(There was a bug hotel next door to the car park)
It’s Sunday… and we finally have nothing to do! But first let me bring you up to date. We travelled yesterday for most of the day to the banks of the Canal D’Orleans via the city of Chartres. It was hot. Over thirty degrees by the afternoon.
(You might be just able to make out Chartres Cathedral in the distance?)
We left our overnight spot at the town of Cambremer in the morning and headed for Chartres, famous for it’s cathedral. Also famous for it’s blue glass and a crypt and a steeple (two actually) with steps up to the top! We had our lunch in the car park just thirty minutes walk from the cathedral and changed into hot weather clothes. I got out the sun cream and the water bottles and… and we decided to get back on the road.
This is one of the reasons why I love Ireland, more than I used to, just because we travel. If someone had paid me a thousand euros yesterday I could not have walked for 30 minutes in that heat. Even though I really, really wanted to see the ancient glass – no one has been able to make the same colour glass despite modern technology. I really wanted to visit the crypt – probably nice and cool down there. And I really wanted to climb the tower – maybe not the climb bit but definitely the looking around at the top bit. It’s never too hot in Ireland to walk for thirty minutes. We turned up the air conditioning and drove on.
(Nightfall in Vitry-au-Loges)
Vitry-au-Loges is a small but perfectly delicious town on the banks of the Canal d’Orleans. We arrived at about four in the afternoon and closed all the shutters to keep our little home cool. It did not work. I went out to the bench beside the canal to find somewhere cooler to write to you. It was not. Then I completely forgot to take any pictures. The heat makes me forget stuff. Sorry… there’s one in the darkness but it’s just not the same.
Denis cooked dinner, my mother-in-law rang and I hadn’t the heart to tell her I’d like some of the “terrible weather” she was experiencing in Cork. We went for a walk and I accidentally took the only picture of that lovely town. By morning it was overcast (thank you clouds) and cooler. We emptied the cassette (not the musical kind) filled and emptied the water tanks and set off for the day.
(The church in Gron)
Then we had nothing to do! For some reason long forgotten we had picked our next parking spot just 90 minutes down the road. And here we are in Gron. We parked and went for a walk and happened upon the combined butcher/delicatessen/mini-market. We like to give business to the small shops in the towns we visit especially when we get to stay for free, so we decided to buy their dish of the day. A very appetising sounding lamb stew.
(Walking path to the town)
The butcher welcomed us and called out to his wife (I’m assuming it was his wife but I really have no idea) who came out to serve us. By now the smell of the stew was mouthwatering. She soon realised we were not in fact native speakers and went back inside… to get her dictionary! This is the very first time we have ever had this experience in France. This is a great day. I will remember this day. This day could mean I no longer have to butcher (pun intended) the French language. This lovely lady could be the new wave of French people being happy to butcher English. We could all communicate in a version of English French English. It could work. We might lose our fear of getting the grammar or pronunciation wrong and just connect. Our gestures and eyes and mixed up words could do all the work. I am very excited.
When she had finished looking up the dictionary she was able to explain that the lamb stew was over. Over? Gone. Finished. The lovely smell was their dinner. If only the whole new wave of communication had started last year they might have realised we were falling in love with their dinner and invited us to share it but no. Maybe next year. We bought a ham, cheese, egg and cream tart instead though so now we have our own dinner.
Sunday afternoon, day 3 in France, it’s raining outside (oh happy day!) and we finally have nothing to do. And we do what we remember our families did on a Sunday afternoon in Ireland in the 60’s… We turned on the radio (kinda, it’s Seth Godin reading his book Tribes on the Audible app) while Dad read the newspaper (sort of, Denis is playing Zelda on his Nintendo switch) and Mammy knits a jumper (almost, I’m crocheting a snood – it’s like a scarf.)
Wouldn’t it be interesting to think that in fifty years from now people will still choose to sit together listening or making or playing games on Sunday afternoons when they have nothing to do?
From gloriously rainy France, Mairead.
(That’s Gron in the blue circle)