David has sent me an e-mail giving the information that Jamie and the Crazy Hearts will be performing a barbecue concert at Le Code Bar this coming Saturday evening. So, come on, all my French readers, turn up. I am assured by Fred that Johnny Cash will be there in person. Possibly in spirit, anyway.
I missed my assinine friend as I set off on this chilly, cloudy, morning granted the occasional shaft of sunlight, to walk the Pomport loop. The field he shares with goats was empty of fauna but full of flora, including long grass and nettles.
Wild flowers proliferated. Buttercups had more chance to brighten the landscape than those of last week in Minstead. Large daisies had formed their own, natural, chain, and dog roses mingled with others I cannot name.
As I neared Pomport the throb of the engine of a tractor working a field below, and the racket of ducks on the pond beneath the slope disturbed the general silence.
The sweet aroma of freshly mown grass led me to an elderly gentleman, his glistening face bespattered with cuttings. We had a satisfyingly lengthy conversation during which we discussed my route. He asked me if I was going via Cuneges. I wasn’t. He then suggested Saint Andre, a sign for which I knew appeared just before the usual road I take. I said I would.
I had never taken the Saint Andre route before because it bears a no through road sign. But, relying on my local informant, I took a chance. The tarmac did in fact peter out at this hamlet containing a few smallholdings, that offered a different perspective to my downward journey.
Following the colour scheme, a spray can on a rubbish heap appeared to have released its contents. I was able to pick my way through a very muddy track between vineyards that led to the road.
Approaching me as I reached the houses was a post van I had seen in Pomport. This somewhat disconcerted me because I did not want to end up back there. However, as the delightful song from Sam’s favourite album of the early 1990s from the aptly named The Beautiful South, came to me, I decided to ‘carry on regardless’. My son played this record over and over again and I never tired of it.
Reaching the D17 and not recognising it for what it was, I dutifully turned left. It was then that my experiences in The New Forest came in handy. I spotted a fallen fruit tree I had noticed on my way up, promptly turned round, and walked back down to Sigoules, feeling that I had learned some woodcraft after all.
Today’s lunch in the bar began with a tasty vegetable soup followed by a crisp slice of piquant pizza. The main course was a skewer of tiny tender hearts served with a spicy sausage and green and haricot beans. Sweet strawberries was the finale.