… horrible day today. At one point during mid-afternoon the temperature inside the cab of Caliburn was 42°C and I had to stop and get out of the cab.
Luckily I was able to find a nice place to do so. To my surprise I found a parking place in the street in the centre of Vichy down by the River Allier so I could park up and go for a walk to cool off a little.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
This morning I was awake and about of bed before the first alarm, something that is always a healthy ambition as far as I am concerned. Plenty of time to attack the notes on the dictaphone because by the sound of things I’d trvalled for miles during the night.
I’d been with Ingrid on board a ship obviously going somewhere and it’s quite clear that we are a couple. We were watching a few other things happening. A notice that we saw said something like “COVID 19 flights to Egyot suspended at the end of April”. As we were roaming about at the end of the stairwell which was cut into the rock evidently we came across another couple and we chatted to them. We ended up down in the basement of the ship trying to find out which were the doors to our particular deck but we were fooling around and quite clearly a couple, the two of us.
Later on we ended up back at my house but my house had been sold, although my possessions were still there. As we walked in through the door there were all these cats there. 3 small cats in waste paper bins and so on. I said “this is typical. Look at these cats. My cats are still in possession and they have sorted the other ones out”. We walked around the kitchen but heard a noise from the living room. I said “hello, anyone there?”. Eventually a Dutch guy came out, youngish, very tall. he came round and shook my hand, said “welcome back from your holidays” and had a really good chat to me, most of which wa in Dutch which I didn’t quite understand. I was with Rosemary and Lieneke. Of course Lieneke was very much in demand for this conversation too.
By now we were all on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR but it was a coach. it was time for us to get off so I walked down to the front of the coach saying goodbye to everyone. Castor and Pollux were there so I said goodbye to Pollux but Castor, I smiled at her, put my head very close to her and said “thanks for everything”. She looked extremely uncomfortable when I said that. That was when I walked down the coach and got off. This was somewhere about Scholar Green and we were looking at a map to work out our way across to Alsager, that way. It was a bit difficult to work out exactly where we were because there were two roads, both of which went across and we could have been stuck by either of them. We were certainly out beyond the confines of Stoke on Trent in that particular area. But it was the look on Castor’s face that got me – a look of real fear. That was what awoke me.
Rosemary had brought me a cup of tea at about 07:30 and by 08:30 we were having breakfast. Afterwards, I packed and loaded up Caliburn, even rescuing my pushbike from Rosemary’s barn where it had been hiding for the last 6 or 7 years or so.
Before I left I fixed Rosemary’s settee and also finished off connecting up her television to her livebox – a task that involved telephoning the helpline.
Off on the road I went, as far as Clermont Ferrand. First stop was the Auchan where I encountered a most unhelpful Secury Guard, bought some more supplies and then I fuelled up Caliburn ready for the long haul east.
Second stop was at IKEA where I bought the rest of the storage jars that I needed, as well as a few other bits and pieces. But I didn’t buy a temporary mattress for Caliburn due to the absurd price that they wanted for one – €79:00 for a folding foam-rubber chair that opens out.
Ad as for the food, that was a major disappointment. I ended up with just a plate of chips and a lump of bread. No salad or anything.
The heat was stifiling when I went outside and it was really uncomfortable and the drive wasn’t very comfortable. Leaving Clermont Ferrand, I went north-east through the countryside and arrived at Vichy
But here I had to stop. It was impossible to go any further in this weather. I was melting.
There was a parking place at the side of the road near Parc Kennedy so this was where I stopped. It was a pleasant if not sweltering walk down to the banks of the river but once I was in the shade it was very nice indeed. I was quite envious of the people who were out there on their little home-made rafts going up and down the river.
Being a Pisces I would quite happily have been out there with them.
There’s a beach there too, the Plage des Celestins, and that was quite a popular place, as you can see in the photograph here.
There’s an ice cream stall, a place to hire deckchairs and also a place where you can hire little boats and so on. And then the row of yellow buoys out there mark the limits to which people can swim in the river. You can see that the boats going out into the river from the slipway at the far end of the swimming area.
A really nice walk along the river in the shade for half an hour cooled me down and I resisted the temptation to see if they had any vegan ice cream on sale. I didn’t fancy standing in the queue.
At the end of the Parc Kennedy there’s a bridge across the River Allier.
It’s know, locally as the Pont de Bellerive because it connects Vichy to the town of Bellerive sur Allier on the other side of the river, but as the legendary French politician Aristide Briand had died just a couple of months before its official opening, it was named the Pont Aristide Briand in his honour.
Until the eary 1960s it was the only bridge across the Allier at Vichy but it’s by no means the first bridge. There was even a bridge across the river here recorded by Julius Caesar in 54BC although it might have been built by his soldiers on their way to the Battle of Gergovie.
There have been several subsequent bridges here and this one dates from 1932.
having cooled down a little I headed off eastwards through the mountains towards the Rhone valley, but I didn’t get very far. Tonight I’m in a modern unit hotel in Paray-le-Monial. Because of the heat I had the air conditioning on full blast for an hour and then a shower and a clothes wash.
Tomorrow I’m not going far but I’m still having an early night. I’ve already crashed out once this evening and I’ll be gone again if I don’t get a move on.