mercredi 31 octobre 2007

There was an Englishman, a Frenchman and a Czech..

The Czech lorry driver returned this morning and I went to meet him at Castet. His lorry was 10 - 11m long, far too big to negotiate the corner in Castet d'Aleu. After greeting him in impecable Czech, I asked him how he was "Jak se mate?" Obviously thinking I spoke fluent Czech he immediately launched into a long response. I'm not too sure of the exact content but reading between the lines I think he said something like..."I waited here all bloody day yesterday and you didn't show up, so last night I had to sleep in my cab and it was f***ing freezing mate, to make matters worse I am travelling with my ex-wife's 60 year old father who has a 50% share in my truck, I hate him and he has terrible flatulance at night and he has the top bunk" which point I interupted him with "Mluvite Anglicky?" (do you speak English?). "No only Czech" he replied (in Czech of course). I think he then realised I didn't understand a word he was saying.

After some hopeless sign language in Franglais I returned home to fetch my trailer. I knew it would be too small for even 1 of the 18 bales of reed which I needed to collect, each of which was about 2.5m long by 1m diameter and weighing close to 300kg. After visits to locals I was unable to find a larger trailer at short notice but Paul in Aleu suggested I asked at the shop in Castet for directions to Monsieur Durand who had a lorry. I tracked him down and he came on his bicycle to look at the load to be shifted. He agreed to help.

The driver and I unloaded the lorry into a layby whilst he swore at his father-in-law who had the job of freewheeeling the lorry forward as we rolled the bales out of the back of the trailer. I bid 'Bonne Voyage' to the driver, ferried the ridge tiles and thatch fixings to Quelebu in my little trailer before returning to meet Monsieur Durand. Fortunately he had a forklift to go with his 1950's Saviem lorry (both about the same vintage). His lorry could just take 3 bales and managed between 5 and 15 mph on the steep hill upto Quelebu. It took until after dark (6.30) to shift the final load but at last they're all here. There's snow down to about 1200m at the moment and it was pretty cold today so I was glad to finish.

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