New Saddle, New View

Misty Morning A very strange morning greeted us – blue sky. There was a very misty lining down below us in the valley but we were in sun. This unusual meteorological behaviour continued. The mist burnt off and a few clouds rolled in but we appeared to be in for a rare treat, a dry day.

In the hope that I would eventually need it, yesterday I had lashed out on a new saddle to replace the one on my bicycle, one that was intact and should not soak up rain like a sponge only to squirt it back down the inside of my thighs when I clambered aboard. After a swift shopping trip to replenish vital wine and food stocks, I fitted it, and very splendid it looked, too.

We were eager to get out having been cooped up for the last three days. However, before that, we considered a new pitch for Billy, rejected it (too small), and opted to reposition him to get a better view on the pitch he currently occupied. We started manhandling Billy, Carol gamely following my instructions. Shortly, having observed our efforts, another English couple came over to lend additional muscle. We got the van where we wanted it but no amount of muscle was going to shove it up the levelling ramp. Yet another English couple joined in but it was definitely a car job. I hooked up and finally, success; having roped half the campsite in to our crazy repositioning scheme, we were very happy with Billy’s new outlook.

We’d used up our morning (and everyone else’s) messing with Billy’s aspect but now were able to sit down to lunch en plein air, a rare treat indeed, though not so rare as dinner outside, or even barbecuing, both of which have yet to happen. Then it was off on the bikes for a badly needed excursion and to try out the compatibility of the new saddle with the old backside. We went down through Cénac, crossed the bridge over the Dordogne, turned left and cycled along the river to visit the very pleasant tourist traps of La Roque-Gageac and Beynac, both very picturesque villages on the north bank of the Dordogne. Navigation ban on the DordogneWe soon discovered that the Dordogne was in such flood that all navigation had been banned. The several businesses that run river trips or hire canoes for tourists must be hurting because of the inclement weather. I, on the other hand, was not hurting because my new saddle felt much better than the old one; I should have replaced it earlier.

There’s an absolute killer of a hill up to our campsite but we both managed to cycle up it on our return. Sitting down sipping the last well-earned beer, a bird flew through the campsite and alighted on the branch of a nearby tree. I’d glimpsed what looked like pink, white and black colouration, and assumed it was a jay. Oddly, I had binoculars to hand, having just been identifying a smaller bird as a female black redstart, and was thrilled to see that it was not a jay but one of nature’s oddest avian creations, a hoopoe. It wasn’t obliging enough to hang around for a portrait so you’ll have to consult the reference books to see what this oddity looks like. Good grief, I’ve turned into a twitcher! 😉

Half way through cooking dinner, we were once again attacked by a small swarm of hot air balloons. No bizarre hot air fruit or poultry, this time, but one did have a kingfisher emblazoned upon it.

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