EDitorial ± 5-Sep-2006

Back In The Saddle

Alors, lunchtime on Tuesday 22nd August and it's off we jolly well into Tesson to witness lycra-ed men on pushbikes. For today, mes amis, is stage 1 of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, and those velocipeddlers are due to whizz through the local village. I'd expected a sign, maybe some bunting, mais non. Instead a small band of us are gathered near the war memorial to watch the jovial be-capped marshall attempt to dissuade motorists from heading into the due-any-minute peloton.

Soon there are motorbikes, gendarmes, press cars, more security, you name it. Finally there's half-a-dozen colourful chaps who've broken from the pack, swiftly followed by the herd ... whoosh! And they're gone in less than 60 seconds, on to Gemozac, Merignac, and ultimately Cognac some four hours later.

A break from baguette packed lunch that same day finds us at a cafe in Pons, you must know it, the one that faces the mighty donjon? Popping inside, there's a chap at the bar watching some cycling on the telly. Gathering my regular verbs about me, I construct a sentence along the lines of:

We have seen the cyclists this morning at Tesson

Mme Johnston, my old professeur, would have been so proud. But this chap seems a little confused and, to be honest, I don't understand much of his reply. Looking at the screen, I now see that it mentions Belgium in the top right corner:

This is not the Tour du Poitou-Charentes?

No, he says, that's isn't on the telly. This is a low countries race, you know, Belgium, Netherlands, etc. Ah, I acknowledge, and slink away. Did my little bit there for the old peppermint cordiale.