September 2013 - en-route to Italy...

Day 1. - twenty-year old Mazda changes into steam engine 250k south of Calais and expires at petrol pumps, blocking access; re-watered and pushed aside.
- sick car now heading north back to Calais in low gears
- several stops/re-watering later, SOS called, eventually fits new hose - 180 merci.
- sicker car in lower gears stops after 40k, re-watered, then stops after each 10k for water
- parking/SOS found in dark. SOS box broken. No problem - walk up motorway to next. Next SOS broken...
- `sleep` in vehicle

Day 2. - rev/rev/rev/rev, splutter/splutter/black/black smoke in low gears - Calais only 160k will/might/maybe arrive...
- 20k arrive in glory at crowded service station, punters think there is a celebration. Car dies.
- SOS, on back of. low-loader. To St Quentin, ok, ok. Attendre. French car at pumps broken down. UK car has to come off, French car loaded, UK car dragged
- behind
- St Quentin. SOS - 200 ok. OK. Non, Monsieur, car unloads at hotel, not Mazda garage, ok. OK. Hotel full. Black smoke (driver slightly confused, drives wrong way
- down duel carriageway to next hotel)

Day 3 - Car to Mazda - bang/bang/bang/black/black/black - 500metres, et mort. Push/plead/pray -et mort. Walk to Mazda, dead car blocking highway Monday rush hour.
- Bonjour Monsieur - patiencz, si-vous-plait. Basil Faulty returns to car. Beats vehicle. revs/revs/revs/revs first gear to Mazda - triumph!
- But no, we cannot throw it away for you, besides the Prefecture is closed today (something to do with bicycle celebration in town...) and we will need several days
paperwork. 500 Euros deposit? Perfect. Come back next week.

Day 4 - Train station St Quentin. No, sorry, don`t smoke, to woman, but then remember have a six-inches box of camping matches in bag for rental in Italy.
Madame, si-vous-plait. No, ce bonne, we always have matches with us like this in England. 5 min. connection in Lille for Calais, St Quentin only a min. or so late
Monsieur... Run/run/run, touch train doors. Train
bids bon voyage. Only two hours next train - fine. Next train - ok, Calais. Strange, information states that train is terminating next stop. Train breaks - bus to Calais.
Calais Ferry. Ok, fine. Passenger, heart-attack. Ferry returns to Calais, unloads trucks blocking ambulance.
Dover/home - No problem.

3 Weeks later - car collects from St Quentin - 850 Euros, merci. Just one thing still sick, needs new engine, please, carry LOTS oil/water for Calais. Bang, bang/bang/bang/black/black/black....

Garage, England - scrap car, ok?


M Scott

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