Tuesday, 11 August 2009

AUG 12th

The glorious 12th?
Last night it was too dark to put up the tent. The first instruction was to put it up before you left home to famiarise yourself with it so I just put it away and with the help of Rosie's headlamp I sorted out the bivouac and the sleeping bag. A large vehicle came by with a word printed on the side - gendarmerie - or something like that. The nice young chap wanted to know what Iwas doing so I told him in English that I was riding the scooter from Edinburgh to Rome to raise money for cancer charities - that I myself had undergone a major operation, and that I intended to sleep here. (That's wht Colin Steele calls 'playing the cancer card!) The gendarme wished me good night and hoped that I slept well. I climbed into bed and I just wanted to go to sleep. I kept opening my eyes to check that I really was sleeping under the stars and wondered why I didn' feel even the teensiest weensiest bit afraid and when I closed my eyes I just felt warm and comfy and I must have fallen asleep. I woke up once or twice and it was dark. And then it was light and it was half past nine and I had slept in and there was a scooter parked next to mine and a beautiful woman standing next to the lock gate. When a woman parks her scooter next to a sleeping man's scooter in France I'm pretty certain it means something special - but I don't know what it means. It turns out she was the lock gate keeper and she opened and closed the gates for a large houseboat before zooming off on her scooter for another appointment at another lock. I set off for Switzerland. I have now driven through Champagne and Burgundy and haven't seen a single vine until I got to Switzerland. I haven't seen much traffic either or many French people. France is a big farm and the villages are far apart - centres of the vast areas of agriculture that surround them. And then all of a sudden there is the Swiss border. The word 'Stop' was painted in the road and I did what I was told but no one came to welcome me to Switzerland so I proceeded. And here I am in a hotel near Lausanne overlooking the lake. I have no idea what it costs - the money is in Swiss Francs. I hope they're not the same as Euros or I'll be washing dishes here tomorrow instead of driving to Turin.

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