The road to Ruin

Day 20

Ecillias – Sorlac su Mer

A windy but good night. Hardly bouncing off the walls under a mirrorball but quiet, restful and the luxury of a clean public toilet to wash and stock up on fresh water for a monster caffeine kick up the arse to start the day. After being moved on for the first time the previous evening it was nice to sit and drink coffee with the owner of the nearest house but, there was far too much nodding and agreeing going on to get away with the fact that I didn’t understand a word he said. Not one! No, that’s a lie, I think it was three.
My latest bit of kit – a fuck off great sign on my high viz that states “UK” with two arrows underneath pointing to the word “Ibiza” is starting to become a bit of a nuisance to be honest, not that there’s a great deal to lie about here. Originally is was a vein hope to attract some English conversation where possible, then maybe an aid for my price negotiations, but now it really just attracts the French and Spanish, the category of which that don’t really seem to get the message that I’m not understanding them and continue to fire a tommy gun of words at me for 15 mins when I should be making headway. I’m not the unappreciative type but it’s hardly helping, which, I suppose, pisses on that that statement royally.
I sat an supped too much coffee for an hour after my public display of yoga, during which time the operator of the 1900’s gondola that was posted on the other side of the river must have sent the thing my way a good three times only to return empty. Got my money’s worth there eh. Hitting the road to Royan finally I was pleased to discover, at first, that the highway route initially offered me some quiet side roads to skate amongst the commuters. It was still early but the traffic died and I was happily left to myself. But, all good things came to a rather dangerous end. My original planning would have left me with a loop around the coast, treble the distance for the amount of mileage south so I decided to ignore it and head straight, straight into the jaws of national speed limits. Ok, there was a decent verge but this ain’t no route for a skateboard. Cars zipping past at 120, a speed that I was surprised left them the ability to flip me the bird but they seem pretty talented in these parts. The occasional long break meant I could plant my feet and put the board to use but, a long pause in traffic meant only one thing – a hold up – caused by only one thing – a fucking great lorry. If there was a sport in hedge diving, call me Tom Daily! Just expect much smellier shorts.
I hiked in the heat. Boardie being dragged through the grass verge, getting a good clean if there were any positives to be drawn from the experience, but there glass is a tenth full here. I took refuge to let out a few sighs at a bus stop, I even checked the timetable but am glad the next pick up was nearly a three hour wait. I hiked on.
After about 22km the road to Ruin, sorry, Royan, came to an end and luckily, I hadn’t. I went off course as soon as possible and took a longer route into the town. Safe and well.
Coastal Royan arrived and I’d certainly deserved a pick me up. Some hot food, something greasy. I hobbled my way along the promenade with a few hours to kill before the ferry crossing the estuary. Muscles, fruit de Mer, muscles, menu de jour, muscles, muscles, muscles and, finally, Burger McAmerican. Don’t get me wrong, I love muscles and really look forward to the day where I can afford them. Unfortunately, the same applied to McAmerican. The limp didn’t need to be laid on today but the authenticity was no aide for negotiations, neither the new neon sign on my backpack. About £8 for the bog standard burger and fries so I settled for the £3 portion of string chips and went all-out on the free ketchup. This was precisely 13 mins before hitting an all time low. I noticed a couple of guys needlessly order whatever they fancied and one of them decided they just didn’t fancy it. Two bites, 5 chips, wrap it up and in the bin. My heart sunk, my jaw dropped a morsel of food that didn’t go to waste. I ummed and pondered for all of 4 seconds before making a firm decision. Taking my tray to the same bin, I emptied it with one hand and retrieved the leftovers with the other, a slight-of-hand trick that would have put David Blaine to shame in more ways than one. Not even checking for soggy bits, wolfed it down out of sight and skated to the ferry feeling a previously unknown sense of dishonour and, at the same time, joy that I’d achieved the days goals alive and quids in.
The ferry was, it turned out, cheap! Cheap enough, in fact to have purchased that meal and still been on target for the days over budget blow out. Irony. It was also quick! I arrived on the other side of the water at 4:22pm leaving time for more progress. I had 6/8ths of a burgers and fries to burn after all.
Checking the map, the next destination was Sorlac su-Mer. 13km. Achieveable. Especially as the area was very quiet, the roads smooth, flat and wide. I pushed, and wow, did I push! Arriving at sign that gave a welcome in 6 different languages at 4:47pm. Wow and wow again! What a rush! God only knows what that guy left on his burger but, I’ll have seconds for tomorrow if it’s available.
I hit the supermarket intending to blow some of the days savings and walked out with a bag of the lowest priced goodies I could find on the selves as per usual, the final failure of the day. Just a camp soot to find which popped its hand up after 200m like an overly eager kid sat at the very front of the maths class.

A day of danger, a day of shame… another day done.

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