This is not going according to plan! Since the last clog, with its photo,
I have had two enquiries for plaited ropes of shallots.
One even asked if they could be paid for through the secure donations page. That is the wonderfulness of the internet – step out into it and anything can happen. Rather like a visit to Aldi or Lidl.
Those shallots. They were grown under proper farm yard manure in an allotment in the village, hard by the site of the ancient manor house of Thomas Hardy’s d’Urbervilles. Tess, destitute, spent the night in the churchyard only 200 yards away. The person who grew the shallots wins prizes for her vegetables and championships for her flower arranging. She is being treated for cancer at Poole Hospital and Fortuneswell, Dorchester.
She remembered how to make the plaits from her childhood days in Purbeck. Her father lost his livelihood when myxomatosis devastated the rabbit population in Dorset. He re-invented himself as a strawberry grower and was regularly called upon to supply HM the Queen wherever she was, anywhere in the world.
“Send for one’s strawberries, Steward!”
‘Who’s afear’d!’ says the motto of Dorset Men.
But cancer is no respecter of courage and resourcefulness. That’s why we need to get behind the scientists in the white lab-coats, and why I find myself committed to following Henry V into the ‘vasty fields of France’. Not, though, on a 16 hands high, tuned-up plough horse, but on a 16 inch bike frame for very small people too wholesome to wear Lycra.
Well, we have set off, bike and I, and just as Henry V gazed fondly on Dover’s white cliffs as he left this Sceptred Isle, (hoping the saltēd air would not the mighty rivets in his armour rust), so gazēd we on Old Harry’s white remains.
It isn’t certain that the Harry in question was Harry Paye but I like to think so whenever I set off for France.
was a privateer from Poole who savagely raided the French and Spanish coasts 600 years ago, looting and kidnapping. That provoked a combined Spanish and French raid on Poole in retaliation, during which Harry’s brother was killed. Which of course only prompted Harry to wreak further havoc across the water.
Back to the present!
The MV ‘Barfleur’ bore us fast across a mirror flat sea to Cherbourg, where the nowadays friendly French had been making special arrangements to ensure we could phone home for new bike tyres, even if Donald T decided to flick the US satellites switch to ‘Off’, as a diversion from his little local difficulties.
I will say nothing of the 750 mile drive south, over which we took two and a half days, other than that it served to emphasise how long 300 miles can be…….
But, for my farming friends, as we passed through the Massif Central we saw the beautiful Aubrac ladies with their panda eyes and fluttery eyelashes.
And their not quite so appealing husbands…….
It was a feast of bovine breeds as we rolled past fields of Charolais, Ferrandaise, Limousin, and the rugged Salers.
Now we have reached base-camp for the ride, the fortified village of Taulignan in the Drôme Provençale,
– only to be greeted by the icy blast of the Mistral, tearing down from the north at 70 kilometers per hour. So yesterday the bike stayed in the shed and we walked out into the country around which I shall be cycling.
The Mistral can blow for days on end and as you can see the country offers little shelter. The cycling could get a little tricky. On which note of concern if not desperation, I will end this clog and hope for calmer days ahead!
Click on ‘Follow Blog via email’ to keep up with the clogs as we, bike & I, head out into the Drôme Provençale to ride ‘September 300’ for Cancer Research UK.
To donate to Cancer Research UK, please click on “My Cancer Research Page” at the top of this post. It will take you to a secure Cancer Research donation page and will allow you to say if Gift Aid can be claimed on your donation.