Monday, 19 July 2010

Lezay to Barbezieux

Really early start today - 6.30 - to avoid late afternoon heat. Great ride through sunflower fields and vineyards, flattening out towards the beautiful old town of Cognac. Lunched and rested up during max. Daytime temperature of 37 c. Decided to push on after an eccentric Italian widower called Melody accosted us for an hour by the river, offering dinner and music in return for unspecified favours - probably from Jeff, as she thought Mike looked like an elephant in his flappy eared hat, and James looked like ET.

On a descent following a steepish climb out of Cognac Mike sees Jeff wobble wildly as a lorry passes too close. A few minutes he turns around to notice that James has disappeared. After a few minutes waiting, James appears over the top of a hill to explain that he'd actually been clipped on the panniers by the lorry and sent off the road into a wall. Unhurt but a bit p.....ed off that the driver hadn't stopped. Drivers are generally far more couteous and allow more space when overtaking in France, but not this time. James has more lives than a bagful of cats, which is just as well. Twenty odd miles later, we pitched up in Barbezieux, at a bizarre campsite peopled by us, a bunch of French construction workers and a sweet Portugese couple. Poor Jeff is robbed of 42 euros by the ancient patron who runs the place, seemingly on his own. We later speculate that he'd charged us for camping at around 12 euros and then topped up the bill with three small beers, electricity supply and god know what else.

74 miles and 75 swipes of greasy factor 50 between us. Half way and all feeling pretty frazzled but positive.

Day 5: Lezay, Matha, Cognac, Barbezieux StHilarie

Early morning start across the sun flower fields and fine sunshine finds us in Matha. About 20 km to Cognac now for coffee.

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