Friday,  August 25th – Day Ten – Niort to Matha

Niort to Matha  – A bad start to an uneventful day!

Our communication is, at last, improving to the extent that we got separated en route only once today – but the effort that goes into setting all the necessary comms, plus the bike, and the organisation in the car is agonising, and not necessarily getting easier with practice.

The alarm wakes us at 6.10 – to give me time to run and John to prepare himself mentally for the day.

All devices need to be fully charged overnight, which involves 3 mobile phones, a Bluetooth device and an iPad. No problem if we have had time to charge two phones in late afternoon and the Blackberry and iPad over dinner, finally I charge the little Bluetooth battery before turning the lights out.

Get it wrong and charge them to much or too little and panic sets in.

If I am running early Husband  rechecks and marks the routes on the road map before breakfast- if not, it has to be completed over breakfast.

This exercise is not because He hasn’t worked all this out in advance. No fear, he has indeed meticulously prepared everything with military precision over the past few months, nevertheless, changes have to be made as a result of our experiences.

Our after breakfast conversation goes something like this :-

Husband – “How do I switch this phone on again?” ( this usually happens when I am in the toilet!)

Voice from within – trying not to sound exasperated – ” try pressing down the button on the top! ”

Husband – sounding surprised “Oh Yes! That works!……

…………. But how do I turn off the call when we have finished talking? ”

Voice from within – on a rising note “Press the End Call button?”

Husband -” but I can’t see it! It all depends on the light – in the sunshine I don’t know where it is because the screen reflects all the light back (fair point to Husband!)

Stressed voice from within ” Well, it is unlikely to have moved from yesterday, and how to you expect Me to see it from in here?”

Husband response – laden with sarcasm – “well if you could just spare some of your valuable time and come out and show me…..?” ( another palpable hit to Husband – he knows I have taken my book in there!)

Exasperated mutters and elaborate washing of hands before Wife reappears – points at the telephone image on the screen and mutters dangerously “anything else?”

John ” well as you are so kind as to ask ” Can you show me if this is fully charged? ” …. Response “Yes , here in top right hand corner where it is showing 92%”

“Is that enough?” Asks Husband anxiously …

“Well, I guess it has to be if we have to leave now before it gets too hot for you to cycle!”

“And did you remember to charge the Bluetooth?”

Wife emits a growl …. A less brave man would back away now …..but no..!

” ..And, where is my other phone?”

“On the table where you left it after I charged it last night!”

Husband checks ” oh Yes  – so it is – forgive me …..! Warning sounds  are being received now…!

Onto the final Check-point before leaving the room.

Map? ” Under your arm!”

Car keys? “in my handbag!”

Chargers? “both back in my Longchamp bag!”

House keys to unlock bike? ” try the bedside table where you left them last night?”

Bluetooth? ”   in your hand with the mobile phones!”

Then, we have to transport all these devices, together with two luggage bags, two working bags, a laundry sack, my handbag and book and, la piece de resistance,  the Husband Bicycle, to the Hotel checkout … where our exit is usually expiated quickly to get this untidy mess out of the nice clean reception and back off onto the road as soon as possible!


Dare I mention that when we get to the car we have the same checking performance putting all these things in their rightful place in the car or the bike so we can find them quickly when we need them ….. And none the less he set off this morning without his helmet…..!

All being well we get to Florence on 14th September

Bon Nuit!!!!