Car-boot sale

Why French car-boot sales are good for my mental health

Hairpin bends in a stony forest. Downhill. Steep, then steeper. Smooth frictionless tarmac. I’ve got the car barely under control. A narrow bridge over a ravine. Single file only. A van hurtling uphill. A recessed drain — unavoidable. Bang, crash, wallop. The car continues but feels mortally wounded. We limp to a passing place 50 yards further down the hill and I cut the engine. I get out and inspect the damage. A back tyre is as flat as a dab. It’s not my car. I open the boot hoping to uncover the requisite tools and spare wheel. Jack, spare wheel, warning triangle — present. Excellent. Wheel brace? Unfortunately not.