Sunday, 9 March 2014

Post 24 The Loire‏

I crossed the Loire at Beaugency, it's a nice old town, l stopped by the bridge and had a rest for an hour. It was a lovely sunny day. I could have stopped the night there, some of the towns have areas for camper vans and they sometimes have grass suitable for the horse to graze. I decided to carry on and wished l hadn't as l was tired by the time l got to La Ferte St Cyr.16 miles. [26km]. I'm about 320 miles [510 km] south of Calais now.
I stopped by the river in the middle of the village, in a picnic area. The countryside is different now, marshy heathland with scrubby oak trees. I'll be glad when l get out of it. In a car it would take about 45 minutes to get from  Beaugency to Romorantin, you'd hardly notice it, you wouldn't see much or remember it. It will take me three days.

I did about 8 miles [13km] then stopped on a fairly big verge at a road junction. It's surrounded by scrub oaks, it's a bit sombre but at least there is plenty of firewood. Further back l passed a sign, warning trespassers that the Devil [Diable]  would get them. I'll take my  chance.
I'm glad to give the horse and myself an easier day. I'm hoping to rest for a few days soon. I did 94 miles last week, which is good for this time of year, but l'm getting tired.
Despite the threat of the Devil, l slept beautifully, like an innocent baby and woke at 7.00 am to the sound of a woodpecker having breakfast. I stayed in bed for an hour all wrapped up snug in my quilts, reluctant to leave the warmth and face the damp cool air of this marshy wood.
The weather is so much better, Tarateeno is losing his winter coat rapidly now, his hairs get everywhere.19 miles [30km] to Villefranche sur Cher, stopped and did some shopping in Romorantin, there was a McDonalds there and l stopped outside and used the free wifi to check my emails. I had hoped more cafes would have wifi but they don't. They probably do in cities. I'll get a French carte de SIM for my tablet when l get a chance. I'm stopped in a nice big picnic area by the canal. The horse was tired and glad to get somewhere with good spring grass. He will not need any more hay or corn now, which will save me having to find it. It's warm this evening and it's the first time l haven't needed to light the stove for months. I saw some wild boar that had been run over today. I stopped and took a photo of a young one.

5th March. Warm sunny day. I walked along in my shirtsleeves, saw some cowslips. Did 19 miles again, [30km). Tarateeno is losing his winter coat as fast as he can, l'm brushing it out with a curry comb, but it's very thick. It's tiring for him, he'll be glad when it's gone. I'm stopped a few miles north of Issoudun on a very quiet road. Just the sound of a pheasant getting ready to roost and later a fox barking. Too tired to practice French or my bagpipes, fell asleep. Woke at 6.30am. Quite a hard frost, lit the stove, moved horse to fresh grass, boiled a couple of eggs and ate them with some rock hard French bread that l chewed labouriously.I should have given the bread to the horse, but l'd forgotten to buy any fresh.