Little England: Bergerac to Rest-Place. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 12, 2014

Little England: Bergerac to Rest-Place.

This needs a little research. Between the years fifteen-hundred and something and sixteen....this area of France was under English procession, I think. I just don't have time to research at the moment, but the house I stayed the night in in Bergerac, I would say is of the Tudor era. Horward, the English owner showed me around. The ceilings in the upper rooms are held up by ancient oak beams. And as I've said there is only one other guest, something which makes me think the woman next door wasn't telling the truth when she abruptly said her establishment is full.

I use the Wi-Fi until late; uploading photos is not only slow, but they just don't load after the second or third photo is loaded. I get bogged down rebooting the computer again and again, while enjoying the remaining wine. The time flies and its gone three o'clock when I eventually lay down to sleep. I awake at seven and see a damp grey morning on looking out the window. I fold away the clothes I washed, shave, dress and pack everything in their rightful pannier, and lug all downstairs to the garage where the bike is stored then cross the street to the other house for breakfast.

The other guest, a sixty-something Frenchwomen is seated at a round breakfast table. Howard speaks with her in stalled French and acts as interpreter. She lives in Italy and is in Bergerac visiting a brother. I tell of the awful day cycling out of Marseille, getting lost about Aix-En-Provence. Howard mentions that he was a student in Aix. Then it was a small town. It grew when all the Algerian French came home after the North African country gained independence in 1962. He then when into a story of how the British sank the Algerian fleet in the Second War; stating that the French commander in Algeria was a little too big for his boots to take orders from General De Gaul. So the British sank the ships rather than let them fall into German hands.

The Frenchwoman has places to go and bid bonjour. When she's gone, Howard's wife Rosemary comes in, takes a seat at the table and pours herself coffee. She becomes more interested in my story than Howard talking about the war, asking me where else I've cycled. I mention Agentina. "Good lord" Howard retorts "That woman in charge now, Christina de....what's her name? A Peronist!" He turn to Rosemary, "The people who dragged the country down." Not wanting to continue talking about the present political dynasty in Agentina, I change the subject to mate and tell them of the yerba plant grown like tea in the north eastern provence of Missiones and usually drank in the morning, though across the River Plate, in Urugray, anytime of the day is mate-time.

I pour a third cup of coffee and have one last croissant before taking my leave. Its already gone ten-thirty as I wheel the bike out of the garage and hook the panniers on in the street. Rosemary come out to see me off; looking at all my bags and exclaiming "....how on Earth do you carry so much weight."

The streets are drying out and lots of visitors trawl over the cobblestones in the old town square. I pause to look at the placard on the Hotel De Ville, which reads "Le Tour De France. 25 & 26 Jullet. Bergerac.fr"

The way out of town as always in France with their well placed green and white signs is easily found. I cycle in the direction of a place called Mussidan.

A gradual climb which isn't appreciated the way I feel this morning.
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I'm not feeling full of life after only four hours sleep last night: the beer and wine cocktail and all the coffee this morning. My eyes are watering and at one point dragging myself up a deadening incline, my legs feel cramp. I'm feeling dehydrated and think of what I can get in the next town to pick me up. Maybe, coca cola. Something sweet. This incline goes on and on.

I reach Mussidan timely at twelve and stop at a boulangerie on the way into town. As well as the daily baguette, I've a vanilla muffin which goes someway to alieviating me, though by now I'm feeling better.

Riding through the centre, the market is packing away for the day and it isn't until I'm leaving town that I see an Intermarche where I shop, then have a picnic lunch on the lawn to the side of the car park. By now the cloud is clearing and its warm as I eat my Gouda sandwich. I follow it with a Belgium wheat beer, seemingly what the body was calling for.

Lunching on the lawn outside a Intermarche. I combine the top-bag (normally riding on the rear-rake) and the rear-pannier to create a comfortable seat; proving that most of what I carry is dual-use.
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Having studied the map, I couldn't have picked a better route for cycling onwards in the afternoon; upon a little used D road through woodland for quite a bit. Though at the same time involving quite a lot of climbing. A red and white clad group of club-cyclists come out from a side road just ahead, waving as they turn onto the road and continuing their strung-out fast tempo. The day wears on and I make a second stop at a Lidl, snacking on apple turnovers. By now it's between six and seven and as usual I don't go too long until I find a suitable place to camp: a rest-place with a high bank between it and the road. I feed the tent-pole through its slieve and flex the pole to a semi-circle loop and place the end in the plastic end-piece, when there's a thudding crack and the tent suddenly goes triangular. The pole having broken, again, for the second time. In the bag I find a spare pole-section; its the last spare, so I hope the pole won't break a third time.

Saturday training-ride. I hastily pulled the camera out and snapped while riding.
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A typical corner of a few houses, a café and a church.
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Counties are called Departments in France.
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Late ploughing.
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Ploughman fashion.
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Today's ride: 76 km (47 miles)
Total: 14,102 km (8,757 miles)

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