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a vendangeur’s (pictoral) tale… (part eight)

Day 8, the Thursday, 10th Oct 2013, one week after the start of the Arlaud vendange saw us experience the worst weather to date by some margin, and for me, to then the most seriously unpleasant weather I’d ever experienced in a vendange. It had rained heavily overnight and was much colder. We commenced under dark, cloudy, skies c 7.30 a.m. by finishing Morey 1er cru ‘Cheseaux’ from the previous afternoon.

About 8.30 a.m. it started to rain and gradually got heavier. I carried on picking keeping low to the vines for shelter without realisingI’d been abandoned, not understanding the en francais calls to do so. By the time I was shouted in to join the others and got to one of the double cab trucks with a vacancy I was extremely cold and wet and with a full realisation I had not dressed that morning with enough layers. I really feared for my subsequent health. Things were so bad Herve Arlaud went back to base for unheard of coffee (none of which made it to our camion) and also boxes of gloves of some sort as many of the younger vendangeurs were picking gloveless which must have been horrific.

The grapes in Cheseaux were actually pretty nice, unlike the weather. Once the rian eventually stopped, although it was sort of in the air all morning, we finished Cheseaux and moved on to Blanchards. I remained cold and wet all morning – it really was a gritted teeth, shivering, exercise to get through to lunch – before I started to eat I spent betwen 5/10 minutes leaning on the refectory log stove getting warm again. A very, very, very testing and most unpleasant morning – partly my own fault for not being more appropriately dressed but looking back count myself fortunate not to derive at least a cold if not something more serious.

As the song says “Things could only get better”. They did for the sunny afternoon concentrating on the 5 ha plot of Bourgogne Roncevie (5 passes by the full team), but little did we know it that Day 8 was a precursor of worse horrors for Day 10 & 11 on the Hautes-Cotes.

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