Driving you mad

News generally goes round our village like wildfire, but unusually today, it didn’t move as fast as the cars that got caught by the speed trap. For the first time ever, the gendarmes put up a speed check a couple of miles down the only road leading in and in doing so managed to pull off a coup that will probably pay for their Christmas party and next year’s as well.

I was leaving on a school trip with the kids and looked on somewhat smugly from the heights of the coach, at the growing cluster of villagers stopped on their morning pilgrimage to the baker’s (I say “smugly” as under normal circumstances I probably would have been among them). The bemusement was general; the village is not on most maps and had remained, until today, off the beat of the local traffic police. I suppose it is safe to say that a large part of the population had got into a few bad habits.

My brother-in-law was one of those who was stopped and among the few who didn’t get an on-the-spot fine. He got away with nothing but a few questions from a rather bewildered traffic cop: “Why does nobody here wear seatbelts? Why does nobody respect the speed limits?” In other words, “to what do we owe this state of anarchy, long eradicated from all other roads in France?” “We’ll be here all week” he was cautioned before being allowed to drive off.

I think that counting points has just become the new local pastime.

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