There was a change over of baggage carriers today and a holiday as well so our case was forgotten, so instead of having that obligatory shower, we looked around. We saw a beautifully designed twelfth century church, with an array of superb architectural components, a simple interior and ascetically pleasing to the eye. The village stretched along the top of a long narrow ridge, the houses beautifully restored, their gardens alive with colour, the street beyond empty and silent.

We walked back to our chambre, more comfortable than a gite, less people, and therefore more personal, as personal as you can get with 4 French people who speak no English and us, and of course 2.5 year old Anton. Grandmama Irene was still on a 50km round trip to collect our case so Anton and I cleaned the terrace with a scrubbing brush, took our extra clothes by bicycle cart to our chambre and played a quick game of ‘no common language charades’.

We had dinner with Anton at the head of the table which the French at the table treated as normal. When he misbehaved the 3 grandmothers at the table admonished him appropriately, otherwise he was just another adult. I would be interested to hear from my French readers if this is a usual situation. We loved his company at the table and he and I did silly things together.

I’m becoming more flexible about leaving at an early time, to fit in with other guests when it seems right. A bit cheekily I went down at 6.45 for the 7.00 am breakfast and was happily served by the birthday girl, Irene. After some final shenanigans with Anton we took to the road once more on a pleasantly cool walking day. Some early open spaces with mainly oat fields and other new crops boarded our track (oats, with their bent heads provide some beautiful art work that is very attractive).

We stopped at 3 villages to eat, drink and talk with some French travellers we know, as we now encountered some very long steep hills, bringing with them streams, a large lake and shaded tunnels. Once when on a main road, a seemingly well-to-do man stopped and we chatted about Parkinson’s. He liked what I was doing as he has friends with the disease who have become socially isolated – “this will be of interest to them”, he said.

We passed French people at lunch on the side of the road, they seem to be very regular, eating between 12 and 12.30. While we often wait for a village, they don’t seem to care so much, and eat when the time is right. Quite a few limping today and slowing down a little as the kms take their toll – one walker has just turned up in a taxi so must be suffering.

Our Swiss friend Ben had earlier taken a day off because of a recurring back injury after completing half of his 2000kms journey from his home in Switzerland. We will miss this Zen pastor, his good nature and humour as he rests his aching body.

The second snarling (I don’t mind the barking) dog greeted us at our gite, which seemed a bit rough after a long walk. I am not sure why this quite pleasant owner would allow this quite scary dog to be there at reception. I hope he’s not near the table tomorrow morning otherwise it could be a ‘dog’s breakfast’.