My forgetfulness is chronic
So I made up a mnemonic
To help me to remember what to bring.
But I find it quite ironic,
And some would say, moronic,
That I forget to say the bloody thing.
It was an easy day, and fine, as I walked along the bank of the Rhone with occasional ventures up the valley to the left. It was memorable for several incidents.
The dead rat I passed as I left the gîte could not have been a bad omen, for after a quick coffee at the Pont de Fier I was walking along the road beside the Rhone when a car pulled up beside me and the lady from the bar gave me the two guidebooks I had left behind at the café. This was another one of Wordsworth’s “little nameless unremembered acts of kindness” that I keep encountering on the Camino. “You’d be lost without these,” she said. Indeed, I would have been.
What’s the use of having a mnemonic to help you remember if you don’t remember to follow it! “Please, God. Where am I? Help a lonely traveller.” The G for God is to remind me not to forget my guidebook.
About five kilometres before Chanas I was walking with Philipp when we were caught up by a man on a bicycle wearing a luminescent vest. At first I thought he was an official, for we had ignored a sign directing us away from the obvious path along the bank of the Rhone. The map, too, wanted us to walk two sides of a triangle rather than cover the shortest distance between two points.
But no, he was simply curious. Where were we from? Where had we begun this morning? Where had we started? Where were we going today? When we told him we were heading for Chanas, he said, “Oh, then you’d better hurry.” “But you keep asking us questions,” said Philipp.
He wheeled his bicycle with us all the way into Chanas, and I wondered whether he was on the make. But no, he was lonely, a widower, and simply enjoyed company.
On the left of us, across a ditch, was the reason we couldn't find accommodation in Chanas. Extending for about a mile was a line of stalls and vans catering to the participants in a motor bike rally.
We arrived at Chanas, a rather chintzy town selling artisan products to eager tourists. There was a sweet scent in the air coming from all the natural products. Philipp bought a three-euro bar of soap.
An Oxford-Foods incident occurred as we were having a beer at a bar by the canal. As I was illustrating to Heidi how Philipp and I had arrived before her because she had walked the two sides of a triangle whereas we had walked one, I made the point with a grand gesture and spilled the remaining two-thirds of my glass of beer. The waitress seemed sympathetic, mopped it up and disappeared. The next time she went by I said that where I came from the server would have given me another glass of beer to replace the one I had knocked over. She protested a little but finally went to fetch me another glass of beer, two-thirds full.
We are staying at Le Moulin, a gîte in Montagnin, six kilometres after Chanaz. We have taken the demi-pension. It is quite satisfactory.