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Montelieu. a view from place du esperu down into the valley below.

I woke this morning with a plan.
A sort of late New Years resolution.

I would tidy my book shelves, Maybe categorize by genre or by Alphabetical order.

Now I am not a tidy individual by nature so there was an element of excitement about this.
I made a coffee to encourage me with its boosting properties.

A few minutes later I was sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of books.
I groaned, already feeling overwhelmed by the sight.
I took a deep breath and a sip of coffee.
amongst this pile were my diaries of various sizes, shapes, and colours.
I counted twenty six in all.

Sighing I pulled one towards me and flicked through the pages randomly.

Oct 25 2010 caught my eye.

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A sketch of an old water trough in the village of Montelieu.

I took a sip of coffee stretched out my legs and began to read…

at this entry I had been cycling across France for three weeks,starting at Arcachon on the Atlantic through Bordeaux then following the Garonne in parts until I reached Toulouse.
From Toulouse I followed the canal du midi eastwards towards the Mediterranean.
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Because there was no uphill’s to tackle, neither were there downhill’s to coast, so pedalling constantly was necessity to keep the canal passing,(more about this form of cycling in a later entry)

I found the meditative quality of this form of cycling wonderfully soothing…I just left my legs to it, they knew exactly what to do…even my ‘shark’s bite’ leg behaved itself and didn’t swell, in fact it became less numb and more alert.
I was able to just sit and watch the canal go by.Some barges, not many now as the locks would close on the first of November. A lot of water birds, a few other cyclists…once even a nude man (just casually strolling along ,apparently without a care in the world).
I even saw a coypu. these large non-native species, seemingly do a lot of damage to the banks of the canals.DSCF4855
but once again I am veering.DSCF4762..and need to veer northeast to the village of Montelieu.
I heard of Montelieu from a Dutch woman who was cycling with a friend from Sete to Toulouse.(was I the only ‘sad woman cycling alone)?.
‘If you love books you will love this village’ she exclaimed enthusiastically’ ‘its full of bookshops’.

so I left the plane lined canal and the barges and headed along a poplar lined road into the hills.DSCF4847

The good news was that Montelieu was only about fifteen kms from the canal.
The bad news was it was uphill nearly all the way.
I was no longer used to hill’s
My ‘shark bite’ leg began to whine.
‘What ARE you doing’ it said.
But I ignored it and persevered, finally getting off the bike and pushing.

Eventually we arrived in Montelieu and I found a wonderful Chambre D’hote which allowed the yellow bike inside too.DSCF4928

The thought occurred to me maybe because of the long uphill struggle ,that maybe I should stay here for a week, rent a house , catch up with my writing and painting.
I fell asleep to this new plan.

The next Morning I rang a number. an irish voice answered .’ Hold on i’m just pulling in off the N11’a gentle female voice informed me.
I nearly cried as a wave of homesickness washed over me…What was I doing here.

My third grandchild only one month old. I suddenly missed my beautiful daughters and my grandchildren.

I made my request.

‘Oh dear’ was the reply ‘Yes I do rent out my house in montelieu but I’ll be out there myself this evening, I’m just heading to the airport now’

We chatted for a few minutes as she asked what I was doing over there.

‘I would really like to meet you’ she said ‘ why don’t you stay in the same b and b tonight and we can meet for coffee tomorrow, at my place…I’ll be organized by then.
By the way my name is Moira’ and laughing she hung up before I had even time to say ‘Safe flight’

So I spent the day browsing the wonderful bookshops of Montelieu whilst the yellow bike happily rested safely beside the piano and at three o clock I walked up to Place du Esperu and sat waiting till around the corner She came.

Impeccably dressed with stockings and brogues I heard her click clacking before I saw her.

She shook my hand warmly and said ‘Come! ,The coffee is on and my friend, also, Moira is dying to meet you’.

So I sat with Two Moira’s of Montelieu well into the night, in their little cottage and we regaled our stories as the
stars came out and coffee turned to tea and tea to wine.

I wish I could tell you more about these wonderful Ladies and I will at a later date , but for the moment my old laptop is playing ‘puck'( happily I am getting a new one at the end of the month)and driving me crazy (I have lost this ‘story’ quite a number of times). So I close my diary and look at the mess of books yet to be sorted and realise its now afternoon.
And think of that wonderful cycle across France on my yellow bike following surgery and my year of interferon treatment when all I needed to know was that my ‘sharks bite’ leg could last the journey . and it did! but that’s another Story.][

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