"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun."
- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves
Many thanks to Dave Newman for the opportunity to explore the countryside around Josselin and for his most generous hospitality.
I had Bike Friday with me, which I now pejoratively name my "sewing machine". Trevor and Zena (Natural Cycles) completed last-minute repairs on it (new chain and sprockets) before I left, and the thing folded conveniently into the boot of Dave's newly-acquired Peugeot.
Day One: was a bash down the Nantes-Brest canal and the "Voie Verte" as far as Maletroit and then on to Questembert (end point). Return via Elven, Trédion, Sérent and back along the voie verte with its brightly-coloured, squelchy macerating sycamore leaves and the N-B canal to Cahéran. (63 miles.)
Day Two: Visit to Super-U in Josselin (spent a fortune. Mmmm, loved it.) and then to visit Daniel and Janine, friends of Dave. After the aperitif(s) and a late return to Cahéran, I rather lacked motivation at all of three in the afternoon, but at David's suggestion I headed up through St Gobrien to Cruguel and thence to Lizio, Quily, Guillac and back along the D122 to Cahéran. (20 miles.)
Day Three: Dave dropped me off on the voie expresse near Locminé and I made my way on the D181 to Mauriac, Pluméliau, St Nicholas-des-Eaux (St. Nicolas an Dour, as sign-posted in Breton, Welsh Dwr = Water). This was on a gorge (but not a big one) carved by the R. Blavel. I noticed a cycle-route along the river to Pontivy, which would have been interesting but out of my way. I made for Malrand, Baud, Locminé and then on the D123 to Cahéran. (80 miles.)
Day Four: Dave was thinking of an early lunch and a shorter ride for me. Actually I had a late breakfast and headed off in true "sportif" style, with no food, for Guilliers. Guess it was getting on for 11 o'clock? Anyway, up the D123 past Dave's house, over the motorway and then on to Héléan (not Croix de Héllian). Ville Neuve (one of many villages of this name in the area). Thence right via lanes on the D157 to Les Orgons and Guilliers and then to Mahon, Les Forges and about 10 kms along the canal to Josselin and Cahéran. (37 miles.)
The total distance comes to 200 miles since the previous Sunday on which I did 60 miles. So I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself (though sore).
Evenings were passed watching videos.
"At an unusual private school for girls, new students, including young Iris (Zoé Auclair), show up in coffins. The establishment's teachers, Mademoiselle Eva (Marion Cotillard) and Mademoiselle Edith (Hélène de Fougerolles), introduce Iris and her fellow pupils to the school's curriculum, which includes fairy-like dances through a nearby forest. When night falls, the older girls, who are on the threshold of womanhood, are then given mysterious, life-changing lessons."
Synopsis: Georges and Anne are a couple of retired music teachers enjoying life in their eighties. However, Anne suddenly has a stroke at breakfast and their lives are never the same. That incident begins Anne's harrowingly steep physical and mental decline as Georges attempts to care for her at home as she wishes. Even as the fruits of their lives and career remain bright, the couple's hopes for some dignity prove a dispiriting struggle even as their daughter enters the conflict. In the end, George, with his love fighting against his own weariness and diminished future on top of Anne's, is driven to make some critical decisions for them both.
(3) Coco Avant, the first film about Coco Channel's early life. In spite of humble beginnings she becomes a success - she starts making hats and then becomes the dress-maker she is renowned for.
(4) The Reader. German-American production of 2008, based on the novel (1995) of the same name by Bernhard Schlink.
Synopsis: It tells the story of Michael Berg, a German lawyer who as a mid-teenager in 1958 had an affair with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz, who then disappeared only to resurface years later as one of the defendants in a war crimes trial stemming from her actions as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp. Michael realizes that Hanna is keeping a personal secret she believes is worse than her Nazi past – a secret which, if revealed, could help her at the trial.