10th September 2017

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So, coming off the ferry at Dunkirk our car was like one of the Red Arrows, graciously trailing huge plumes of smoke behind it, so it was easy to follow from miles around

Within half an hour though the car suddenly lost all power and we found ourselves stranded on the hard shoulder of a dual carriageway, at night, in the rain. With cars hurtling by, we took the safe option of getting out of the car and standing next to it on the other side of the crash barrier by the forest.

Now we could hear dogs howling but managed to convince ourselves in the dark that it was a pack of wolves that had smelt us and our fear and were beginning to circle us.

It is times like this you are glad you have the Mechanics with you. Well, ‘with you’ would be nice, but obviously they were 10 miles ahead of us, preferring not to follow in our exhaust fumes. Luckily though I had put ‘find friends’ on their phone so if we ever did get lost we could easily track each other’s location. The Mechanics aren’t from this era though and expecting them to be able to use an app on their iPhone is like expecting me to know how to open the bonnet of a taxi.

It was like a scene from Apocalypse Now where three of us were trapped behind enemy lines and out of ammo, with time running out as the enemy got closer. Then in swoop three helicopters, to the sound of Wagner, loaded with marines leaping from choppers before they even land, to save the day. Ok, so it was three taxis loaded with Mechanics, but still, we were very happy to see them. Within 15 minutes we had been rescued and towed to an Ibis hotel for the night.

In the light of day it appeared our car was broken, proper broken, exhaust fumes coming out the radiator broken.  So the plan was to take it to a local scrap yard to get rid of it. Although we found a scrap yard that was open, obviously they wouldn’t let us just give them the car for free as it was a Saturday, these things cannot be done on a Saturday in France.

So after driving around an industrial estate we found a nice Frenchman who eventually agreed to buy our baby off us for the princely sum of 10 euros. We tried to give it to him for free but you cannot do that sort of thing in France, not on a Saturday. We even threw the barbeque into the deal.

So we are now down to three taxis, one of which no longer has back seats as it’s a campervan. So with nine of us, a pop up bar, camping equipment,  luggage, camera gear, half a ton of mechanics tools as well as enough gin and tonic to start a bar (now, that’s an idea…) the rally is beginning to take on a more intimate feel. So basically, everything is going pretty much to plan…

We are just starting to get some video together, if you are interested do subscribe to the blog at www.davidbartonprice.com