A proper cup of English

Day 26/27

Targos – nowhere – 0km
Targos – Meilhan sur-Garron – dunno, somewhere between 35-45km

Not a great deal to report on day 25. I woke on Mandy and Jerremys sofa not at all convinced that I’d slept well and a quick glance at the clock on the wall that had been ticking in my ear all night revealed only 1 hand so I I reverted to my freshly charged phone to see that I’d slept in, by a long shot. 9:30am and, if you include the hour spent resting on the floor in the bathroom the previous night from all the intoxicants my body was successfully rejecting, or ejecting, that makes 9.5 hrs kip, nearly two days worth by my standard. So the was only one thing for it: find a tree and sleep some more.

I didn’t feel as rough as one would expect truthfully – I woke, I was given fresh espresso, I was offered some food which I couldn’t stomach, some supplies and given plenty of time to rejuvenate myself before heading back out into the wild. They were simple people! Simply lovely, simply living and simply delivering a wonderful effort to offer me a simply wonderful evening. Just a shame I couldn’t handle it. On the plus side, the full evacuation did a wonderful job of curing my flatulence.

Out with the chorizo and in with everything that was left in my food bag. I headed back to the spot where they found me and settled down for a full days rest. Once the espresso had worn off, I needed it! My head was pounding, eyes hanging out of my skull and the bags under them could have possibly freed up some space in the rucksack (always thinking about space saving, even under the worst of conditions). I had some catching up to do on the blogs which reaffirmed my decision but in reality, that excuse only lasted a couple of hours, which was about as long as my body could stay awake, just the ticket to pass the time till my appetite came back.

Anyway, you get my drift, or lack of that day, I didn’t do anything that day, didn’t lift a finger, barely batted an eyelid.
Instead, I made up effort the next day in the form of a little thank you to the picnic area that had housed me for the duration of my rejuvenation: picking up all the litter, fixing the broken boards on one of the tables etc. and hit the cycle path once again with the kind of positivity that spelled out a “no chance I’m making up for lost time, I’m a skateboarder, I’ll do as I bloody well please” kind of attitude.

No need to check the GPS, the route only goes one way. My next stop was Bazas, west. Shame the one single path seemed to have changed direction overnight and an hour and a half later I found out that this new direction was, in fact, North. Usually my worst nightmare, after all, I just wanna get South, but, rather bizarrely, I found myself only 10km from my second stop of the day – Langon. How and why was an unnecessary calculation. I was happy with the answer to this riddle so I let that one rest.

I skated into town looking for the office de bloody useless tourists and found that it had shut its door for the day in 1998. Other than that, Langon was a pretty little town that just didn’t want to help in any way. Yes, the local market was cheap in a local kinda way but only for local kinda people. Trying to buy a nectarine was like trying to convince a supermarket employee that I wasn’t a thief – it just wasn’t going to happen. But the reason I chose Langon wasn’t for the hospitality, here lies the start of the Toulouse velo route, “a fuckin long cycle path” in East London layman’s terms. This was why I had to go north! Safety from the roads and a hope for fresh, smooth Tarmac. And that’s exactly what I received! The route caught up with the Garron canal about 10km in and I got what I wanted, and more. The canal was crystal clear, the day was beautiful and the pathways fritted from a 7 to a definite 10 on the “oh my god, this is fuckin awesome” scale us skaters use as our high-precision yard stick. I pushed on happy, darting from one side to the other offering the usual pleasantries to every passer by. It was perfection! The kind that oozed out of every pour, soaking my clothing due to the heat and exhilaration.

I didn’t check the GPS again that day, I just kept on going, breaking only for lunch whilst cooling my feet in the waters edge and watching the fish give them a well deserved wide birth. Hey, if I can still smell them reaching up at me whilst travelling at 20kmph, what they must have experienced must have been horrific!

I finished up the day early when I reached the tiny village of Meilhan sur-Garron to stock up on water for the nights 8 cups of liquorice tea and spotted my camp spot immediately, nestled off the canal behind a very impressive bush. As I approached, I noticed a campsite opposite and thought I’d pop in on the off chance they’d accept €3 for an overnight charge of my power pack, then I saw the sign “une person, une tent €2.30″. Yes, about £1.70 for a secure spot, a shower and as much electricity I could bleed in 12 hours! Reception closed, I pinned my money to the door with pride and picked my spot for the night.

Brookbond – yeah, proper, English tea, with milk and everything! A gift from Tony and his lovely wife. They were an elderly couple from Poole, set up on the pitch next door. And what a wonderful gift it was, a whole flask of the stuff, just one of the many things I’ve taken for granted over the years and I might never be able to sip it again without saying a mental “thank you” to them before swallowing.

I settled for a night of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever experienced – crickets of three different types singing harmoniously, the frog song re-edit (the one without McCartney), the gentle breeze rustling the trees and the only interruption was the occasion hoot from a owl.

Music por la nuit


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