Sometimes memories surface. During a walk at the quarry near Olloy, for example. We went there, a while ago, with a few men on motorbikes.
Sending three hundred and fifty kilometers inside gives just that nice feeling of being away. It was at the time when the locals had just discovered that misbehaving Dutch off roaders could be shot. After all, every Belgian has at least one firearm at home? And in their faltering French, the Dutch rascals couldn't get a foothold at the local Gendarmerie either? So just shoot.
Our old mopeds were parked at the unlikely Hotel Rolinvaux. We took a leisurely afternoon walk. A small Walloon family dressed on Sunday walked in front of us. In the distance we heard loud barking single cylinders coming our way. Coming hard our way. Four heroes thundered down the dirt road through the ankle-deep puddles. The Sunday Walloons in front of us suddenly looked as if they had been fished out of the Meuse freehand. And it wasn't that we had to jump for our lives, but our retreat into the berm was hurried to say the least.
Behind the quartet came number five. He missed the lead of the unexpected. The angry Waal raised his fist. And got muddy again. While passing, one of us gave the tough knight a heartfelt slap on the shoulder as we passed. "Well done! Be so tough!” The Dutch don't handle compliments well. Completely gutted by his pat on the back, the off-roader lost his ideal line. He ended up in a ditch and left his motorcycle with flapping wings. Its arctic course ended a few meters below in the loose rubble of a rustic quarry. His landing did not deserve a beauty prize. He was spectacular.
A professional off-road outfit apparently provides fantastic protection. While the former air traveler was checking some uncontrolled bodily functions, de Waal took the keys from the crashed single cylinder. He looked at them disapprovingly and threw them away. We decided that picking up discarded things was not in our job description.
So we let the motorcyclist find out for himself where he had hurt himself. We walked on. And in the distance we heard the sound of engines swell again. The four musketeers had apparently noticed that they had a straggler. Well. They must have found him.
In the evening, after the lavish meal and with a sturdy glass in hand, we concluded that we had given our brave compatriots a collective learning moment. And that carefully dressed Walloon toddler? It could have been dead instead of muddy. Never heard of it again. The suckers must have spoken too bad French to make themselves understood by the Gendarmes. Should anyone after reading this story say, “But that wasn't in Olloy!” Then he's right.
The city name has been changed for privacy reasons. But the pat on the back was no less beautiful! You should have been driving better dude!