One fine summer while I was still living in England, I went down to the South of France to visit an old friend who lived on a farm there, and had an experience I would happily have missed, namely rolling down a French hillside in a car full of geese.

We were heading to see a friend of his to give them a couple of rather large and vociferous geese in Robbie’s small Citroen Dyana, when as we were rounding a rather sharp corner on a mountain road, we met a car coming the other way in the middle of the road….

Robbie braked and swerved to avoid a head on collision, but sadly, as is all too often the way in rural France, the road was covered in fine gravel. So we simply slid over the edge of the road and went rolling down the hillside, turning over and over as we went.

This is the hill we rolled down

All rather confusing, and made tricky by having those geese tumbling all over the place as we went.   Luckily we were rolling relatively slowly, and finally came to rest upside down in a field at the bottom of the hillside.  I found myself hanging upside down with a large and infuriated goose between me and the roof of the car, not a good place to find oneself, as they have large and active wings, and very serious beaks….  So extra pain was the result of that damned goose.

After sitting there for a few seconds, somewhat dazed, we scrambled out of the car, releasing the geese as we did so.   They had been stuffed into two large brown paper bags for transport, but in the course of our undignified rolling down the hillside, had escaped from those bags…  So they went rushing off to get as far from both the car and us as they could – understandably I suppose.

In the meantime, the lady who had been driving the other car, an English woman, as it turned out, had come rushing down the hill to see if we were still alive.   In my confused state, I walked up to her, stuck out my hand and solemnly greeted her with a hearty “Good afternoon” to her considerable surprise. We English like to have things as they should be, and good manners at all times are essential…

So, as it was a very small Citroen, the three of us rolled it back onto its wheels, rounded up the geese and drove across the field we had ended up in to a nearby road, and carried on in a somewhat crab like manner, as the poor car was rather bent. 

We delivered the geese safely, and returned to his farm, none the worse for our small gymnastic experience in that car.


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