Friday, 27 May 2011

MOST of what follows is true.


It was so hot on Wednesday that my windscreen wipers started to melt and fused with the softening glass.

When I tried to clean the window of the goulash of bugs that were beginning to obscure my vision, the rubbers groaned and then the whole wiper fell spectacularly apart.

Considering how long and how embarrassing it had been to fit them in the first place, a story told here, this mechanical eruption was as unwelcome as any volcanic one.

Talking of volcanoes, the Toulouse Taxi drivers went on strike on Wednesday and took their protest to the city’s ring road, where they massed and then drove along at one mile an hour (or the equivalent in kilometer) in order to annoy as many people as possible.

News reports were full of warnings that advised motorists to navigate an obscure network of back roads or to remain at home if the journey was not strictly essential.

Mine was -so I left the forest in some trepidation.

At the end of the slip road that took me on to the orbital I saw two policemen a-straddle their idle motorbikes.

I thought – that’s strange, why aren’t they wearing their helmets?

They weren’t wearing any jackets either; they just stood in the sun and their shirtsleeves, clearly enjoying a spot of sunbathing.

The road itself, all three lanes – six if you count those on the other side – were empty, I was, apart from the sunbathing police, alone.

They waved as I slipped past.

Do you remember that week when the planes wouldn’t fly because of an ash cloud drifting around from Iceland?

Do you remember the sky?

Full of bird song, calm and empty?

The motorway was like that – virgin.

I felt like I was on holiday.

I guess everyone had stayed away and the taxi drivers had given up – the back roads must have been hell.

I stopped the car and got out and strolled across to the bit in the middle; I picked a flower.

I lay down, my ear to the tarmac – not a rumble.

It was weird.

Maybe I was in a David Lynch film?

It felt obscene to continue driving, so I left the car where it was and walked into town.

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