From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Last Visitors

Wow, what a busy week that was!

It started off on St Patrick’s Day, when the LSH and I seemed to spend most of the day driving to Marseille airport, waiting at the airport and driving back again late at night with our Eldest Daughter and my mother, who came to stay for a week.

Anne was still recovering from a nasty cold, so she suggested that the LSH ride out GiGi with me on Sunday morning.  It’s probably the best part of ten years since we hacked anywhere together, so we jumped at the chance and got up early on Sunday morning so that we’d still have most of the day with our guests. 

We did a short loop around the back of La Gardette, the hill behind Céreste, and were out for about forty-five minutes.   Both horses were very relaxed and the LSH and I thoroughly enjoyed it – we might even do it again sometime!  Unfortunately there was no-one around to photograph the occasion – what a pity!

Allée Royale in the distance
Anne and I rode together on Monday and explored another new route, as mentioned on A Change of Plan - we went out towards Reillanne with the intention of continuing up an Allée Royale (tree-lined avenue, the French do them so well!) and following a trail which comes out onto the back road to Reillanne.
Chateau and Allée Royale
We eventually reached the Allée Royale after about an hour and a half, but I was starting to stress out about leaving my guests alone for so long, so we compromised and tried to cut the ride short, without much success - we ended up riding for just under two and a half hours, plus an hour tacking up/untacking, so my poor mother & daughter were indeed feeling a bit neglected, especially seeing as the LSH had left on a business trip that morning.

The Mammy and the ED at Gordes
I devoted Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday to my visitors.  We did a bit of touring through the usual haunts!  The ED has a few photos, I'll try to get them off her later.

Anne and S, our French friend, were supposed to ride on Thursday but it was a very cold and windy Mistral day, so they decided against it.

So eventually, Anne and I headed out to ride again early on Friday morning.  To our surprise, Fani asked if she could come with us on Ugoline.  She’s been doing a lot of work with Ugoline, but has only hacked her out once before.  Of course we said yes, so that she could show us a new route! Ugoline was an absolute star, she led most of the way and took everything in her stride - not bad for a recently OTT French Trotter! 

We were out for about an hour and a half, and were on the road for only about 100 Metres of that.  The rest of the time, we were scrambling up and down forested hills, crossing empty fields, ducking under branches and even going through someone’s garden (it was ok, they were friends of Fani’s!).  We both forgot to start Everytrail when we left, so we’ve no map to share.  We’ve no photos either – it was fairly rough going the whole time so photography would have been a bit difficult, but we’re going to try to get better at taking pictures on the hoof, or this blog is going to become very drab!  Truth be told, we need our own paparazzi following us - just like Kevin did two weeks ago!

It was one of the nicest hacks we’ve done yet, but it was a pretty complicated route and I suspect we’ll get hopelessly lost if we try to do it on our own.  We may not get a chance to try it again though, as we are rapidly running out of riding days…. we only have three days of riding together this week.

Saturday turned out to be a “full-on” day for all of us!  We did the regular trip to Apt market with our guests, and spent the whole morning wandering around the town.  The mother and the Eldest Daughter bought a few bits and pieces, but they were somewhat hampered by Ryanair’s allowance for cabin baggage and had to restrain themselves.

The ED had challenged her Dad to walk from Apt back to Céreste – a distance of 18km according to the signposts on the road.  They were following the VeloRoute (bike trail), and unfortunately hadn’t realised it’s actually 22km and also quite hilly in places!  Weatherwise, it was the best day of the week so far, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky and the temperature was about 20C.  They took Cookie the crazy terrier with them and said goodbye to us in Apt.

Anne and I left my mother sunbathing in the Courtyard of La Bell Cour and went off to make another attempt at the Allée Royale route.  It was hot, it was sunny, and both horses were a bit shocked at being asked to work!  We tried a little canter to wake them up, but they remained steadfastly placid - well, I'm not going to complain about that!!

Anne and GiGi trying to look like they're meant to be here!

We eventually arrived at the entrance to the Allée Royale and headed purposefully up it.  We expected the trail to follow the Allée and then continue behind the Chateau up towards Reillanne.  Do you think we could figure it out?  No way!  As we were tromping across the lawn beside the swimming pool, I was pretty convinced we were doing something wrong, and as the track entered a field of newly sprouted corn and meandered off into the distance I became even more convinced.  We’ve both seen the other end of the trail, where there is a signpost saying “Private Land, please stick to marked trail” but there was absolutely nothing marking any sort of trail that we could see.

So, somewhat abashed, we turned around and nonchalantly strolled back past the swimming pool, past the heap of poop Flurry had left in the garden and back down the Allée Royale praying (well I was anyway) that no-one would come out yelling at us for trespassing.  Thankfully, no-one seemed offended at our presence – a car followed us down the Allée, but the driver just ignored us and headed off up the road!

As we exited the Allée, I heard from the LSH.  They were still at least an hour outside of Céreste and he was concerned about the ED – she seemed a bit burnt.  Could I come and pick them up?  Um, no, sorry, I wasn’t going to be back home for two hours or so!  All in all, they ended up walking for over four hours in the hottest part of the day.  They made it all the way, eventually, and the ED wasn’t actually burned, just flushed!

Meanwhile, Anne and I ended up following mostly the same route we had done on Monday, although we took an alternative route at the end of it.  We ended up passing a horse, donkey and goat all in the same paddock.  Flurry was a little suspicious of this strange ménage-a-trois, but as far as GiGi was concerned, it was totally improper, especially when the horse-eating monster (donkey) started braying!

Other than that, and failing miserably to find the damned Allée Royale route, it was a pretty uneventful hack.  We were out for three hours and we both felt it in our knees, ankles and butts.  

Note to self: Get off and WALK every so often you idiot!!

On Sunday, the we changed to Summer Time, but we also had an early start to get The Mammy and the ED off to the airport at Marignane for a 10am flight.  Having waved them off, the LSH and I went to Reillane to take down his exhibition photos.  He's definitely sold two, and is hoping that another two or three will sell as well.  He's donating any money made from the sale of the photos to Le Big Trek, so that's another little boost for our fund-raising efforts!

PS.  Strictly speaking, we have one more visitor coming - the YD is coming for a week while Anne is away to help me ride.  I still can't even pick out a hoof, let alone do up my Renegades.


  1. Today Martine and I attacked the Allée Royale route from the other end, and guess what? there are at least 2 Allée Royales on that route, and we were on the wrong one, which is not a GR or a PR, hence the lack of signs! The correct route comes out much closer to Reillanne, but the route we took with the horses does come out on the same road, we were nearly there, but just didn't fancy taking the horses across a sown field.

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