Living it up - Kiwis fly - CycleBlaze

September 25, 2019

Living it up

Rochefort to Magnac sur Touvre

Tonight's accommodation is more luxurious than usual. Tour Director has been taking liberties with the Booking.com account, while I've been distracted writing the nightly CycleBlaze journal. So here we are at Chateau Maumont just outside Magnac sur Touvre. And it's charming.

Mine hostess was also remarkably sanguine about receiving two extremely wet and muddy cyclists. Extra towels, hot tea and sympathy go a long way.

How did we get to this point?  I will recap the day's riding in one sentence then find something more interesting to finish with.

Grapevines with solid, prosperous looking residences behind, a common sight this morning
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We make a leisurely start to the day, leaving Cognac and enjoying riding along the Charente river then amongst the still-loaded vines of the region; the rain becomes serious so we stop for a bistro lunch at Chateauneuf-sur-Charente but the afternoon passes by in a blur (literally, wet glasses!), not helped by getting ourselves in a tangle in Angoulême (see Strava map below if  you're interested) as the rain steadily worsens. 

There, that pretty much covers our day. I like to wrangle a good sentence.

As Tricia Graham pointed out today, there are always sad reminders of France's wartime losses. We stumbled upon a New Zealand connection today finding a plaque honouring Flying Officer James Bathgate, who was shot down in December 1943. Unwittingly, we were cycling along a stretch of the Chemin de la Liberté, a route established in the 1980s to honour local Resistance fighters as well as Allied air crew.

One more sad tale
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Jimmy Bathgate was an Otago lad who loved to fly. He was in the thick of WWII action by 1941, flying bombers and falling in love with and marrying a Welsh girl in no time at all. In 1943 Jimmy was recruited to a top secret squadron tasked with flying people and other packages at night into occupied France. He was dead by the end of that year. Here's the stinger. His younger brother, John, had died in Italy a few weeks earlier.

Both buried so far from home.

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Dawn HunterSo sad! Hope weather is brighter today!
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2 years ago
Robyn RichardsTo Dawn HunterWe really hope so too!
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2 years ago

Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 1,887 km (1,172 miles)

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