Saturday, 5 May 2012

Domaine du Sauvage: a maison forte

28 kms. today, and I'm exhausted! Not a lot of up and down, but there was a gradual climb to our highest point so far, Le Sauvage - 1292m. Tonight, we are a little lower, at Le Rouget, staying in a gîte on a farm: nice M. Pic's 20 cows lie below, whilst we nine walkers warm ourselves by his cosy woodstove upstairs. The day started bright, rather too much so. But gradually the clouds changed colour, and some very solid rain came. Time to put on my gear, including new galoshes: how do they go? Luckily, I was enjoying my casse-croûte in M. Lahondes' barn at Chazeaux when the storm broke: others weren't so lucky. We passed very few signs of habitation today, just fields full of wild daffodils and large tracts of forestry, much devastated by recent storms - and perhaps disease (thought the Scotsman, Doug, whom I met up with, along with others in the gang during our elevenses stop chez Mme. Delcros at Le Falzet). Le Sauvage itself sits in the middle of nowhere, an ageless refuge, now a gîte, where I dried off for a while before starting on the last lap. Katie, Doug's daughter, treated me to thé au lait (milk, alongside mint tea). The rain stopped at last, but it was 6.15 before I got here, whereupon the heavens opened again. In our room, Dominique and Roland have very decently opted to sleep in the bunk beds, leaving me a double (!) bed. We seem to have almost as much room as the six next door: four Bretons are sharing two beds smaller than mine, and Jacques and Fabien, neither exactly sylphlike, are in bunks. Mme. Pic's veal stew was delicious, but I felt much too tired to do it justice.

I have to keep reminding myself that to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive: it's not a competitive event, but if it were... Well, after a day trying to recall the name of the Jamaican 100m. champion, I now remember it; so:

The winner of the race,
it is easy to foretell:
Bolt has all the pace,
but Davis has the shell.

(Except that I have never replaced the one that broke in Spain!)

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