A change of weather, a change of fortune.
Today is Friday the 13th of May 2011.
I am not superstitious, the reason why it is that I have decided to go nowhere at all today will become apparent as I continue to write. You would be wrong to assume differently.
I was leaving Boulancourt with a sense of loss really, it had become a comfort zone for me. Now I was to be back on the lonely road and pressing on, trying to regain that sense of adventure that I used to have in spades when I was younger.
It was Sunday the 8th and as I was packing up to leave, I noticed quite casually and without any sense of irritation that I had a flat back tyre and a broken spoke on the front wheel. After effecting the necessary repairs I was then back in the saddle for around midday. That night and the following night as I made steady progress southwards I slept in as it turned out, very silly places. Ploughed fields which have just been seeded, and manured.. Do not do this, it was impossible to cook. We have all seen flies haven`t we. These were large, black with their pearl green, enamelled livery, and in their vast numbers, reduced the visibility substantially... uurgh!
I have now taken the decision, that in the future I shall cook-up on the road, and then camp further and later on.
Tuesday was an odd day, I left the hedge early and was enjoying the rolling hills of green, had my 2nd puncture around the 25 mile mark, took the kit off the bike, upended the `old Gal` prior to removing the rear wheel and beginning the process of repair and then, as I began to stand up – I fainted! … Talk about feeling insecure, I felt dreadful, not ill, well initially yes, but not after ten or so minutes. I felt just fragile, in a sense that I knew for sure that I was no longer as tough as old boots. Hmm I had to think that one thru` ! I did hurt my bum bone tho` It must have been the point of impact with the road. Still sore today. However I am fully recovered in all other ways.
Wednesday was the day of becoming fed up, becoming slightly peeved with the ups and downs, the similarity and the repetitiveness of it all. I found that I was now giving up on the hills and pushing the old Gal on foot, copping out really. I just think I was becoming tired with it all. I was thinking of bunking off for a bit, you know get in at a campsite and rest up. Had just struggled up this one hill to find right at the top in a small layby a bench table under a tree, this will do I thought. Out came the Wok, Olive Oil, Garlic, Chilli Pepper, Salt, Onion, slightly fried, add thinly sliced new potatoes and saute. Added tomatoes and tuna fish, the work of moments...., Perfick.
Camped in, yes, a field, warm with the setting sun and the buzzing of minature rural life. Upped the tent and just texted, and read, and slept.. However later that evening around 11pm … Thunder and lightening and all things frightening. My word did it rain. What a magnificent Tent. It stood impervious to it all. To those that are interested its a Helium 200 one/two man tent..
Completely rained in the following day, attempted several times during lulls in the rain to get kit packed, but was just getting everything wet, so when met with such staunch opposition, I did what anyone else would have done, I just threw it all back into the tent, climbed in after it, and read, and slept.
I was at this stage on the southern outskirts of a largish village named Luzy. Midpoint between Autun in the east and Nevers in the west, where roads D981, D985, D973 all meet. There was suddenly `a window of opportunity` Right! - Everything wet, it all went on to the wet bike, I was also wet, we struggled thru` a wet, clinging, prickly hedge, I climbed on the old Gal and we all went off down a winding wet road. Oh, and the rain was easing off.
I was on my back to Luzy, I needed the campsite, any campsite, I needed scrubbing, to be dried out, to enjoy a leisurely shower. I was passing thru` Luzy, I took a winding upward road, outward south easterly for 10k to a village called Issy-L`Eveque... and there as I came over the brow looking down toward the right was a small lake, surrounded by trees, the sun had since come out and it was now a lot warmer from the cold of earlier. This was it, I freewheeled down the hill, took a right and pedalled up to the reception window … It was shut, there was a message - it was still the closed season.
From behind me I heard ``Bonjour Monsieur`` He came from out of the trees he said they would be open tomorrow and could I wait. We spoke for some time. To be truly accurate he spoke and I listened and tried my best to understand. We came to an agreement that I was free to choose wherever I wanted to camp, that he would open up the Latrines, that I could charge my phone. That I was to be happy, and so I was, and so I am still. This will be my home for the next two days. I`m going to enjoy it immensely.
I took a cycle ride back into Issy-L`Eveque, at around 2.30 pm, the following day, it`s a small village, several shops including a florists that also sold some fruit and vegetables, a Boulangerie & Pattisserie, a tourist office a cluster of around, I dunno, 300 hundred houses spreading out from the village centre, In which there was a church, open to visitors. There was though, no evidence of any people, the shops were closed and since I have been in France it has been typical of most small villages that I have travelled through. That is apart from the odd one or two people walking about, there has been little sign of life, front of house, it may be that life is very apparent `back of house`.. For me cycling thru` the majority of these villages since Dieppe has sometimes been a lonely experience. This might not be true perhaps someone could enlighten me as to what is really happening within these villages?... Is everyone at work?, are they second homes?, How can the people that do `live` in these villages manage without the obvious support systems that go with a social network that used to be a village.? What happens to the old folk who still now sit on the same bench in the same village, and which no-one walks past as they used to, and as they did in the old days?....Would love to hear some other views!
And so this is why I am not superstitious. I have been extremely lucky, and there is 11hrs and 50 minutes left to go of the 13th... I am expectant, I am hopeful that I`ll get more of the same good luck.