Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Turn right at the canal

Tuesday 5th October 2010: Marseillette FR. 
Ok, the preparation stages have been put in place, there is nothing left to do but start running again. I am a little excited as I get up from bed and find my running gear. I haven’t been running since the beginning of July and was wondering whether I was up to it with everything that I have been up to in the past few months. Putting my trainers on made me feel good and I went downstairs to start my run.

The start was easy, two downhill paths that set me off. Running along the canal wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I thought that after all the inflictions I have made to my body I would only be able to run for a few minutes, but 20 minutes later, I feel ok. There is not a soul around as I run up one side and back down the other. I know I will take my bike along this path later on today and think about the map I got yesterday.
I arrive back and have a good breakfast. It was a good start to a good day, and now, watching my washing blow on the line, I get back downstairs to finish some writing before planning the rest of my day.

After 12pm and a sandwich, I look at the map, and plan to cycle along the canal in the opposite direction. I head towards a place called Puicheric and hope its about the same distance as Trebes was yesterday. I have more time today as I don’t have to be back for anything, and so I take it within my stride. I am going at a steady pace mind you, and stopping every now and then to collect acorns and pine cones. I told you…its for my collage!

I get to a lock and instead of going over it to the other side of the canal, I turn left to look at the vineyards which seem to go on forever. It is an amazing sight. I cycle for a while and with the sun on my face, it feels just wonderful.

I go back onto the path, and a few cycles pass me as well as many boats and I get to another lock which catches my eye. Along the lock, the lock keeper has made sculptures out of wood and iron. This is definitely something I want to see. I cross the bridge and say hello to him. I think he is having a break as the locks are shut for lunch, so I don’t disturb him too much. I ask him if I can take photos and he seems happy. I hoped I would buy one but they range from 20 to 300 euros. I have 3 euros on me. Not good!
She needs a bit of 'organising'

He has a naked woman on a bike and a man who pees into a toilet. There must be a sensor, because as I pass it, the woman starts cycling and he starts peeing. By the way, she needs to get organised by my reckoning. Bit too much ‘down there’. There is a crocodile made out of wood by the canal and one made our of bike chains at the top. I almost wish I could make something here too, but I know I have a ride in front of me so I leave.

I get to a small bridge and sit on a very old bench, which has been weathered by time. I sit on and wonder how many other people have chosen to rest here and see the view. It is a perfect place I feel to call my mum and dad. They are having soup for lunch and watching TV. As always it’s lovely to hear their voices.

I cycle about 10 minutes into the village and follow the big tower which appears to be a church. After locking my bike in the kid’s playground, I walk up the steep hill to the top. When I try the door and find it is closed, I feel like I have cycled here for nothing. The village looks deserted and I wonder if anyone lives here. I walk to the local shop. It has boards up. I walk to the newsagent - closed as well. Im starting to feel thirsty now and am a bit ticked off I didn’t being anything to drink. I usually do, but being away from the snail, I don’t have the things I need to cater for my mini bike adventures. I try not to think about it, but I find I am getting thirstier. I wonder if I swallow continuously this with quench my thirst. It doesn’t. I ask an old lady if there is a bar in the village and she directs me. I get my bike and cycle there, now feeling quite parched. I am almost tempted to knock on someone’s door and ask them for a drink of water, but don’t. I get to the bar and see three women eating their lunch. I peer in through the door that says ‘open’ and ask them if they are. They say curtly. ‘No’. I ask them if I can have a drink, they say ‘No’. I signal to my throat that I am parched, but they say the same thing. I JUST WANT A BLOODY DRINK! They go inside and shut the door, which leaves me talking in the top of my voice about manners and a hundred things I can’t remember, but I said my point. So there I am, an hour’s cycle away, with nothing to drink here, and nothing to drink on the way. I wonder if I could suck some grapes and they would give me enough liquid to satisfy me. I think otherwise.
Then it occurs to me that with all this traffic at the canal, that’s what is needed, a bar at every lock. Why has no one thought of this, you could make a packet! I could then cycle and sip an orangina in the cool shade instead of cycling home with my throat as dry as a desert.

Walnuts inside, but if you touch them they
stain your hands brown for over a week!
I reach another lock and see lots of boats waiting and smell a very familiar smell. I look down and under my wheels are some walnut cases. I remember doing this in Slovenia in August and having stained brown hands for nearly 2 weeks. Today I have a bag, two bags actually. I crush them with my trainers and collect them in a bag. A French lady who is waiting to go through the locks asks me what I am doing and I tell her. She doesn’t think they are walnuts and goes to ask an old man who has also come to watch the boats pass through the locks. She tells me that he said they are Japanese Walnuts. They are walnuts all the same and I’m not getting stained fingers again!!

 I get back and drink two large glasses of water and hope that the water is ok to drink as I was given bottled water the other day. I don’t care and I sit out in the sun on the patio and read my book for a while.

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