The bird sanctuary

Day 13… Probably

Pornic – Bouin

Powered up fully, I have one last thing on the agenda before heading due South again – a 1000 word email back home to try and save my friends back at the boat. Yes, another 2 hrs out of my schedule for the day but, sometimes, even your holiday needs to go on hold. After all, good friends are always worth the effort.
With that done, I hit the local Netto, add about 6lbs to my backpack and decide to store the majority of it in my stomach. I’m eating like a pig now! Well, not literally rolling in my own turds and quaffing down swill but, man, I’ve got one hell of an appetite on me and am starting to worry that my belly will make it to the doors of Es Paradise way before I will.
Impromptu picnic over and done with, I skate off a good 4km into Pornic once again, fed, clean and finally warming back up, turn around and skate 4km back wishing I’d checked the sat nav before trusting my diabolical sense of direction. I keep off the highways and roll along the adjacent roads waving a big cheesy grin towards the the passing traffic that beep at me like I’m more of a danger than one of the many cyclists, just to wind them up like.
The weather is dull and a pathetic attempt at rain consists, er, consistently. It’s actually quite refreshing! I’m burning calories on a gradual uphill with no struggle. My flat left sole slipping slightly with every push. The roads were kind (even if the motorists weren’t) as I make some decent progress until the highway is, once again, my only option. The 90kmph limit being completely ignored by the locals doing 110 and battling the holiday motorhomes doing 35. There’s a margin for me to consider but stacked with rocks that even my monster wheels can’t cope with so I “verge it” for another 4km with boardie on the bungie leash behaving like a Crufts winner. No, I don’t mean suffering with brain damage due to decades of cruel interbreeding, following me like the faithful friend he has become. Another bastard cheap supermarket passes and my busting belly greedily cries out for more fruit.
Back off the roads, I can now start skating closer to the shore. Tiny little tourist built towns without a single shop open pass me by with the only sign of life being that of council road sweepers preparing to sap the savings from anyone that passes through when the high season kicks into gear but wow!, brand new, fresh and baby smooth Tarmac, blacker than Batmans nether regions means by board is floating on air. I can hear my wheel bearings breathing sighs of relief almost thanking me as if it were my doing. I glide onwards. No pain. No hinderance. Nitro boosted by a Cheshire grin.
“Just keep the water to your right Michael” a simple navigation device that soon fails me when I realise I’ve been enjoying the “glass-mac” too much and have missed the fact that I’ve been going east for 2km. Oh well, back I go! Wohoo!! It’s like being lost in the redlight district of Amsterdam, no worries, plenty of fun to be had! (Probably best to remind you it’s been 11yrs since I’ve been abroad and never once have I graced “the dam”, but you get the message I’m sure).
I take a well deserved break and check the map to find my final destination for the day – Bouin. Looks like a proper town to me. Bound to be a shop open to stock up the hydration sack with 20 cent water. The scenery rapidly changes almost as if I miss the transition in a blink. I’m now in marshland. Horizon flat as the eye can see. Strange little, man-made streams bleeding water from fuck only knows and the population of sod all becomes a haven of bird to .001 human. Not you’re typical featherage either – herons ten to the cent, cranes standing three feet tall and dead still as if they are invisible without movement, birds of prey that I can only figure are hen harriers because I’ve not got a clue, egrets with their spangly legs and beaks making noises as if they should have a carer with them at all times, odd looking ducks, snipes stooping low in attack mode as if seeing someone skateboarding from Brighton to Ibiza is an oddity and lapwings offering a display like tony hawks. I’m in twitchers heaven! Like I’ve stepped into one of Bill Odie’s wet dreams or something. I can’t see the road I’m skating. Might help if I stop looking up and start looking forward! Thankfully the lack of traffic allows me the wonderful vision, all the way to Bouin.
I roll into “centre ville” just as the clouds clear and reveal blue sky to discover the most beautiful little place I’ve found so far on the journey. Everything is miniature. Tiny church, tiny pub and perch myself on a tiny bench in total awe. I de-sack and rest my legs having forgotten that they are now aching hard, get out some snacks and enjoy the sun on my massive grin. The locals (two of them in total if my maths were correct) stare oddly at me as if seeing a guy skateboarding from Brighton to ibiza is an oddity (what is it with the life in this area!?!). 20 or so mins pass by and I get stuck into the previous day’s blog, mind drifting into the words that flow far too freely for the time I have left in the day when I hear an familiar accent – “… Yeah, lovely isn’t it!”. I snap back to consciousness to catch two men in their late 40s finishing off a sentence. “The most beautiful town on my trip so far”, I pitch in. They look at me with an element of surprise and we spend a couple of minutes discussing the wildlife and the normal questions fly by. Turns out we get the same train into London, Essex boys! One particularly nice, the other, far too wrapped up in his own wealth to bother with. I bid them farewell and state “might catch you on the tube sometime eh” and receive a response of “not me, I’m retired!” With a sense of pride that I can tell has irritated every one of the 50 people he has told that to today.
Time to bed down but a quick check of the weather reports states rain from 11pm and not a small amount either. Proper rain! The kind my kit list certainly wasn’t planned for. A quick satellite image shows a very small patch of trees in an otherwise completely tree free area but breaking into a hospital for the handicapped so I can camp in the man-made garden woodland is not something I’m happy with. I don’t like climbing walls!
I circle the village three times getting more frustrated with every lap and opt for a high hedgerow on the outskirts, staying positive that the torrential rain forecast was pulled out of thin air by an intern at Google inc again, and set up camp.
Low and behold, I spend a very wet night wondering if that intern had somehow used his satellites and overheard me stating his resemblance to Mr. Fish earlier in the week.

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