More car trouble

Aubusson is centred round the river Creuse. There are a myriad of shops, restaurants and bars on one side of the river, and steep narrow streets totter up the hill, above them. Houses embrace these roads with a fragility of purpose: you could almost believe that if you gave one a shove in the right place they would toboggan downhill whooping with delight all the way.

Jean-Pierre’s little Peugeot led us up one of these streets. The snow – compacted to ice – gave a cotton wool squeak beneath the tyres of our rental vehicle as I pulled to a halt, close to the wall, behind him. I double checked the handbrake –not trusting myself, or the car in this weather – and joined my wife and Jean-Pierre looking at the scene beneath us: the river Creuse glittering amongst the white-dusted roofs and steeples of the town.

The garden of the house was quite large and would have been ideal to grow vegetables on, with plenty of space to sit out and enjoy the view. The house, however, was disappointingly small. The second bedroom was in fact a landing area right outside the main bedroom and had no privacy – it would not be suitable for having friends over to stay. Unless you enjoy listening to your friends shagging, snoring or farting (some of my friends can manage all three simultaneously), and we have almost grown out of that.

Regretfully, we climbed back into the car and starting the engine attempted to drive up the hill. Alarmingly we went nowhere. The engine revved high as the wheels slipped on the ice below. A horrible smell of burning engine hit our nostrils and both of us began to panic; which usually involves an argument. We didn’t seem to be able to go up the hill, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to attempt to reverse down a winding, steep icy sledge-run.

I was beginning to hate this car.

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