This time I had a bit of notice that the BBC was coming in to film the Antiques Road Trip. It was the day before I was told that it would be Charles Hanson. I had better tack all my stock down I had said to one of the crew laughing. He is the bloke who seems all over the place. Bull in a China shop and all that stuff.
Mad dogs and Charles Hanson I thought.
He was off “Well Hello Wayne, what a shop I wish I hadn’t spent all my money I love it”
Here we go I waited for the punchline. He then ruined my day by saying he had the grand sum of 25 quid to spend. This is going to be the hardest 25 pounds I have ever earned I thought.
But in with the spirit of the programme I tried my hardest to make a sale and I suggested a few bits. I tried to tempt him with an 18century jug with a frog and a newt inside and this of course lined him up for all the jokes about being drunk as a newt and gave him time to show what he knew. Two minutes.
I had suggested he bought a Sabino Turkey or in french a Dindan he was off dindon, dindan dindan, dingdong he sang. I called it a Turkey after that but he wouldn’t stop he just kept going on and on, he is mad.
The price tag said £68 so he knew he was safe and I left him room with a £35 ask.
I even offered to throw in one of my spectacle holders that I make. He went for it.
“Wayne how do I get out of here he said can you give me directions”
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Thursday, 4 July 2013
What a chore it was, heading down to the South of France towards Montpellier it was like driving on the old Snake Pass.
Driving for a day sometimes you would not see a soul it was like the land that time forgot.
It is one of the most beautiful places in France.
I used to watch the petrol gauge in my transit visibly empty and I would cringe at the juice it would take just to get back up through the mountainous pass that was the only way to get through this region for me, and everyone else.
Passing a lorry on a narrow mountainous road is a hazardous affair. Especially when you are in the wrong place, or the wrong side of the car.
That’s where I learnt half of my French with my cassette ablaze in the car “Repeat after me ......Ou est. La Cathedral…sil vous plait” and Quell Heure est I’ll” and other stupid sentences that I never ever needed.
Expletives are soon picked up on a French road when you are sat on a red hot seat stewing in 98 degrees, when all you want to do is get to a hotel and freshen up, or better still get to the sea.
On one trip I rolled down the mountainous path and right into an Opel garage at the foot of the pass to have them all laugh at the diesel filter on the Vauxhall Astra I had just bought from Penny Lane Motors, who are not recommended by me.
Yes it looked like it should have been an air filter in a fish tank. I give them a right telling off when I got back.
I had been through Millau 50 times and then one day I noticed on the horizon the strangest thing.
There were poles being erected. Not just any old poles, they were like stilts that were springing up they were like skyscrapers, massive things, growing out of the earth.
Even in the distance you could see the scale of them.
The next time there was another few, and then the penny dropped when as if by magic a concrete carpet was being laid across them one at a time.
This was not possible I would say it defied gravity. It couldn't be possible to build a structure so light and simple that high.
Surely it couldn’t work, and yes, it was a bridge under construction.
Sometimes it would be half covered in mist other times it would be a silhouette as bold as brass against the hue.
I would look every time as I travelled past on that horrid road to see the progress.
It must be one of the wonders of the world if they can pull this off I would say.
And they did pull it off and it was opened.
Designed by Foster and Partners but erected by Frenchmen it is a remarkable feat of engineering that shows us British up.
Click on the above link for a full history of the feat.
Yes we will put the A75 between two mountains some one probably quipped in jest, but they did it.
Not only did they have the nerve to build it, they made it so beautiful and with as little concrete that is physically possible.
If you build it light it will hang light.
The first time I drove across it was worth every centime of the ten euro or so they charge.
I just had to stop at the viewing platform, with a café, and eat a packet of biscuits.
It seems to have become a shrine for people to wonder at the feat of engineering that all French people should be proud of. A pic-nic area with distinction.
I find it hard to put into words what is so good about it, other than its simplicity.
All brilliant design should make you wonder why it is good not state the obvious as journalists are paid to do. You do not need to write pages about it. Just look at it.
It has alleviated the traffic queues.
But now the views down to the valley of the River Tarn directly below the viaduct and the green forests that border it, are over, all too soon and you hanker for more.
In no time at all, unless you stop, you are on your merry way dreaming of the cool blue of the Med, as you should have done in the first place.
I don’t know how many awards it has won but it gets my award for sheer audacity and undertaking and beauty.