Jay's Jottings Bergerac 2013


A 90 minute flight from Stansted to Bergerac on Thursday 23 May saw four of us in a cold and windy (in more ways than one!) France.

Having told the rest of them to bring their swim gear as it would be hot I somewhat got it in the neck when it was just 8 degrees !  Brr !
Nope – no beauties like this one !

Friday was a visit to a power station on the Dordogne and we watched the salmon swim up the elevator to reach their breeding grounds. Guess what we had to eat later - fish and chips!

EDF ran the power station, the water from the dam drove the turbine and produced the electricity - so it didn't cost anything to produce. Why then do us Brits have to pay so much for electricity ?

Sat Nav guru Steve Brace got us lost again, miraculously we came back to Bergerac on a back road that came out right opposite our hotel/. "I thought it would come out there " he boasted.  Yeh right!

Friday night we saw the French police in action in the town when 2 policeman tackled a couple that had had to much beer but they put up a fight when they were invited to go in the police car, they were rolling around putting up strong resistance when two other police cars arrived and it was game over and the cuffs went on - so much for sleepy France !

Saturday resulted in an early start and a hour trip to Artiques, but with a new road and an old sat nav that had not been updated it often gave us the wrong instructions and indicated we were "off road".

Practice started at 10.30 and was nothing to get excited about, so Steve Brace said we should adjourn for a cheap lunch in the adjoining aero club, after a look at the very nicely dressed tables we were very impressed but when we saw the price list we decided otherwise and it was off to Saint Emillion, the home of the finest A grade prize winning wines in the world grown on clay and limestone south facing slopes.

We had a tour of a chateau (Rochebelle) and its wine cellars, apparently the stone from the wine cellars was floated down the river on boats and used to build Bordeaux,  the tour lady was very helpful, it was followed by some wine tasting (which is why we went!)  We were told many times that Saint Emillion is the home of the finest A grade prize winning wines in the world grown on clay and limestone south facing slopes, we were told so many times that I even remembered it word for word so I could share it with you !

We only got a small splash of red wine in the glass for the wine tasting. Will Stock drunk his down in one and pulled a nasty face, we was then told how to swill it round, smell it, look at the walls of the glass and finally drink it, Will was lucky - he got a re fill ! I knocked mine back too but she wouldn’t give me any more!

Then came the hard sell for some wine sales at the end of the tasting, Steve Todd immediately declared he only liked white wine, that was like a red rag to a bull to the woman guide and when she realised we were not going to buy any wine she turned very waspy indeed! Not surprising we didn’t buy any when the cheapest bottle was €28 and it went up to €100  - all for a 75cl bottle!  We went into town and got a bottle for just €8 !

It was a cold evening for the racing and David Howe (who could not get there in time for practice) had arrived nursing a wrist injury and it looked as though he may not manage many heats as he couldn’t even pull his sock off as he got changed!

Despite this David rode his socks off - whoops - maybe that’s why - and got first pick of grids for the B final and qualified for the UEM final, his 3rd ride was absolutely brilliant as he worked his way through the pack to win. Glen Phillips had some awful luck, a cam bearing gave up on his 4th ride when he looked set for the A final, then whilst battling in the B final to make the A final he dropped it, no lack of effort there ! Andrew Appleton was not on his favourite track and didn’t have his best night, but even when our boys have an off night they are still battling hard, so some comments you read on certain websites must be particularly galling for them.

During the interval we met Cecil Taylor the former many times 500cc UK sidecar champion, he invited us back to his caravan for a drink, it was homemade wine and very nice indeed, Cecil kept refilling our glasses and I cant remember what the rest of the racing was like !

Poor Linda, his wife was working for the French Club on the evening and when the event was finally over she was glad to get back into the caravan with Cecil for a relaxing glass of wine or two, EXCEPT – we had drank it all. Sorry Linda – we owe you a bottle or two  !

We got back to our hotel at 01.40am, it was just 4 degrees - brr.

The next day we went for a boat ride on the Dordogne, a Gabarre boat - except we didn’t. The river was in flood and had a current of 6mph and the boats only do 3mph so we gave it a miss, otherwise it was a one way ticket downstream!!!

Sunday morning was check-out at the hotel and we were given a free bottle of white Bergerac wine after we told her about the red wine tasting as the manageress told us St Emillion wine was yuk, Bergerac wine was much better!.

We sat by the river and sampled both, neither impressed us and in the end we mixed the two wines in one glass for a bit of Rose coloured wine, we Brits have such class!

Steve Todd fell asleep on a public seat and looked like a tramp, he didn’t have a hat on and the sun was now out so his head was as bright as a red traffic light. When we got to the airport I squirted a bit (well rather a lot actually !) of sun tan oil onto his head much to the amusement of those in the departure lounge, by the time he had rubbed it in his head was white again !

Just a minor hitch at the airport on the way back, the French police took a disliking to my baseball cap - apparently it had a cannabis plant embroidered on it at the front - I didn’t know that - I just knew it cost me only a couple of quid whilst in Spain.

Apparently its illegal to advertise drugs in France.  Anyway I had a trip to the back room of the border control after Will Stock said I wasn’t with him. Thanks pal ! They sent in a dog who was very interested in me and the police were immediately suspicious, “He can smell my dog” I declared, but they didn’t believe me. I then said that I couldn’t understand why they were interested in me – I was now LEAVING their country – not bringing drugs into it!  They were not amused. . Every single item in my case was inspected, fortunately I didn’t get the rubber glove treatment ! I said my plane was now boarding to which the reply from the police was “Thats your problem  - not ours!”    Great eh ?

 They finally let me go, after recording my passport details on to their database, I am now a marked man in France,  everyone else was already on the plane. Phew that was a close one!

We finally arrived back in Stansted – but my sat nav holder didn’t – that was still attached to the hire car in France – grr !



Jay's Jottings 2012