It has been a fairly slow week – while the trip has officially begun, it has so far been more of a personal preparation for the real adventure. The house in Chippenham has been emptied and cleaned since this time round I’m selling up and moving on. Whilst lots of accumulated ‘stuff’ has been freecycled and recycled, there’s still a big pile of boxes and crates filling half the house here in St Michel, and the week has been spent sorting out the things I’ll need on the road for the next few months.
It was also a slow journey down from Le Havre – and not without incident! Having bought a shiny new set of door mirrors for Troopy, one of them just fell off back in the UK on my way down to Wales for a friend’s birthday camping trip. The second mirror made it as far as Clermont Ferrand before it too succumbed to the wind and snapped off – but thanks to the first incident I had already ordered a new (stronger) pair which were delivered here at ‘base camp’. Driving Troopy with no rear view is fine in the middle of the Sahara, but I wouldn’t fancy it on European motorways or negotiating Casablanca! Fingers crossed for the replacements.
Winter is still hanging on here on the Causse du Larzac – some days it wins and I’m very glad of the log fire, some days the sunshine and early flowers remind me of years past when we came to enjoy the Spring in the space and peace of this unique landscape. Part of me just wants to stay here and quietly pass the time, away from the rest of the world. But I have another journey ahead, and even here it is not possible to disconnect from the global human network – for better or worse what we do each day now has an impact around the world. On this journey, I hope to find many positives but in honesty fear that the negative effects of human activity might be more than I expect. Perhaps the fact that I’m writing this on a day that the grey skies are winning affects my mood – I am definitely looking forward to a warmer climate further South!
So on Tuesday I’ll be leaving behind familiar surroundings and heading for Barcelona with the aim of getting some visas – another sort of familiarity from the last trip – and easing my way into the routine whilst still in Europe. On Friday, Pete will be flying in to Almeria before we make the crossing to Melilla and the real adventure begins. Whilst looking forward to the heat of the Sahara, it is going to be a while yet – and I just saw a friend’s photographs on Facebook from last week’s cycling tour in Morocco – there’s lots of snow in the Atlas mountains and rain is forecast lower down. Brrr…Troopy is not fitted with a log fire!