2019 Day 16 – Deep in the grain fields

As far as plans go, I didn’t ask a lot from today. All I wanted was to stock the larder with local goodies (wine! cheese!) at one of the excellent French supermarkets, make a little headway on distance east, and visit the first of our Les Plus Beaux Villages.

In the end we only achieved one of those three – the distance. Unbeknownst to us, today is a public holiday, Whit Monday. Most places are closed. We arrive at one of larger InterMarche supermarkets at 12.20 pm, looking forward to dairy heaven… only to be turned away as it closed at 12.15 pm.

Not to worry, we make distance headway through a grain growing region instead, aiming to see the village of Parfondeval in the afternoon, whereupon it promptly rains, putting paid to that plan too. On arrival, everything is also closed, being the public holiday.

The journey was pretty though – the grain fields sway gently in the breeze,

punctuated by splashes of red poppies and wildflowers.

The villages here are quite different to Normandy – small form red brick construction with slate roofs vs the half timbered cottages of the north. Public buildings are rendered.

Military cemeteries are sadly all too common.

We see a spectacular male pheasant strutting about, and two girls on the wing. I hear cuckoos not once, but twice, during the day and at birdy evensong. They sound very comically like their namesake clocks. In the excitement of yesterday’s bunny sighting, I forgot forgot to mention a foal we saw, so tiny and brand new that he was still fluffy.

We don’t seem to have quite found our vibe yet this trip. The weather’s not helping. Today was a frustrating example, raining through the “useful” party of the day, clear only in the early evening, when it was too late to go exploring. The surprise public holiday didn’t help. I hope we find our groove soon. It’s going to be a long four months otherwise.

Well, as Scarlett O’Hara says, as she lifts her head in hope, “tomorrow is another day”. Parfondeval has sat there for centuries: it will be there tomorrow still.