…is a big fear of mine. Pretty sure I’m not alone. I’m afraid of feeling ashamed or stupid or wrong or out of place. It’s quite a big fear and led to me being a very shy child. A particular problem I still have is with names. I find it almost impossible to remember them and will essentially avoid having to call someone by their name until I have met them many times over. But obviously you can’t go through your life without making mistakes. They can even be things to value as there’s no better way of learning. So today I learnt something! If it looks like your nicely marked path on the map is actually leading you into a private property, it probably is doing!
Oh, it could have been worse. There might have been dogs. Or more angry people. As it was I got off lightly. A young man said the kind of ‘bonjour’ that you know really means ‘qu’est-ce que tu fous là?’ (what on earth are you doing here?) I was very apologetic, repeating that it looked on the map like a road (to which he replied ‘it’s not a road’ – well, you know, I’d worked it out by then!) I just moved on quickly into the village from the ‘cour de ferme’ that I’d accidentally found myself in, and felt pretty sheepish and silly. No harm done.
Well, except the intrusive insistence of my brain picking at the wound of its faux pas. Thankfully, being over half way through today’s 17km walk, I was already in a physical state of exhaustion which tends to trump mental insidious chatter, replacing it with a fairly constant inner scream of ‘I’m tired, it hurts, are we nearly there yet?’
It wasn’t such a bad day though (she says with gleeful hindsight in the warm glow of having arrived, showered and eaten). Sunshine and wind were still mostly agreeable. The crops provided ongoing interest as well as beautiful swooshing watery eddies in one cereal field. I became fascinated by field boundary markers which seem to be made of any kind of random material a farmer has to hand. Birdsong continued to delight and enthrall. Other companionship was provided from afar by a dog who was clearly just checking that I wasn’t going to go on his territory. He was watching me so closely that at first I wasn’t sure whether or not it wasn’t a statue (I’m really not joking). Then he followed me at the same great distance until I crossed over too far away for him to care what I did.
Although I was doing a loop and the ultimate destination was home, I really felt I’d arrived when I got to the splendidly named Silly-le-Long. This is the next village south, and is slightly uphill on a mostly unnoticeable ridge (unless you cycle there when you really feel the drag). It is also rather long, being designed around one long street of houses with not much behind them! The church spire has been taunting me all through the lockdown. It just looks so pretty from near my house up there on the skyline, and has a tendency also to just pop up out of a field when none of the rest of the village is visible. To actually finally get to Silly after all these weeks when it wasn’t allowed to go there felt almost triumphant.
Have some lovely photos too!
So grateful to have been able to get this close to the spire that I’ve been looking at from afar. It became a kind of symbol of my longing to be able to move freely during all the weeks of confinement, a building I could see but not get closer to, remaining forever too far away. According to Wikipedia, it’s older than I might have imagined as well. Maybe I’ll be able to actually visit the interior at some point before the end of the year.