France – Day 2. Inflatable Flamingos *

Categories Travel

You know what they say about best intentions ?  I had planned ( as much as I ever plan anything ) to get up early , stroll to the bike hire place and tootle across to Richard ( my friend , who has rented the shit hole of a place in the photo below ) with my basket stuffed full of baguettes and pastries for all to share . In this complete cul de sac of a plan ,  I imagined myself  waving cheerfully at smiling villagers , telling anyone who would listen that I was ‘ en vacances ‘ and that ‘ my hobbies include travel and drinking ‘ .

In reality , as is so often the case , it didn’t pan out that way . To be fair , I did get to the cycle shop and spoke to a very friendly assistant who , unlike me , got away with wearing Lycra .  Determined to have some sort of conversation in the native tongue , I asked the chap if we could at least start off in French and revert to English if it all went pear shaped . He duly obliged and , actually , we got quite far . We even joked about wanting a basket to put baguettes in …. That .. or he was taking the piss . Either way , a booking was made for the next day and all done in French . I’ll probably turn up to find a pink tandem with stabilisers but at least I had a go.

I do love the politeness here . The French , have a reputation , I’ve always thought wrongly , for being a bit grumpy . I don’t see it . Take the lady in the Bread Shop  this morning ( see ! I did actually get bread .. just not a bike ) . As soon as I was  through the door , it was all  ‘ Bonjour , Monsieur ! Comment allez vous , aujourd hui? ‘ – not a hint of grumpiness .  In fact , she was quite the chirpiest person I’ve encountered in months. It actually makes you feel ‘ sunny ‘ even if it is just a brief exchange over a loaf . It’s the little things .

Richard had probably guessed I’d never turn up on two wheels at that time and kindly suggested that as he was ‘ in the area ‘ he’d pick me up . After 40 years of friendship , he knows I don’t do mornings .

And so to a glorious afternoon of doing very little . There was a routine , a simple one , which basically involved :
1 – Getting hot by the pool
2 – Cooling down in the pool
3 – Getting out and getting hot again
4 – Getting back in the pool

Add some inane , random chat , together with games like ‘ Head the ball into the inflatable chair ‘ and ‘ Guess the TV theme tune ‘ and you get pretty much the perfect day .

Back in Sarlat now .  ( I’m staying in an air b n b place here for the first week , then joining Rich and Co. at Chez Pascale – the aforementioned ‘ Shit hole ‘ **.   I probably  should have explained that earlier ) Another stroll past street entertainers , pavement artists and chattering folk . I stopped for an ice cream ( mint choc chip if anyone’s buying ) and just enjoyed the feeling of ‘ life ‘ around me . Not thinking of the past or what’s to come – just that ice cream and those sights in that moment . Should do it more often .

Anyway .. I’ll stop all that . You’d think I’d been on the pop .

As usual , I haven’t learnt from past mistakes and failed to put on any sun cream . I’m now paying for it .

Ca suffit .

Bonsoir mes amis et a la prochaine .

To new horizons .

* AKA ‘ Len’  The inflatable Flamingo who lives on the pool .
** joking of course – it’s not at all a ‘ shit hole  ( ‘ trou de merde’ )  – it’s absolutely magnificent .

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