Well folks, do you remember, Pat has decided to go into depression, there were only 475 built, itâ€™s the vigneron, the owner hasnâ€™t replied to the Email offering to continue bidding, the cause is lost!
â€˜Bonjour, est ce que je vais parler avec Mr Pat sâ€™il vous plait?â€™ The telephone rings during dinner one evening.
â€˜Oui, mais câ€™est quiâ€™ NoÃ«lle.
â€˜Itâ€™s Daniel ici, he is free?â€™ Telephone.
â€˜Oui, but what is the subject, we donâ€™t usually get calls at this time?â€™ NoNo.
â€˜Just tell him itâ€™s about the tractorâ€™
â€˜Oui, OK he is here, just a momentâ€™
â€˜Hello, oui.â€™ Pat
â€˜Do you remember the Renault Vigneron that you were interested in and missed on eâ€¦, you wrote an Email to ask whether it is still for sale? Well I have just been so busy with family etc that I havenâ€™t had time even to look at my mails, to save time I looked your name up on the electronic telephone book â€œMinitelâ€ and you were the only listing in the whole of France with your strange surname, et voila, here I am.â€™
Readers you can imagine the instant opening of the adrenaline valves as Pat heard his correspondent utter these few plain and simple words, the feelings rushing through the brain, the emotion, is it for sale, no, he is just ringing out of politeness, will it be possible. Just the fact that the person, Daniel, has taken the trouble to find his number Pat has a feeling that things will go his way, if one can turn a somersault and dance a jig at the same time as being on the phone, I think Pat would have done so!
â€˜Well no it is still unsold, and in fact the other bidder was not really interested in the end and I wonder if you would still be?â€™ You have seen the photos, I will send you some more tonight if you like. It is genuine you know, you asked if the side panels that hide and protect the engine are with it, unfortunately no, but I have several photos from the makerâ€™s at the time and if you are interested, I am sure that there are people who can produce such items. They were made in three versions you know, only 475 built, Standard agricultural, road equipped and vigneron, just 900mm wide (2.95 feet) to get between the rows of vignes, petrol, it turns over but doesnâ€™t run, I What do you think?â€™
â€˜Sounds good.â€™ Said Pat not being able to think of anything more lyrical to say until the shock wears off a bit!
â€˜Well as you know it didnâ€™t reach its reserve, you look at the photos, take my number and we will talk again, give me a ring if you like dâ€™accord?â€™
â€˜Erm, yes, ok, dâ€™accord, Iâ€™ll think about it and ring you perhaps tomorrow, ok, thanks, yes, au revoir, byeâ€¦..â€™ In his haze of almost delire, Pat toke the number down and rung off.
â€˜What was all that about, my love, you seem to be a little distant, was it bad news? Who is this Daniel? You sound as if you know him well, youâ€™r going to ring him back, which tractor, are you going to sell one of ours to him?â€™
â€˜No.â€™ Pat â€˜Nothing like that, itâ€™s in fact the reverse, do you remember the Vigneron down in Cognac? It was him, you know the owner, he phoned specially, itâ€™s not sold, he wants me to think about it.â€™
All this was delivered in a zombie monotone type voice that NoÃ«lle didnâ€™t really recognise. Where is my ebullient fun loving husband, what has this Daniel man said to him? She thought.
â€˜Well heâ€™s sending some photos by Email, letâ€™s go and see if theyâ€™ve arrived.â€™
So the photos arrived and our couple instantly fell deeper in love with this little tractor than before, hereâ€™s one of Danielâ€™s photos so that you, our favoured readers can share in their ecstasy.
Of course, as ever you have guessed it, they decided to go for it and phoned back the next evening.
â€˜Allo, no there is no Daniel here, is this a joke or something?â€™ â€˜No Madame, excuse me but I am looking for a Daniel who lives near to Cognac and has a tractor for sale. Itâ€™s not you?â€™ â€˜Non, monsieur, you have the wrong number!â€™
â€˜Oh dear I must have misdialled, try again, oh five, eight six, nineâ€¦.., Allo is Daniel there please?â€™ â€˜Yes this is Danielleâ€™ a female voice answered. â€˜It is you who has a tractor for sale, an ancient Renault of 1936 without side coversâ€¦â€™ â€˜Non messieur, dessolÃ©, I live alone and have no interest in old machinery, you must have got the wrong number, sorry, au revoir.â€™
Can you imagine the panic? Pat tried the Minitel to find Daniel near Cognac, but without much result apart from a list of 162 people with the same surname in the Cognac area, but no Daniel.
So the only thing is to Email and hope that he picks it up quickly. Although Pat does really want the tractor; Daniel can almost name his price; he doesnâ€™t want to seem too keen but at the same time not wanting Daniel to go off the boil and think that he is not interested.
In the mean time, Pat rings a fellow collector in UK and seeks his advice.
â€˜Snap it up Pat, donâ€™t waste any time, get back to him, get down there with a wad of notes, landie and trailor and snatch it off him!â€™ â€˜Ah, OK, itâ€™s that rare then, would you be interested if I donâ€™t get it?â€™ â€˜You bet youâ€™re a.., just get on with it boy!â€™
You can imagine how much higher that put the panic stakes, no telephone number to call, no reply from a panic Email, where does that leave Pat and NoÃ«lle? Absolutely lost! But you must know the expression â€œrare as henâ€™s teethâ€™? It seems that this is the proof of the expression.
Well of course Daniel did ring back the night after, he was as keen to sell the tractor as Pat was to buy it. It seems that in fact the bidding on eâ€¦ was almost to his reserve. The FinistÃ¨rians only had to add a hundred and something to the sum that the auction had stopped at to buy it, which of course they did.
Ten days later, much to NoÃ«lleâ€™s concern due to the deteriorating weather conditions, ice and perhaps snow, Pat set off on a Thursday morning at 8.15 with Landie and Trailer to attack the 550 km into France proper from Brittany, Quimper, Lorient, Vannes, Nantes, on the PÃ©age, Niort, Saintes, back onto ordinary roads after 15.80â‚¬ toll, then Montils and Danielâ€™s collection at 3pm exactly, but that, dear readers is as they say â€œAnother Storyâ€
There you are, Renault loaded on with their house behind. In the area the vast majority of houses are built in chalk under red tiles roofs, chalk is used for everything else as well, even the sides of the road are lined with it.
So happy readers, the next morning Pat arrived home absolutely shot, but both of them content to have a very rare and interesting tractor to add to their collection. â€œVigneronâ€ as it was immediately christened by NoNo, will join his brother D30, a 1958 diesel â€˜modernâ€™ tractor.
Signing off your Mid FinistÃ¨re Reporter.