Going the extra mile (or It’s better to travel hopefully…)

Last night was quite jolly: the five Germans were good company and we sat over our meal swapping funny stories etc. I wound up one of the ladies by referring to her having to pay for Greece: this seemed to touch a raw nerve. Laurie got several compliments for his excellent German. I managed to work in the three words of German that I know, to muted cheering. One of the German ladies got all her washing done courtesy of the management. The food was good, but L & I may not have done it justice after our picnic.
This morning was full of promise: breakfast was good and the sun showed every sign of burning through the mist, a promise it failed to keep to any significant extent. Even with the need to retrace or steps back to the RLS trail, our walk today was very short, mostly through wooded country with swirls of mist drifting moodily through the trees. The uphill first half wasn’t really too steep and the descent down to St Germain de Calberte was OK.
It wasn’t really a day to linger, however, with mist obscuring the views and the wildlife all tucked up in their little beds. Combined with the brevity of the route, this meant we arrived at our destination “Le Recantou” bar / chambres d’hotes earlier than was desirable as they wouldn’t let us into our rooms until 4.00pm. An omelette and chips killed half an hour, a wander round the “sights” took a couple of minutes and we spent a while reading on a park bench where I also dozed. One of the attractions of the village is a statue honouring the men of the area who formed the landscape. This took the form of a larger than lifesize statue of an exceptionally well-endowned horny-handed son of toil who was doing something with a pile of stones. Laurie and I felt under-equipped: at least I did and he had the grace to agree.
After reading / dozing until 4:00 we walked up to the shop where we got ice creams: Laurie chose a Twix, I picked a Mars Bar one, as they didn’t seem to have a deep fat fryer.
The accommodation is a bit of a drop from last night: we had to make our own beds, using the disposable paper-based sheets and pillow case they provided us with. If I get hot and sweaty in the night, I’ll end up swathed in papier mache! The shower, in direct contrast with last night’s, is of the push-a button-to-get-ten-seconds’-worth-of-warm-dribble variety. It also occurred to both of us that it’s just as well the aforementioned “homme des Cevennes” doesn’t come here for a shower as the small hand towel supplied would barely be enough to dry his exemplary physique.
Anyway we’ve both scrubbed up a bit and I’m writing this to the accompaniment of Laurie’s version of the tenor part of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. I am the very least equipped person to comment on the singing ability of others as I have a voice like a cross between a squeaky door and a raucous raven: however as Alyn Ross tells me that Laurie did very well at some recent singing event in Nairn, I’m sure I’m failing fully to appreciate his endeavours.

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