Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Part II of a memorable day of wine tasting

Okay. Good wine conquers all, or you might hope it would. But does it conquer a car that goes kaput? A car that will not advance? A car that signals a serious shift in programming?

Well, it certainly helps. Yes, at 11:15 on Monday morning, my car decided it would not turn-over. Neither trying again, nor pushing it worked. So, we put it over to the side of the road, raised the hood and considered things. I had my handy dandy Iphone on me and started calling. By the third call I struck gold -- my fantastic friend and colleague Guy Brémond, the self-same chef-sommelier who has taught me soooo much over the years. He found me a tow truck (remorque) and sent him my way. In the meantime (we had a good hour's wait till he arrived), we spread out the picnic. Yes, for the first time this year I actually prepared a picnic for my guests (actually the second time). Phew! Imagine if we'd programmed a lovely lunch in one of my favorite restaurants??? Well, there was a pool at the winery that looked tempting...

Our friends at the winery offered a bottle (and opened it for us) to enjoy during our impromptu lunch. I promise, normally my picnic spots are chosen far from roads and cars! But this one was at least in the shade, and by vineyards...
And so we waited the arrival of our friendly tow truck man. And I called my insurance which assured me that the towing would be covered (thank you Universe, and former husband!). Of course this tower wasn't listed with them... but he was able to persuade the insurance rep on the phone and all was well.

Amazingly, he had his largest tow truck (well I do have a 9 seater... a small Prius this is not) and all eight of us fit (snuggly, I do admit) into his car. No seat belts of course.

Meantime, I was strenuously seeking a taxi man with a 9 seater vehicle (apparently quite rare). Of the fleet of 43 vehicles in Avignon, there was one 8 seater... and at long last he arrived. By 2:30PM we were en route for more wine tasting with a pleasant, extremely careful and slow-driving taxi man who took directions from me in a region he works regularly (got to love it, n'est-ce pas?).

He and I chatted a bit. I admired his collection of train conductor hats. Our pregnant passenger got the front seat and was thus not too squnched, and four (including two tall men, but slender, men) shared a not-too-ample back seat meant for three. The pleasant chattiness of our morning drive had definitely been dampened by the unforeseen events.

But the warm reception of Jean David, the funky and wonderful tasting room, the excellent wines, the tales of his history... this helped hugely. As did discovering the lovely wines of Gigondas, the gorgeous vistas, the hill towns around us.

It was not the perfect day I try to offer, but we all did our best. If nothing else, I suppose I proved I can adjust to difficult circumstances, grace under fire, flexibility when glitches appear, plans B, C, D, and more. And it might have been far worse... At least we had a good lunch, good wines, and lovely meetings. I met and got the card of a good tow guy (available even on holidays) and the local taxi service now knows me. But no, it was far from a 'normal' outing.

And my car? It was an electric cable that connects the starter to the motor. Once put back in place, soldered, etc., It was fixed within 24 hours for a relatively minor sum. Apparently I drove over one dirt road too many which likely dislodged the cable...Must have been that last visit to the beekeeper's.

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