Main course was a beautiful French dish – Cassoulet, a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat, pork skin and white beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. Aside from the food, we also shared camino stories – Salvadore the Spanish walk and Emanuel the Portuguese. To include everyone in the conversation. Corrie translated Salvadore’s Spanish into English and our English back into Spanish for him – Emanuel translated both these into French for Martine who spoke a little English – and I’m just here to report on their cleverness.

She did drive us back to where she collected us in town, hugs now and 3 kisses, Martine insisting it is the French way, only the Parisians kiss twice as though they had it wrong. We found our now familiar red and white sign, and headed off on our day’s walk. We are getting used to starting the day with long uphill walks which seem to get us warmed up early and then settle in to gradual slopes and flat ground.

Much of the track was too boggy to walk through so walkers had made small detours along farm edges or high narrow paths up the bank from the mud where we hung on to fence posts or used our poles to stop us falling. A lot of narrow tunnel (thin hedges carved this way by pilgrims as they walked) pathways ushered us by on this, the hottest day yet – 25 degrees, but still cool in the many shaded sections.

Rounding a corner I ‘bonjoured’ a woman. When she spoke to me in French, I replied that I was from Australia, (Corrie was still before the corner). Anne replied that she was from Shropshire and her husband Malcolm was putting his previous woodwork teaching skills into practice, by renovating an old stone building; converting a barn into a workshop; and restoring a gorgeous bread oven. All this was happening under a large Oak and Chestnut tree, the adjoining home of the sparrows, bats, nightingales and other small birds on the ‘chemin’. After an hour of tours, coffee and cake, and swapping of French experiences we left their delightful french home to rejoin the walkers.

As we walked down a small stretch of highway, a wild deer jumped on to the road, dodged some cars and scrambled up a steep embankment to be met by a fence, scampered back down, luckily with no cars to dodge and into the narrow lines of bush mostly separating fields, so not sure where his home is for the night. We soon found ours right on the bank of the river Lot that has been with us for many days. We are looking forward to our rest day tomorrow where we will explore the town and spend time with some special neighbours and friends from Sydney and France – I wonder how many kisses they give!