Last weekend it was the Voyage with the Cyclo Club of St Just. The last two times I’ve been there’s been Cathy and Steve with us – two more speaking English – and last year, Clare came along too, to keep an eye on her sons. But one year on, and sadly, Cathy and Steve have split up, and, while Cathy thought she might come, she was over in the UK, sorting out divorce agreements. Clare’s boys are one year older, and don’t want mum watching them! So it was just me and Andrew speaking English. Thankfully, Gilles and his girlfriend Sylvie are fast becoming good friends, and although Sylvie wanted to chat to her other friends in rapid French, she did speak to me too!
So we set off on Saturday morning (6.00 am start) on the coach, snoozing on the way. There was a pause for breakfast at a rest area – out came coffee, wine (at 8.00 am!?), bread, saucisson, cheese, chocolate, brioche…Serve yourself! Enjoy!
We reached the holiday complex at 10.30, surprising the manager, who expected us an hour later. The cyclists unloaded the bikes, checked them over etc, while the “Hangers On” wandered around, inspected the swimming pool (small but nice) and sat chatting in the sunshine. When we got our room keys, after lunch, the cyclists quickly changed, ready for their outing, while the Hangers On were more leisurely.
This was the view from our balcony. The weather was beautiful (but, I later discovered, a bit too hot for cycling.) The cyclists gathered for a group photo, and I was a bit too late to join in with the mass picture-taking…
They’re all starting to move off as I run up with the camera!
The Hangers On set off for a visit to a pottery, where the guy gives a demonstration and explains how he makes his stuff.This site is all about the Poterie Guibert, and has many more photos. Here’s one I took of the potter’s hands:
and here’s one of the photos from the site, showing some of his work
We then went on to the Musée de la Boissellerie which tells about the history of making boxes. Hmm…sounds rivetting, but in fact the guide was quite jolly and amusing, and did his best to make it enjoyable. While I didn’t understand all of what he said, he was animated enough for it not to matter. We arrived back at the hotel by 6.30 but it was another hour or so before Group 1 cyclists got back – they’d done over 100 km!!!!! Mr D was completely wiped out!
We had dinner and we were in bed by 9.30 – I was catching up from lost sleep during the week, and Mr D because he was knackered!
The next day, he decided not to cycle, as he was still quite tired and there was a minor bike problem. My sciatica/back problems were bad (a lot of sitting/standing still the day before hadn’t helped) so we went for a slow walk/hobble together through the woods.
The flowers were glorious – there were orchids, buttercups, and lots more that I have no idea of.
We passed this house:
which is very pleasant, but nothing special. Until you read the plaque fastened to the wall:
“This house sheltered, between 1942 and 1943, the PC (not sure what this is ) of the Group Margaine, one of the first Maquis of France”
The Maquis is another name for the French Resistance, named after the mountain scrubland which was, so often, where they made their hiding place. I looked online to see if I could find more information about this groyup, but there wasn’t anything. However, the photo on this site shows a young teenage Maquisard, and the landscape behind him seems very similar to that in the area of the Jura.
While the rest of the house seems to be modern and renovated, this doorway on the side could be from the era when this house sheltered those fighting for the liberation of their country
Mr D left me after a while, as I was ready to head back. He followed a pathway, and I hobbled back for a relaxing swim. By the end of the morning, my back and leg were back to normal. Mr D somehow got lost and ended up struggling back through the woods, just in time for lunch, hot, sweaty and a bit ticked off!
We then all piled on the bus and headed into Switzerland!
This is a view of Lac Leman, as we headed down to Nyon, a town on the shore. There was a chateau that everyone had planned to visit, but when we reached the car park, and saw the Lake sparkling in the sunshine, and heard some bands playing al fresco for La Fete de la Musique we were tempted away from culture and instead towards indolence…Gilles, Mr D, Sylvie and I sat in a café and whiled away the afternoon with ice creams.
At 5.00 we gathered and got on the bus for the return trip. There was a pause at another rest stop for a picnic tea: out came bread, ham, sausage, cheese, crisps, roast pork, melon, cherries, cake, chocolate, wine, soft drinks… It was amazing! Very simple, but very enjoyable. After that there was much singing of songs: Fernand, one of the older guys, sang several old fashioned songs, including Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien”, which everybody joined in with. A couple of older ladies told some funny stories, which I understood – very gentle humour about “Mamie” (grandma) – and some of the younger lads sang a few songs too. I was pressganged into singing “An Austrian Went Yodelling” (which I always introduce as “An Ostrich went Yodelling” , the French for Austrian (Autrichien) being similar to the French for ostrich (autruche)…Well, it all adds to the fun!) I also sang “Doh a deer”…(Is that how you spell “doh”, as in music? It looks too much like Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!”) but that didn’t go down so well.
We finally got home at about 10.45, to be met with Bib, complaining VERY loudly that she’d been left on her own for TWO WHOLE DAYS!!! (Not true: we had friends coming in to feed her, and the other cats, and to give them some cuddles. But that obviously wasn’t enough for Bib!)
A very enjoyable weekend.
Sadly I heard on Monday evening that Mum had fallen and broken her wrist quite badly. My brother is with her now, and she was due to have a steel plate put in today. She’s 83, so this will have been a shock and a shake-up for her. Apparently, the surgeon told Mike and mum that he wouldn’t normally do this procedure on 83 year olds, but as she’s so fit and healthy, he was happy to do it. (Subtext: you’re not going to die in the next couple of years so it’s worth the effort!) If you are of a praying frame of mind, please can your hold Mum in your prayers. She’ll be going back to recuperate at Mike’s. Though I know logically that there’s nothing I could do, I still feel I should be there – I’m going over in two weeks to start the job, but it will be another 6 weeks before I see her…I feel very mean not rushing over to the UK NOW…but there’s no point. And I have work commitments here. Am I just making excuses?!