Off the Wall

up the wall and over the edge

It’s another day in paradise and Mike sets off to buy croissants. He returns just minutes after leaving, tight-faced, arms flapping, mouth stretched into a grimace.
“What’s happened?” I ask, assuming he’s forgotten his keys, his glasses, or perhaps even his brain.

“Just look,” he says.
So I put my head outside the front door. The car is wedged, its back end on the grass outside the house, the front end on the road, a low wall dividing the two, jutting up into the middle of the chassis.

“How did you do that?” I’m astounded. He’s driven off the edge of a bloody wall. And it’s not the first time. He’d already cut the corner the last time we were here, dislodging the back end of the bodywork. This time it looks bad.

“What shall I do?”

He’s pacing in a panic. I suggest the AA, as we joined Euro assistance a few years ago. We don’t know the right number, so he calls the UK service, waits in a queue for minutes of furious huffing and puffing, finds out the right number and calls it. It seems he didn’t renew the policy last July.

More panic, veering towards a Ben style paddy. Then he goes off to ask for advice from the bar owner up the road. I tell the children they won’t be getting their chocolate croissants this morning, and they just about manage to leave Mona the Vampire for long enough to look out of the window.

“Why’s the car stuck on the wall?” asks Hannah.

“I’m still not eating my cereal,” complains croissant addicted Ben.

Mike returns with local bar owner, who kneels down to check the damage. Another villager stops as he passes in his car, followed quickly by another. Any more and there’ll be the full Saturday afternoon boules team standing around sucking their teeth, amazed at the foolish shenanigans of the mad Englishman on the corner.

One chap reckons we should take a few stones out of the wall to stop it cutting into the car, so Mike fetches a chisel that he bought at a vide grenier (a car boot sale to you and me ) and he finds the hammer we use to put pictures up.

This is dismissed as a toffee hammer by two of the assembled throng. So one of them goes off to get some decent tools while another advises us to pile up more stones underneath the wall and then reverse the car back up the way it came.

Sounds simple enough to work, so we try it, but not before I take some photos for posterity. Perhaps if I blow one up and put it in the hallway it’ll remind Mike that there is, in fact, a wall outside the house that should be avoided when driving.

So we fetch the rocks piled up, for some reason by the previous owners, under the house and the practical men of the village stack them next to the wall.

The children stick with Mona and miss out on the exciting moment when Mike reverses the car, three men push down on the bonnet and it lurches back up the rocks and over the wall.

A miracle. No damage that we can see and our car is back on the road. We will be able to get home in time for the start of term.

There is though, the matter of a few stones missing from the wall, which is owned by the commune. So Mike walks up the road with a bucket to beg a bit of cement to stick it all back together.

His first foray into brick-laying, and probably his last.
Unfortunately the same probably cannot be said about his predilection for driving off walls.



About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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One Response to Off the Wall

  1. clare says:

    Hello, just dropped by your blog and funnily enough I was in France (via overnight ferry to St Malo on 6 April) at the same time as you, with very similarly-aged children (older boy, younger girl) and travelling in our Volvo V40. We too ‘enjoyed’ the magician on the way back! Your comparison of your and your husband’s mornings rang serious bells too… Anyway, love the blog.

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