Time for me to move on, comfy though it’s been here. Well- after coffee.
Keith is going to give me a lift some distance (on his way to visit Maylin, who is still encarcerated in hospital – unlike the NHS, they seem reluctant to let you go, she says). I am quite happy about this, as Paris suddenly seems a long way. I have printed off 8 pages of google-map to help me get there.
Made myself breakfast, packed lunch and packed all my belongings away. Chose a book off the shelf as Maylin said she only rarely read anything but her kindle nowadays. Chatted to Maylin on the phone and hope she gets home soon.
Keith wouldn’t let me pay for anything, which was very generous and kind. He dropped me off at Neuilly de Vendin at just gone 1400hrs. From there, I tried to follow a google maps print off to get off the main road – but not all the small places are shown, so ended up cycling 10miles to cover 2km on the ground.
There was a pause here to throw self on ground, wave arms and legs around wildly whilst bawling aloud tantrum.
Eventually calm down enough to decide to follow the main road anyway (after that earlier, pleasant interlude of riding through quiet forests in a loop de loop). The main road which is filled with tractors, humungous lorries and lined with dead things. In the space of 100m I came upon a dead cat, a dead sparrow, a dead kestrel – which looked so unblemished and like it was sleeping that I took a photograph – quickly followed by a dead blackbird. Tragic and I hope I’m not going to be added to that list.
And now I’m in Prie-en-Pail and enjoying that packed lunch sat in some sedum which is growing over a wall next to a Catholic Church with a sign on it advising ‘Mess Dim 10.30hrs’ (which I assume means Mass on Dimanche?).
It’s odd how one can totally plummet the depths of despair and then just as quickly soar up high, when cycling along: I’m feeling so glad to be alive!
Much later and I’m circling the outskirts of Alençon looking for a place for my first ‘stealth camp’ as tis getting dimpsy and I’ve found no cheap hostel or campsite. I find a place, which although close to a road (a quiet country lane), is screened by trees and a slightly raised bank, with a disused railway line on one side. It’s also a bit of a dumping ground with the carcass of a baby changing mat evident.
Put up tent and what???? NO tent pegs! I assume they must have fallen out when I dried the tent at Morgane’s. Fortunately there are rocks and twigs and branches around, so I jury-rigged it and was quite pleased with the results. There was only time to read a few lines of my new book (‘The Impressionist” by Hari Kunzru) before sleep overtook me soon after dark – wondering whether any of the cars that drive past will see me and stop to investigate…