The previous update came live and direct from a Bibliotheque near Compiegne (I think) where two ladies kindly let me jump on a computer from an hour or two. The night after the forest I slept on the outskirts of another wooded area (much better sleep). The following day was long, hot and boring, the low point being a mobile holiday home owner who really sucked the joie de vivre out of me and simply couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of cycle touring.
The temperature was on the up and had already hit 30°C. One night I slept on a tractor trailer which made for a change to the tent(details of these days are already becoming hazy and I’ve been struggling to jot anything down in my journal at the end of the each day ‘cos I’m so shattered). Another night I stayed in a family’s garden. I was invited into the house and was offered a honey-based alcoholic aperitif called la Potion des Druides. How could I refuse? They cooked my dinner for me (chicken + about 200g of rice) and I ate with them at the table. All the usual topics were discussed: religion, politics, nuclear waste disposal. I had my first shower in a few days which left me feeling a lot more human. They left me with map a good road map which again proved invaluable over the next few days.
I continued onwards and through the Champage region of France. Vineyards stretched as far as the eye could see.
It was piping hot and I yearned for an ice cold glass of bubbly. All this champagne around me must have gone to my head through some form of teletranscranialboozemosis because all of sudden BRRRRRRRZZZZZZ this 3-wheeled Terminator rolled out from nowhere. Putain! I thought I was in France, not on Phobos. Must-stay-hydrated….
One morning I cycled alongside another couple on a racing tandem (this thing was seriously nice and must have cost at least 2000€). It was a pleasurable few K and they departed with the news that it might rain later on that day. It certainly looked like it had the potential (I really would have been handy to read ‘The Cloud-Spotters Guide’ before leaving) and the air pressure felt rather heavy. Sure enough it belted it down that night. Not just heavy rain, but strong wind and a gertbig thunderstorm right overhead. Needless to say it wasn’t the best night’s sleep. I even had to get out of the tent in the middle of the night in the rain and re-peg my tent after the pegs were all torn out by the wind. The sunshine goose egg I was given for the following morning’s breakfast made up for it and also made for a delightful change to le sludge anglais aka porridge.