Day 19 – Coole to Corbeil

When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor. President Lyndon Johnson

Thursday 19/4/2018

Distance 19.3km Total Distance from Canterbury 482.4km

I am not sure that I have ever met a real live mayor before. But I have now.

The evening yesterday with Monique and Jean-Pierre was exceptional, even within an exceptional week. You are invited in, to become a member of the family, instantly. Welcoming people is a hobby – they each had proper jobs, farming for him and something in town for her. They have just retired and we discovered that we were all born in the best of all years, 1954! Continue reading “Day 19 – Coole to Corbeil”

Day 18 Chalons-en-Champagne to Coole

 It’s cool to be in Coole

Wednesday 18/4/2018

Distance 27.9km  Total Distance from Canterbury 463km

The hottest day yet and breaking all records for April, 29C for me during the afternoon. The temperature passed 30C in some places. So it was cool to reach Coole. But it is not cool to call Coole ‘cool’.  I’ll teach you how to pronounce it later. Start thinking about Carbon. It will help. Continue reading “Day 18 Chalons-en-Champagne to Coole”

Day 16 – Reims to Trépail

Simplement Audacieux  – Simply Audacious

Monday 16/4/2018

Distance 27.4km Total Distance from Canterbury XXkm

A beautiful day in which I was beset by kindness, three times and which was the beginning of the record breaking heatwave which has been particularly felt here in the North.

I stayed last night in CIS just over the river from the Cathedral. It stands for Centre International de Sejour. It seems to be a chain of youth hostel type accommodation. Continue reading “Day 16 – Reims to Trépail”

Day 15 – St Thierry to Reims

A long way from Tipperary

Sunday 15/4/2018

Distance 10.3km Total Distance from Canterbury 380.8km

I’m aiming to have a rest day each week which may or may not be on the Sabbath. So a short walk today. The route very straightforward – you can see Reims quite clearly from the monastery.

Two people from Tipperary (a county in Ireland) are in my thoughts today. Back at the Irish headquarters of my missionary Society there is a funeral today for Fr Jim English. He was born in Tipperary in 1938. After ordination he worked for 46 years as a pastor in Nigeria before, during and after the Civil War following Biafran secession. Continue reading “Day 15 – St Thierry to Reims”

Day 14 – Corbeny to St Thierry

‘Va Va Voom’ – Thierry Henry
Abelard is un hérétique’ – William of St Thierry
‘You are welcome in our home, pilgrim’ – The Benedictine Sisters of St Thierry

Saturday 14/4/2018

Distance  26.7km Total Distance from Canterbury 370.5km

Saturday morning is normally Parkrun day. Parkrun is a phenomenon  – a weekly free timed run, all over UK and now Ireland and many other countries. It is organized entirely by volunteers and is a fine example of what people can do when they want to. No prizes and you compete against yourself. You can walk, you can bring the dog or a buggie or the kids. A week before I left for this walk I set off for Rathwood for the Tullow Parkrun for what would have been my 50th Parkrun. But I got a puncture on the way and missed it. C’est la vie, as they say in these parts.

Continue reading “Day 14 – Corbeny to St Thierry”

Day 13 – Laon to Corbeny

“I’m not superstitious but I am a little stitious” The Office (US version)

Friday 13/4/2018

Distance 22.9km Total Distance from Canterbury 343.8km

One of the advantages of walking a bit further the night before can be, if you have been walking in the right direction, that you have a bit less to walk the following day. And my long slow wet slog into the far side of the new town of Laon now paid off. I had already done about 3km of the proposed route for the day. By the way, Laon is not pronounce Lay-on or Lah-on as one might imagine. No one will now what you are talking about. It is pronounced Lon, with a short ‘o’ and only the merest hint of a very nasal ‘n’. I don’t know what the ‘a’ is for. Continue reading “Day 13 – Laon to Corbeny”

Day 12 – Tergnier to Laon

“I love the Mexican people. I’ve had a great relationship with Mexico and the Mexican people.”  Donald Trump

Thursday 12/4/2018

Distance 33.7km Total Distance from Canterbury 320.9km

I am becoming more confident about the Alison Raju book (Cicerone) and it is what I mostly follow. With a bit of help from Google. As I said yesterday my Italian book believes I perhaps stayed in Suzy last night. But I didn’t. So there is a bit of mix and match to do with the guidebooks. But a simple enough route to follow. Against that it is a long way and I am feeling the effort a bit. I headed out in the same direction of the canal, on minor roads until I came to the small village of Deuillet. From here the information of the guidebook began to make sense: from here the scenery starts to change a little and become hillier and wooded. The directions are sometimes quite specific: turn L onto small tarmac lane by village exit board (house no 17) veering L to farm, after which the lane becomes a grassy track/earth lane, gently uphill all the time and mainly shady. It sounds almost idyllic doesn’t it? Continue reading “Day 12 – Tergnier to Laon”

Day 11 – St Quentin to Tergnier

I am not afraid of the darkness. Real death is preferable to a life without living. Vasco da Gama

Wednesday 11/4/2018

Distance 29.2km Total Distance from Canterbury 287.2km

So I was somehow imbued during the night with the pioneering and exploring spirit of Vasco da Gama. I have three guidebooks. None agrees with the other, and only one of them ‘knows’ I am in St Quentin, which the other two ignore. I don’t want to write my own guidebook, but I think it is a day to find my own route, and to go exploring. I am trying to get to Tergnier. The Italian book would like me to take two days to get there by making another ‘interesting’ diversion to a town called Tugny-et-Pont, then to Suzy (Aha! A boy named Sue!!), and then on to Laon over three days. This seems a little perverse. So I will aim to get there in two days using my own route in the spirit of Vasco da Gama. Continue reading “Day 11 – St Quentin to Tergnier”

Day 10 Péronne to St Quentin

‘St Quentin you’ve been livin’ hell to me…’ (Johnny Cash)

Tuesday 9/4/2018

Distance 33.5km Total Distance from Canterbury 258km

Yesterday in Peronne I had the chance to visit the parish church of St Jean Baptiste, which I was delighted to find open. It is a huge church and the photographs on the noticeboard point to quite a vibrant community. What interested me was a particular side chapel which is dedicated to St Fursey. Fursey originated in the west of Ireland, and established a monastery at Killursa, near to Headford in Galway. He was one of a band of ‘missionary monks’ who made their way to England and then to Europe. Continue reading “Day 10 Péronne to St Quentin”