3rd August 2018
Foret D'Ecouves, Alencon, Normandie Maine, France
It's been a hot week, that is NOT a complaint BTW, but today is really hot - a Friday frazzler by all accounts. I spent a very hot August in Portugal a few years ago and today, here in northern France, the temperature is well up there with that time. I can only imagine how busy the coast must be!
We had a wonderful night in our isolated Oak forest - we didn't see or hear anyone all night, apart from owls screeching whom were most welcome. Amy kept a wary eye on what I assume is the local fox population, that is my assumption anyway as I didn't actually see a fox but Amy's responses were similar to those when she meets another dog she is unsure about. She's more cautious than the half wolves I used to travel with whose response would have been 'come any closer mate and you're breakfast!'
We found a good long track through the forest, actually a network of tracks, so Amy got another decent early morning outing before we hit the grit heading towards Alencon. Yesterday's stunning countryside continued unabated and if anything got even better. Travelling on exceptionally good and utterly deserted roads we soon came to the charming small town of Chambois, which somehow reminded me of somewhere like Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds, only locked in a 1950s time warp. I found it very charming.
South of Chambois the countryside is wonderfully forested and peppered with more quaint/charming towns and villages along the way. Driving sedately and with nobody about to tailgate us (French national pastime) we saw many, many places that would have been ideal to stop and sojourn at. In fact, we did stop at one such and had a long second walk as it was really just all too good to miss.
As we neared Alencon on the excellent and highly recommended D26 road the forest and amenity just got better and better. We were now well into the Foret D'Ecouves, part of the vast Parc Naturel that dominates this whole area to the north of Le Mans - and, I'm very pleased to say it is a Parc Naturel that appears to be neither touristy or desolate, as per my disparaging remarks of yesterday!
Soon we were at the northern fringe of Alencon, which is all I have seen of the place so far as there is a large, well stocked and also wonderfully quiet Lidl store at that location and after a quick shop I retreated back north about 10km to dive deep into the forest and pick a spot from any number of potential places to stop for today.
In this particular area it's nearly all mature Beech trees, peppered with Oaks, which proves a wonderful canopy of cool to counteract today's mighty sun. The silence is to die for - apart from no people, cars, the blighted Eurocamper, etc there is no discernible noise from either agriculture or the aviation industry. Amy and I spent a contemplative hour 'listening' to the universe and a thought idly crossed my mind which caused me to wonder if the other planets in our solar system regard Earth as the noisy neighbour from hell. The amount of noise our planet must generate due to automation and communications must be simply staggering. Talk about the 'chattering classes' - bloody hell!
If only some of it actually had any value.......
However Amy and I are very pleased to have found a temporary respite from all that commotion where we can quietly contemplate, with the chattering classes in mind, a verse of the Tao which starts:
Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.
And here is where we are contemplating it:
Latitude : 48.53064 (48° 31′ 50.32″ N)
Longitude : 0.08887 (0° 5′ 19.91″ E)
accuracy of signal : 16 m
Thursday's Child has far to Go Silent Saturday Solace