At 2pm our bodies were exhumed by that grim autospsy techician, the conscious mind. I felt like the fluffy dough of my thoughts had been mixed with asbestos-laced concrete and melded together with super-glue, and the physical pretences of my bipedal frame were as loose and fragile as an inwardly exploding tower block. Mr Wasim was also suffering much as I, our dentist chair faces abused by the aneasthetic of utter exhaustion, hanging around the jaw badly tailored. And as we moved back to the petrol pump, our abused selves somehow formed an agreement to coordinate movements, if only to deliver us to our hitching post like a pair of stringless thunderbirds, our dead-weight torsos riding magic legs.
A quick visit to the pharmacy of the petrol station's coffee bar and we were out there again, soliciting lifts. And we were lucky very quickly. Yvonne and Simon welcomed us into their car and we were off north in their very nice BMW. They dropped us at a petrol station to the south of Poitiers, just as night was circling above, spreading its black wings over us. Quite a bit of can't be bothered soliciting later and two excitable young ladies, Chloe and Camille, picked us up and dropped us in the middle of nowhere on an obscure road connecting to the autoroute. This was bothering as it was now 2am, so we dropped into a place behind an electircity station to sleep, but the heavens opened and drenched us and we fled off along the autoroute to find a service station, with a pair of road signs as tobbogans (down the motorway verge) and umbrellas for our heads. Our predicament was now extremely obscure, cars and trucks honking at our masked faces staggering up the hardshoulder. Five kilometres of this bleak winter weather and we spied an alternative, a vast and bizzarre recent construction, a grand and enigmatic mini-city known as Futuroscope. Clambering the fence, we wanted for nothing more than dryness and warmth and after a few staggerings around the sodden eerily empty plazas, by triangular buildings and monstrously zany archways, we came accross a hotel of quite incredible pretensions but realistically low prices. Sixty six euros and a room for two.
In the morning everything was wet, ruined like scribbled phone numbers from the night before. We were smelly, and I went down to pay, had my coffee and washed it down with a cheekily dispatched conversation to practice my french. I endeavoured to express joy at my "small" coffee being actually really big, only to confuse the waiter into thinking I wasn't satisfied. Very droll, and we got there in the end.
So off we went, and leaving my credit card somewhere lying behind in the hotel, we drifted motorway ward once more.