Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A stretch in the Limousin...

Bonjour once again from Norfolk...
Val is now on her way to Paris to meet Mark and team at the finishing line, and I will take you through the next few days, and try to close the final (ever narrowing) gap in the route, before Val returns to 'close the circle'.
If you haven't already, you might like to read the feature on Mark that is in today's SCOTSMAN newspaper.
Click the logo below to read, or HERE.
And why not do as I did and order a replica cycling jersey to help support Mark's charities.

As I logged on this morning, Mark was on the outskirts of Angouleme.

My favourite sporting event is, appropriately enough, the Tour de France...Angouleme hosted a stage finish in the 2007 Tour, which had an appropriately geographical logo...

Mark travelled through the area north of Angouleme. This is apparently becoming a very popular area with Parisians who want a second home. Living in Norfolk, I am familiar with the impact of the impact of this desire on property prices and the communities which can become rather deserted on weekdays. On the other hand, it can help reverse the underpopulation of these villages which have lost the younger generation to the pull of the cities and neglect of the wonderful old buildings that one comes across in these places.
There's a long list of people who have moved to France and then written books about their 'hilarious' encounters with local people and local bureaucracy.
It probably began with Peter Mayle's 'Year in Provence' in the late 80's, and a string of books has followed people who have converted chateaux, farmhouses etc... This could be one way of reinforcing national stereotypes.

Wonder if Mark will tuck in to this local delicacy at lunchtime...Image by Flickr user Anne...

And I wonder how many villages like this one (which he passed through) Mark will pass through over the next few days...Image by Flickr user jaytee07

As Val mentioned yesterday, Mark is skirting Cognac country, as seen on the map below. I'm a single malt man myself...
Mark headed eastwards, skirting Limoges, famous for porcelain and oak barrels to age cognac. With its link to pottery, the UK twin-town of Limoges is a good match. Can you guess which town it's twinned with ?
He then headed northwards through the area known as Limousin - a procession of small communes. I have driven through France on numerous occasions and can visualise the small villages which he will cycle through and out the other side in just a few minutes, such as Le Dorat

Photo of Le Dorat copyright Flickr user hmckmcg

More tomorrow as the distance narrows to Paris...

Alan Parkinson
AKA "Mrs. V"

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