Cabinet of Curiosities – Day 4

Its been a fabulous day. You will see I’m running out of superlatives!
My decision, yesterday, to stay the night at Duilhac was entirely spontaneous. I had stopped to explore this delightful and historic village which sits serenely under the impregnable castle of Peyrepertuse. On returning to my bike, I noticed that I had parked it right next to a small hotel. This was opposite the equally picturesque Restaurante de Moulin.


What more could I want? But was it too early to stop for the day? I resolved that if it was after 4 pm I would check in. At that moment, the church clock struck four!
Curious – but true.
One of the intriguing (and essential) elements of writing a blog is the knowledge that there is an audience out there. Maybe not large; mostly, perhaps, family and friends, but definitely an audience containing some complete strangers. Who are they? What are their likes and dislikes? Turning the question on its head, what do they know about me? How old am I? What are my interests; political views?
You see, I know that I don’t really play the game. As a once a year blogger, I have provided no profile; no photo. I must be a complete mystery. Or perhaps not.
For the observant, I must have dropped a number of clues on the way; for any psychologists amongst you, no doubt many more.
A diversion for the curious: in each post I will reveal one piece of information – but you’ll have to work for it!
My age?
Inside a church, there was a vicar, his verger , and a family of three – mother and two children. The vicar asked the verger, who knew the family well, how old they were. The vicar and verger were both good mathematicians and enjoyed puzzles. The verger replied that the product of the ages of the three family members was 2,450
The vicar pondered for a while, and said he could not solve it. The verger gave an extra piece of information: he told the vicar that he (the vicar) was the oldest person in the church. Ah, said the vicar. I now know their ages!
In a few weeks time I will be 17 years older than the vicar.
This will provide for the curious, a definitive answer.
Back to the journal
Leaving Duilhac I realise that, once again, I will require neither watch nor compass. With the second successive day of wall-to-wall sunshine my own shadow, will provide all the information I need. When I set out early in the morning, my shadow extends to twice the length of the bike. By midday, it tucks neatly within the bike’s “footstep”. Good enough to gauge the approximate time.
The descent to Padern is a beauty …..


……. ten km or so without a single vehicle. This must be a delayed pay-back for yesterday’s long climb.
Heading towards the early morning sun and with a following wind I’m serenaded by the vocal virtuosity of the nightingales. Have you ever noticed, the noun “virtuosity” has no adjective – or, at least I don’t think so. Curious
At Padern I turn northward into the Torgan Gorge; uphill, and now with a strengthening head-wind. The scenery more than compensates for these adversities


I take my time, passing through the picture-postcard villages of Maisons, Davejean and Felines Termenes. There seems to be no end to the beauty. Coming over the Col, I see beneath me the valley sweeping down towards Narbonne, and beyond that, the Mediterranean. I confess a tinge of disappointment. We’re coming down from the high Pyrenees – I shall miss them.
One last fling; part way down I turn westward and start climbing again.
A few miles of ups-and-downs (into what is now a howling wind) sees me arrive at the mediaeval cite of Lagrasse, complete with impressive Abbey. I stop for lunch.


After taking a few photos I switch my tablet back to Strava – for those of you who don’t know, an excellent cycling app. I notice that the cycling time at that instant reads 03.33.33 (Three  hour, thirty three minutes and thirty three seconds)
Curious? Well, let’s see
Up to 05.55.55 (it would start to get complicated going further) there are 21,355 seconds. Of these, five would have similar readings to the one above. This means 1:4,271
I’m sure I’ve switched Strava back on at least 2000 times, and noticed nothing strange. We only notice coincidences when they happen; we ignore the countless occasions when it doesn’t. Curious? Not really, no. Perhaps slightly premature.
From Lagrasse I continue at a leisurely pace towards Lezignan-Corbieres my destination for the day. On the way I spot some Pyrenean “wild” donkeys


It’s been a fabulous day …….and there are two more to go

Distance                   42 miles
Av speed                  10.4 mph
Max height                  1527 ft
Elevation gain            3451 ft


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