Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How do you say 'broken spoke' in French?!

This morning we woke to rain: heavy rain. Tom got up early to walk into the village again in search of 3G signal to send a message to the two nearest bike shops and to visit the boulangerie for breakfast fare.

While he was gone, our lovely neighbours (who made me tea last night) came over and offered us a lift with the wheel into Morlaix for a repair. Truly they were angels, ditching their own plans, to do us a favour.

I set off with the wheel in the back of the car. My A-level French did not include bike maintenance vocabulary. For our next trip, I must spend some time creating a crib sheet for bike terminology. I know the words for wheel, tyre, puncture and brakes, but after that I'm officially stuck. Luckily, when I visited the tourist information office yesterday, judicious use of the 'international language of the gesture' (in combination with the French I do have) yielded 'rayon' as my first new word to add to the cycling vocab arsenal. We arrived in the shop (now open) and half an hour and €10 later the wheel was fixed.

Elaine and Laura were also kind enough to wait while I nipped into the Intermarché to buy some fresh provisions for lunch and dinner. Meantime, Tom was washing the children back at the campsite.

Given the weather (and the effect of boggy paths on our pace with the trailer in tow) we decided to stay put for the day and to try to make up the mileage the following day. The next section of our route takes us back onto the 'Green way' to Carhaix.

Judi (the campsite proprietor) offered to put the trailer, my bike, the girls and I in her van to drive us to Carhaix to try to make up some mileage, leaving Tom and Thomas free to ride at a faster pace if they wanted. Having already lost a fair bit of mileage in England (and knowing that we had left room for slippage in our plans), we decided to stay together and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at the campsite.

We therefore got chance to spend a bit longer at 'Camping des Bruyères', which is one of the quietest and quirkiest sites I have ever stayed at. In the evening, the toilet block is illuminated by oil lamps. There is a huge selection of bikes to borrow, caravans with toys for children and the Shed- a communal space with tables and chairs, a cooker, and games tables (ping pong, pool and a space for children to do colouring in).

The site clearly attracts a lot of repeat visitors, mostly British and Dutch it would seem, doubtless attracted by the tranquil setting and the real sense of "getting away from it all".

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