Tuesday, 23 August 2016


Today we rode high and marveled at the beautiful green countryside all around, chestnut forests and sunflower fields as far as the eye could see, with the occasional chateau thrown in for luck.  We dropped down a steep road into town and stopped at a railway level crossing just as the bells starting ringing and the gates closed.  I waved to the driver as the local two-carriage train trundled by.  I was rewarded by a toot.  I always wave at trains.  Paul pretends he is not with me. 

railway crossing at Sauveterre

We stayed fairly close to the railway line as we headed up the valley passing several railway cottages at signal crossings. (Many of these properties were sold by the French national railway after automation of the barriers.) The householder of one these cottages was reclining in a deckchair enjoying the sunshine, oblivious to the busy road just a few feet away.  The garden is a very narrow strip of land sandwiched between the railway line and the main road and the scene reminded me of a crazy film I watched once on a long flight. 

scene from Home (2008)

The film was called Home and I watched it because it was the only one available with sub-titles, albeit in French.  It was about a family whose rural life was upended when a major highway just a few yards from their property, constructed 10 years before but apparently abandoned, is finally opened. The elder daughter continues to lead her life of sunbathing out on the front lawn in her bikini, despite attracting unwanted attention from passing motorists.  It was a completely off the wall film with hardly any dialogue but seeing that guy in his deckchair today reminded me of it.


  1. Last weekend I saw a family having a picnic, with chairs and table, on the side of a dual carriageway which didn't even have a hard shoulder; they had just pulled over on the grass verge, narrow as it was, and got the whole picnic caboodle out. I couldn't believe it. The traffic must have been less than 6' away. I thought "how British". People, wherever, just never cease to amaze.

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  3. Reminds me a bit of the book Girl on the Train.

  4. If you turn left at the Sauveterre crossing, and continue for about a kilometre, there a small bridge that crosses the tracks. NO WAITING. But maybe you know this already.

    1. But you might miss out on a wave and toot.

    2. I didn't know, but suspected as much when a car shot off in that direction.