Yesterday we spent a wonderful morning painting in the Lot Valley near the Chateau Nozieres, our favorite winery. The day had begun with clouds, but the sun broke through as we painted. It was one of those great sunny days with big fluffy clouds floating overhead. We each did some pencil and color sketches, Jean’s in pastel and mine in watercolor.
At 1:00 we broke for lunch at a Creperie in Prayssac. A leisurely lunch with crepes and wine would put us in the Theze Valley near Montcabrier just in time for late afternoon light for more painting. However, our plans were not to be completed.
On the way over to the Theze a warning light and sirens erupted from the dashboard. They told me the ABS and Parking Brake were malfunctioning and I should seek assistance immediately. Of course we were on one of those typically narrow country roads with no place to stop, so I continued a couple of kilometers to the small village of Pomarede and pulled into the parking lot of a hotel/restaurant named Chez Jeanne. It was then that I discovered that my cell phone was dead and Jean had forgotten to take her phone along. The folks at Chez Jeanne helped me call Europcar and report the problem. Europcar said they would dispatch a mechanic within an hour and we settled down to wait. I called Sally (after calling Amy to get Sally’s number because she was inadvertently left out of the current phone book) at Atelier de la Rose to let her know what was happening.
An hour later a tow truck arrived with a French speaking driver. We attempted to communicate and he agreed to try to call his garage for a translation. However, by this time the restaurant staff had departed and the woman left behind would not let us use the phone again. Therefore, we agreed to ride in the tow truck to the garage where someone could speak a little English. An hour at the garage with a computer hooked to the car determined that it required a new sensor in the left rear wheel. This is a part they would have to order. Therefore, we called Sally who came to our rescue.
She arrived and spoke to the chief mechanic who said he would call in the morning (today) to let us know the situation. He called this morning to say the part had arrived, but that it would not be repaired until sometime Saturday. We have to leave on Saturday! Therefore, we called Europcar to tell them we needed a replacement vehicle. I used the English line, but got an agent whose command of English was only slightly better than my command of French. After much wrangling Jean went to see if Sally could translate fore us. She came to the studio and talked to the agent for some time to determine that we wanted a new car and when and where. He promised to find a car and call back. It has now been 3 hours without a peep from Europcar. Sally had to go do some errands (after all she does have a business to run!) so the phone is not being answered for a while. If they find us a car nearby she will give us a ride to pick it up. If it is not close Europcar will pay for a taxi to take us to the new car.
We must leave Saturday because we have a house waiting for us in Provence. Furthermore, Sally has the rooms rented Saturday night and a new artist arriving on Sunday. We are hoping to get a new car today or early tomorrow so we can get it packed and ready to leave Saturday morning.