Sunday, 9 December 2012

Birthday Boy

Today is Alan’s birthday! As usual, my attempts at making the day memorable have hit a small wall! Although toasty warm inside, the rain and sleet outside promised a difficult day; in fact riding looked very unlikely. But, we are, after all ‘British’, so at around ten thirty we climbed aboard the bus for a ride downhill to the valley floor convinced that there, the temperatures would be higher and not freezing. Less than five minutes later we were driving through a blizzard! We are nothing if not perseverant so on four snow tyres we continued downward. The snowflakes got bigger and bigger as I shrank from the accusing comments of the boys. BUT Hoorah and hooray, after a coffee, the thaw had begun. Not in a great rush, you understand, but enough to give us the confidence to unload the bikes, put on a few more layers and set off along the river (well the road alongside it) to Beaulieu. I have to point out that temperatures were just shy of plus 2 degrees and it was raining and thus not the ideal weather for a bike ride. A fabulous road, very little traffic and the cessation of rain nonetheless, made this a pleasurable experience. So good was it, that we decided to make the return trip along the other side of the river after we had found something to eat. Boulangeries all shut (it was past 1 o’clock) but a small supermarket, which was ignoring French tradition, was open for sandwiches and chocolate. What I didn’t know was that it was located on a one way street. Blithely riding the wrong way the only vehicle I encountered belonged to the local gendarme who was not impressed by my transgression. After a ticking off and a subsequent abject apology from me, it was decided that I would not have to spend the night in gaol! How thoughtful! Couldn’t he have found a burglar to pick on?
The weather continued its slight improvement even to the extent of little glimpses of blue sky and even littler glimpses of sunshine. We bowled along enjoying this unexpected largesse and caught up with our chauffeur back in Argentan. Safely aboard, warm and wet, which is much better than cold and wet, we returned ‘home’ where another unexpected treat awaited us. Sam had excelled herself with today’s cake. It was a chocolate birthday cake complete with candle and decorated with chocolate leaves (all the creation of our hostess). It may have looked good but it tasted even better! Thank you Sam.
Will it or will it not be frozen tomorrow; will it snow; will it rain; will the sun shine; we must wait and see. I think we can be fairly certain that temperatures will not be a pleasant 20 degrees!

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