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

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Day 21 - Two Loops near St Agnan

Day 21, 428km covered and it's beginning to like we might just do it, so I've shaken the dust off my South Munster Dressage sweatshirt and donned it for the day!  Here I am proudly flying the SMD flag in the middle of France :
Although, seriously, I don't know that I'll ever be able to show my face in the Dressage Ireland world again.  I now ride like a cowboy - I slouch in the saddle and ride at the buckle end of the reins from one end of the day to the other.  My "schooling whip" is whatever I can rip off a tree when Flurry is beginning to annoy me.  Flurry has learned to forage as he goes - a necessity when you're travelling for 6 to 8 hours a day, but it will be very much frowned upon if he stops to slurp out of a puddle at Maryville or munch on the floral decorations at Marlton.  Still, we'll be home in a week, he'll have a good break and maybe he'll forget all of these new "skills" he has learned.
Meanwhile, here we are in the Morvan, some serious trekking behind us and a couple of intensive days ahead of us.  The strain is starting to show now, particularly with Anne.  She is at the end of her resources and is hanging grimly on.  It's interesting, because at the start of the trek, I was the one who was struggling - my back and ankles were killing me and I was running on at least four Ibuprofen a day.  I'm now fitter, haven't taken a pain-killer for a couple of weeks now, but the wear and tear has accumulated on Anne, one of her knees is playing up, and by the time we've eaten dinner each day, she just wants to fall into bed and sleep.
Today we tried a new approach, aiming to give ourselves a better rest period in the middle of the day.  Normally we eat our sandwiches, holding the horses while they graze, which is not very restful for us humans as we end up juggling food, drink and lead-ropes.  Today the plan was to do a loop of about 17km in the morning, returning to St Agnan where we would put the horses in the barn with some hay, leaving us free to relax, enjoy our lunch and get a proper break.
First of all, though we had to get the horses ready, and started going through the usual drill, grooming, putting on Renegade boots and tacking up.  As I was passing behind Flurry, something under his tail caught my eye - was that the remnants of droppings lining his "crack"?  I looked closer - EWWWWW! It was a whole load of flat little flies, clustered together, gathered under his tail and dock area.  We scraped them off, and they fell/flew to the ground, but one by one they flew back up onto his body again.  They are almost tick-like in appearance and in the way they flatten themselves against the skin and hold on to the hair.  Here's a close-up of one - can any French residents tell me what they are?
I assume they are not good and are busy laying eggs around his bum area.  Will a good sponging every day be enough to get rid of any eggs they lay or do we need to be more aggressive than this?  Gigi had some too, but not as many as Flurry.
We finished tacking up, I put the poor doggies in the car and gave the keys to Moira and Andrew of Camping du Lac - they are really super, they let the dogs out every so often for a wee and a drink of water.  We finally got on the road and headed South initially.  We were trotting along, nice and easy, I could see a car a short distance ahead and a collie beside it, and I could hear a chainsaw.  Next thing C-R-A-A-A-C-K, a tree fell right across the road, about 30 metres in front of us, and the man wielding the chainsaw, oblivious to our presence, got to work cutting it up.
Eventually he looked up, surprised, and immediately shut down the chainsaw, to allow us pass.  We continued on our way, through the usual woods
 and Christmas tree plantations.
Christmas trees are big business here.  Apparently they start chopping them down in October.  I don't think I would like a three month old tree in my house.  The freshly chopped one we get is pretty pathetic after two weeks, I can't imagine what a three month old tree would look like.
Our route took us to Les Petites Fourches, where we joined one of the many Chemins de St Jacques for a short while.  This is the village of St Brisson, just to the south.  The church steeple caught my eye - this is one of those village churches that reminds me of parts of New England.
There were some quaint houses in Les Petites Fourches, this one is just an ordinary house,
 but this one houses the Musée de la Resistance.
 In the grounds to the front of the Museum, we found these guys.
Flurry, the horse who is a bit wary of cattle, was fascinated, and wanted to go into their field and meet them.  Not a good idea, Mr Flurry, those horns look pretty serious to me!
A little further in, the trail was completely blocked.  This has to have been done deliberately, but I don't understand why.  I was under the impression that the Chemins de St Jacques were almost revered - perhaps I'm wrong?
We picked our way around the blocked section through a Christmas tree plantation.  Even with this delay, we still made fairly good time, and although storm clouds were looming ominously, we got back to St Agnan with only a sprinkle of rain.
I retrieved the dogs and we settled the horses and ourselves down to lunch.  It worked really well, we got a much better quality break because we didn't have to worry about hanging onto horses, and we also took more time with it - deliberately, to try and give ourselves a rest.
Refreshed, we headed off in weak sunshine to do the tour around the Lac de St Agnan.  On the first stretch, we met this little old lady :
Despite her obvious age, she had a bright, alert eye and way very interested in our guys.
It's a lovely one and a half hour ride around the lake, but we are so focussed on our goal that we didn't really take the time to enjoy it.  We were aware of the storm clouds massing overhead once more, but yet again, they held off until we had finished.
Someone up there is watching out for us!
We've somehow managed to cover the bones of 60km in two days, giving us a total of 456.9.  If we can do another good day tomorrow, that will leave us with less than 20km to do on Monday.  Fingers crossed, we're nearly there!

We are doing Le Big Trek to raise funds for Assistance dogs for families of children with autism. If you like our blog please take the time to donate at
Thank you

Putting up the kms Agnan to at EveryTrail


  1. I met the husband today. We watched the Ulster/Munster match on TV-just like old times....glad to read that you are finishing strongly.....I think you have iron rods in place of spines.....

  2. HI Martine and Anne
    great to see your photos of your long trek,just to let you know you dont have to go to france to see the highland cattle we have a herd of them down here in west cork,so if you get bored when you get home you can always take a trek down west,keep up the good work for the guide dogs,jo o callaghan

    1. Now that we consider 2.5 hours a short hack, getting to West Cork will be no problem...

  3. Interesting observations of your change in riding style, and Flurry's need to forage as he goes. Good luck to Anne hanging on with her aches and pains.

    1. I will be in trouble next time I have a lesson! As for the need to let the horses eat & drink as we go, it was essential in Provence and the Drome. Water was very scarce and they got used to drinking out of any puddles or water fountains that we met. We usually stopped every 2 hours or so to let them graze a little, and they quickly learned to "ask" (not always politely) any time we paused for a map check. I can see me having fun getting that new trick out of his system :-(