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Sunday, 2 March 2014

Post 22. Crossing the river Seine.

During this week l've been shown a lot of kindness and generosity. l've been invited to stay in peoples fields and yards, l've been given corn and hay for the horse, one farmer called, Jean-Pierre gave me dinner and in the morning presented me with a bottle of the local cider and a bottle of wine, delicious. The next day another Jean-Pierre and his wife, Bernadette, invited me to stay, l parked the wagon in the street outside  their house and put the horse in the neighbours field. I had lunch and dinner with them. Lovely. They were so kind.
In Gournay-en-Bray, l chatted to a lady called Stephanie, she asked her friend if l could stay in her field, so l went there. Collette and her husband, Roger, were very kind. They invited me for a lovely meal, we played music afterwards and while Roger played his accordion l had a waltz with Collette.
Les Heras de la Repee
Their neighbour, Didier and his wife were also very kind. Didier gave me firewood and mended the broken window in the door of my wagon. Last night, Philippe, an event rider invited me to stay at his yard, gave me plenty of hard food for the horse, let me use the internet and the washing machine; just what l needed.
These acts of kindness and hospitality have made my travelling so much easier.
North of La Seine, above La Roche Guyon
During this time l've been travelling through pleasant countryside and have gone through some lovely villages and small towns. A shoe came loose on the horse, l pulled if off and re-nailed it. The nails had sheared of, but it's fine now.
 Loose Shoe
Taking loose shoe off to re-nail it
I had a lovely journey down the valley beside the Epte river and now l'm on the north side of La Seine at the pretty town of La Roche Guyon. I'm stopped beside the river to rest for a bit. I stopped to fix another hind shoe on as the nails had failed, it happens sometimes. The horse is on some nice grass and l've just treated myself to a grande creme in a cafe. I carried on later, a couple more miles and have stopped on the side of the road in a pretty village called Clashaloze, it is nestled under some chalk cliffs, many of the buildings are dug out of the cliffs. On the other side of the road are little fields and orchards and the horse is in one of these. The man who owns the orchard is called Bernard, he  is a real gentleman. He gave me water, good seasoned firewood, bread, a tin of sardines, a banana and some yoghourt. He has promised to make me some lovely coffee in the morning, l have surrendered and am just enjoying the coffee. The river Seine is only 100 metres away and l can hear the barges going up and down. It rained heavily in the night but stopped at 8am. Bernard came out with a big bowl full of coffee, sugar and bread and butter, he told me to keep the bowl, the coffee was really good. He was really pleased to have met me and l was glad to meet him. I set off at 8.30am and was soon across La Seine. It's a long pull up the hill on the otherside. It's warm and sunny today and the horse is losing his winter coat. I walked along feeling warm without my coat on. Walked 12 miles, [20km], then stopped near a lovely little village called Gilles. On the way l bought some olives and avocadoes to eat, from a van parked in a village square.
Buildings carved out of rock
Pretty French Village
I'm 200 miles [321km] south of Calais now. About a quarter of the way to Les Saintes Maries de La Mer. I'm very pleased with the progress.