I am about to leave Amiens (by bus!) - because I am recovering from an injury.
Let me begin by describing the weather - because the weather is indirectly responsible for my injury. COLD, VERY COLD, and for a change COLD! Today is the first day where I have felt comfortable in walking clothes since arriving in France. Those who know me well know that I don't (as a rule) feel the cold, and I certainly don't hike in things like polo fleeces, beanies and gloves. Well folks, here these only come off at shower time and the fleece is replaced by my down jacket - the best bit of gear that I have brought with me!
Most days it has rained, often hailed, and there has been a constant, strong, icy wind, with people talking about about the wind chill factor! As you can imagine it has not been the most pleasant conditions for walking, and in one particularly heavy downpour I leapt off the road to avoid cars and managed to seriously injure my left foot. At first I feared it might have been bone damage because of the pain, but it only lasted for a day or so and I think it is tendons. I have been nursing it as best I can by hitching lifts, catching buses for a kilometre or so, and even the train. I have probably walked about 75 percent of my planned route interspersed with other means of travel.
The most dramatic reult of this was the day I chose to forgo seeing the memorial at Lorette and instead catch a train to Viny and then walk through the woods to the Canadian memorial. It turned out that the train was a bus, not sure why, and when we got to Vimy the drama started!
I am very slow in catching what people say to me and I need time to decode it, which, in this instance, I didn't have! In hind sight the bus driver asked me if I wanted to be dropped off in the main street but when she saw my blank look she headed for the railway station. What fun! She missed the turn, tried turning the bus (a full sized one) on a little narrow road, stopping all the traffic both ways. With all the passengers shouting at her (politely - I think) that we were about to go into the ditch she changed her mind, and she did the same on the other side of the road, with the same consequences! Third time lucky the bus was turned around and I was deposited at a deserted rail line (not even a little station). I shrank into my seat and I am so thankful that I will never see those people again!
The impressive Canadian Memorial.
It is still potentially dangerous in certain areas
I have also had some wonderful help from other people along the way. Michel, my host on Anzac Eve rose from his bed at 2.30 am to drive me the 10 kilometres into Viller Brettoneux!
Today it is fine and WARM - at 14 degrees! I have left my down jacket in my pack and haven't felt cold at all! My foot is still tender and so my plan is to catch the bus this afternoon to Peronne, have another rest day tolorrow and then, I hope, begin walking. There are advanteges in everything though - because of all this extra time I have managed to catch up and fill you all in on my tale.