We’ll be settling in ‘Les Tertres’ for a few weeks.
I did the packing while Popeye was still at work. He got home in a hurry. We had to get out of Paris before 4p.m. to avoid the usual dreadful traffic jams.
The sight of ‘our’ too many bags almost choked him. He should be used to my last minute packing... 100 books, 10 cameras + everything I might be missing in Brittany, just in case... even though the house is filled with everything we need and more (books included).
JC knows. He used to get so upset at me everytime he had to help us load or unload the car!
Popeye never gets upset though. He just looks at me and says: «It will never fit in.» But I don’t get upset either because it always fits in the car despite the fact Byerly always travels in a big dog cage on the back seat because he is such a large cat.
So everything fit in as usual. We left and hit some bad traffic jams... Popeye was busy making ‘important’ phone calls so it wasn’t this bad. Byerly was asleep. And we were listening to Ry Cooder’s ‘Paris,Texas’ score in between phone calls.
After a while, things started looking good once we were well away from the Paris area. Sunny weather. Almost empty freeway. And this would be the first real holiday for Popeye in more than one year (3 or 4 days away from work from time to time are not holidays...)
Things looked real good until we got to Rennes, one hour away from Les Tertres. There, we were warned that there were big traffic jams ahead, due to... well, we’ll never know since Popeye turned right as soon as he could and we ended deep into ‘unknown’ country and no map... (We have a GPS but we never use it! Popeye likes to travel according to the sun in the sky... He’s a sailor, remember!)
Well, we knew most of the villages by name either from their train stations or from the exits on the freeway.
But we never had gone so deep into the countryside by car.
Small winding roads, beautiful old farms, green fields with grazing cows...
We had forgotten one thing. We have a very depressed old cat who hates winding roads...
He hates travelling so much that we have to sedate him. Nothing too strong though. So a winding road is bound to wake him up and he starts feeling scared... which usually ends up with him emptying his bowels... He does it very gracefully, never gets dirty but as soon as the ominous smell starts filling the car, we know we have to stop. For him and for us! It’s quite unbearable.
We know this can happen any time so we always bring ‘Byerly’s backpack’ along. It’s filled with wet cleaning towels, baby lotion (!), toilet paper, air freshener, plastic bags, etc.
The poor cat looks so ashamed he almost breaks our hearts! So we clean the mess (well, I usually do) and take off again. It only happens once anyway...
So I was cleaning the mess and chatting with the cat, trying to cheer him up when Popeye said: «Don’t move and look up.»
Which I did, even though it’s kind of hard to look up while cleaning out Byerly’s cage.
Surprise! Two beautiful deers were getting ready to cross the road from our left... I knew there were deers in rural Brittany but I had never seen one.
I’ve shared my garden with one wild boar and two badgers and tens of rabbits and hares but I've never seen one single deer around.
I locked Byerly back in his cage while watching the deers who decided to cross the road and run away in a field on our right, so gracefully it was breathtaking.
Of course, no camera in my hand, just a plastic bag... Oh well, memories are sometimes more precious than pictures.
Popeye was grabbing Byerly’s cage to put it back on the back seat when we both saw at the same time the most beautiful fawn looking shyly at us from behind a tree, not daring to cross the road because he had to get very close to us.
We froze instantly. A few seconds later (maybe minutes), he decided it was safe to cross. As soon as he landed into the big field on our right, he didn’t run away. He started leaping about, springing up in the air, wild with joy.
We were standing there, open-mouthed, lost in wonder. We waited until he finally disappeared into the safety of a neighboring small wood.
And then we left... on our way to ‘Les Tertres’.
Thank you so much, Byerly, for offering us this incredible encounter. First time in your life, your stress gave us so much joy!
It was worth ‘backpacking’ with you for the past 14 years.
(About our train travels through Brittany: All about (French) trains )
*Good Night, and Good Luck*