Things Lost Lost Things

Emergency Park up: post Aix-en-Provence, France

Car park of the Pizza Restaurant the next morning

I would like to be more accurate than saying it was a park up in France but I have no idea really except it was on the road heading away from Aix-en-Provence. I had stopped in the city for a well-needed shower and hair wash but had to wait until the swimming pool opened at 3.30pm, an hour after I arrived. It was a good long shower but then, because of covid, the driers were out of order so I waited inside for my hair to dry off a bit. Time was passing. On leaving the swimming pool car park I got totally lost and stuck in the heavy city traffic hopelessly driving around looking for somewhere to park up. After going round in circles I gave up and headed out of the city. I was just glad to leave the traffic but darkness came quickly. Suddenly I was on a pitch black road with some scary bends and realised I could hardly see a thing! One of my headlights had blown and l could only see at all with the full beam on but as there was a steady flow of traffic the other side of the road I could barely use it. A touch of panic started to creep in. I had to stop. I pulled into the next lit space I could see. A haulier was parked up so I thought I’d just pull on next to him but on checking out the other side of the small petrol garage there was a very large car park belonging to a pizza restaurant that was pretty packed for something that seemed in the middle of nowhere (it was only the next morning that I discovered the next town was only 5 minutes down the road). I swung the van round to that side but I was still stressed and a little shaken. I then started to worry that if I didn’t buy something to eat they would ask me to move on, even though the truth was they probably didn’t even know I was there. It was a cold night and I hadn’t eaten out the night before, due to the whole village being closed, so I thought I’d kill several birds with one stone: warmth, hunger and worry by just going and eating in. I rationalized that if they asked me to move I’d say I had been a customer. I had a jug of red wine (to calm my nerves and prevent me leaving I think) and a quattro formaggi pizza, which turned out to be the most enormous amount of cheese on a pizza I’ve ever had in my life. It was delicious but it was also like when you drink too much, feel sick and tell yourself you are never going to drink again. I left feeling like that about pizza. Warmed by cheese, wine and a hot water bottle I didn’t notice or care about the ice until the morning. As emergency stops go it turned out to be pretty perfect.