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Le Lude to Agentre du Plessis 132k
2.08.06 by Buffalo Bill

Le Lude to Agentre du Plessis 132k

10th July

Today was the perfect day’s riding.

I woke on a stone floor in a smelly French bed-sit, in a small town called Le Lude, which is really nowhere. For breakfast, I had the taste of last night’s beer, washed down by two Grande Cremes (the French version of a latte, only a lot less pretentious), and a long chat with one of the French boys with whom I went to Le Mans the night before. Very inquisitive about my opinions on everything, which is always flattering.

In the end I rolled out around 9, and rode steadily, if not quickly, into Brittany, or Bretagne. It was a really hot day, and there was a head-wind, as there had been the day before. The heat was almost stifling, and the sun was merciless in a way that I can only remember the sun in Provence being. The roads were a succession of long, wide, straight rolling roads, and with the iPod, I was able to tune out the traffic, such as there was.

I got pretty lost a couple of times, but it didn’t really matter, how can you lose your direction if you have none? I stopped again and got naked. This time I was in a field, not a forest. I think today was the first day that I truly began to appreciate the solitude.

I saw this nasty piece of graffiti, appropriately in a toilet. Fascism, Nazism, racism, whatever you want to call it, anti-immigration, concern about foreigners taking ‘our’ jobs, ‘our’ benefits, using ‘our’ services, these kind of sentiments, this fear and hatred of poor people who are not like us, it comes from the sewer, and there it should stay. It should not be allowed to pollute our consciousness. But I fear that the deranged demagogues and bitter whisperers, and their thuggish adherents, and hypocritical appeasers and apologists are becoming stronger.

Today I realised that I hadn’t spoken any English to anybody for at least 2 days. I was still writing in English but I was speaking and reading French only. A strange but liberating feeling. I believe that my patterns of thought are moulded by the language that I use to express my thoughts, and I felt that I was able to leave my ‘english’ thoughts behind, lacking the means to express them. Apart from writing in my journal, of course.

Calvados

My trip was more than half-done and I had turned to the north, heading for the coast, heading for the sea on the other side of which was England. I had no great desire to head for home, and indeed I realised that there was not a great deal in London for me. A battered track bike and a comprehensive collection of messenger t-shirts and woollen jerseys. Not a great deal to show for 20 years. No mortgage, no bricks and mortar, no flesh and blood of my loins. Why was I going back at all? I am not sure.

This is the sixth part of my journey to France, ‘Looking for Km 83

Part 7

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