It is now over a year since we left you all and flew back to London from Chicago. My mum is doing great – cooking her own breakfast and pruning the roses in her dressing gown before her “carers” arrive to help her wash and dress and make her bed. Not that she would ever say so, but John and I are definitely surplus to requirement. Just as well, as it looks as though we may have sold our London house. (Third time lucky? Two previous offers have fallen through … Crossed fingers and prayers to St. Jude please.)
In preparation for our house move, we are bringing the bikes back home to France. It is the first long ride we have had since last summer. Tonight I am writing from Limoges (if you stuck a pin in the middle of a map of France, you wouldn’t be far off). John is snoring beside me.
We had intended to make it back to Montréjeau tonight, but the itinerary was fecked before we started. We stayed last night with John’s mum, Betty, as it was easier to get to Dover from Coulsdon than from the Isle of Wight, for a cheap ferry crossing to Calais. We were booked on an 8.15am ferry, which we could have made easily by leaving at 6.30am. Unfortunately, Betty’s snoring woke us at 4am. Having tossed and turned a bit, I got up and made a cup of tea for us both. By the time we had drunk it, it was 4.30am and John had a brilliant idea, “Let’s leave now!” It is a ten and a half hour drive from Calais to Montréjeau and, if we had caught an early ferry, we could have made it to our local auberge at about 9pm, in time for a pizza. But there was no “early” ferry, so we just sat nursing a large coffee and a bacon roll until it was time to embark.
If we had ridden on, we could probably have made Montréjeau by midnight, but the auberge would have been closed. As it was, after 400 miles, we started to flag at Orléans and decided to have a decent meal and call it a day at Limoges. We booked into a B&B Motel (45 per night + breakfast) and had a nice bit of rump steak at the Courtepaille restaurant next door. Slightly worryingly, it took a second bottle of vin de pays for John to notice that we could have paid 37 for the room, if we could have found a third person to share it with us …
The mind boggles.