres and a tyre changing machine nestled in the corner. Sharing some chocolate, the kid and I practised our French and English on each other – he was learning English in school and was very keen to show of what he knew… it was more than I did the other way round!
After 15-20 minutes we had a repaired tyre, which was as good as new, and were offering our deep thanks to these people who had interrupted their Sunday afternoon to help us, with absolutely no expectation of anything in return. We couldn’t help but make the comparison that this just wouldn’t happen across most of the UK. It always restores ones faith in the humanity when you get to meet genuinely nice, helpful folk and without these particular nice, helpful folk we would have been stuck on the side of the road in the baking heat for hours… thank goodness for the French!