Tuesday 4th August
It’s nearly twenty to five in the evening and the sun came out briefly for the first time today. There has been today, as people here and my weather widget predicted, a large drop in temperature, ushered in by thunder storms during the night. Something about yesterday evening worked well. It was good to be cooking for myself at at my own timing on this trip, after enjoyable meals made for me. With my chilled white wine the rest of which awaits me in the fridge sited in the huge barn here on the table and the chair provided for me, I was comfortable and I am sure I digested my meal better than those evenings I spent crouching on my low stool or boxes.
But it thundered and rained and rained in the night, in fact for most of the night in three distinct but interconnected storms. Pity, as I had settled quickly into the most comfortable nights sleep so far on this trip. I was prepared for the rain and, apart from some splashing, I and my pile of vestibule belongings stayed dry. I emerged rather blearily into a damp morning and had showered and was heating water for my tea before most people had got up. I think the dog lovers here were apprehensive about the weather for their pets. My neighbour told her her ageing twelve year old dog hyperventilated all night. Without a trusty order of breakfast croissant I was reduced to eating biscuits and some dry baguette from two days ago along with my pleasing green tea. The morning stayed cool and damp (I am seeing blue sky for the first time today) and I headed off down the road for a brisk walk to warm up meeting most of the dog owners walking for a different reason.
The great thing about this site is having access to a fridge and one that has space in it. The bad thing is it is tricky to move and park the bike here. The two work together in a way. I set off around lunchtime to ride the 7km to Nontron where there are an abundance of supermarkets, three in one small town. My GPS knew the one with the U in it so there we headed. But the mixture of deep gravel and lack of level ground on the site make parking and manoeuvring the bike, even with most of the luggage offloaded, really tricky. And I think probably my greatest fear is looking completely incompetent with my mixture of revving and stalling and heaving the bike backwards. I have a piece of stone under the side stand which I retrieved and intend to keep if I need to move it again, to get pointed in roughly the right direction for my final exit, laden with everything. I bought food hopefully for my remaining three days here which dovetails beautifully with the available fridge which is stuffed with more of my food and chilling wine (I bought two bottles of local rose – let’s see what 4 Euro wine is like) than anyone else’s it seems. If one stony space for a caravan is empty I can manoeuvre the bike round in it to get out, but if it is full then I will need to enlist an unsuspecting camper to help me with another approach, I will make a point of choosing some one young (not some heart attack candidates up there). Then off the few hours west to La Rochelle to stay with Helen for two nights before hitting the road on Sunday to Caen. In the meantime three more nights here, heading off on Friday, just to remind myself of the days.