Friday 14th – Sunday 16th September
Now, whilst I very much look forward to the return of Mrs P I do enjoy time by myself. For one reason or another, I have done a lot of travel on my own over the years such as 3 months in SE Asia; two 4 & 5 week treks in Nepal; and for some serious on my own-ness (new word there. Like it?), 10 days hiking from Banff to Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies with only bears and fear for company.
So, 4 days of solitude. Just me and Gandalf. Oh, and a campsite full of other people. What to do? Lake Annecy has a fantastic cycle path that am determined to check out but first I have some serious amounts of nothing to do. Saturday, I do pretty much that. Scribble some diatribe for the blog, eat lunch, do some yoga, clean Gandalf. In a nutshell, not much to write home about and certainly very little to blog about. Except, at around 4pm, for amusement value, I decide to go for a run. “Yawn!” I hear you say. “Not very exciting.” Thing is, whilst I used to run a lot. 35+ miles a week, cartilage damage means that I now only run once a month and sometimes leave 3-4 months between those months! I haven’t been running since, erm, quite a long time ago. January maybe? But, you’ve seen the physique (days 26-27) should be no problem. Ha! Admittedly, acclimatisation and general fitness carry me along the lake and back for a massive 20 minutes ( I was convinced it was 30) but my lack of running training sees me overtaken by a small child on a push-along bike, a woman with a pram, 2 elderly gentlemen and being offered a seat by an old lady. Well, maybe it wasn’t THAT bad but, my muscles certainly felt it.
On a different subject, I have noticed is that I no longer know with any great certainty what day of the week it is. This is a lovely position to be in. Normally, at home, even if not working, there is some regular unmissable trash on TV, or a weekly event that keeps you on track but here? No such markers are available. I have to collect Mrs P in 4 days. If I cannot trust my internal clock, and the numerous post-it notes Mrs P left dotted around the van, to accurately decide when to head for the airport I must develop a new way of counting down the 4 days to pick up. Fortunately I am not a big drinker.
On Saturday I am on firmer ground with my fitness and, after another morning of chilling out, I set off, in the afternoon, along the lake on my mountain bike – 70km (43 miles) – about 3 1/2 hours. Lovely. I stop for coffee on the return leg, and, as I struggle to see the coin denominations in my hand, I am offered some reading glasses by the proprietress . She is so not getting a tip. On the way back towards Annecy, as if to stick 2 fingers up to any signs of ageing I manage to get on the tail of a road bike and stay with him for about 3km. And, for your information, he was not an old fat guy.
Back in Annecy I treat myself to yet another ice-cream and return to the campsite. Pooped but content. I am delighted to find a mobile roast chicken van in residence and decide to forgo both cooking and greens and buy 2 large chicken legs which I wash down with a beer. Another triumph of the culinary art.
Sunday I head off for a circuit of the lake. 40km (about 24 miles) took 2 hours not counting a stop at the same coffee shop where I had the change ready to avoid harsh words.
The volume of traffic round the lake directly relates to the proximity of a beach, ranging from long solitary kilometres to equally long stretches crawling along behind hoards of ice-cream eating pedestrians weaving their way along oblivious to all about them. To be honest, I like the busy bits. It’s fun to see everybody out in the sun and be a part of the general hubbub.
Back with Gandalf and following a dip in the Lake I ponder dinner. I have been running down the cupboard in readiness for buying new and fresh goodies for the return of the prodigal wife. No longer satisfied with Pringles and cookies I take a tentative look in the cupboard. It is not looking good.
- Fusilli pasta
- 1 onion
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- Assorted tins of things
- Zero imagination
Right, here goes… Boil some water, add the pasta and meanwhile, chop onion and fry in a little olive oil, add pepper, and the chopped up tomatoes with some herbs. So far so good. I should maybe have stopped there but, no. I just had to put my head back in that cupboard. Crumbled up, stale rye bread? No, step too far. I know! Anchovies (No!). Yes, and, Mrs P’s favourite, sweet corn (Seriously, no!). Hmmm… looks good and I shall ignore any warnings in brackets from my taste buds and crack on. (Suit yourself. I mean, sweetcorn and anchovies!?)
The end result looked like uncannily like pavement pizza. It is definitely a new category of mush and a new cooking low. I considered a photo but decided that I didn’t want to lose the few readers I do have. The only up side was the volume (over-cranked the pasta again) and the saltiness. (Oh, imagine my surprise) Shut up taste buds!
Must improve cooking and get some fresh food in as Mrs P is back… hang on… 4 beer bottles… tomorrow. Yay!