I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills
From whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from... Jean
Who maketh us a cup of coffee.
We are in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Just after climbing the first hill, a man beckoned us into his garden and offered us coffee and cake. We sat there on his terrace overlooking the mountains and took a welcome break. It was an extraordinary gesture of hospitality! His name was Jean.
We passed a huge stockpile of wood that was being watered by large sprinklers. Apparently it had fallen during a storm in 2009 and had to be kept moist until it could be milled. So much wood had fallen during that storm that it hasn't yet been used up.
We ate lunch at the little village of Lecommande, so named because it was once a centre for the Knights Hospitalier.
At noon, the clock struck twelve, not once but several times, and then launched into a strange tintinnabulation of chimes that lasted for several minutes. It was a strange musical accompaniment to our lunch.
It was a long, long day, up and down through oak, beech and pine forests.
How do I keep going when I'm absolutely buggered?
If I'm climbing, I find myself counting in twenties, up to a hundred, and then another, and another if I can, until I have to stop to catch my breath and let my heart slow down. I'm then a little closer to the top.
If it's getting towards the end of the day, and I'm buggered, and there's still a way to go, I compare it to a distance I know at home.
I used to say to myself, Once more around Wolseley and Welly Crescent. Now I say, Once more around bloody Elk and Beaver Lake!
The French cooked us a superb meal tonight - duck and ratatouille. Quite magnificent! We are not eating simple pilgrims' meals.