This bit of the journey is from Issy l`Eveque. Damian the Chef de Camp a young man in his maybe mid 40`s and who has the most extraordinary hair, you know, long and huge and reddish. Has a job for the next 5 months thru` September. He was now to look after an ever increasing amount of tourists... Well, O.K at the moment he had me.. But there would be more, he would pull – he had so much of the Gaelic charm. Someone else was now drawing into the Camp.. There would now be several other campers and of course, the season had now started proper..The Campsite was truly open, word had spread. It was time for me to move on, for heavens sake, keep those pedals moving..This is not a holiday - I`ve Gotta get to Cyprus, then I can have a holiday.
P.S 14 Euros a night.
By the by - The Campsite unfortunately did have a deficit of local shops,the nearest being 10K away, fine for a guy and a motor, rubbish for me and my Bike, very rarely can you buy anything there in the local villages, as it seems most of the shops open briefly in the morning and shut at midday, they might then open at 1430 or 1445 thru` till maybe seven.. I really don`t know but it is certainly something along those lines..... However, I must state I have been thru` at these times and they have not been open at all. So as you can now see I have absolutely no idea what I`m talking about. Let us move on..
Did have a chat with Damian, before I did leave, and he did say that yes, it was quite right that there was a depletion of village life in a way that I`d mentioned before, but here in the area of Issy L`Eveque the reasons were different. The property here was so cheap, so certain folk have taken the decision that the the long commute, and maybe not coming home very night might be the way to get on the wretched property ladder.. Oh!.. So it`s not just an English thing then!...
On Tuesday the 17th.. slept out not far from Lapalisse which is again not far from Le Donjin. Did 45 miles that day. And yes I know I`m slowing. This day should not have happened, it all can only be described as a meanderless wandering. .. It does get worse...Spent the best part of the morning packing up at this wonderful site at Le Dijoin a wonderful municipal campsite..... Tis council. Oh yes it is, but are we not glad.. Nine euro`s.. I have nothing to complain about that.. showers, laundry, common room, with power and internet.. and of course the most charming company, met Rob who is going to go somewhere (hey! He`s my age) in Spain on a Tricycle... Some Trike..It did cost him around £3,000. The expense is all down to the gearing and the independent nature of the back wheels.. The bearings are expensive..I also left late that day due to meeting an expansive american couple on a Tandem, with a wife who I think plain and simply humoured and also quite clearly adored him... .. Saying cheerio to Rob also, who you just know you`ll meet again at and in the most unlikely of places.. Morrisons maybe.?. and there was in addition an English couple from Surrey who were cycling to Yugoslavia... I`ve forgotten what for, but they did have to be back for an important date. Some child`s wedding I think!.... It`s all slightly bizzare don`t you think.... This sort of thing never happened in the Edward Rayne....Well not as far as I know..
The miles, and the miles, and the miles. If the road is full of lumps I`m now accepting of it.. I`m to forget cycling the Raynes Park way... On the flat.. I have really began to notice more and more that there is so much more skyline than I`m used to, this I consider to be a fair exchange. Bring on the Central massif...Er!
I`ve wandered off the point, Oh yes, meanderless wanderings.. – Travelling with the sun burning on the right shoulder in the afternoon, when you don`t quite have the right scale of map works, it really does.. No, Not when it`s cloudy it doesn`t... Nor is it to be relied on at around midday... I guess you can all work that one out... I think I was using a bluff strategy.. It led completely to my bout of meanderless wanderings.. a third of my mileage was spent on correcting my route... and getting it all back on track. I was nearly depressed... slept in the woods that night.. listening to the wild life scampering about.. reading, texting those that text me.. and texting those that haven`t. It`s a mobile on, mobile off. Save the power.. who knows when I will get the timing right and arrive a proper site again at an appropriate time of day.
When place names have an additional word or two added on, such as `de Montagne you sort of know what you are going to get... Le Mayet de Montagne was such a place.. Very pretty, and er, hilly.
The next paragraph, or two; - I have thought pretty hard about whether I should include it.. It is very much an addition to my never before published list of `extremely silly things that I`ve done`.
I`ve decided to call this ``I will never ride a bicycle on a motorway – but I might do``
Cycling out of Lapalisse (now that`s a Town, I saw folk and open shops) I headed southwards following the signs..One pointed out quite clearly the motorway to Rouen and it was in regulatory colour, I know what that means. Underneath that sign was one other, quite ordinary road sign, a sign for me and my old Gal and Tippilina my silent navigator and erstwhile companion riding on the Bow, a sign that said Le Mayet de Montagne, and pointing in the same direction. This can happen, and is normal, it just means that there will be a slip road and it will veer off to the right, and it will happen in the next few minutes, long before I`m on the motorway. I will not be going on the motorway.
Inexplicably, I was now pedalling furiously on the motorway, there was no way out, nowhere back and nowhere to hide. How long would I be on this racetrack, ten miles?.. can`t stop I`m sure the penalty for walking is far higher than cycling?. The Gendarmerie will have been called by every car, lorry and bus that has passed me.. My days are numbered, how incredibly embarrassing!...
This stretch of motorway appears to have been an ad-on and my bit was around 4k`s long, before thankfully ending, and yes I was able to continue my Journey to Le Mayet.. etc.. Whilst I was recovering from my near death experience and regaining my bearings, a very nice couple in a 4 x 4 pulled alongside. They enquired as to the reasons why I had risked life and limb on doing such a stupid thing.. Now these guys were the Gendarmarie, all I could do was to be charm personified, and emphasise that I had made a terrible mistake and that I had no intention of repeating it..Ever! ….Phew!
It is true that the police look oh so young...These two, one female, the driver, were so very polite that my apprehension was almost a pleasure.
I stayed over night in St Just En-Chavalet municipal very pleasant, clean good facilities and at the
very inexpensive cost of 3 euros and 5 cents.
Today as I write, Saturday the 21st of MAY 11.. I`m sat in Boen campsite using their free wifi.. It`s another Municipal and again absolutely in pristine condition.. and 5 euro`s a night for me and my Gal. My spot is down by the river.. and right now I`ve a spot of washing to do.