I set off in the merc yesterday morning in search of parsnips for Christmas lunch (note the forward planning - not my usual behaviour at all). Parsnips to the French tend to be something to feed to animals, so I wanted to make sure I could get some in the local Saturday morning market before (if necessary) setting off further afield.
Tod was feeling frail (late night on Friday playing bridge) and Vita was being bouncy so I packed her in the car to leave Tod in peace thinking it would be good for her to wander round the market with me. In the confusion of collecting dog, lead, shopping bags, car keys, I'd driven half way up our chemin to the road at the top when I realised I'd forgotten the handle that I wanted to take into the local Brico store to find some special screws it needed.
So I reversed back down the chemin - dog bouncing in back, watching out for the ditches on both sides, carefully avoiding our postbox, mesmerised by the black metal gate post - when there was a horrible crunch and the car sagged. I climbed out to find the back right-side wheel hanging in mid air over the deep hole where the drainage under the chemin emerges before it runs off down Serge's field.
So back down to the cottage, feeling foolish, dog in tow, to ask Tod how frail he was feeling and whether he could help. Looking at how the car was balanced over the hole, all its weight on the (very flat) back left tyre, we decided we needed George's expert help (again!).
Fortunately Tod had discovered the secret of getting our tractor going. It took George a couple of determined tugs on his tow rope - tractor wheels grinding in the mud - and the merc jerked back onto the chemin with a flat tyre but otherwise unscathed.
That's three of us now who've been in the ditch. (Breakdown assistance.) I was too embarrassed to take photos.
George went off to the bank. Tod and Vita went back for a snooze. I took the Batmobile and got the parsnips and the screws for the handle. Could have been a lot worse!