I was feeling rough, suffering from some sort of bug. The weather was unseasonally warm. I sweated over changing the wheel.
Eventually we found our hotel. The next morning we had to find a new wheel. There was a Citroen garage only a couple of hundred yards from our hotel. The man there said it would take him two or three days to get a replacement wheel. We said we had appointments 250 kilometres away the next day, and then further appointments even further away the day after that. Gallic shrug.
We also had a full day of tasting lined up at a wine trade fair outside Montpellier that day. After scouring the internet, we found a garage on the edge of Montpellier that said they could find a new wheel and tyre for us that day. Appropriately enough, it was called Garage Bru. They were brilliant, cando people. The owner reminded me of Jean-Paul Belmondo – he moved with his shoulders. We left the dead wheel with him and went off to taste. We spent the day tasting Cahors wines, and were impressed: no longer do you meet tough, black, unyielding wines as you used to; they were much more approachable, and the general standard of winemaking was pleasingly high. We found one domaine, Château les Croisille, whose wines we particularly liked, in fact, positively excited us; and you will be delighted to hear that I have shipped a pallet of wine from them!
We returned to Garage Bru to pick up our wheel – they said it would be ready for collection by five o’clock. No wheel. We waited an hour. No wheel. Dusk was beginning to set in. We waited. The mechanics started going home. We asked if we would get our wheel. They said yes, we’d get it. It was getting dark – seven o’clock. Finally, just after seven, our wheel arrived. The cost was surprisingly cheap. So I recommend, if you are going to destroy a wheel, do it in France – much cheaper than in Britain.
We now had to hurry on to our hotel, which was over an hour’s drive away. But we made it in time: after our adventures in Montpellier (we had had to buy a new wheel for the van), we had arrived exhausted at our hotel in Saint-Geniès-de-Malgoirès just in time for a late supper.