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.