No bars or cafes for 12kms so what to do, no breakfast supplied today, but we could have cooked in this well organised friendly Gite. These are lodgings which cost between 15 and 30 Euros per night without food. As we walked out foodless into the misty haze, a van pulled in to deliver fresh pastries to the Boulangerie next door – not normally open until well after our starting time. We walked in and the owner treated it as normal business – we now had croissants for our first coffee stop of todays walk in 2-3 hours time. Bars mostly sell drinks only, but don’t mind you bringing your own food in.

We celebrated my birthday – a croissant and tea with a very tall middle age Frenchman as we conversed, he in French and me in English. I asked him to take a photo of us – he was so happy, then asked me to take him as he positioned me in ‘the’ picture taking spot, tore some bread and dunked it into his coffee as though I wasn’t there. I found it interesting how well you can communicate when you both have different languages. As long as it starts off well on a happy note, maybe relaying something that is of help either way, I’m amazed how extensive the discussion can be.

A gorgeous, not so cold morning, we walked once again across undulating terrain with some hills but not as challenging as on some previous days, the mist and fog hung like an infinite curtain focussing our attention on things close by. It is not weather I would normally venture out in so this walk offered up so many delights, daring us out of our comfortable rooms to share one of nature’s varied productions.

I faithfully do my voice exercises every morning so another reason to go early. Through more silent villages, no matter what time you enter their walls, peering along lonely streets watching for the chemin sign that will guide us out of town. At the entrance of one of these hamlets a young French couple we had seen along the track were travelling unusually slowly – they were fit, we knew. But she was cutting the air with a scythe as one leg moved in an arc to lessen a leg pain.

It was similar to Corrie’s injury which has nearly gone. So my pointing to her knee, adding English words, and she pointing to the pain spot, adding French words, got us into a 15 minute conversation. After this time we had shared knee stories, ‘charaded’ the problem and our successful remedies, ate their biscuits and cheese, laughed as though we were friends – all with nearly no verbal understanding. We left them behind, as they were used to doing to us, looking back across the now low extremely rocky terrain, their building of rock fences hardly making a change to this boulder strewn country.

We were soon passed by Bruno, a young chemical engineer from Switzerland who has taken 12 months off to travel. This, the end of it, will take him 1500kms to the west coast of Spain. In perfect English he shared his great love of birds – he had already recognised over 200 bird species in France. Wrens and Finches are big in France as well as the Skylark that travels high in the air, making lots of noise, becoming noiseless close to the ground. He also told us that the snakes only emerge when the sun is out because they don’t like the cold and the Poppies also share the snakes concerns.

The Poppies place is being taken by France’s wild Daffodils that are ubiquitous, especially today as we were surrounded by hundreds of acres of this gorgeous flower. The Dandelion, its only competitor, is succumbing to its dominance, camouflaged as it is with the same colour. Our new friend with his extensive knowledge of many things natural was surprised and fascinated by the spread of this beautiful yellow flower. We parted company with this interesting young man, and headed for the hotel de France. Delighting in its quaintness, overwhelmed by its owners congenial welcome, and comforted by the room it has given us, we will now do ‘our’ part and make the most of the best shower in France.

See you tomorrow