Pig’s snout, and a broken bike

The main square in Arras

There are 150 seats in the basement restaurant of the Diocesan House, and five are set for breakfast.  The other four didn’t come while I was there.

I’ve got a spare day in Arras, so I’ve planned to find a bike shop, to buy a case for my phone so I can use it for navigation.  The Wahoo  GPS doesn’t seem to have French maps on it, even though I paid for a “worldwide” subscription.

The bike shop sold me a phone case, which turns out to be no good because you can’t see the phone screen in the sun anyway, and it’s now properly sunny.

Then he tells me that I have to tell Wahoo that I want French maps, and it will then download them.

A mile back on the road, and one of the gear shifters stops working, so I limp back to the bike shop.  I suppose it’s good timing, at least.

It’s all rusted up, he says.  Subtext:  don’t you know how to look after your bike?

Quite a long wait in the sun, because the bike shop is suddenly very busy, and he has to wait for a lull.  But then I’m back on the road with a working bike, and scouting out a place to play on the street in Arras.

I really like the look of the main square.  It’s a big traffic-free cobbled expanse, dominated by a fine tower and town hall, and lined with chairs and tables, eating and drinking.

I can’t play on an empty stomach, can I?  The Brasserie Georget has a good looking Menu du Jour.  What’s Museau?  Shall I ask first, or just find out when it comes? 

The next table want to take a photo of the cello on the bike, and wonder what it sounds like.  So I give them a quick tune, waiting for the Museau.  All round applause just as the Museau arrives. There’s a first time for everything – it’s pig’s snout, I discover.

A glass of wine because the sun’s shining, and then set up near the town hall.  It would have worked if a big band hadn’t come along, with a wedding procession.

So find a quieter place round the corner, by another brasserie, where a retired teacher insists I take tea after playing, before a huge Gay Pride march sweeps all before it.

Then to look for my hosts – daughter and son-in-law of my Warmshowers hosts in St. Omer.  But there are two Rues Aristide Briant in Arras, and my first choice is the wrong one.  In my defence I didn’t know there were two when I started.

A lovely time in their half-built house, playing with the children, before we all bike into town for an hour’s performance in the big square.  The retired teacher has come along to see it too.  

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