24th May 2010
Slept late and wandered off to the post office only to discover that today is a bank holiday in France so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to post stuff off. Dined on cold tinned cassoulet but by then I’d got the raging shits from too much rich food so I’m glad we’re not walking today. PO at 9.00 tomorrow meanwhile we did some washing and lazed about charging phones and cameras. Supper at same restaurant tonight but cheaper menu I think.
“Supper at same restaurant”! Les Sentiers d’Aubrac – remember never to eat there. Andrew found 3 hairs in his salad. The manager was running the service without a waitress so everything was appallingly slow. The pièce de résistance was a bluebottle roasted and sauced on top of my stuffed chicken thigh (along with some tiny mushrooms). I suddenly understood why I had been ill all day. We left refusing to pay for anything except for a bottle of Pellegrino which we gave him 5€ for. Our journey across France is turning us into Bonny and Clyde. We half expected him to get stroppy but he didn’t even apologise. [Later, I] – had a wonderfully surreal conversation with a very old Frenchman who was obviously lonely. I was washing out my water bag and it became clear, when he smiled and tapped his thigh, that he had mistaken it for a catheter and storage bag. So we shared this precious moment of fellow feeling and he went on his way presumably encouraged that there was someone else on the site who shared his problemJournal
There are several missing pieces from this part of the journal. My memory has muddled up several bits in places, but since I mentioned sending off any redundant equipment we had discovered we didn’t need or couldn’t carry any further, I’m clear that this is the place where we saw a market stall dedicated entirely to foraged wild mushrooms. In a better ordered narrative we would have brought a selection of them back to the campsite and cooked the kind of dish you see f
25th May 2010
Up early. I’d been listening to a nightjar I the trees near the tent. The wildlife here is exquisite – flowers orchids and the happiest and healthiest cattle I’ve ever seen. Post was very helpful (we were sitting on the doorstep when it opened). The surplus gear was packed into 2 boxes and dispatched to Harry’s daughter in Le Houga.
Then we set out to cross the last and the highest part of the Aubrac Plateau at 1300 metres. Dropped down through wooded landscape to St Chély at about 3.00pm. Best day’s walking yet ‘though only 17K.Journal
I think all of my happiest memories of the camino were contained in the walk from Le Puy en Velay to St Ch
To get the distance between Le Puy en Velay and St Ch
Next time – with a bit of luck – a reflection on creeks, tidal rivers and their mill pools and for my friend Rose a bit of lyrical thinking about how the nightjar, the nightingale and the curlew can undo us so completely.