La Full Montée

A glorious day, short in distance but big in climbing, up to the sources of the Loire – or thereabouts. It’s a 16km round trip from my hotel and I’m too knackered to do it now that I’m in the hotel room. Tomorrow morning I will, when I won’t have to return from the hotel.

The picture shows someone fly-fishing in the Loire at Coubon, which is a nice little place.

I think this is as high as I get on this trip, and from the sources onwards it is downhill all the way to the Rhône. That’s good because I think my bottom bracket may soon give up the ghost.

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For the avoidance of doubt, a bottom bracket is part of a bicycle, not part of my anatomy.

Hard work today

Plenty of time going round in circles just north of Olliargues and at one point the gps took me through the grounds of a massive chateau miles from anywhere where a lot of people were gathered for some reason, and stopped to watch me pootling through.

The woman who runs this hotel is a female Basil Fawlty and her daughter is Lolita. Mme Basil, when she eventually appeared after Lolita went to get her, tried physically to throw my bike out of the lobby!

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At least England are through to the semi-final.

A lost Arcadia

The writer Alain-Fournier was a pupil at this school in Epineuil, where his father was the teacher. His life there is the backdrop and inspiration for his elegiac novel Le Grand Meaulnes. It’s a very beautiful village, and the school is exactly as I imagined it.

The whole area is very idyllic; I cycled to the nearby village of Meaulne (without the S) from Vallon-en-Sully on a damp summer’s evening where the roads were green with the leaves that had been battered from the trees by an earlier storm. It’s easy to imagine it the way Alain-Fournier knew it, and easy to understand the lost world he created.