Warm! - column

It has been too hot for the past few days. I had the idea of ​​sitting under a tree like an African and waiting for the relief supplies to be flown in. No chance.

Motorcycling? It was too hot for that. The further phasing out of the side valve? Under the black bitumen roof of the garage? Also without a chance.

It reminded me of a similar heat wave near Preuilly, in central France. We were there, where more than 200 people lived at the time, landed / stranded after a long, hot day. Three classic British - then just 'old' bicycles - were not happy with 35 degrees under the clear blue sky. A tape had been stuck. And at the BSA - “You're not going on that thing, are you ?! We won't even make it to Liège !! ” - a front wheel bearing sounded like a baby cement mixer.

The schedule was turned upside down

It was after four. And then it becomes difficult to find accommodation in France. We asked a local for advice. “Vous pouvez demander au Hollandaise fou, la-bas dans le château”. So ask the crazy Dutch in the castle. That castle was an old, large country house with hairdos.

A beautifully modeled manageress

The entrance was impressive. We were greeted by an estimated thirty-year-old man with straight black hair. He had the look and feel of a criminal in a XNUMXs movie. He squinted and told us to wait. The manageress appeared. A beautifully modeled late fifties / early sixties star with a cigarette butt in her mouth. A kind of castle woman whose best before date had clearly passed. She looked at us with an expert eye and apparently saw no reason to send the dog and the butler to us.

To be on the safe side, we started to say in French that we were Dutch. We turned out to have the right person for us. The lady of the castle was gracious to us. We were given rooms and the offer to have an evening meal at the castle. The bikes were allowed in a shed. If we just made some space there. Showering was equally difficult due to the water pressure. But we were allowed to use the pool. It turned out to be almost overgrown with some kind of freshwater lettuce and the water was lukewarm. We got the keys from a rickety little Toyotaat to get a case of beer. We had to advance that. Because the lady was broke for a while.

Uniquely Dutch

But, she assured us with a cough, there would be plenty of wine with dinner. The Toyota had Dutch plates, a tired clutch and hardly any brakes.
In the darkness of the village shop / pub, some lethargic men sat drinking Ricard. And wine. “Ah, vous ètes avec la sorcière hollandaise”. "You are with the Dutch witch".

We had a few glasses with our tipsy friends. The witch had had many husbands. A lot of children. She didn't work. She had bought the castle. Hardly any guests came. “Uniquement des néerlandais” The purchase had been stupid. Because during the war 'les Boches' had tortured people there. It was no good. But German trucks would have entered a tunnel at night under the castle. To hide things that no one had found yet. Perhaps the Dutch was not Dutch, but German and in search of the war treasures. And the man we estimated as a butler or criminal was her lover. He also hit her regularly. And grew 'drugs' on the sunny shelf of the roof.

At home at the castle the lady of the castle was no longer completely clear. The cutlery lay loosely on an old silk tablecloth. The spinach had thawed straight out of the freezer and kept the shape of the cardboard box neatly. The potatoes were fine. The meat too. There was also little to criticize about the wine. But that could also be because we were a bit less critical at the time.

Citroën DS

We heard that our castle lady had six children from seven different fathers. Or vice versa. One of those children, who is with the Irish father, but he lived in Amsterdam, would come the next day with four friends. He did that every year. Then they bought five locally Citroen DSsen and drove with them to the Netherlands. The car they had brought stayed in Preuilly. The lady of the castle then drove around uninsured for a year. Until the next automobile pastry was delivered. Ah: That explained the three wrecks in the backyard.

Our rooms behind the thick walls were clean and cool. We slept like roses. The next day we were allowed - again at our own expense - to get baguette. When we checked out to spend the day looking for a wheel bearing for the BSA, the beer and bread that we had bought and paid for were credited to the bill by hand.

And it was so hot that whole day. Our next overnight stay was an almost forgotten family hotel that was built in by an industrial estate full of uncertainty. The owners were pleasantly surprised with our visit. An estimated 12-year-old son served smartly dressed. The food was exquisite. The white wine delicious. Later, the family sat down with us. We heard stories of bureaucracy, malheur and setbacks. "We used to be known throughout the region!"

It was getting late again. In my room I saw that the inward opening windows were fitted with curtains. I bet on some nighttime refreshment and opened the windows. A foot from my windows was a corrugated steel wall of a hall that had been erected just next to the hotel.

And it stayed warm.


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  1. Dolf you know by now that there are still those idiots who continue to ride on two wheels despite the weather. On Thursday we went to Lelystad with nine members of our club to do a VRO. Very fun, educational and hot. Fortunately, the water bowl provided some cooling there in the afternoon. Fresh drinking water was also regularly supplied and none of our club or other groups had to stop because of the heat. But during the evaluation it was often said that it was warm.

    • Hello Theo, We were waiting for relief supplies. Not on auxiliary troops. And if you come there, you will see that there is a different work ethic in Africa than here. Certainly because with those temperatures - which we now also have here, you can literally work to death if you maintain an average North Holland small entrepreneurial pace. So in this my approach was positively inspired

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