Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Day 33. Vlad The Impaler
Today was dry, but very cold. The coldest day since I started VBW. The temperature just before I started out was 11 degrees Celsius, and that was inside V-Force One, which had been heated all night by two portable 2KW heaters. So outside it must have been much less. This lack of heat was being pushed from the North East by a strong wind. I blame Putin for all this. I have never liked him – or anyone called Vladimir, for that matter. The name didn’t get off to a good start with that Impaler fellow, did it?
I walked today from Ruaudin, where I finished yesterday, through Yvrés l’Evêque (where we spent last night), to near Neuville-sur-Sarthe. The campsite at Neuville where we had planned to spend the rest of the day was closed, so Gay had found another one, on a farm, at La Guierge. The farm people said that the other campsite had been taken over by some Brits and promptly closed.
We are in an area of many horses. They obviously breed them round here. Is there anything more beautiful than a horse, except for a baby horse? I had just passed one “Poney Club” and texted Gay that I was 2 kms from the rendezvous, when I found myself wading through what looked like the Amazon delta. This was the worst bit of track I have come across in almost 1,000 kms. Liquid mud, over a kilometre of it, the track being too narrow to escape onto the side, and the mud stirred by lots of cycle tracks. This slowed me down a bit, made me, as Billy Connolly would say “skite about” and made a right mess of my shoes.
More songs have been suggested. Nicola’s favourite is the already-suggested “Take me home, country roads”. I like that one as well, especially as I have been known to play it in public (as part of a large band), but the trouble I have with it is that I don’t feel as if I am walking home. I know I am walking back through my life to the root of it all, but I feel very strongly that Puivert is my home, not Blackpool.
Another one Nicola suggests, for when I reach the channel, is Neil Diamond’s “Walk on Water”. Which reminds me – I have perfected a groan which emerges when somebody, learning about VBW, says, with an air of “caught you out!” – “so what will you do when you reach the channel?” What do you think I will do, I’m not going to swim across, am I? Then it is implied that I should walk round and round the ship until it lands, and that somehow I am cheating if I do not do so. Well, I’m not cheating, because I make the rules up for this unique event, but the real answer is – “If you say you are driving to England, does that mean that you are going to drive round and round the ferry until it reaches the other side?”
Valerie, perhaps remembering that Gay and I go by different routes to the same point each day, has suggested “You take the high road and I’ll take the low road”. And there is a Scottish connection – the day after VBW finishes on my 70th birthday, we shall be in Scotland for a week or more.
Leslie Stephens, who says he is a much younger man than me – because his 70th birthday falls on July 31st 2010 – suggests that, in view of the weather I have had for most of this trip, “Walking in the rain” would be very appropriate.
In the same vein, I offer up, on behalf of the people of France, Chris Rea’s “Looking for the summer”.