Friday, 3 May 2002
As this morning was miserable, pouring with rain and cold, I decided to drive up the Somme visiting the old battlefields. I felt an AFD (Alcohol Free Day) was called for, as a reminder to my liver what it’s like to be sober and as a way of enforcing a bit of self discipline. I told myself it was to honour the memory of the hundreds of thousands of men who had died all around me but in reality I was struggling by 11 to shut out the little voice whispering ‘Go on! You’re in France, you can’t lunch without a glass of wine, one won’t hurt etc etc’
Drove on and on in the blinding rain and so lost concentration that I spun the Beast going into a tight bend. Being front wheel drive the rear just swung out and pulled me round. Fortunately, the road was clear and I was able to correct and recover. That settled it though, as far as an AFD was concerned and I have stuck to it all day. Can’t wait for tomorrow, mind you.
I am using the back roads and the traffic is very light but the roads are narrow and I am still trying to gauge the width of the Beast. I keep frightening the living daylights (and other stuff too) out of myself.
Tomorrow I want to be in the Loire valley early so that I can find a decent restaurant with rooms and treat myself to a bloody good lunch and not have to drive afterwards. That means using the bigger, wider, faster roads and fending off homicidal French lorry drivers who take one look at my Qatar plates and aim to mow me down.
Wish me luck.