My first visitors

When Maddy and Dom knew they’d be holidaying in France, they decided to spend a few days with me. It was lovely to see them and to be able to show them not just my apartment, but a little bit of the area too.

I’d originally planned to have redecorated the spare room in time for their visit, but after my stay in Bayonne, I felt it was perhaps an unrealistic ambition in the time that remained. I bought a chest of drawers from IKEA, but didn’t manage to assemble it, though Kieran did come over the day before their arrival to help me assemble the bed. A couple of packing boxes for bedside tables, topped with carefully chosen books and lamps from my workshop completed the rather Heath Robinson ensemble. It’s a good job they’re such good friends and didn’t mind having to rough it.

Unlike their visit last year, when they worked from morning to night every day of their 3 weeks so-called holiday, this time we did very little. Lots of sitting around, eating, drinking and talking, a lovely walk around the lake and through the forest, where they found loads of interesting flora and insects and a day spent visiting old friends near Nogaro filled the time. I think we were all tired after the Nogaro trip; Francis and Regine speak no English, so Maddy and Dom made a huge effort to speak French, with me on hand to translate where necessary.

The 3 days passed very quickly and they were off again in their camper van to discover pastures new. I hope they’ll be the first of many visitors.

A somewhat Spartan spare room
An interesting beetle (I can’t remember its name) and possibly holes made by miner bees.

Note to self – keep my mouth shut

I really must learn to be less trusting, open and honest! A few weeks ago, while walking around the lake, an elderly man started talking to me. He told me that he’s a musician, a songwriter and guitarist, as well as a cyclist; I must have said that I sing and play a bit too and that I’m a member of the cycle club. He was very full of himself and walked slowly, as he kept stopping to make sure I’d understood the finer points of the conversation, which was pretty much his life story, including why he’d never married, problems he’d had with various girlfriends over the years, lyrics from songs he’s written, which he explained in detail, etc, etc.

He told me, several times, that, even at 74 years old, he’s still sexually active adding that he’d even consider a platonic relationship and insisted that I take his email address. He was sure we could make beautiful music together! He was going on holiday to Spain the following week with a friend, but he really wished it was me who was accompanying him. Would I keep in touch? I said I’d think about it, as when I’d previously said I didn’t have time for any new activities, he didn’t accept that. I did think about it – for all of a millisecond, then deleted his email and forgot all about him.

This morning there was a pre – Tour de France cycling event in Dax. Having ridden in the heat yesterday I wasn’t up to another ride, but did want to find out more about the Roue Libre association, who had a stand at the start/finish point. It’s a group of volunteers who will repair/service your bike or teach you how to do it yourself; since I’ve never before had even to think about servicing my bike, I’m totally ignorant of how to start, so I signed up and paid my 10€ membership.

Then Christian and Gilles, who are also members of the cycle club, came over to tell me that someone had just visited the stand to ask after me. As they described him, it dawned on me that this was the guy from the lake walk; they said that he seemed determined to find me again and had even said he was thinking of joining the club. I explained my misgivings – they were very amused, but very understanding too.

I’ve learnt a lot over the past year, but must now learn how to answer questions in a more evasive, less transparent way, before I find myself in an uncomfortable situation. Perhaps I need to become a woman of mystery!!!

ACORA members at the start of today’s ride


The following Wednesday “testosterone Ted”, as he’s become known, turned up to do our club ride. Apparently he made quite a nuisance of himself at the start, asking people where I was. They knew I was joining the ride a bit later, as it was going past the end of my road, but nobody admitted to that, suggesting that I might not be joining them that day. Various club members rode next to me the whole morning, so I think he got the message; he hasn’t turned up since anyway.