Monday 28 July
Well, it absolutely wanged it down the morning we left our comfy clean spacious modern hostel. It was another full-on storm. This was actually only the 3rd time in about 2 months that we had donned our full waterproof gear, so not worth a moan really, but it was a very unpleasant morning. We set off in different directions, if you know what I mean, with the plan to meet up later in the morning.
I made my ( what is becoming a common mistake ) of thinking that I would have loads of time to wait for Tony at our meeting point. I tootled around small country lanes ( had deliberately chosen these rather than the direct straight road route ) aiming for our rendezvous point. I soon felt sure that I was very very lost. The rain didn't help my feeling of well-being, in that my ( reading ) glasses were puddled with drops of rain, and that my map was starting to disintegrate ( I had leant Tony my map case and had not, as instructed, used a fruit/veg bag from the supermarket as a map case for me ). And, I was sure that I was heading for Belgium ….
At a point where I thought Tony should know that we wouldn’t see each other ever again, I phoned him. He answered, but that was it. I phoned him back, but the phone was ‘ not available’. Then as if by a miracle, I saw Tony appear from round a corner - our timing couldn’t have been better. ( Might I say that at this point that I was very pleased with what seemed to be my natural sense of direction. ) Tony was not a happy bunny though. On answering my earlier call he dropped his phone due to wetness and it smashed on the ground. It was broken - kaputt - gebrochen - - en panne - deed ( Scotch ). This was a problem.
We both tried not to think of what issues being phone-less could cause us, and ate our lunch in the relative shelter of an overhanging house roof. We both had maps ( just, in my case ) so we could both still get to our destination Gite for the evening, just perhaps not together if plans didn't work out.
My imagination started to do it’s usual thing in imagining the worst case scenario…..we don’t meet up at our arranged meeting place, we can’t contact each other etc. How did we manage without mobile phones before ?
We arranged to meet at Amettes Church - a fool-proof plan, or so we thought. I arrived mid afternoon and waited for almost 2 hours, 1 hour longer than I felt was ‘right’. Tony, it turned out had also arrived at Amettes Church at the time that I had expected him to arrive, but was waiting at the other side. Yes, this was a big church - one that in fact went round a corner, so some tense words were exchanged upon greeting each other once found and we then headed to our Farm Gite accommodation.
The farmhouse was being sandblasted for maintenance as we arrived, so we were greeted with much dust and noise and a flustered farmer’s wife. She was very apologetic about the works and welcomed us well to our ( not very peaceful, but lots of space and excellent internet connection - hoorah ! ) Gite.
Distance - 12.70 miles
Distance since Helmsley - 560.15 miles