Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back Home

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone's stopped blogging. But they've just run out of stuff to say because they're less interesting than me. I could keep going for years... Anyway I'm back from France. For anyone who was anxiously following me and Dave's epic cycle from the Vendee home, we did not make it. We crossed the whole Pays de la Loire to Alencon before I started feeling a little dodge. And I thought I had pulled a muscle on my thigh. 'Don't Worry,' said kind, lovely Dave. 'We'll get the train to Paris and have some fun, then cycle home from there. Same fucking difference.' So we put the bikes on a train to Paris. (Incidentally there are two routes from Alencon to Paris by train. SNCF try to sell you tickets with a connection in Le Mans. These cost E36 single. I would have bought them but me and Dave had conceived an irrational hatred of Le Mans. It has a stupid name and seemed to take hours to cycle past on the map. So I asked if we could change at Surdon. This cost -surprise- E18 single. Very strange. Then Surdon had the added charm of not existing. We had two hours to kill and asked a girl where the centre ville was. She looked carefully around at the bleak countryside and said 'ah, the bar might be open.' It was- or it opened for us- but there was not another building in sight. An old woman carefully balanced the ice for our pastis on a fork (why not a spoon? Why not?) and as we left to get the Paris train, a dozen or so grisly and unappealing locals drove up to perform a black mass. Well worth avoiding Le Mans and saving E40 for, even though it did smell really funny (unhygienic sacrifices). Sorry, really long parenthetical digression about short train journey.) We got to Paris in the evening and I felt done in, but you know what Paris is like... cycling through the evening from the Gare de Montparnasse, dodging traffic cops and taxis and feeling the balmy Paris wind in our hair. The Seine- cycling along the Seine looking at the stars on the water. When we checked into our hostel I was doubled over but we had to go out- for a midnight risotto and then to a dark smoky jazz bar. As we walked back (took some fast talking to get us back into the hostel so late too) I said to Dave 'Nothing bad has ever happened to me in Paris.' Then I spent the night in an insane fever sweating and shivering in my three-season sleeping bag and in the morning we had to go back to Britain. Poor old Dave- I just told him and he had to abandon the trip. I was so bloody ill. I took a taxi to the Gare du Nord with the luggage, bought the tickets for the afternoon and passed the day sitting there rocking and shaking and muttering in my best crazy person manner while Dave ferried the bikes to the station. And we got on the train that afternoon at 4pm- nearly missed it in fact, just for kicks- and I called my sister to get her to meet me at Waterloo. 'Oh, you better get Mummy to bring the car. I'm a bit ill and I've got two bikes.' Dave got off at Kent -I miss Dave!- and a kind Kiwi woman with two pushchairs and about 19 pieces of luggage herself helped me off the train to collapse on the floor at arrivals. My leg hurt so darn bad I couldn't walk and I was covered with sweat. Obviously my mum was a hour late. I was just about to ring 999. I would have asked the guy in information but I recognised him- he used to work at the National Gallery and I didn't want him to see me in such a mess. God knows why not. This is a ridiculously long blog that was meant to explain that I'm out of hospital. I'll have to continue tomorrow. Bloody Alencon! Always complicates everything. Tbc...

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