I thought about how far away help was, and decided that I would have to die of food poisoning or recover quickly, there was no middle route, and I thought evil thoughts about the owners of the supermarket.
The owner of the gite strongly suggested that we keep to the roads because of all the rain. Every pathway had turned into a torrent and the fallen leaves were very slippery.
But of course we didn't.
But slowly the forest path petered out, and between the trees we thought we could see a lake far below us.
But it wasn’t a lake. It was cloud.
So, did we retrace our steps up the steep mountainside? Of course not.
We slithered and slid down the slippery layers of leaves, deafened by the sound of running water, boots filling up with the endless rain.
An hour later, safe in the valley below, we looked back up to where we had come from. A narrow steep gulley in between two sheer rock faces.
Wet adventurous Mysweet H:
The solitary bar tender bemoaned the fact that her bar was empty because there was no priest available to take the service in the tiny village. (Usually the men of the neighbourhood await their wives in the bar while the service is taking place.)
All the road signs had been sprayed over with paint by local farmers to protest about the prices that they were getting for their produce. It costs them 7 euros to produce a sheep that sells for 5 euros. It sounds as though there is a supermarket somewhere doing rather well, going by the price we paid for our lamb chops. Perhaps the same one that gave me food poisoning.
In the village, the chateau was for sale for the third time in two years. We wondered whether to go and have a look, but didn't want to raise false hopes with our accents. (The previous owners had all been English).
We drove to the town of Aurilliac to an antiques fair, which had the merit of being undercover in a dimly lit gymnasium. It was full of professionals whose eyes lit up when they heard our English voices. A man with an almost incomprehensible Marseilles accent tried to sell me a badly broken child’s violin for 150 euros.
We stopped for lunch in a pretty hotel in Mandailles in the Jordanne valley and ate civet de biche and truffade (deer with cheesy potatoes) with a lovely local wine full of tannin that coated our teeth like spinach does.
We drove back across mountains and passes with horrifying drops into chasms…and then without warning, the rain stopped.
We walked along a mountain pathway accompanied by ringing cowbells and roaring water falls and were happy.
The moment that we got back in the car, the rain started again.
By Sunday night, the whole region was on red alert for flooding. The river Rhone was about to burst its banks.