June 27, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers...

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers"... Yeah, Blanche and I can now both use that quote... Checked bike this morning; front valve was stuck and the tire was flat, so visited the bike/motorcycle shop for free valve adjustment and some free air. Rode the bike to Thouars, and was hopeful - when I started; slight breeze against me (to be at my back on the way home), but the wind shifted before I entered that town, which meant the wind was definitely against me when I returned home. Spent most of the day wandering around town - sorry, Cafe Paix (Peace Cafe) was closed, so I could not join my new friend for another "Coca" (term for Coca-Cola). Picked up a few small items from Goodwill, flea market, and at a nice shop, took some photos of a cow wading in the river, and of a healthy riverside garden, and headed home.

The town of Thouars is about 21 km from Argenton-Chateau, and there are only three very large hills, one as you first leave my town, and another at the halfway point; a small village called Massais, and the third just prior to Thouars. The shoulder along the road through Massais is rather rough, and I noted a slight increase in vibration as I coasted down into the valley before climbing their monster hill - The vibrations became much heavier, and louder, and then much worse as I struggled to reach hill top. Let us just say - the front tire was still fine, the back was not. I had just learned proper terms for ("my tire is flat"), "mon pneu est a plat", so I tried the phrase at the only tiny grocery store in town...The lady spoke "un peu" ("a little") English, asked me where I was from (-in French - which I understood), and offered to have her husband drive me home. He refused payment of any kind, as well as one of my handi-wipes for his dirty hands after crawling around under his sedan to find a place to attach a bungee cord. The driver dropped me and my wounded bike off at the same bike shop in town, and 20 Euros later, there is a lovely brand new tire and tube, fixed in less than 10 minutes. Ah, the kindness of strangers.

Please note: The photo of the bike was taken at Thouars prior to any tire related incidents. M


Anonymous said...

Lovely story. Even more beautiful pictures . . . L2

Kim G said...

Makes me wonder if the same thing would have happened in USA? Hmmmmm. I like the wading cow picture.

Cat clock name: Frenchee