Sur le point de depart

During the summer holidays Sonia and I spent a week in a Grenoble flat that is a pied-a-terre belonging to a couple of Inverness friends (if a 2nd floor flat can be so described!) I mention this not solely to make you jealous of my globe-trotting lifestyle, but because our friends are out there now. They tell me the weather has been poor, but that it’s supposed to be picking up next week: that’s relevant as both trips involve going to Lyon and are not geographically a great distance apart. I am therefore relying on the French equivalent of the Met. Office to deliver some sunshine and dry days.

Laurie Chancellor and I leave here on a bus at 6:40am on Sunday morning, fly out of Edinburgh at lunchtime, take the shuttle from Charles de Gaulle airport to Gare de Lyon in Paris, catch a train to Lyon, spend the night in a Travel Lodge type of place, take a train the next day to Le Puy, dump our bags with a luggage courier service and set off to walk to Le Monastier, hopefully to meet up with our bags again. If all goes to plan they will follow us from village to village en route. This may be cheating, but we hope it’ll be more reliable than Modestine, RLS’s donkey who proved a trifle fractious.

I had hoped to set off with an independent air and a spring in my step, but this is not to be. Sonia has, however, persuaded me not to ditch my M&S tee shirt printed with a saltire. It’ll either provide a talking point with the locals, or cause them to fall about laughing at me for being a national of a country that rejected running its own affairs. I will try to make that the last referendum-related comment, but I can’t promise success in that respect.

Laurie was also a Yes voter, so at least we can cry into each other’s bieres. (Forgive the lack of accents, please: I can’t be bothered). Talking of drink, when Laurie and I were in Corsica a couple of years back, he helped me to acquire a taste for Ricard / Pernod. Due to its licoricey taste, I nicked-named it “Bertie” (as in Basset’s Allsorts) and the phrase “Fancy a Bertie” became a commonplace in the evenings on our trek. Laurie has expressed some concern that just as RLS had Modestine as a protagonist in his “Travels”, I’ve got him in my blog. I have assured him “A Bertie a day keeps the blogger away”: you will be able to judge the efficacy of the bribery over the next two or three weeks!

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