The road to Rouen

Back home tomorrow. Tonight we are in Rouen. This ancient city has some tales to tell. Outside our window is the Abbatiel Saint-Ouen, connecting me lovely to Jersey. According to Google it is a historical church with a big organ. You could believe it was the cathedral, but the cathedral is much much older and much much bigger. We found it. It was raining. And of course it is closed tomorrow.

Walking round this city it’s astonishing how much has survived. The cobbled streets still have little streams by the side of crooked medieval houses where in the morning people might have shouted “Gardez l’eau” before chucking the contents of a chamber pot out of the shuttered window. Often now the windows are straight with a spirit level but the buildings are wonky around them.

It’s all a little sideways. Bright and well appointed bars tempt in weary travellers for a glass of beer with Picon, or a Fernet Branca. Bells ring severally on the hour, scattering the town with sound. The air is colder now again. We know we are in the north of France. But this place has life and character.

Our last meal away was in a little Asian Fusion place run by a couple from Hong Kong. Cat themed and simple, it was brilliant and unusual, and there were vegetables available, which have been in short supply this week. I’m now already in bed, much earlier than is my habit, happy to put my head down early and just drift off. It’s a nice little room, with a double bed made to feel like a four poster but without real curtains. Weird pillows as is the way in northern France. But warm and comfy and all I need to do is sleep.

The car is chock full. I parked it securely underground tonight so as not to tempt any ne’er-do-wells. I can sleep sound now and enjoy how light I feel after my weeks of movement and food and family and wine and light and walks and good cheer.

One word of warning for anyone coming this way. I took a toll road for about an hour. Shaved an hour and fifteen off the day or thereabouts. They charged me €45 euro. I’m still fuming about it. It was from Tours to close to here. The first one that wasn’t automated and I still think she ripped me off.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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