Wind in the Willows ….. Tales of the River Bank along The Loire


” O bother” said Mole (I think)
Just as he was a bit tired of being confined in an enclosed space, so team jeep began to flounder and at Briare, Sir G. came down from his perch and Dina and I parted company.
The next morning in my sopping wet tent, before going off to find maps, I was contemplating Chartres, with a sort of “but doesnt the Loire look lovely?” in a slightly dejected sort of Ratty and boats and rivers, kind of way. Within moments of switching my phone back on, a text arrived (with such impeccable timing) from Francois Pianist en Liberté. (check out my post of 28th Dec, entitled ‘ Pianist en Liberté’…. We met in Sicily!) I had only the day before been wondering whether he was back from New Zealand!
I quote
” hi Jenny I’ ve seen on your blog that you ‘re not far from my home!? It would be a real pleasure to invite you at La Montagne near Nantes.
Friendly. Francois”
Obviously, the Loire then!! Grin!
Tarmac, level ground, lush scenery, a deep sandy mistake, ending in eye-level nettles and the inevitable U-turn….. back to the familiar saddle…. although I have to confess, it feels ever so hard after such a comfy passenger seat.
Briare, Orleans, Saumur with a sneaky little train ride to manage a little more distance as I am feeling a bit washed out and the pulled muscle from the big climb in Greece has just started to twinge again.

The spectacular Pont Canal in Briare

Meadows along the way.

Avenues and bridges


Chateaux ( Sully sur Loire and Saumur )

Medieval towns


Newly weds, Camille and Pierre as they embark on their honeymoon trip along the length of the Danube.
On the road today, I found myself suddenly surrounded by a happy gathering including 2 laden cyclists. Camille and Pierre, married just yesterday are setting off with their neatly laden bikes to ride along the Danube. Their lovely friends are waving them off and they are embarking on their ‘Adventure’ you can imagine the warmth of feeling as we briefly exchanged greetings, blog addresses and ” Bon Voyage “. What a fitting event just as my journey is coming to a close, to be able to wish this lovely couple well as they start out on theirs.

One last night in my tent!
I think I will be home by this time next week. Watery eyes.

I am sitting in a riverside restaurant drafting this for later on and sniffing and blowing into the bright green napkins, to the consternation of the next door table! Hay fever and emotion are making my eyes decidedly red and puffy!

Poop poop!
(For anyone who doesn’t know, ‘Wind in the Willows’ is a classic children’s book, whose central characters are Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger…. of course it’s really for grown ups who aren’t quite there yet…..)

And to Dina, a huge thanks for your immense contribution, hilarious humour and superb driving.
I hope it won’t be too long before you are back in the warmth of Greece. Safe travels.

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5 Responses to Wind in the Willows ….. Tales of the River Bank along The Loire

  1. Carolyn Butt says:

    Party time then! xx

  2. Ach, Jenny mou…………

  3. beverley says:

    At a slight tangent (lateral thinking!) Ian and I cycled to Dartington gardens today. On the edge is the wonderful sunny aspect overlooking an undulating and elevated wheatfield with a beautiful copse in the middle. You might know it. Sitting in the sun, watching the grasses swaying in the breeze, we chanced upon an adder, grey green and zigzagged beautifully, about 2 feet long and very slim, attempting to swallow a TOAD whole. Poor little thing had gone in head first and it’s back legs and webbed feet were sticking out and still kicking. Couldn’t believe that something so large could fit into something so small!! Macabre and fascinating at the same time. Didn’t know whether to feel happy for the snake or sorry for the toad. Both, I guess. but somehow more sad for the toad in the end. Didn’t see any rats or badgers. I do have an image come to mind of Ian dressed as Wee Meg Barnyleg in a frilly bonnet and fetching frock (complete with beard) similar to my image of Toad escaping from prison but actually as the little girl who was whisked away by the fairies at midsummer because she was so naughty. They did bring her back, transformed of course. See you soon. Enjoy your last leg. No pun intended. Don’t tell the toad. Looking forward to seeing you. Beverley x

  4. annemarie says:

    Whatever you do don’t kiss the toad or the frog as you might never come back after that encounter !I know this happens in fairytales really and not in ” Wind in the Willow” but with so many castles around in that Loire valley …… and your magic touch, anything can happen. We are really looking forward giving you this famous Totnes hug at last!! and are in serious training now the weather in Devon is slowly improving, to cycle – in your shadow obviously – on the Dutch “pearpicker ” under steam. Safe arrival xxxx Annemarie

  5. Sarah O'Brien says:

    This all looks so lovely!

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