Blog from Patrick Transports – THE THINGS YOU FIND ON THE ROADS OF FRANCE !
BLOG – The things you find on the roads in France
by Patrick Transports (Man and Van Collections and Delivery based in Brittany – regular runs to South West and Paris regions)
France is a beautiful country, diverse and disparate, and I am fortunate to spend a lot of time driving its highways and byways. On my travels I’ve seen a few things, from old boots to bits of truck tyre, from half a garden shed to a full dinner service, and of course, plenty of comedy French driving. Sunday 3rdNovember 2019 was a little different, however…
I have a regular run from Brittany to near Sens, in Burgundy but just to the south east of Paris, delivering pieces of old-fashioned Breton furniture to a small depot: the dark brown wooden furniture with the carved figures that, while I actually quite like it, is quite out-moded in France. My client keeps buying it though, so I’m happy. I like to do this run on a weekend, as the roads are generally quieter (no poids lourdson a Sunday) and, as I often come back via the edge of Paris this does make the return journey far less stressful.
This particular Sunday I was tootling along the N12 through alternating Norman cloudbursts and sunny intervals, thankful that even through the roadworks that saw bits of dual carriageway reduced to one lane and 70 km/h, I wasn’t going to be too late home for tea. I may even still be light when I get home.
There was another reason to be thankful that traffic was not too heavy and that the rain had stopped, giving way to autumn sunshine again: coming out of a section of contraflow and with everyone accelerating back up to 90 km/h, I noticed the car ahead swerve slightly, just before a side-road. Then I spotted something in the road, quite small and indistinct: a rag, no a child’s toy, no it’s moving, it’s a rat, a squirrel, no it’s… a….kitten:brakemirrorindicatemirrorlane2(clear)mirror(missed it); car behind stopped and put hazards on, as I pulled into the side road.
I got out of the van and walked back to see the little bedraggled chap, still half-heartedly staggering about, shivering like a very shivery thing. I knelt down near him and slowly put my hand out. He made the most feeble hiss at me, and an even more feeble attempt to walk away, so I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and removed him from the live lane of the dual carriageway. All this happened thanks to, and under the watchful eyes of the family in a white Audi, still with hazards on. I gestured to them: do you want him? Four heads shook. Emphatically.
I didn’t have a plan for this, and it didn’t come up on the course to get my transport licence… so I put him in the front of the van and had a quick think, before retrieving a plastic crate and a blanket from in the back. When I got back in the cab he had gone – not far, obviously, but he was investigating what was up behind the pedals. Another feeble hiss as he went in the crate.
With my new passenger I set off again, mind racing as to what to do. As I passed through a couple of villages I looked out for a vet’s, but I knew I wouldn’t find one open on a Sunday afternoon. And then I thought: even if I do find an emergency vet, what would they do with a random kitten, so soaked that you can’t tell even what colour he is, and only shivering slightly less than when he was in the road.
I phoned my partner: Don’t be cross, but I’ve done a bad thing…
After a check-up at the vet’s :
Named after the star of the 1970s Public Information Films,
Charley is now the mascot of Patrick Transports and features regularly on my Facebook page.