Riding in France: Two days of problem-solving in Reims

We arrive on the 112th morning of my mid-life gap-year as I awake at Hotel de la Cathedrale in Reims, France. Sunday 13 September 2015, Reims The past few days have been tough. They have been emotionally draining – between the time spent thinking about all those dead Australian diggers and my own homesickness. And physically …

Riding in France: Days with Fallen Australian Soldiers

I am slowly transcribing the long-hand diary entries from my midlife gap-year and turning them into blog posts. I’ve reached the morning of the 108th day as I awake in Amiens, France. Wednesday 9 September 2015 I’ve received a lovely email from Robert Pinsky in response to my poem about reading his poems. That gets …

Riding in France: Cows, Coffee, and Poetry in Neufchâtel-en-Bray and Poix-de-Picardie (5 – 6 September 2015)

I am slowly transcribing the long-hand diary entries from my midlife gap-year and turning them into blog posts. I’ve reached the afternoon of the 105th day and I’m enjoying a coffee in a cafe in the town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Normandy, France.  Saturday 5 September 2015, 5:10 pm – Neufchâtel-en-Bray – a café It was a …

Riding in France and Thinking of an Austrian Actor: Le Havre to Yvetot to Le Grande-Ventes (3 – 5 September 2015)

I’m slowly transcribing the long-hand diary entries from my midlife gap-year and turning them into blog posts. I’ve reached the 103rd day of my journey when I awoke in a hotel in Le Havre, France and rode my bicycle to the town of Yvetot and the 104th day when I rode on to a campground in …

In Between Days, Riding in France: Houlgate – Le Havre (1 – 2 September 2015)

Camping Municipal des Chevaliers, Houlgate – Tuesday 1 September 2015, 9:50 am (Day 100 of my midlife gapyear)  In the Australian way, it’s the first day of Spring – but as I’m in France, I guess I can say it’s the first day of Autumn. After getting up to go to the loo at 7, I …

Silent in Foggy France: Bayeux – Benouville – Houlgate (30 – 31 August 2015)

Sunday 30 August 9:10 am – Relais ‘La Roseraie’, Bayeux (Day 98 of my midlife gapyear) I wonder when I will converse again. Will my voice go rusty, my tongue uncertain? This will be day eight without a proper conversation. ‘Sadness & Happiness’ – the last poem in Selected – one of my favourites – …

Beautiful Bayeux: A pink room, loneliness, and a tapestry (28 – 29 August 2015)

Friday 28 August 2015 (Day 96 of my midlife gap year) 8:20 pm A Restaurant in Bayeux It’s nice to be in a city again. Bayeux is compact, beautiful, and busy with visitors. The helpful tourist office found me a reasonably priced chambres du hote on the edge of the city centre which I’d never …

Pedaling with Ghosts in the Normandy Rain: Isigny-sur-Mer to Bayeux

Thursday 27 August 2015 (Day 95 of my midlife gap-year) 9:15 am, Camping Le Fanal, Isigny-sur-Mer, France: Rain Rain Go Away I slept until 9 and it’s raining again. At 7 the church bells were pretty insistent on waking everyone. I’m surprised I fell back to sleep. If I’d gotten up at 7, I might have packed …