Around Periers, Saint-Germain-sur-Sèves and Nay

I felt remarkably better for movement and fresh air today. . and very thankful

A gentle morning ride at a (relatively) gentle pace around some peaceful winding lanes passing a church and Manor in Gonfreville that dates back to the 15th century and then to a quiet spot along a narrow grass lane.

A simple stone, fresh white spears of gladioli amongst colourful fabric cornflowers.
A little foot bridge across a slowly moving, shallow stream.
Trees and hedges. Lumpy grasses and deep blue sky.
Very ordinary, lovely rural countryside just like countless other quiet spots. Except it is here that a monument has been erected to commemorate the lives of soldiers of the 90th American Infantry who died fighting for the liberation of Saint-Germaine-sur-Sèves.

In my mind’s eye I could just about conjure up another scene, fleetingly because it is unbearable to think of landscape and people and animals being shattered to pieces.

A small amount of text in English, French and German describes how American, French and German members of those forces have been meeting here regularly since 1945, in deepening friendship.

Whilst it is true that as a nation we endured terrible bombing, it was only today that it sunk in for me that we were not an occupied country as was France and so many other European countries.
For today at least it seems to have made a big difference in my world.

The sofas are full of loungers, lounging. The Pool Table and dressing up room is a noise of bells, laughter and shrieks. The long dining tables are humming with after-dinner chatter and a second person today has just offered me a coffee.

All around the chateau grounds and the nearby fields, the past has its echoes and here we all are today with our bikes in another world altogether. Just the passage of time and the chance of birth into another generation.
Peace here.
Terrible wars somewhere else.

Last night we had a riot of Abba and ‘The Dancing Queen’ inspired by the dressing up box and performed at twilight on the front steps/stage.
I wonder what we are in for tonight?

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Gonfreville Church and Manor.
Memorial Sèves, bridge and ‘bike snake’
Church at Nay
Hanging out and bikes, back at the Chateau

Thanks, everyone, for looking in and for your lovely comments.

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Chateau Perron . . . what a base for hoards of cyclists!

Today I could not keep up with Ollie. Of 41 cyclists he was skimming along at about 25kph and mostly in the front group of 3. What a boy!
We rode out through Perier to Pirou Plage ( beach ) taking in the wonderful Pirou Chateau, which must surely have been occupied by hobbits and dwarves.
Cycling with such a large group is undeniably a great social event, and back at the castle there is pool, table football, ping pong, badminton, an outdoor swimming pool, sofas galore AND a sweet little piano. Children and adults’ needs met in great style.

I have hardly seen Ollie.. . . and O me miserum, I am unusually poorly.

Here, anyway are some photos from the last 2 days, starting with a thirsty little bike dragon, Pirou Chateau and Plage, and our beautiful accomodation.

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Science lesson today. . . La Hayes du Puits to Chateau Perron ( near Periers)

“do you think this is level or uphill, Ollie?”
Quick as a wink
“well it is uphill isn’t it because the world is round, so it is either up or down”
I wonder at which point it switches.
Snatches of whistled “O little town of Bethlehem”
A very hot 24k today with a long stop in Perier to stock up on vital supplies.
Sir G was like 2 ton Tess for our last half hour and then suddenly, here we are in stunning surroundings at Chateau Perron, with children everywhere and no idea where Ollie is!
A golden summer evening and the lie down NOW weariness dissolving in a very good cup of tea.

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Poole, Cherbourg and then the ride. . . Bricquebec to La Hayes du Puits

‘Do you know why I am so strong Nanny?’
Ollie is bowling along at a cracking 20kph
‘No, darling, I don’t know how you do it. . . ‘ after 25k in strong heat and well into the long shadows of the day, I am working hard to keep up.
‘It’s not just me. . .

pause while I wonder if divine assistance could be around the corner

‘It’s what’s his name ?’

‘Arathorn?’ (Eustace the little red dragon has been renamed, because the bike is called Aragorn, son of Arathorn. His wings are very convincing.)

‘Yes, he has got wings so he is flying and helping me go faster’

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. . . energy left for a little sightseeing

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Cartoon competition!

Ollie has already done an artist’s impression of our destination. . . Complete with merry cyclists, doing their bike gymnastics, chateau and kung fu knights.
He is clearly joining the tradition of imaginative illustrated travel.

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I have spent another long session getting filthy, fixing new mudguards (Ollie got very muddy legs last time) changing a brake cable that was glued up and then a truly horrid moment when the head set was suddenly wobbling . . . . Potentially lethal? aarrgghh!
A long hot walk to a very good natured bike person and my dim lights came on. . I had tightened nuts up in the wrong order. Phew. The bike is not suddenly wrecked and we can still go.
My nerves are a little taut, it’s only Tuesday and I still have Ruth’s bike to check over before sorting out what goes into which panniers.
We have turned Ollie’s room into a command centre, so it looks as though a tornado has been through . . . but we are too busy playing duets to do any more today!

this was my neat tidy car when I left this morning.

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Doesn’t sir G look expectant and noble?
I think this little red dragon will be keeping Jenny 2 company.

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Eustace has never ridden a bike before, so he has a slightly anxious look about him, but I think he will look very nice on Ollie’s red bike.

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Oh by the way, my piano came home!

In a way this must complete the cycle: pun intended. . The photo of her coming home is almost identical to this one of her moving out. .  but I am told that it is harder going up the steps and that she isn’t going anywhere again!
Many many thanks to Phil Wroe and company for their sterling workmanship.

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Grizzle or Gratitude? Off again with Ollie

Just as my back is recovering from a nasty bout of bicycle-related bad, I have had to undergo  a dazzling and vigorously probing (and how) afternoon in the eye clinic where I was told that my sudden, moth-like ‘floaters’ are, alarmingly,  age related.
Pshaw, bah and a bit of despond.

On the plus side, I can see clearly-ish, pedal strongly-ish and joy, Ollie’s new passport has miraculously arrived in the post today after a tenacious conversation, late on Friday afternoon between my invincible daughter and a real person in the passport office.
They upgraded it to ‘team 11′ for urgent attention and surely someone must have slogged on a Saturday for it to arrive today?

On Friday, Ollie and I are setting sail for Cherbourg and then 10 days of touring around with a family group.
We are staying in a magnificent chateau with parquet floors and ‘no bare/wet/be-socked feet please’
The car will be abandoned in Poole, so it will be our first big tour with just the bikes together. We are VERY excited!
There are 6 panniers, a bar bag and a roll mat between 2 wonderful bikes.
Sir G got a nasty hernia the other day when I over-inflated his rear end, so is sporting a smart new tyre plus brake blocks (the old ones were worn to a nasty shred) which hadn’t been changed since I was in Sicily in 2012. They were also badly grooved. . . so much for my Mediterranean maintenance skills.
The new ones sit beautifully and precisely against shining rims this time if I say so myself.. . thanks to Ben, Dr.Bike I now know how to stop them from swivelling while I tighten them up by wielding a hulking great spanner to keep them still. Such black-nailed satisfaction!

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My mentor and bike maintenance role model. .
(Ben’s spanner is lots bigger than mine)

It feels a little like the aged ones are doing their best to patch themselves together and pretend to be as young as they feel inside again.
. . . . about 8, or nearly 9, like Ollie!

I am quite certain that the next set of cartoons will be a bit special, and who knows, there could be a piano in the chateau or somewhere on our travels. Ollie plays a bit of Beethoven these days you know. .  what a pair!
Watch this spot. .
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