Mist in the morning sun - A country hidden by a large dog - CycleBlaze

August 14, 2019

Mist in the morning sun

Fontenay to Epinal

Mist in the morning sun
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THERE was steam on the canal when I pushed my head into the pale dawn light. It looked romantic. In reality it showed how the temperature had fallen overnight. The water was now warmer than the air.

Not that that troubled our bovine neighbour. She was munching just as when we left her. If she looked at my leather saddle, she thankfully didn't recognise a relative departed from this world.

The morning air meant the world got to its feet more slowly. There was no one about when we set off. In fact there was hardly anybody all day. The boats we saw yesterday evening were still moored where they'd spent the night back along the water, canal boating not being the most arduous of activities when done for pleasure and not for shifting coal. It's a rare boat that doesn't have a bottle of wine on its roof and a self-satisfied man with the cap of a weekend admiral. And there's not even the aggravation of having to open lock gates because they're electric and worked from a switch that hangs at head height from a wire.

Watershed between the Mediterranean and the North Sea
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We wouldn't have seen many boats anyway. We didn't see a sign but it looks as though the canal was closed. It's happened once or twice along the way, for work on the banks or the gates or because the drought has made water scarce. Whether the locks were the cause or an opportunity, I don't know, but each had a white van and a pair of men with industrial gloves and tools the size of loaves.

When the vans moved, the drivers waved and followed us calmly until we had a chance to move over. Cyclists are welcome here.

Bicycle art...
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...of all sorts
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Where chain-operated derailleurs go to die
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One problem of travelling with your wife is that you're not allowed to let your hygiene standards fall to their usual abysmal level. I don't suppose I'm too fragrant and our clothes certainly aren't. So, to have a day off, we have taken a hotel room and clothes and bag liners now hang like flags at a Buddhist temple.

Coffee time in Epinal
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Epinal is a regional centre without much to distinguish it but it will do for coffee excursions and to walk along the river path getting in everyone's way, and for reading books.

Life could certainly be worse.

The river divides the old from the new
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Flags of all the EU nations along the river bank
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Keith KleinHi Leo,
Oh, how I am enjoying your journal. It recalls such memories. The only thing that has struck me as odd is that my memories are now old enough that I need a jog of the brain to recall them. That means, of course, that we have now lived in France long enough to see places for the second time and recall them with nostalgia, or something akin to that. Epinal, for example, is the town where Susan swore off andouillette. I have been a life-long aficionado of the succulent sausage, but she had never tried one. Apparently the good German settlers of South Dakota preferred their chitterlings more finely ground, whereas the Alsatian stock from which I descend takes things more as they come. Or not, but I digress.
Anyway, we had ar iced in Epinal after a long slog through the hinterlands and were just in time to see the market close, which meant lunch. A bistro near the market place was pointed out to us and we went there to find andouillette on the menu. « We’ll have two » I ordered. Sue is game for anything once, so she shrugged and we were served. It was The Worst Andouillette Ever. Greasy, with rubbery bits of pig’s intestines falling out, total disaster. And despite my obvious enjoyment of many thousands of subsequent andouillettes, she refuses to eat another morcelé. Pity, really, but more for mr in the end.
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