Once again, we thought we might move on tomorrow so we pedalled into Arçais to say au revoir to Linda and her folks (Mike having returned to England already). We had only just left the campsite when Carol spotted a fluffy moorhen chick swimming around in a lot of green pond weed so we dismounted to watch. With uncharacteristically perfect timing, a much larger bird chose this moment to swoop in and land on the same piece of water. It was a handsome bird with a fearsome-looking bill, an eye-stripe and a piercing, bright orange eye. This was only our second sighting of a night heron, which do not occur in Britain, and it had the good grace to pose perfectly facing the camera. Another non-British heron, the purple heron, also lives here in the marais but, on this trip, we haven’t had a good view of one.
We had another delay less than a mile upstream as a tourist boat negotiated a lock causing a small road bridge to be raised, but we eventually made it to Linda embarrassingly close to lunch time. Payment was necessary, however. One of their bicycles had a flat rear tyre. All local hands claimed incompetence or inability so yours truly managed to effect a repair for the price of two beers and the offer of some lunch, which Carol accepted. We may all get to go for a promenade en bateau (excursion in a barque) together tomorrow if the weather is kind. We’ve never seen the marsh from a boat before.
During our traditional afternoon bike ride Carol, following me, spotted that my bike’s rear wheel was not running true. It could have been the tyre mounted slightly askew on the rim but it looked horribly as if something more was amiss. As the barbie was firing up, I investigated further and found a broken spoke, as I feared. This is the third time I’ve suffered un rayon cassé (a broken spoke) in France. I must be using the bike too much. The more likely explanation is, of course, that the bread and cheese is having an adverse effect on my weight and is putting undue stress on the spokes.
Now bicycle repair man needs a bicycle repair man of his own.