Posted by: kathandroger | June 2, 2019

One week, two countries.

We live in an era of cheap and easily available travel. I worry about all the pollution we cause, especially travelling by air, but have to admit it has not made much difference to my own plans.  I went back to the UK last week to attend a friends’ funeral. Sad occasion, but beautifully done and a pleasure to see some very old chums. This time I drove to the ferry at Caen, left the car, and traversed as a foot passenger. Very much cheaper than taking the vehicle, and a mate picked me up from the terminal to spend the night at his nearby house. I love the ferry. Six hours of doing nothing, except watching the sea, reading, eating and generally people watching. Lots of schoolchildren on trips, and lots of jollity.

Rejoining the country of my birth is strange nowadays. I know it was my home for many happy years, but it now feels a bit alien and so totally different to France. My friends in Hampshire have a wonderful house and gardens, and I was awoken by the dawn chorus of birds, something which happens rarely here. We traveled to London for the ceremony, taking a succession of trains then Uber taxis. Nowhere did we have to wait for more than ten minutes in what was a very complicated journey; oh the wonders of the smartphone! All around was the familiar bustle of London which I knew so well, as well as the looks of frustration and annoyance of passengers having to stand on the trains. But we made it on time, the ceremony was dignified with some beautiful professional singers, and my lovely lady friend was laid to rest with her friends and family all around her. IMG_0749The reception was held just outside London, and the photo reminds me of how I feel about my home town now; murky and very much in the distance.

It was good to get home: the ferry was full of American visitors to the Northern Beaches for the war anniversary, but again there were lots of youngsters behaving like youngsters do. I drove back without a stop, and was pleased to find the car covered in squashed insects the next day. We hear so much about the fall in the insect population, another worry, but the remnants of the species seemed to have made Kamikaze attacks on the vehicle. Sorry about the killing, but it reassured me that all is not lost yet.

 

Yesterday was another new experience. A “semi nocturnal ramble”. Apparently they are quite common here, the local walking clubs organising a route of varying distances, with a stop just before the end to eat a meal. It began at dusk, on what was a very hot evening, and at about 11 km we stopped at a renovated farm for a typical French “snack”.IMG_0753There were about a hundred walkers for the very pretty route around Chaumussay, a local village. The pace was leisurely, the company good, and I even had time to remind myself of the power of nature, this tree, tangled in the fence, had obviously been too much for extraction.IMG_0755And then the meal! As always in France, eating is both important and not to be rushed. We started with the apero at about half past nine, and left after coffee not long before midnight, and it was just a simple affair in an outside marquee. That is the France that I have come to know and love!


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