A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

Author:Stephen Clarke [Clarke, Stephen]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: Europe, Humorous, Travel, France, British, Fiction, General, Tearooms, Paris (France)
ISBN: 9781582346175
Publisher: Bloomsbury

We headed away from the sun at approximately double the legal speed limit. He was driving so fast that it seemed highly probable he would leave the sun behind and take us back into night. He wasn't the only one. We were in fourth or fifth place in a column of large cars charging along the autoroute at the same speed, using their combined power ten scare slower cars out of the fast lane. In fact it felt marginally safer this way, because you floated past the chaos happening on your right, where people were suddenly shooting out unannounced from behind trucks, overtaking on the inside, or driving just inches from the rear bumper of the car in front. It was easy to see why France has the worst accident statistics in Europe. One breath of fog, one drop of rain, and this behaviour becomes literally murderous.

Today was dry but slightly frosty. A small patch of black ice would have sent us skidding all the way to the Atlantic, but Jean-Marie was willing to take the chance. As he propelled us towards the country, he kept his eyes riveted to the car in front, looking for the slightest sign of failing speed so that he'd be able to overtake. Meanwhile, he ranted on about the ungrateful farmers. The ministry had received a tip-off about him, it seemed, and he'd had to provide proof to the inspector that all his beef came from legal sources.

"Which was no problem, of course."

"Of course."

And today he had to go and see someone "with influence over the farmers", he said, "and kiss their feet like a slave in front of the caïd".

I didn't know exactly what a caïd was, but from Jean-Marie's expression, they probably didn't wash between their toes.



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