Friday, 16 July 2010

Three men and two bits of string

Day started a bit miserably with us waking at 6-ish to heavy rain. By the time shorts were on and potions applied, it'd dried up, and we were off. Nice descent out of Chateaugiron before we hit a succession of long grinding hills. Saw otters (or logs) bobbing around in the river Don at 1 when stopping for a lunch of bread, cheese and tomatoes. Back cog of Mike's bike broke in Riale. Bit of panic and visit to a mechanics later, we accepted rope from a local and tied the mighty Penny's bike to Mike's. Comically, but heroically james towed Mike and bike out of town and a mile or so up a big hill, before Jeff produced his washing line and tied it to James's bike. We proceeded on for another 5 miles, before being rescued by the James Penny of Anciennes, Frederic, in his battered old Espace. In some ways this was a shame, as Mike was just about to take his turn at the front...

Although James and Jeff took photos of Fred's numberplate for the forthcoming murder enquiry, Fred turned out to be a top bloke, who'd heard about our problem back in Riale and hurried along to help us. An hour and a half later, we were all back together in Ancenis, with Mike's freewheel functioning fine, thanks to Fred's insistence (the initial prognosis wasn't good, with gloomy shaking of heads and lot's of shrugging of shoulders from the two young mechanics). Fred probably offered to cook us all dinner before taking us on a pub crawl, but Mike's parlezing is too poor to take advantage. Merci Fred, vous is a bon, bon homme.

Later, at a decent campsite with views over the Loire, we shower and settle down to a fairly typical evening meal. Our daily, on the road, nutritional routine is fairly cheap and basic; with our daily major expense being anything between 5 and 8 euro's for 3 cafe au laits at our first morning stop. The cafe's and bars we encountered were usually very basic affairs, but locals were usually friendly and interested in our trip. We were surprised to see regulars drinking pastis and rose at 9.00am, but speculated they might have been up and in the fields from 5. we were even more surprised to see that the french still have ancient space invaders machines in most cafe's, and that they're still pretty popular. The cartoon below gives a decent account of our eating habits, minus dates, apricots and the odd banana. We'd imagined that we'd make meals from scratch, but often felt more inclined to fill up on pasta and something to plop on top.

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Day 2: Chateaugiron to Ancenis

Up and off by 8:30 into the rain and grey skies. James and Mike were keen to let you know they were not attacked by wild boar, but the outer tent was ripped open.

14 miles are see us in Tabac in La Coyere for cafe and pain.

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