The D roads tend to be straight, often flanked by passing lanes for slower vehicles as we had seen in Ireland and I stumbled across on a drive cross country to Grimsby. The minor D roads on the other hand are unmarked, often barely a car and half wide or less and anything but straight. Both pass through a landscape dominated by fields fading to a misty horizon of distant trees and church towers. Lush green barley and rape in full flower butt up against each other, with a few trees dotted around and not a hedgerow in sight.
We bowled along toward Erne, winding our way through the broad impressionist brush strokes of yellow, green and dreamy pale blue lost in a pleasantly peaceful fugue with the odd weasel scurrying across the tarmac in front of us until…
…Until another car came haring down the road toward us with the velocity of an Exocet missile, pulling our car toward it filling the sudden vacuum created in the two inch of airspace between fragile paintwork as it bombed past.
The French, so polite and understanding face to face become crazed escaped inmates of the local asylum once behind the steering wheel of a car.
‘French drivers routinely speed everywhere, generally at least 20kph above the speed limit and often far more: a recent motoring magazine survey (in Var) found that the average speed on motorways was 160kph (100mph) and on routes nationales 107kph (67mph)! Drivers rarely slow down for villages and are often irritated by motorists who do so. Usually you’re ‘allowed’ to be 10 per cent above the limit, so if you’re clocked at 55kph in a 50kph zone, or 99kph in an 90kph zone, you won’t normally be penalised – but don’t bank on it!’ – Source : Living and working in France.
Most of the cars sharing the roads during our stay were of the small family breed or run arounds; small enough to squeeze into tight spaces and zippy enough to make them terrifying with a local behind the wheel. On a couple of occasions we did