Manu

mardi 5 juillet 2011
par  Barry, Hervé
popularité : 5%

Manu is one of our most senior members. With Sylvie, they’re always game for a trip to wherever, and their faithful Triumph Tiger is always on the starting grid. What’s more, you can really count on Manu ; not, of course as a group leader, because whether it’s with his Michelin maps or – more recently – his sat-nav, he really isn’t an ace of orienteering, because our Manu… well, he rides by ear ! However he doesn’t have his match when it comes to shepherding lost motorcyclists back to the hotel or for sorting out the trickiest of situations. He’s got more tall stories to tell than I’ve had hot dinners : I’ll let him tell his latest one himself !

And it had all started so well…

We had arrived at the port of Marseille in the early morning. We were with a group of motorcyclists returning from a trip through Sardinia and Corsica and, as ever, it was that rather sad moment when everyone has to say farewell. But the holidays were over, and we had to return to our respective “home sweet homes ???.

As for us, well, we weren’t in any hurry, so we decided to take a bit of time to get back to the spring mists of Saint-Etienne. I had fond memories of the Drôme Provençale region form the 2010 “Cent Cols ??? tour, and it wasn’t that far away, so why not see more of it ?

We had only been on the road for a couple of hours and had only ridden a few corners ; a gnat’s cock compared to what we had done during our trip through the two most beautiful Mediterranean islands. Suddenly, the bike seemed to start “whistling ??? for a brief moment. A bit nonplussed, we initially thought that it was an outside noise, and I wasn’t about to make much of it : the weather was great, the road was ours, there wasn’t anybody else around… let’s ride !

But it only lasted for a few more kilometres. On the exit of a sweeping bend “Guenièvre ??? began wallowing around (I’ve never really understood why Manu had christened his Tiger “Guenièvre ??? (Guinevere) ; after all he only rides it like he stole it… from Camelot ! Oh all right, I’ll keep my puns to myself, then – Ed.)

We made an unscheduled stop in the middle of nowhere, and could see that neither the front or rear tyres were flat… in other words it was more serious than we thought. We tried to get going again, but try riding a bike that’s shimmying all over the shop and loaded to the gills to boot ! I had told Sylvie not to buy so much charcuterie from our friend Pierre the grocer.

A road sign informed us that there was a village a few kilometres further on. As best we could, almost at walking pace, we took a good half-hour to reach Valaurie, a quiet little village perched on a hilltop overlooking the plain, and with a large car park at its entrance.

We had just parked the bike in the shade of a gateway to consider our situation when a bloke came out of the house opposite to ask us if we were coming for the tasting session. It so happened that we were parked in front of a local producer, the ROZEL estate, which was open on that Easter Monday and whose owner just happens to be a motorcyclist.

Somewhat embarrassed, we explained our predicament. The chap wasn’t the least put out and, opening the door of his barn he said “Don’t worry, we’re not going t make a big issue of it ; while you wait for a repair truck, just park you bike with mine and come and have a drink ???.
Done and dusted : the ailing Guenièvre was laid up alongside the winemaker’s bikes and he called over his son, telling him to fetch a couple of bottles and some nibbles.

You know how I am : I’m always in a merry mood for a drink. In any case, we were better there than moping around on a car park waiting for a repair van.

In fact, we were there for quite some time. It has to be said that mechanics weren’t exactly tripping over each other to come and pick up a bike in some God-forsaken part of the Drôme. I’ll spare you the gory details, but after tasting various bottles, we ended up sitting at the family table to share their meal. It should be said that we were in a way human guinea pigs, who want to open a gîte alongside their winery.

Given the fare and the cook’s expertise, I can tell you that it’s a god idea : gourmets will be delighted !

And what about the mechanic ? Well, he turned up just as we were finishing off the pudding and coffee, which he had with us, as a matter of fact.

We got back home by taxi, whilst Guenièvre got back aboard a flatbed lorry ; the little minx had blown a rear wheel bearing. All the same, we were pretty pleased, because we had discovered a new address to recommend to our mates.

It just goes to show that if you leave things to chance, even the least promising situations can end well.

If you’re going through that part of the world, drop in at the Domaine de Rozel, and say that you’re there on our recommendation ; don’t turn up about lunchtime, or else you might never leave again !

Our thanks go to them !

Manu


Domaine de Rozel


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