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Practicalities

hard work

Today, I almost didn’t start at all. Motivation is never a problem on a ‘real’ pilgrimage; you have no choice but to walk to your next destination, especially if you have a time limit and need to reach your goal by a particular day, like the day your return flight is booked on…

I suspected that this aspect of going nowhere might be problematic, and am quite pleased that it’s taken so long before I felt this way. It started when I just couldn’t bring myself to get up. And then I realised, to top it off, I had a nasty feeling headache. I put it down to one too many pimm’s and tonics on top of my long long day yesterday when I didn’t really drink enough to be honest. It was hot and there wasn’t anywhere to get more water on the way (well actually, I probably could have got a drink in Ermenonville at the bakery that was open, but I just thought I had enough water with a 2 litre bladder pack and a 750ml bottle as well… I was wrong!)

They do say, don’t they, that the hardest part of training is putting your trainers on. So I just made sure that the gear got put on – foot taping, tiger balm on thighs and calves, knee support, boots and today, for the first time, my pilgrim cape to keep off the rain. Because, of course, today would be the day when even the weather would try to put me off walking.

To be fair I don’t mind rain. It’s a coming-from-Lancashire thing. It even makes me feel sort of warmly nostalgic. The forest was a different place after the rain. Darker smelling, richer. The leaves seemed greener and leafier somehow. The crops in the fields too were more aromatic I thought. Or there were simply more aromas around maybe.

cute crops in full bloom

The weather cleared up pretty swiftly to be fair, though there was a moment when I had to dodge artificial rain – it was watering the turf on the turf farm (I guess if you think about it, turf has to be grown somehow doesn’t it? Still seemed a bit weird though, a big field full of lawn/football pitch…..)

I admit it, I had to run just to make sure I wasn’t about to have an involuntary shower….

The rain had brought out a few of these little slimy companions:

The bright orangey colour I found intriguing (though I did also see a huge mammoth black one and an equally huge brown one….how come they’re different colours? I bet there are serious researchers and scientists who specialise in these things!)

My destination was Crépy-en-Valois again. The extra kitschy cross you encounter just before walking under the railway lines made me smile. That, and the fact that I knew I’d finished walking for the day!!!

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