Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Chocolate Eclaire …..mais oui!

Monday 18 August

Well after such and early night for both us, surprisingly neither of us opened our eyes until 7.30am. Although we weren’t cold during the night it must have been a cooler night as the tent flysheet was dry inside and out. We had a leisurely breakfast as the walk miles ahead were only 11.5, but with rapidly approaching dark clouds, we soon hastened our pace to pack things away. Unfortunately not soon enough as a quick heavy shower soon put and end to the dry tent. We continued packing everything away, Rachel sat in the dry of Mrs Songe’s outdoor conservatory shelter and wrote a wee thank you note, waterproofs on and off we went.

Today was going to be the same as yesterday, following the Roman road but passing through two villages. The first village was just like all the others we have encountered, nearly as dead as a door nail. One local I think came out of the house for a nosey and there were some farmers working. We  past through and continued to the next village. By now the rain was just light mizzle, but enough to get you wet without waterproofs on.

We left the village and returned to the Roman road, this is certainly one of the longest ones I have encountered, at the moment we have walked fifteen miles on it. As we neared the next village it was getting on for lunchtime, I sent Rachel on ahead to scout for a cafe and the possibility of either  a sheltered spot out of the rain to eat our lunch or somewhere for a coffee. She returned to say there was nowhere for coffee but there was a bus shelter albeit with no seats, but covered and out of the rain. As we neared it I mentioned in desperation and slight madness that I was prepared to walk naked to anywhere that served coffee as I had been without it now for more than three days.

Rachel mentioned that she had not checked near the church and off she ventured, not long later returning to say there was no cafe but she had found somewhere. In the village there is a residential establishment that provides work and respite care for mentally handicapped adults. Rachel had asked one of the staff, whom she had come across, if they knew of a cafe in the village. He had promptly replied no but we could use the coffee machine in their staff canteen. Another gesture of how hospitable some people are to the walkers on this particular route. 

Now I did not walk naked to get my coffee, now that would have been foolish and I have never been called that……..well at least not today!

We were guided to the rest room and with coffee / hot chocolate in hand we sat in the warmth and dryness. We were asked if we wanted a meal but we politely declined as we had our own food. After two hot drinks each we put our waterproofs back on and proceeded to bid our hosts au revoir, at such point we were both given a chocolate eclair to take with us. Aren’t some people so nice and generous with their hospitality - why can’t we all be like that as a norm to each other?

With chocolate eclair in hand we left and returned to the Roman road. After a further six miles we arrived at our destination. Tonight we are undercover and Rachel had been frequently talking to the Mayor of Corbeil - our venue. It transpired that we were to use a room in the mayors town hall building, I think used by the local children has it had a table tennis table in it. 

Our room for the night was furnished with two camp beds, microwave oven, fresh coffee which I soon had switched on and an all important loo. Our host arrived later to greet us and then returned early evening with his wife the Mayor and our food for our evening meal and breakfast. This we had not expected and had some provisions ourselves, but once again this is the generosity shown and given to walkers on this route. 

With two meals, fresh fruit, a bottle of red wine and soft drinks, bread, cheese and jam for breakfast all we had to do in return was make a donation to what we thought was appropriate for the hospitality we had been given. The walk diaries completed by others since July 2011, including quite a few English and Scottish all extol the generosity and hospitality shown - it really is quite heart warming.
Suppliers of hot drinks + chocolate eclairs

Simple but perfect for our needs

Distance - 11.5 miles

Distance since Helmsley - 817.35 miles


  1. I hope those two calluses you call feet are holding up and you are not enjoying it too much!!
    I have been tweeting your exploits to the walkfest followers so hopefully you should see a surge(when I remember!!)
    Take it easy and enjoy!!

    1. Too late for the ' enjoying it too much ' bit ! So wish it could be a permanent way of life ( with the odd UK visit for the 3 bed-semi and mod-cons fix...for Rachel ). Thanks for tweeting for us, and for your interest / support. See you anon.

  2. Hi, Enjoyed reading the blog and seeing the pics. I'm husband/father of J&J. Hope we meet up sometime. I head out Wednesday to cross the Alps with J . Can't wait... Happy trails. David

    1. Hi David - thanks for your compliment re the blog. We left the company of your wife and daughter 2 days ago and really miss them. They were such a breath of fresh air ( not a good pun considering our outdoor lives currently.... ) Yes, it would be good for us all meet up in the UK sometime when all are back on home turf ... Enjoy your time with J, regards Rachel