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:: Sunday, 17 September 2006 ::


Big drivey day in sunshiney goodness. But first a stop to
Rouen Cathedral

which has
the biggest door snake I have ever seen.

Then big drivey day including a terrific aside into Grande Couronne and environs where there used to be a Formula One racetrack on public roads, but all the fun stopped in 1994. There is no signage I could find to indicate where the fun used to happen but it was sure fun to scoot round teeny streets all the way from there and on down to L'Aigle (which reminds me of "the Glavin", for some reason).

Only strageness was the constant presence of
this signage.

....Yes. That is all I have to say about it.

Now, not sure how it came to pass but the only radio I could pick up on the Mazda was the football tragic's channel from the UK, so I got to hear a called game, around the grounds reports, and then, best of all, for a lovely weekend drive as the earth rises slowly in the West (thanks, Galileo) I got to hear the scores report:

Sheffield Wednesday 1, Everton Nil
Dum-de-dum 3,....Everton Nil

Just like when my Pa was driving the Alfa with me scrunched up in the back, all the way home on a Sunday night.

Like a cup of cocoa that sound of calling soccer scores is. Love it.

Acthally, I heard the Wigan 2 Everton 2 game and it was quite the corker, all goals scored in second half. None by Timmy Cahill, little Oz battler that he is. But he had a good game nevertheless.

So, drivey drivey, scoot scoot, listening to crazed Englanders talk about how Arsen Venger has every right to be a jackass, cos he's just that kind of winning sort, and they're all jackasses, right? Right? Whatever. Time to give away a leaf shredder to the next called who can name the entire winning squad of Whatever FC(might as well have been Barnstoneworth United, really, I am not kidding, that radio station is outta control. Honestly, they seemed always on the verge of saying: Hagarty A, Hagarty F, MacIntyre, Treadmore, Davitt ....and I don't remember anymore. Anyone does and can be bothered, do drop the full list into comments.)

So, the sun starts setting and I pop the roof up and head into Poitiers, driving on past the shiney big neon sign of the perfectly respectable Mercure Hotel located at Chatellrault and on into the big town of Poitiers which seems to make not the slightest effort at being welcoming or nice even to look at. Through a kind of French EastLA vibey area and up up on thin mean damp streets, as the rain started to come down a bit. Not a hotel in sight - wha'? This town is meant to be the region's capital city - no nice hoteley action for Mazda and me?

Now, being as I was feeling all kind of nostalgie for my youth as a passenger on weekend nights listening to the soccer with my Pa, I started thinking about the ol' man, and it just popped into my head. Pure subconscious I guess, or, as I prefer to think, Gino from the other side sending me a sign and making his usual mischief. I started thinking about a weirdo story that he really liked, that was French. All about a strange town and a strange hotel where weary travellers would go and, although they felt uneasy about the hoteliers, they would press on and would be shown to their room, and found it contained a large four-poster bed. Happy happy joy joy thought they.


In the night, as the weary travellers slept the sleep of the sleepy in the big bed, the four posts would slowly turn turn, screwing downwards, to suffocate the weary travellers, so the hoteliers could rob them. And pass off the corpses as having passed away of natural causes in the night.

Probably of weariness.

How Gino laughed and laughed at that story. Well, I thought to myself, let's see if we can find ourselves an authentic terrifying French Auberge where there's something amiss about the proprietor.

Pas de probem. Found it on the first go. When I asked if I could have 'a chambre avec internet and security parking pour La Mazda' he spat and gestured dismissively 'No internet. Carpark, turn right, 5 minutes it shuts. 50 Euro cash. No breakfast.'

Heaven. Things had started badly and it only got worse. It was 'security parking' from the street, alright. That was ecure as all get out. Doors made in the 18th century, unlikely to be scaled or perforated by any modern menace. It was the awning over the carpark and the fact that crammed in there were 7 other cars, in a space that in Oz would never shoehorn in more than 5 cars, tops. Not even in Sydney. And the awning looked to be an earlier relic than the security doors.

Would it hold for the night? Maybe. Would I hold up, though, with the obvious drug den in the room beside me, with the loud African music and the loud Africans in and out of their room and into the hallway, always screaming with the "Allez Allez".

Hurry Hurry? For what? For the lift at the end of the hall? It was on of those that can only hold 2 tiny French people. It held me and my bags - just barely - and inched its way upwards and downwards as the enviro-friendly lights cut out every few seconds leaving me in a confined space and in the pitch dark. Joy.

No soap, 1 tiny towel, a teevee chained to wall and walls as paper thin as all get out. I didn't so much sleep as lie there waiting for the Africans to pass out, which they duly did at about 1 which was civilsed for a Satdy night. Anyhoo, the upshot, I have stayed in an 18th C divey hotel that has had all the charm beaten out of it, except the lovely windows and high ceilings and uneven floors. I have experienced malevolent French 'hospitality' and I can so get that weary traveller story better than ever. Seriously, even if I hadn't read the story, I would have taken that room - cos when you're weary, you're weary, right?


Look at the size of that thing! It's gotta be 7 foot across.
:: WB 10:23 am [link+] ::

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