Thoughts and tales from the saddle - on my own in Europe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Puncture Repair

Following a day that contained two punctures, I head into town to find new inner tubes, patches and glue. In a small shopping centre is a shop that mainly sells sports clothing, but there are a few bikes as well. I go in and ask the guy if he has any tubes or patches. Well, I don't, I ask him if he speaks English or French. He doesn't, so I produce one of my poorly inner tubes from my rucsac and, through the medium of pointing and a variety of facial expressions, get the message across. He takes out his mobile phone, calls someone, speaks for a minute, hangs up and beckons me out of the shop, which he locks behind us.

He leads me downstairs and as we step out of the shopping centre another man pulls up on a bike, carrying a new inner tube in one hand. They talk for a minute then I'm handed the tube. That's great, thanks, I say, but I want two really. And some patches and glue. 'Ok,' the new guy says to me, 'five minutes' and motions for me to sit at a table outside a cafe. I do, but ask 'Five minutes what?' He's already gone inside the cafe though, returning a second later, sitting down opposite me and laying out a large betting coupon. 'Where are you from?' he asks me. 'England,' I reply. 'Yes but which town?' 'Southampton'. He scans the paper in front of him. 'Ok - Southampton - Watford,' he states, looking at me expectantly. I get it. 'Err...2-1, to Southampton,' I guess. He eagerly inks some boxes. 'Cardiff - Plymouth.' '2-0 Cardiff.' 'Stoke City - Hull.' 'Nil-Nil.'

We continue like that for about ten fixtures, and I mainly just make up scores because I have no idea whether Stoke are any better than Hull, or vice versa, but he seems happy. After he's submitted his form he leads me on a five minute walk through town to his little bike shop. New tubes are produced, as are a number of patches and a tube of glue. He also insists on patching the holes in the tube I have in my bag, and does a very good job of it. His top tip - hammer the edges of the patch lightly once the glue had adhered.

Once finished, he gestures towards an old cassette player and says, 'Now, music!' 'Aerosmit' (sic) play out and he smiles at me, seeking approval, while playing a riff on his air guitar. 'You like guitar music?' I offer, not really wanted to enthuse about Aeromit, puncture repaired or not. 'Yeah,' he says, 'Tonight in the Rock Club, here in town.' 'You're playing?' 'No, watching, good band, two Irishmen and two Bulgarians. 10pm.' 'Ok,' I say, 'I might see you down there.'


  • At 4:39 pm, Blogger Roger said…

    And thus another hangover is born...

  • At 8:17 pm, Blogger Mike said…

    all the best hang over stories start with two irishmen and two bulgarians

  • At 3:46 pm, Anonymous Herbie said…

    Just to let you know...

    Watford 3 Southampton 2
    Plymouth 2 Cardiff 2
    Hull 1 Stoke 1


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