It’s a place of luminous mornings, the low September sun catching the spiders’ webs; of early mornings stalking the deer; a big friendly kitchen full of nice things; huge vegetables from the black crumbly soil; late afternoons spent sitting on the terrace watching the butterflies; picking and storing apples from the orchard, and one magical evening when, at dusk, the deer came stalking us.=
I was here in June and wrote about it: http://phototwynog.co.uk/and-the-voice-of-the-turtle-is-heard-in-our-land
This time it’s both of us here for the second week of our holiday in France. Thelma sits on the terrace reading and wrapping apples for storage while I do my walks. It’s difficult because with no tradition of postal delivery, there are no footpaths joining up the farms. In fact there are no footpaths at all round here. The little roads branch out like trees, each branch ending squarely at a group of buildings: private, secure – you visit or you don’t. I found this ruin at the end of one branch and then had to walk all the way back along the same route.
On another day I walked into Ambrieres Les Vallees, the town close by. There are big square commercial buildings going up all round and lots of neat new housing. It’s clearly a prosperous and rapidly growing centre, but like all the towns and villages round here, has plenty of handsome old buildings.
On Friday we went out for a meal in Gorron, to the north of Ambrieres, where Sean, Jo and their daughters have set up a pizza restaurant. It functions as a meeting place for the local Brits, complete with facebook group called “Gorron Gossip”. With a little time to kill we had a stroll round the church.
On Saturday we did an outing: a huge car boot sale and a trip round the largest castle in Europe at Fougere, the capital of the Breton Marches: border country where the Duchy of Brittany fought off incursions from Normandy, Maine, Anjou and Poitou. It seems to be powered by water, overseen by pigeons and maintained by goats, but it still looks very powerful.
Now my month of walking is done. For fun I chose symmetry: I have achieved my exact targets: 150km walked and £300 raised. It feels great, and I’m hugely grateful for all those who supported me. However, as the RNID pointed out, a charity like this one can never have enough donations, so if you have not yet given, it would make this month even more worthwhile if I could aim for £400. Unfortunately I need to rest my painful right little toe for a while so won’t be adding to my 150km!
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