There was one thing I forgot about yesterday. Occasionally I’m led down a strange road which looks suspect and I start to fret. I’ve begun to recognise when my Garmin thinks I’m on a mountain bike, and therefore do a bit of studious cross checking on the phone. Thus far it’s an approach that has served me well.
Somewhere in the Dordogne, two roads diverged in a yellow wood. One was resolutely mainstream, whereas the other was more rebellious. It had tarmac, but it was pitted and battle scarred. It had been a good day so I opted for the lane. It rose up slowly and a far off dim and stuttered humming noise gradually separated into two constituent parts: the thrum and grrr of a chainsaw and the addled bark of a big dog. Suffice to say, the combination of the two sounds, aligned with a distinctly low-budget woodland post-brexitcore mise-en-scene, had me on edge. I carried on, believing that both these things must be far from the road. I rode up around a corner and sure enough there stood a man with a chainsaw and his massive dog. They had been waiting all this time. He stopped chainsawing, looked up and uttered one word in the time it takes most people to utter a complex sentence.
Not knowing the French for lost, or at least whether my idea for the French for lost (je suis perdu) was correct, I said simply:
“Rien Monsieur. Je vais retourner à la route principale.”
The man and the dog stared at me. I think he said “bon”.
I did this steadily. Once out of sight I stamped on the pedals. I avoided the road less travelled after that.
Today’s ride was a short 50 mile hop to Angôuleme. The sun accompanied the first half and it was joyous, lots of gentle climbs through woodland then endless undulations over an expanse of farmland, punctuated by very old castles. I was super organised and bought both my lunch and dinner in Périgueux before leaving. This is on account of France being closed on a Sunday. However, I found a PMU open and had a coffee surrounded by local French men drinking beer and pastis and watching the lottery numbers. Angôuleme is very nice. It’s another fortified medieval city with both old and new. France is full of them.
Tomorrow is a schlep to Poitiers.