May Walk, Saturday 2nd May 2015

Patricia Curd

The forecast wasn’t good, and it therefore came as no surprise that most members, even the regular walkers, kept their walking boots indoors. Just ten determined members and Izzy the dog gathered in the car park by the church of St. Maurice in Louerre at 10am on 2nd May.

Louerre is a pretty little village with a big history. Situated by the old Roman road which ran from Gennes to Martigné Briand, the surrounding area was the site of a huge battle in 51B.C. between the Gauls and the Romans which resulted in the loss of 12,000 Gauls.

On the pretext of waiting for any stragglers, a quick cup of coffee in the bar opposite set us up for the route ahead. Not surprisingly, no one else arrived to join us and having investigated the source of the river Aubance, the group set off in the drizzling rain.

The countryside is always beautiful in May and this year was no exception. We walked past meadows full of flowers and down tracks strewn with cowslips, violets and stitchwort. Despite the Englishness of it all, the vines were never far away to remind us that we were in France.

We ambled along in twos or threes deep in conversation stopping occasionally to listen to the birds, to admire the view or laugh at Izzy digging or enjoying a bath in the overflowing ditches beside the track. We were quite oblivious to the fact that we had taken a wrong turn until our guide abruptly ordered an about turn. By the time we reached a main road, it was really raining. Someone came up with the answer - a mobile phone would pinpoint our whereabouts. Thank goodness for modern technology. And so we discovered we were in Washington. Washington? Yes, Washington DC, right by the Capitol Building.

There was nothing for it but to flag down a passing car. The astonished driver apologised as her Ka wasn’t large enough to hold 10 very wet people and a soaked dog but she set us in the right direction to Louerre. Fortunately the road was all downhill from there onwards and we were soon back at our starting point by the church albeit somewhat later than predicted and a good deal more bedraggled and muddy than we were when we set off. The proposed picnic having been abandoned, after a glass of fizz to quench the thirst, we dispersed and went our separate ways vowing to return to further investigate the area in better weather. I think we even agreed to repeat the folly in May next year!