Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 38. “Captain On The Bridge”.

Longest day of the year. As far as the northern hemisphere is concerned, maximum warp for sunshine. Result? 5 degrees – 5 bleeding degrees! That was the temperature when I set out this morning.

On last night’s campsite we were the only guests. At one time we thought this was about to change when we saw a young couple approaching V-Force One. They were probably going to ask us how to contact the gardienne, so that they could bring in their caravan or tent, or whatever. That would have been an interesting experience for them. When Gay arrived yesterday she read the sign at the campsite, which said contact the bar. She did so, but the woman at the bar knew nothing. She did not even know who the gardienne was. One of the customers said it was somebody who lived in that house over there. And so it went on. Eventually contact was made. But back to the young couple. They were spared all that detective work. Gay was able to answer their question very easily. The question? “Can we hire this vehicle?” Guess the answer.

If we had rented it to them, they could have frozen to death in here, instead of us. Middle of the year, first action of the morning was to switch the heating on – only the second time in this trip. Then, instead of casting clouts and setting off for a brisk walk in the sunshine (and it was sunny today!) wearing nothing but a loincloth and a pair of hippy sandals, I clapped on a Helly-Hansen, zipped the legs back on to my shorts for the first time in over a month and set forth with teeth chattering.

Within 5 kms, the rising of the sun in the sky, plus the heat generated by me charging along trying to stop the icicles forming, made me so uncomfortable that I stopped, removed everything (well, almost everything) and stowed the Helly-Hansen in my rucksack. After stopping in Ėcouché (does that mean “recumbent?) for the best pain aux raisins of the trip, and a coffee, I zipped off the legs and removed the waterproof jacket, because I was well warm enough. As long as I kept moving – because although it was a sunny day, wherever I was not protected from the wind, it was a bit touch-and-go, warmth-wise.

After encountering a couple of places where the track was blocked (once by barbed wire, which your hero climbed under, and once by a “Private, no entry” sign, which he ignored but then met the owner, resulting in a detour of several added kilometres) I arrived at the wonderfully-named Putanges-Pont-Ėcrepin, where this picture was taken of the captain on the bridge.

I walked 29 kms. Total to date 1113 kms. It’s getting hilly again – ascents 1163 metres. And we are just entering an area called Suisse Normande, the name being not unconnected with hilliness.

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