Wednesday, 21 May 2014


From what was an insightful point upon the Way, I seem to be losing my vision; blinkered or blinded, my eyes pulled out; plucked, gone. What has disappeared behind is too far to reach back and grasp meaningfully for: the branch hangs above my change as the gravity of now drags me along without options of escaping. Embracing this revolution seems logical but it's left me unhinged; more tenuous than at any time before: and I am liable to get my self into deep troubles if these remodelings can not be assimilated, without madness clouding every point of symbolic interest, then it will only worth ending it before it ends me. The Source is beginning to be revealed and I don't know how to dump the old and accept the new with finality. It is possible I've asked for some help before, but that was help to be accepted; now I need help to be something I should always have been. Before I scream forever, at never ever finding this limb that could pull me out another reality, I must confirm my fears are entirely without aspect and are but a part of my old behaviours: I rage that they have firmly 'zero pointed' and yet this breakaway into truth/reality - my positive progression outwards again - feels meditatively slowed; maybe utterly for the remainder of this turning of the Wheel.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Only: dread.
The world I see is now,
In the slow long heavily slumped
Blunt march of a funeral,
And overcast.
A coffin, quite empty, is held;
Too low.
Not a thing good can ever come?
What is spread refuses to die;
Being toxic
Is free without the casket.
As the damp earth is pitched

Thursday, 15 May 2014


First thing I know is at 7:33 am, my alarm was sent to the wrong day, so I have over slept and will be forced to miss breakfast - my host wants to be away by eight. Although it was cold in the room above the garage, I cherished the deep and restful sleep I managed in the warm (Autumn Snugpak) sleeping-bag (which I found in the spare room @ YHA Coniston Holly How Staff House back in October 2007);  Shrove Tuesday was indeed tiring here is Ash Wednesday.

This morning, after one superior Aldi cafe I am being driven from rural to urban Picardie and now wait in a Presbytery for any advice from the priest to the various stages where it is possible for the pilgrim to sleep  - he is late, and I have third thoughts about doing anything in Amiens with it's fields of dead. The PR suggests the Tourist Info, but they'd be unhelpful about pilgrims, pilgrimages and refuges. Once I have breakfast I will depart.  There was a quiet simple openness in the Cathedral and above me the skies are a pale blue, but now I await next the morning communal, forgotten faced, queue forming nothingnesses - time is slow. Why does even Amiens, on a still and clear spring morning, make me want to exit stage ... right? A train laden with gravels passes under my feet as I allow the sun upon my crown. All routes leave a trail of crumbs so hard to find and failing to sustain a tastebud so dimmed.

Ten 27 and I leave the Somme before carnage ceremonies and anniversaries become BBC rage. An apple, Chasson aux pommes, one short café Italiano.  SNCF á destination Rouen - Rive-Droit. What memorial is fit for a mangled, yet chained to conform, youths?
At the first opportunity my feet come out of these boots and I change synthetic for woolens. Too little potential to breath.
Keith said something about breaking bread last night,  but at 11:30pm I really didn't want to entertain the rest of the night: it's not right to eat at nearly midnight.

Turning right on the main pedestrianised thoroughfare I am briefly enjoying the easter skies. But left in no doubt we still don't need the 6 million stripes of branded universally.

Somewhere sunny. Rouen. Quick bite to head to my final first destination. 1215 north towards the coast and a different approach to return in a few days. Let's see what France has to offer after the cogs of modernity are no longer required and I retread my size elevens.
A second class yawning and aging carriage. Rural forgotten mechanical deliverance. Dirty, smelly - all blues and greys - upholstered a slight suggestion of flor-de-lie but thread bare and malodorous. Fancy into the midday sun disposed away from the Seine. I am looking without seeing.

So the only answer is to go to the sea and face the entirety of l'hexagon with the withered sleeve of the English Channel torquaize and cobalt blue. I need to stop here, think, see then sleep.

A quick tour of Cathedral Saint Jacques - entirely empty except for one solumulant man slouched in the chapel Notre-Dame. There is nowhere here yet to sign my pilgrims passage for real.

A sniff of a down-beat bar - le bar red chassee - and I find the only option is a pension at €31.70; clean and quiet and away from the usual capitalist madness of Grand Rue . Aside they sell locale beer - Northmæn Ambreé so inclined to start lent living on bread, fromage, chactuetrue and what ever the local peasants and yeast can conjure up betwixt malt and hops. The local fromage is a raw cows milk : quite a strong smelling cheese - Natchetel (a harder Camembert) which is much less runny and impacts the tongue with more wilder inoculations. I feel a match made in Normandie! There is a marche three days a week, but not when I leave tomorrow.

Dieppe is definitely good enough. The views from the Château are tres grande. The town is enclosed by white cliffs on either side. Standing between is a Brightonesque pebbled beach with lots of fun to be had when summer cleaves the year. I always forget the closeness of Normandy and Sussex when considering the climatics.

I dampen a wonderful artisanale baguette, which will definitely be part of the bounty on the morrow, with one Loburg 33cl before departing as the sun reaches the edge of the shadows. There I will go to seek a cleaner me and the edge of sleep that yesterday's endurance filed to allow.
The denser I dream the less I come awake understanding why I am here at all?

Something matters surely in the human condition?  Otherwise I really can't see the purpose. On the edge of sleep I listened to more metaphysical matters - Tolle, Renard et al.

This morning I set out regardless of the effects of too much metaphysics screwing up my thoughts.

I have a distance to travel before I might feel there is something I can enjoy in this life; while grasping this 'other' meaning fully and contently.

Thoroughly packed, pain and fromage. Needing of eau and orange from Carrefour.  But otherwise off! 22kms. See you Dieppe in a while. Another crisp blue morning awaits.

I will never again live life through illusions. The lens of untruth is eating the spirit and will never allow it to escape unblemished.
I found a secluded spot half way - towards Château Miromesnil to break. I followed a wooded vale, climbed to the point facing the route I must travel, to eat a little Louvain pain, eau and a section of each fromage de pays - I would feel utterly French if I had brought a sac du vin. I feel personal ecstasy liberated by this mornings promised tranquillity. The call of nature then I will carry on happily clear minded.

Modernity swipes its claws again. No cider produced in Duché de Longueville. Dire shame!

Final few miles and have left my body at the side of the purple shuttered home. So tired I need never reclaim my vagrant body.

Am a little zoned out right now. Pushed myself a little beyond endurance. But I highly recommend stopping for Cidre Dujardin, pain, fromage and saussion sec underneath the Mairie.

An Ian came to claim me from the centre and bring me, back up
within shooting distance of my declining ramble, to a fine purple home. My room is decorated with sunflowers, two beds (one fit for a princess!) where I flopped with a Yorkshire Tea hoping I haven't quiet underwhelmed my hosts. Thank you Frances and her tribe for being perfectly formed just off the GR.

Fine warm 1930s home where many a night is compleat away from hustle while the craft of artisans create wonderful works, which I first took to be natural vegetation, by hand without guile nor conceit. Now reclining after a wonderful informative chat about the advantages of various pieces of kit with ex army/art student carefree Bexhill Ian and breaking bread to Fritatta, salad, fermented carrot(sauerkraut) and excellent Quince compote washed down with a glass organic Pay D'Oc Merlot. For my part I washed up before retiring to more chapters and verse sung by so sweet Tolle and Renard.
Another blue sky morning where my only companion are the buds of spring.

Keith wanted me to see Amiens at night from a crest in the road like I was being delivered to the promised land...

So well blended in to my environment a magpie didn't regard my passing until I had almost my chops upon her neck.

Walking through a field of emerging oilseed rape I think of the Forengi and cold pressed latinum.

With radio four playing on don't feel Frances at al had escaped England. They had moved to see it over the fence and scump for their neighbours windfall.

No one in the church, same middle eastern stall holders selling ever more fashionista crap and even in the heart of cider country the bar i crashed into sold frowns not pommes aux cidre

It took me roughly two hours of ruminating and a break by the Moulin de l'Arbalète to get over Auffay.

Walked and walked until I really couldn't give a shite about anything other than bed. It went on over the plains for ever. I feel bandy legged! Another day tomorrow of brutal ass clenching fear... Not!
I stayed safe rather than cold and wet and unable to find a toilet in urgency by the morning...however France is usually about its business by 7am so maybe sleeping in the church doorway might've been incredible. Great family run chambre h'otel le logis du val in Frichemesnil - a nicely restored barn - thank you for delivering me here.

A long vigorous shower, various unctions and creams for feet and knees, underneath the covers from 8pm with a glass or two, or more, a light refreshing cider full of health giving purity and away with the worries of a long Friday: much more than 29 kms as suggested by the Association in  Normandie... I feel it was closer to 40kms. Apart from a break at 11:30am for 15 and another at 15:15pm I walked from 8:50am until I stumbled in Cleres at 17:55pm

Easy awake at 7am so wait for breakfast with more generous treatment of feet. I am slightly back from where I ended. In the bar a group of teenagers helped me find a place to stay. The season doesn't kick off until 31st March so most herbegments are currently closed. Perhaps I can afford one slight luxury per week? Bed and Breakfast.

And after 19kms I can hear waves crashing on a distant shore: Rouen soon. Lunch break at the first square next to Mairie in Le Hulme, the sun is high, and come to the conclusion bar/tabac are where those awaiting death seek a funeral shroud.
Washed my smalls in a small sink and rubbed yet more Urea into my feet. Checked into Carmes for a calm loving Saturday night. Saussion Sec and Affligem(Le Bistrot des Carmes) for a bed fellow while I sink into exhausted(and sunned) oblivion. See you tomorrow Seine, Cathedral all.

Even though today was tough indeed I feel utterly lovely for walking beyond pain to see Rouen appear from the eglisé Saint Jacques, drifting into the older heart of this town and knowing from tomorrow I am one tenth through my ordeal.

But apart from this clique/cliché zone where do you turn for none congenital love affairs? Apparently Place du vieux Marche is the hip zone. Return for trousers and a exhausted gusset free ramble... Au natural(hmmm picturesque? Commando!) not tonight.

You bring me to this place, a jewel of a city, and expect me to fall into old ways? Well I tell you I won't. A view of the spire against the star-studded evening sky was enough to return my to Hotel de les Carmes and put Deep Heat to work. Tomorrow is another day.
Well what was that I said about churches being forever unforced, but locked and forgetful? Just now I got out of purgatory free card and am back in the good books of a God (my god). Recommended etape for pilgrims not too far today? 15kms towards Les Essarts but first with my gold token I can visit Joan D'arc memorial.

To think that since 1341 we egotists have learnt nothing of the futility of every death - whichever side they stand on. Life is more valuable if we learnt not to kill, mame or rape and become truth. Today the centre of death is a tourists coffee and dog poop place. Depart for the Seine. Why was another reckless warrior personified as a saint become a memorial. Joan D'arc became a martyr for war not for peace.

What is gourmet but another illusion of the psyche. Food preserves us and shouldn't be placed on a pedestal. Across the Pont Boieldieu and away from cafe slums and do-do alleys. Today'll be twenty-one degrees so shorts it has to be - in March pilgrims can parch.

Pigeons courting and rhubarb confiture it is all about being stuck in cycles of perpetual lack. I recall that this black fellow tried to sell me belts and faux fashion accessories in Auffay and would not take no for an answer and an opportunist frog just asked me the time under a church tower just as it struck ten.

Special offer: the only thing you'll ever need is £0.00p with an APR of 0%. Life. At Stade Robert Diochen I must walk past daylight sads sucking in/out cigarette by a PMU. For a man who sleeps in/out a doorway I give him all my change this Dimarche.

With the sun ascending I must stop for a toilette before I hit the Forêt Domaniale de la Londe Rouvray and my last leg of todays much shorter etape. Passing out of suburban left bank Seine insanity is nearing fini.

Stopping for a McTimber... Bugger you Ronald. I have just had enough of such a straight jacket road and I think my breakfast has just worn off! Dix Minutes.

Burning up kms in the forest I had the sharp pain on my left foot. Too much walking on tarmac and concrete so now I duck between trees, brittle leaf litter and bird song a little dog legged but less straining on those conventional miles(oh and GPS lost me too).

Did I ever understand the modern world? Or did I just roll over for forty one years like a wriggling beetle. Now I am on my six feet again I can sense the alternate me will never believe home is where everyone else leaves their hat! Back in the semi wildwood away from those with finite resource to seek an infinite source on a Sunday.

The Forest gave way to roads and suburbia, I hollered a gardener and he decided to deliver me to the Maison Diocésaine Les Essarts. Good fortune follows those that trust to fate or something entirely out of our control. Bliss of a midday meal, pork, potatoes and onions, Comté and Camembert, lemon meringue, salad and vinaigrette, can of Coca Cola Lite. Beneficent and filling. I will fast until Petit Dejourner. Rest my feet. Half day walking. Just 15kms in a straight(ish) line.

The sun is strong for March and I may need a hat. My porch faces south west so I am enjoying an afternoon bathed in bright warmth. I have the radio tuned to Maze Who Atsumete - HappyEnd.
I considered myself sweaty, but due to concerns for using hospitality too much and a fear of French squat baths I reneged for a while. As the sun got higher in my doorway I smelt the raw animal wastes that I had allowed to linger through two days marching, one night with shower at my mercy(dry) and thought it may be the final chance for a while to use the virtue of running hot and cold taps.

Cleaner, clearer and altogether less frightened I now await a siesta to draw my eyelids south; then in the early dusk I shall arise and walk about to show myself Les Essarts and Petit Les Essarts.
Short turn about in a figure eight, wondering along towards my route tomorrow, talking back to mother and I find myself walking even on an afternoon off. Returning to my cell there is a rouge glow coming into my boudoir and it bathes me in glory. Snap snap.

Le Prieuré des Frères de Canappeville is my destination on Monday. Around 20kms following roads so maybe 25kms if I use paths rather than concrete and tarmac. Half a day resting will not prevent tension if I over do it. On Dimarche the French commercial entity is closed which is presently pleasant.

Thinking of all the calories I didn't burn today I told the priest/father/abbot I didn't need an evening meal. It seems silly to not be able to live without food from three until breakfast? It is getting towards seven. Once it gets dark then I will sleep in this Jardin Saint Antoine fully without corporate pull and no alcohol in my blood since the two 330ml Affligem I polished off on Saturday. Life can end up just being management of your own metabolism and meta-psychological juxtaposition.

Well until 7:30pm when the hobbling padre brought me a small quiche, apple and tisane. Oh and full printed instruction to reach my etape on Monday, following roads...

Only 550kms until the Plum Village!
True vision must be possible; I am randomly back on the GR. On the left bank of the Seine I pass a series of outcroppings known as troglodytes where once grottos were chiselled into the bare rock; tick tock it was chalk.

On the right bank a big industrial plant and crossing the railway viaduct I come at last to the big smell I thought was the Seine. Turning right under a railway arch back into suburban gradens and some countryside.

In my view the middle aged and retiree French out of workers should visit the UK to see who has a worse gambling addiction. Mine is a coffee break at eleven.

In my uneven judgement: Evil is Lidl and a gateway into Hell. Dole satisfied; bottom feeders queue in purgatory for a cheap can of lager to encase their hopes. For me I flee slightly lighter of cash with a Cantal Entre-deux (Auvergne) and Saucisse de Morteau (Franche-Comte) and two pommes ('gris Canada'). I am supposed to be surveying cheeses from them boys at Cheeseboard Magazine, but so far my energy isn't enough to sit and ponder fermented curds.

It was really a hot one today(for March), deep blue, endurance sappingly hot when I was in winter mode a week ago and I so needed the end to come soon. Had three breaks along the way a coffee in PMU Eubeuf, and sat in two church yards for fromage, saussion, pain, pomme, orange and plenty of l'eau. The mornings are easy breezy happy affairs. The afternoon's drag a little. Maybe by Chartres I will start seeing pilgrims.

Well I am in another house of God, but I just need to wait for Julien(pater) to check me in so I can zone out once more. Day five over now wait for the man of cloth.

Maybe homeless persons use these sanctuaries as half way homes; I've seen them twice now. Suddenly I am aware of the travelling wilberries here on the way too. He speaks no English but lingers in the door way whenever I speak to someone badly in French.

Freres... Friary? Not sure. brothers aka monks - not tonsured. They remind me of the Cappuccin Cloister monks - dressed casual but simply. Freres Compagne. There is a mass at 6:50. I await Julien to allow me into my abode for a night. Tired being tres trivial.

Oh, it is a Priory (Prieuré Notre Dame desbois)! Well I didn't get turned away here. I can recall another time in Clare, Suffolk where no words in English could deliver me a bed so I had to sleep in the garden of a pub (which was grand and uncomfortable). If this is the weather for the duration camping must be the option. Not in a wood but in a campsite... I am ready for the stars if not the love birds when I ain't competing for the courage of blackbird who are so pricked up that they sing too brave before the moon departs.

Pamplemoose is tart, but v good. Day two no booze. Verveine tisane. Stripped bare and slowly removed the pith. Now await verte verveine infusion.

Bent double Julien shows me to another chambre. I follow him bent double with my sac. I have all I need once more: a bed. Tomorrowland I will join GR 26.

Just enough energy to make my bed. Pink pillow case sky blue sheets...brilliant - it is a bed! Last night a nunnery tonight a priory. Where will I land tomorrow when I leave les Landes?

Act five: I have been invited for dinner at 7:35. How much more pain, fromage and saussion can my body tolarate in an etape. Tomorrow is banana-day. Thank you kind fellows for breaking bread in my humble presence.

My middle toes suffer with bulging blisters. I dare not burst them even though it looks tempting to do so! More 10% Urea.
On a Planck scale Bar/Tabac are domains of urgently shrinking pimple head zombies and I keep falling for the beer/pichon option and looking about me wondering what went wrong in France too. Sure I deserved a Pichon Biere considering the dead ends and miss turns for today. I now follow the 'boulevard' if a tree lined major trunk road can be so silvan? As the cathedral summons me along I am within spitting distance of Élveux.

In the morning with a misty cloud allowing maximum strides, without sun shine dreading, set off in the wrong direction for about seven clicks. With barest of provisions: one third of sausage and cheese purchase from Lidl on Lundi. I actually worry cities stripe me of want; I almost can't cross the street anymore.

Now I follow a straighten river toward Abbey... distracted by the XIIIth Siecle chapel and box of tricks.

Where to sleep in the lovely town; after the boulevard.

Nowhere in town to stay (Evreux) as was told by Presbytery next to the Cathedral. Thankfully I didn't give up and with help from Secours Catholique I am happy b&b €45. In Ibis Budget but it is comfortable and a huge bed (2 if you consider the bunk). So I'm guessing for three persons full rate (€50 minus breakfast) is a good deal!

No idea where to stay tomorrow: looking at Camp in my garden and warm showers for options. Otherwise I'm feeling I get to Chartres and be a proper pilgrim with loads of others.

I love the guys last night for their utter love: I could be a monk in a brewery.

Great random left turn 'Le petit bruit de loeuf dur' and time for Belgian beer. The road can wait until Wednesday. Maybe a later start on the morrow? I haven't eaten since on Voie Verte when I decided Cantal was Cheddar. Bring me a Belgian stew with 'ginger-bread' can't wait. Start Tuesday night shenanigans with a Quintine Blond. My feet are sore: 150kms in 6 etapes: I am on track but I have blisters bigger than bristols.

I recall being told that pasta the evening before a walk is good for energy the day after.

Hee Hee: Midnight Oil/Beds are Burning - awesome. Just enough time for being logical and eating great example of Belgian Beer Stew en François. Shame that the Halve Maan (Brugges Z'ot) was undercooked: in such a famed place;  even Belgian food is better in France! Now i sop the remnants with bread while awaiting a café and macaroon: too posh pour moi! Brilliant. Now i must bed.
What is the force of a 12000kg object travelling at 110kmh hitting a pelerin travelling at 5kmh? Enough to propel me to Saint Andre de l'Eure faster than those none existing buses or trains; even on a day off walking it is!

Big breakfast for €5 at Ibis budget shared with grandfather Trevor from Surrey heading north to Calais. Usual discussions - doom and fear of war.

Heading south through a veil of spiritual mist, the cathedral stands guards against assumptions and guilt for having jumped on train or bus to escape a worthier way: ancient Greenaway forward a Roman way. Long and verdure will deliver me dressed in toga or mail?

From home voices tell me our 'boy' is not well. So concerned for his existence mother slept downstairs by his side. No matter what assaults me he will be my guardian; now and forever

Ha. Other voices are like the devils come to taunt. Why do I reach for Facebook to stab myself to death. Have I forgotten trust and truth for chains, rules and bondage that dispossess my charms?

Led to door circa 1855, high street, Coudres where hot sausages, Camembert and pain and a cold surprise of ice cold juice du Verte menthol awaited. Luckily all boulangerie and bar tabac were closed and this family were in bbq mode. Again don't be frightened of knocking on a strangers door. The shop was closed. So far today has cost €1.10c for a petit café when passing through Grossœuvre at 11am.

Berghaus needs constant work for suppleness so from now on i will piss on them as that's an army thing?

The world is an illusion of confused circles but my existence is purely linear; how can I ever 'work' in such persistent spin. 0.01% and linear. Am i as such a wave, particle or quantum? Am i walking in a straight line which only appears to fluctuates very close up? Good sausages those: very long and thin.

I was beginning to wonder about owners of Bar/Tabac but finally a WC Fields lookalike in Lillier L'Évêque pointed me in the right direction for an old persons home I could turn to. A traveling salesman with various packets of Malboro', Lotto scratch cards and business cards gave me a lift to the Commune at le Bremien. Then welcomed with open arms by all and invited to mass and manger. Shown to the Sallea manger. Now reclined with pommes. Phew. I could walk no more. They have space at ... for two. I am glad that the houses of a God always put aside a space for passersby. We need to go back this way so England could be the land of pilgrimage again.

Slow down you move too fast...

Even while I await my dinner with all the congregation and clients of this house I have decided that it isn't truth. For a bed I am eternally grateful, but I am no longer confused what my belief is. God to me did not create imperfection. Imperfection has to be an illusion of the human conceit. From the one we left to become the many, but the one never left the many and awaits our return to one: eventually

Time to link up with my friends here in their generosity as the bell tolls and circles are completed again by those denying our linear truth for the repeated normality and constraint.

For the preceding few days I have been teaching myself to only breath through my nose. This has helped me in some substantial way I am yet to understand. It is similar to the manner of my perambulations that are now consistent and precise. The body is a machine but it must be operated correctly to operate at all.

On closing my eyes I could hear nothing, silence and when I opened them again I realised that I wasn't alone, but there was nothing palpable in the environment. Is this what happens? We are present but our thoughts have dissipated. Being old. The gentle voices, whispers without vices; by now the vices have departed with the clandestine reflections of younger days.

Soup, pomme puree, compote du pommes, etc., all for those without jaw bones or a will to speak out at their controlled/led end. Forgotten: driven away from the garden path and shot very slowly, deposited in the freshly dug grave.

It is my bed time; which I prefer to old age dread time: one climbed into the amber.
The morning prayers are sung in unison from the chapel of silence at 6am I am aware-awake of bird song behind closed eyelids. In my semi sleep I could hear an echo of the chorus of the birds in the fields, constantly, the only space I had to hear nothing was a surprise to my expectations and I stood still. No wind, not a rustle of leaf fall, no cars, no tractors, no nature. For a moment the universe forgot its persistence. The dusk is still and the horizon fills from indigo, violet, red to orange to blue as all trees hang expectant. It is cold without, but the radiators are roasting my knees within. The white coated orderlies and nurses corral their death patients, yet here comes the sun. The day is still and something is over due?

Constant reminders of God do not bring it any closer to us. Such a gaudi barren illusion of artifacts that represent nothing more than human guilt and fear(Jesus forgives or is crucified). Placed at a certain ratio so always observed in every corner of an eye. I recall in On Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest there were no false idols. Worshiping an ornament is a displacement of reason and true insight. It is a carrot and stick or a kick up the bottom? Thank you Maison Retirement for the solace of nine hours corporal sleep and now at seven I require a roasted bean!
Finally I gave up. Walked into Dreux picked up a French stick, goats cheese and chorizo sat in the main square opposite the Hotel de Ville and Cathedral not feeling the town followed the river a while before climbing out of the valley on to more wheat fields as far as the eye can see. From La Rochelles I passed by a Caribbean shop collected two Vita-malt(ginger and lemon) before departing another commercial district. This area is known as the bread basket of France - Beleace? Every successive town/city has this ridged fixed structure inhabiting the ring roads and end suburbs. There is no reason to why any 21st century town cannot resist this exposition of crap. It is something putting me off France as an option for a different reality.

As I ran out of energy I was given a lift a click or so from Fonville to Le Boullay-Thierry by a femme. No parley but sweet for allowing me to unload in her rear and help me pull it on again once she dropped me off. Now I am laid in another fortunate bed. Jean-Claude, random villager delivered me to this abode on the route listed by the association in Normandie: a scallop hangs from the gate.

There was a real biting frost last night so I am thankful that there is a bed tonight. My cycle is unknowing and fatalistic but it is a little circular. I walk into the blanc route and hope that fortune guides me to the right person at the right time and currently it all seems linked and related.

My Pater for this evening is very dominating. I have just been give a driven tour of my route tomorrow: flat, featureless wheat fields. I wanted to say I don't need to know. The perfection of the home is perhaps the product of unknowing my otherworldly reality. His wife currently has her eyes plucked out by Mister Sony: Slam French quiz. Not that dreaded box! After brief bite I retire: no more necessary. I hate the TV passionately. Relax. Lock doors, lock gates, close windows, now I must to the Mairie for a stamp on my credential! NO! Please let me be. I promise to be good and sleep soundly shortly! Use the time efficiently! Douche, the bed to read! The wife cackles at the finito and implodes wailing.

Between this village and my goal - whether that be Saint Prest or Chartres there is no place to stop - so I was driven to collect combustibles which I will need at regular intervals. My backpack will weigh too much for twenty kilometres in the heat. Can I bear it? Hopefully I won't reach this real goal a broken person. I wonder if the Frere it the type of person who could leave nothing to chance and just gave me his fear - you must not cross that road it is dangerous. Now he frets that I may want a douche.

I passed a huge vibrating transformer/sub station that must divide energy for much of this region. Why do we need such power to maintain these ring road nonsenses? The manufacturing of nothing from everything the planet which will then be left behind as piles of memories which say 'Isn't this nice?' No it isn't! Stop with the barbarism humans! Ive had enough of this carousel and need to leave to throw up. After Chartres I am indecisive; walking from 8am until noon is such glory amongst spring like inspirations.

Frere sharpens his pencils next door, but the TV has ceased. To be asked: why didn't you get the date everywhere on your Compostela. No need. Dates are an illusion, but so are stamps on a page in a book. What is my reason for this journey and what am I discovering that is making any difference? No idea! These people do not see either.
I think he is trying to be helpful; more shame me for judging him by a differing set of standards. I am not reasonable in these conventional rites. Love is universal. He has the key to show me around the church. But I don't need to see the inside. I might commit suicide if I see another effigy to a god whose magnitude requires nothing visible to please. But now his wife just checked my toilet deposit cleared away. And he's printed me off a walking itinerary that he must know I clearly do not need having already walked from Dieppe to here all on my own two feet. I had to say I don't need this information because otherwise he will try to turn me into some kind of slave.

Has anyone just said No? His wife yawns so wide and loud I know I can hear her three rooms on, but her husband is blind with the sounds in his head. I think Jackye trying to get her Yvon's attention but he is feeding paper into a printer. He has vanished into a PC and her into the TV.  What has love got to do with it?
Some things we do together
And others we must explore alone.
When we pass over this road,
In to the setting sun,
We will never look back.
This sun's journey occurs but once.

Just let us think, from our point in today,
You have gone forever into eternity.
No more than a brief sentence is our lives;
But I can persuade you it is no more than necessary.

We should never mourn the change in existence but celebrate the turning of the wheel and wish a fond bon voyage.

Oh! gentler soul - who finally rests beyond our finite shore - take care, please, friend - sister and mother, aunt and grandma.

And I hope to find you safe ahead when we meet once more?
No longer do I care what happens to me. I know without a doubt this still weather, genuine people and chance are for the glory of my part in a chain I am literally unable to break. The patterns are so similar to Germany over Christmas 2013 that I know a shift in reality occurred for me between my Summer 2013, working for Mosaic FS and disappearing again. Life will never crawl back up my anus and I am no longer constipated with fear or trepidation. Life is true and it has become me. Something so true links the innocent me in Easington 1975 and the aged me laid tranquil after nine days walking into the heart of France.

Good man Denis provides me with reality and makes up for last nights more difficult non pilgrims home. This man is true to me and couldn't care less that I need a little solace; happyness is his middle name. He cooks for dinner, and his wife is due later, so I have a couple of glasses of a local Bière de garde - "La microbrasserie de Chandres', Sours - L'Eurélienne Blonde. I feel the days marching but I really am getting used to the rigours. 2014 is an entirely different and better route. Things have moved on and I am not so naïve that I know not what I am looking for. I am being led, but now I trust this rather than baulk against the virtue of joi de vivre.

Chartres cathedral is massive and made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, but I found the tourist hive buzzing about it, creaping for Yen, Dollar, Pound or Euro, extremely disappointing. A Garçon in the Petit Serpent helped me get this night with Denis, but frankly one proprietor said 'I am not tourist information' rudely and without a thought of the relationship of her income vis-a-vis the Cathedral... What a strange concept: to use belief for wealth - sounds just like the majority of established churches and is almost a parable in reverse. Or maybe Jesus understood how Merchants and Priests will use any means to create poverty from wealth. I didn't give her time to sour the air as I spurned her rejection without anger. I turned my body opposite to her and said 'no worries cunt' with the same arrogance - someone will have the answer and I will trust that you didn't just have 'one room left' at a handsome €120 per swindle.

Pater Denis calls and I must attend to what smells divine! Au revoir.

Hey! What a man! He helped maintain the engines in the Concorde in 1970... He also makes a confite de Guinea Fowl - not food for my host - just for the guest. I am blown away and will really get to Tours too with his thankful directions south!
I slept well from 9pm. Until around 12:40am when Pater's mobile was sent a message and then it repeated until 1:40am when Mater got up and switched the destructive thing off. But now I feel well rested and woke up au natural at 6:30am.

After a brief pain and confiture breakfast I set off at 7:30am, ahead of the sun and while the mist still hung like a cloak on the morning, I say Bon Voyage to my hosts: Bouchou.

A roe deer felt my presence and I aim for a dog leg on this journey. No GR detours planned by good weather walkers, for whom five kilometers is far enough, but picturesque.

During the middle ages I believe all routes were direct from shrine to altar to church to cathedral with many an inn, hospital or watering hole for man, mule, horse or enterage between. With often a bed in a common rooms. Now we rely on beneficent fools and clergy robed tools.

Pooh - pooh to the Grand Randondee I'm heading straight along B roads via B altars and locked belfries. Using grass and edges of pasture,  cabbages, vauche and corn. Up lifts a flight of pigeons and on the other side of the Eglisé I piss on my boots. The hammer should be as well forged as the nail.

Perhaps the most civilised thing I did today was set off earlier and stop at ten for a proper break with a full complement of the combustibles i was taken to buy last night by over eager Yvon. I'm so ahead and not lacking energy one ounce. I am only six kilometres from my initial goal this day: Saint Prest. Once I arrive perhaps I should get to Chartres tonight?  Ideally I feel one slowish day from Chartres on Saturday might be a winner.

Passing through Saint-Prest it seems I am upon suburban Chartres. Crossing railway lines and following the L'Eure river regularly I'm seeing some signs of passengers on the road - Dutch footsteps: and a French Véloraptor. Another waif like person hides beneath his coat on my passage: I call Bonjour but he becomes the invisible man! Moi au piétons homme.

My route to Chartres has become the GR655 which i think eventually links up with the Via Turonensis (Paris - Tours).
Denis deposited me back next to Chartres cathedral to continue my journey from the route GR655. It is a little cooler so changed into a pair of trousers. I have a long etape today instead of the shorter one I hoped. But overcast skies mean I might not expire with heat as well as endurance.  My third target,  after Rouen and Chartres, is Tours. A shorter distance from here than Rouen to Chartres.  Some four days I believe.

Only a man of great peace has a pair of mating white doves content in his bountiful domain: mama and papa.

My route now follows blue and yellow striped markers but they are a little more illusionary when compared to the red and white GR which head to Le Mans and north to Mont St. Michel. The first village Denis suggested is one km away: Thivars. It will be a long day.

Last night I dreamt I was given my life to replay over and rather that begin fresh, and with no plan, I quickly tried to match my life again. Obviously I failed, gratefully.

A short snack/break and across back on to the open plains of Beauce and the sun has come out. Half way of 40kms. Steadily. Gosh, I must be Forrest Gump!
If you take off the distance Denis covered on his car, before I walked this stage, my records show my red face and sore legs did a minimum of 43kms. There is an issue I have with the local Amis Saint Jacques their records show 33kms. Either the have never walked the route and measured it or they are lying to prevent people turning away from an enormous distance.

Finished my walk outside an Abbey which is now a mental institution (how apt for my day). But again I have a bed. A little bit of looking into the heavens and hoping the lady who works for Saint Paul Eglise in Bonneval has a solution. Now I am in a white clean bed. Between the mama and the rescued but the old man would like to impress me with his products! If only I had 1% of my battery left. I laid waiting in the dying sun knowing I glow intensely and need a hat. My hosts provide me a Du Pont red cap; I guess I need it. I might not be so sheepish if I wasn't dying for the company of pilgrims, not retirees. I know know how to operate the toilet when I need it.

A good douche and I feel ready for a slow meandering into Châteaudun, my bed is on route. The papa can't understand I am not hungry but my regular intake all day is enough for today as long as I get a hearty petit dejourner.

Beauce is tiring in its distances of never ending fields. Undivided by hedges they can disappear over the horizon as far as the eye can manage. I am aiming for the islands of eglise and silos that are stand tall, and often alone, omnipotent.
For billions of years the universe was not self aware - I assume.  Why now and why us? Insects go about their mating dance across my path and the season is gearing up. It is a little windier but not dreadfully.

Following a route through Bonneval onto a GR I came through the Mental Institution, but found my route was 'public interdict' so returned back where I'd seen the Saint Jacques scallop shell divining my course south by south west.

Burned up the calories of French patisseries and with just one wrong turn I arrived bypassing a series of grottos built into the cliff and feel like a little gluttony so when in France always eat Spécialities Turques: filling and cheap for an Assiette(plate) with bread and water (€7.50) - it is only Food and 'I like'.

Señor Mick. Señor Mick. I have booked into Hotel Les Peregrines (€46.50 b&b), just off the main square, and it is my first conventional night's sleep since Budget Ibis in Évreux after four beneficent nights. I think it is required every so often. I am in Chambre Une, it feels I am their only guest and I'm listening to 10CC - Feel The Benefits (my weight is below 85kg for the first time in my adult life) while the windows are open and a pleasant afternoon dries my smalls. First bath since leaving England: used myself as the washing machine: I recall Crocodile Dundee doing something akin in New York. Señor Daniel: no maid!

Châteaudun is perched above the l'Loir River which must feed into its larger brother further down stream. There is every chance tomorrow with be another shorter day's etape, but I do need a few items in my toiletries so perhaps will wait until a marche is open to make sure I'm fit for four days marching into Tours? The river is my companion for a few days until Tours.
Jesuits and I in bar Le Läetiphane both looking inwards for God; both into our 'life companion' mobs for answers; while the sun is bright with four hours until sunset.  But I have noticed a subset of France appears to missing rurally: those between thirty and forty(ish) which suggests these drones have gravitated to the larger metropolises available for razz-matazz  How many Jesuit priests can you squeeze into a Renault 23? (Answer 6).

A final 'local' biere from Chartres, available in L'hippocampo', (a city with good beer rites) is the only way. Sod Leffe, inbev without a charm. Why is it happening/happened in France too? A country indivisible by vins, cidre, fromage, chaucterie, etc. is lacking something essential in beer ways. Babies scream for moma and many a dreadlocks are on holiday. Always better always best hidden from tourist bar/tabac if you can deal with town drunks: which I am: this is a ditto of Dieppe.

Last night I was glowing happily in bed with moi rouge tête, tonight my head still glows and I am invigorated although the beer sours my perfection. Last night I was actually happy in this pulsing warmth, caressed by our sun, today I marched into a spring blue and yellow horizon and still I glow. My head peels to pupate my skull which is lizard skin not mammal haired.

Last Sunday it was a McDonalds. I wonder what crap I will ease in my needy mouth that doesn't revolve about fromage and pain? Impossible unglued is France without cheeses. Kebab or Pizza. It is only food.

Persons in France do look my way because my clothing is dirty, a little holy, doesn't fit and my tongue is rude (I am still the French policeman in 'allo 'allo if I have a better ear). And then they hear my intentions and I then realise I am not quite a quarter through my adventure so tomorrow I am vigorous.

With Kathy Smith 'It's Taking So Long' helping me forget the tramping in room 201 at 19:49. At 20:49 I have a heater to dry my smalls and a need to sleep long time now! Au revoir?
What a struggle last night. A tad lonely and I woke up, quite fightened at 5:30am, wondering what it all means; and I guess I will never know until something is answered in me? Loneliness is the only emotion in me that never is repaired by walking. My passage feels seldom noticed or regarded by Mother Earth, the Cosmos and the Entity from which we are all made.

Looking back at the guide on line I think I've cut the journey time from 16 etapes to 14 if I arrive in Tours on course after a slower one today: but do I know what 'slow one' means? From Tours I've researched more pilgrim friendly sleeping hébergements - gîtes d'etape ( ); I mean the same sort of system I met on route, in 2013, from Le-Puy-en-Velay to Cahors. Next stop, if my head doesn't explode, Cloyes-sur-le-Loir.

Leaving behind my fears again breakfast in Hotel St Michel from 7 until 8... Do I risk departing without seeing a pharmacy. Today is roughly 12kms through the Valley of le'Loir. In the words of Eckhart Tolle 'clock-time' is an illusion but must be used if we're not to be entirely lost in the modern world.

So little in a village, town or city matters to benign truth. Truth isn't lorries wasting all the fuel for consumer goods robbing the planet of its life source and dumping it in a huge landfill called society in 21st century. I am sure it is time to push the button.
Another day of calmness, following the route passed a XVth siecle Château (Montigny de Gannelon) - which is the oldest I've seen so far - turning to turmoil by lunchtime. Enjoying a fifteen minute break and a small glass of Paulaner Hell in Cloyes, silent to the stares from bar/tabac sads, I know I needed to find the route but I missed the Tourist Information, France usually closes between noon and three, by two minutes.

The scallop markers simply vanished as I departed Cloyes over the l'Loir and I trusted a simple yellow stripe solitary to be the route. When I next thought about it, because I was casting the wrong shadow, I was fully ten kilometres nearer to Le Mans and not Tours! With sudden fright, mixed between accepting the situation, I followed a direct route over farmers fields (where it is possible to tread along the same route the tractors use so not to damage the verdant plain's bounty), until I was facing the enormity of the Forêt de Fréteval with no official route directly south through it: plenty of barbed wire, electrified fences and no option but to head directly east. By the time I finally got back facing the right direction I was exhausted. Luckily there was a 24/24 truck services where I recovered a little with some food and drink in the vague hope that one of the truckers was going to Vendôme. After 30 minutes, and many heading towards Paris, I weighed anchor and decided I'd no option but to try to get to Vendôme before sunset, or hope I'd get a lift forwards a stage. As luck would have it I saw there was a disused gare (train station) on route and, although it had long since stopped being a 'train' station they still run buses from Pezou into town six times a day. At 18h24 I realised I had to cover 2.7kms by 18h42, or I would scream at fate this day. Almost running I hit the bus stop at 18h44 fearing French efficiency, but, with nothing else to do, I sat down full of fear and total acceptance of what is my situation simultaneously (my current metaphysical dichotomy). Then looking up a bus just comes round the bend and I can sign just a moment now, first means of perambulation that wasn't primarily my size elevens. But this is also away: I can pretend it was a passing stagecoach, cart or chariot with space for one up top.

Tonight at eight I totally accepted the situation and booked into another hotel (4 of 12 nights only) Hotel Vendôme (€60), but I mustn't make a habit and will use all means necessary to get back into 'gratuit' bed and breakfast for pilgrim. Another luxurious bed, bath and the chance to clean more smalls.

Tomorrow is another chance as a warrior of light will always get another chance.
Petit dejourner is all too grand. Make full use of it mind. For 70€ I might just have redeemed my body. But if for more 'muzak' what is wrong with silence? Bowls of seeds, nuts, cereal and manna.

Tres homme all facing into our own consciousness. Brief conversation and back to introspection. There is a pianoforte in the dining room: now where did they misplace their Richard Clyderman?

In the rush of crunching gone are the others in less than five minutes. Relax modernity! Unless you spin into another cog and are trapped.

Quatre-vingt dix . How mad. Rather than say neuf-ant or neuf-dix it is 4 times 20 plus 10! I have a Pepito and Pain Complete.

Another ruined Château in Vendôme.

...more Eckhart Tolle for metaphysics.

I'm seeing some vines so I believe I am being transidual of Beauce and Loire. Still miles of green cerals, ubiquitous oilseed rape, tedious barking chien and villages with phonebox, faucet, church and a road running through to justify its sole existence in and otherwise monotonous farm land.

The hard part of the day commences at one and it's much colder today. Pulling on a jumper seems reasonable.

Local Vigerons(wine makers) and fromagier to be interested in Château Renault if I arrive before all presence of capitalism has férme for Tuesday...

Trees are dropping their stems/ pollens as they gear up for another year of stretch to the sun.

Called ahead to make sure Tuesday night is gratuit. Thanks to a person on the SJ forum for sending me a link. Arrived to stop for a snack - férme France. Now like an arrow, listening to Zappa Absolutely Free, I have until six to meet under the clock of the Eglisé in Château Renault (I wonder if the Beauce ever heard Brown Shoes Don't Make It at 5kmh?)

Longpré. Time for a laugh: Steve Martin A Wild & Crazy Guy.

Beware nowhere to eat at all between Vêndome and Château Renault. But finally I have a refuge with a helpful grandma, who speaks no English yet makes superb Jus de Maison. She showed me up into the attic of this mansion. Three floors with exposed beams from end to end : mighty oaks above my nest.

Another ruined Château...

Tomorrow will be all things Vouvray, Tours and two nights with thanks to Secours again! Nunnery...

Diner/Dinner with all homemade everything, pottage - carrots, parsnips, peas from the garden, omelette free range eggs with a little fine herb, delightful aged compote Framboise/Rhubarb and farm Beaufort mountain pasture, wild flower (gentians, saxifrage and orchids) cheese - not local, Savoie, but still made with love and such a tempting aroma it takes you to alpine France!

Now I repose at the end of the penultimate part of this journey. Tours and a couple of days to weigh anchor and think of all the last fourteen days has put before me! Did I mention I will be passing Vouvray?
People are frightened their domain will be invaded, upset, destroyed so use lonely dogs to be frightened of strangers to act in accordance with the laws of cause and effect. If we accepted this domain as universal dogs would also be free and in freedom would cease barking or growling or chasing a passing stranger, without malice in his soul, and instead wag for pleasure and love registering this eternal truth.

Two dogs bounded towards me so I stood my ground turning to face their fears with calm and happy tones; they left me as a friends not as enemies.  All possession is ultimately an illusion and a fence is a physical demonstration of a mental ineptitude and is a doom of humanity.

As Jim Morrison once said 'Doors are open'.

I didn't sleep too well last night. The bed was too small and too cold.  The covers kept falling off so i woke about 5:30am and laid there fully clothed trying to heat up. I'm glad for the bed, but I feel Tours is another 40kms day and at Reugny and, sixteen kilometres already by noon, I don't know I will make Tours without some permanent damage to my knees, hips,  shoulders, ankles or feet.

Arrived at noon in Reugny and yet again every damn shop is closed: all that is left is some microwaved croque monsieur in a bar tabac. I'm a little frustrated if I am honest with the distances and lack of amenities even in towns with 2k population... the magasin is closed until 3. I need to stop. My physical endurance is going quickly. At one I've decided a short bus journey might be my 21st century salvation. No point becoming a cripple by the end of Lent...

No problem.  I am judging France by a separate set of learnt ideals because I am tired and can't fight this ego alone all day everyday. The subconscious has been winning for a while as Beauce became monotonous and my body is in physical pain from awaking to sleeping. The sun is slamming me again.

In generalisation the French nation probably lives a much more relaxed pattern when seen from across the channel, but they have different difficult set of conceits (which I would never be content with either) and even though, at times, I feel I'm out of the rush, it is a very long journey to willingly say 'what ever is fine' I give in.

Consciousness 13
Subconsciousness 1. I must accept what is.

Memme provided me with such great food stuffs i should be raring to go, but I'm blank.

I don't think we're actually condemned by the Universe before we're born. That would be insane of God surely? To keep playing out existence until we achieve Oneness could be another suggestion of inadequacy? Is the Universe capable of that much punishment ... eternally, until a return to God, if so then surely the Universe can only be hell.
The reality of man and the unreality of magic have been misinterpreted into the insanity of religion. Here I lie fragmented and motionless, after 14+ days away from anything I seem to confirm to (UK), wondering how to reconcile truth with imagery without being overtly rude. Still I am too empty of knowledge, too overtly challenged by the corpus operandi. But I am snug in a bed in central Tours,  thankful to beneficence with just a little guile,  and I hope that eventually giving will be having everywhere and for everyone.

There are a number of locks (3) and heavy doors (7) between bed, refectory and egress through the Basilica of Saint Martin. The last time I needed this many keys was my three weeks working in HMP Wealstun Prison, Thorp Arch.

Eight nuns trapped in the walls of this inner mind never able to quench their need to see greenery. Is it possible to accept such a gaol and deny everything real for an illusion of the cross? And pray to the Lord because he will only hear you in the sanctioned sanctity of a stone sarcophagus? All life is currently meaninglesslying vague in this empty vessel. Instead I wait with for breakfast, alone, desperate for the error to be undone for all existence.

In essence this journey is one of meeting up with redeeming valuable river valleys. Seine, L'eure, l'Loir and, so far, the Loire. All existence depends on water, which is singularly holy, while my friends return to the crypt to pray I contemplate the lack of water in the sky: cloudless blue for a day of repose; utterly. Not going back towards Vouvray when Lorianne is all about here any way.

Today i substitute reality for a city. Petit dejourner for bagel, Nutella, orange and coffee.  The Loire is beautiful in its radiance and breath. The French femme is radiance in her aloof nonchalant drifting earlier this morning.

For this trip I gave myself an allowance and a float (£1200 in 40+ days (including £700 converted into Euros (€800) and a promise to keep €400 for safety(which is still safe))

Today I had a hair cut for the next leg of river valley seeking down to the Gironde and withdrew from an ATM the final financial resource for all potential issues prior to 21st April(€300) so that is my budget until 31st March - payday.

Today I will allow a day of capitalism and lust to be my only friend.  Tomorrow I get away from here by 7am on a tramway south to beyond this city's perimeter back to les pieds. Lavage is on the cards too. In a city of a 138,269 I am anonymous, just like the 138,268 (population of Tours) others, but must wash my linen too.
Struck in the captalist web
A huge corporate spider sets too
And devours me.

Wine and Tours: tours of wine.
Plat au chiox and sun to destroy want.
When can I walk into this mythical beast.
Heart beating twice because I am gripped
In city scrape and by a river bulging.

With nothing but manger and alcool
Blood brothers are we?
Bastard left eye is fully jest
And cannot I escape the jewelled expression

Hang, mademoiselle, a tram will not delay
Sun picante and azure babble, en François,
While we await.
I'm back in The Pale; writing back where I was y2st2rd1y feeling a city is a predicting dastard. Over one bridge(Pont Wilson) returning East via another back West along rue du Cobert to thus leafless tree lined oblong, South/North, Place Fotre le Roi.  Tranquil sparrows and splashing lion mouthed fountain alongside these stunted trees which are readying for the long hot summer nights.

Oh luck would have it tomorrow it will rain. I need not polish my attire as the rain will cleanse it sans soap.

When Tours requires the lusty moi I am suddenly pricked with insignificance and helped onwards by spruced sparrows; the arrows of destiny fly because in a monastery I feel judged and I will have to leave soon, before any real consciousness breaches here (exploding this myth of corpuscular symbolism) Oh, mama I am neither a mouse but apart of the lamb and the lion too. Time to unevolve and uninvolve from Saint Martin's Basilica two tragic broken night's sleep: the noises of adolescent drunks invade my need for relaxation prior to another distance to cover! Bus, tram or train I will away to the borders of this watery city.

At two am Friday 21st March the overwhelming thoughtless voices of disappointing drunk youths dispel any doubt thoughts I have. Does what I am doing have any virtue beyond the physical endurance? It doesn't. France has no answer to this question and now I understand it too much and now I am in another crisis. Removing myself entirely from the chase must be the remedy I am looking for. Some Magnetic Island retreat or some vital metaphysical alternative to this distraction it has to be.

Last night I questioned why God put limits on anyone or anything in some control of 'his' creation; like there is an error somewhere. But to me this error is such a common interpretation of another ideal entirely. But what it boils down to I cannot say.
This morning I left with haste on a bus to deliver me out of Tours because there was no way the next stage would be completed if I had walk through monotonous monoblock no brain required suburban capitalism, over and under repetitive thundering motorways and to be worn physically prior to the rural idiom I know works wonders for me and I didn't look back towards that Gomorrah. Now I am away again and must not hang about in any large population centre;  even if they try to tempt me off this path.  Something was breaking last night in that stone cell that almost forced me to return to the UK unresolved of this thing I must be. But the path is still ahead and I am able to manage this if I remember cities have no meaning for me currently and must just walk around their glue. So I must not accept their matter any more; the pull has gone and I feel I am intruding into something forgotten.

At 1530 I have eaten a fantastic steak and chips, an apple and Tisane Vervaine (€10.30 the Joan d'Arc in Saint Catherine) and have a steady 8 kms to conclude today's reasonable etape St. Maure

Eckhart Tolle is inspiring me to joyful tears and ACIM is providing me with guidance when I feel unable to cope. The solace also strums chords.

Finally found a bed at 18h00 in Halte-Accueil Emmaüs Sainte-Maure - so hidden that no passing pilgrim would realise it was here. Simple communal space for two €10 as the place set out for pilgrims is closed until April 21st. All things are on pause until Christ dies, again.  But what I have is simple, clean, quiet and warm.

Voilà a real France. Walk and thee shall find. Fantastic cheese and great wine, happy locals and gentle waggy fourlegs. Tour is a focus of Touraine but I had to leave it to find locals who give you all by being this order of otherness - an outsider who revels in newness.  Sainte Maure is small yet I will sleep so much easier than in Saint Martin's. The fromage here is an AOC with its distinctively China white appearance underneath the washed rind surface, it is fresh and sharp and works very well with local Chenin sparkling mousseaux demi sec. Cheese and wine I  the same rock perched town.

France seems to have a horrible gambling addiction.  Scratch card and Loto obsessives. Nothing would really change life so monetarily. Make the masses want what those who control have forever, but will never attain control of the strings.

The weather is changing and i wonder what tomorrow will deliver?
Leaving south, into a vale of Fromage de Pays terroir, and the first deluge I have had to meet occurs. Rain and hail pushing waterproofs to a point of no resistance. Time for a coffee to shake off the precipitation in Maile, nearly seventy years after a Nazi massacre, to take stock of how cleansed my hands and face feel after that welcome flood and how much man has learnt since WW2.

But perhaps I have to accept these boots weren't made for this kind of walking - squelch squelch - do I ditch them for new shoes or hope rain on this scale is occasional? After briefest coffee interlude continue squelching, finding time for figue biscuits and a chasson aux pomme, then duck under a railway and road bridges onward through road building construction interruption taking me back north.

Arrived 2/3rds of this etape, but part two of the Heavens opening. Luckily the Eglisé has a porch so I now enjoy Saussion Sec (Aveyron), Fromage Chevre de Pays (Sainte Maure de Touraine), half bottle Riesling (Alsace - Pierre Chanau). Only place to sit dry is on my clothes roll and watch the water line encroaching hoping to dry out before this flash flood clears away and another one delivers a lot of rain mixed with hail. The end can wait - no rush in le Celle Sainte-Avant - and I will really have an hour off.

A sign: the birds come out to lust again; taking twigs hither. The rain and hail must abate a while until the final third is up? Up and at them!

Finished (according to Lepere guide I bought in Tours), sans plu, but Les Ormes is a cross roads town built on the main roads that bisect and has a number of closed Miilzig hotel/bars. It feels numb here and I am not staying in a hotel at a Crossroads when a man is picking through sandy gravel in a plant pot for cigarette butts, so how/now do I get to on to either Dange-Sainte Romain or Châtellerault? In local bar I am told that their are mobile homes at a campsite. If this is correct ... tomorrow will be Châtellerault;  which is playing the etape rules and not catching a train or bus.

Incorrect.  Persons present but unwilling to allow one person to sleep - a voice I heard but there was no body. Now I continue to the next town (Dange Sainte Romain 5kms) where there appears to be more options, but for more cost (but still wet × cold × homeless equals zero). Crossroad towns were very helpful when they were a mid point or halt point in the days of horse perambulation but now, when all modes of transport, including feet, bypass, then I fear only more declining woe!

Time to walk on into trust. Amongst warehouses and offices I spy another singular spire. The route sometimes hugs areas of commerce too welcomingly; but that too is a way. What can I do in department La Vienne?


As fate would have it I walked into Dange-Sainte Romain at exactly the right time to get a bed in a Mairie - the man with the car and keys was just popping into the Office de Tourisme.

It is an election day on Sunday.  Another load of shite about electing dictators who will never be capable of, or capable of wanting, the altering of anything essential. €10 second night running, €20 in four nights. Not that it's some kind of challenge. A magasin too. A small Kronenbourg then I will cross the La Vienne into Saint Romain-sur-Vienne.

What scares me most about rurale France is the sheer number of men in bar tabac for whom Amigo and PMU appear to be 'it' - it is William Hill's in a pub!

Tonight I will eat a la carte in my pèlerin hébergement as the torrents won't abate - 4 courses (Velour de poireaux et pommes de terre, Terrine de Canard with Confite de Onyions, Petit Salé (I almost forgot how great the French are at putting great food in a can), fromage du chevre, and eithr a pomme or orange and Bordeaux AOC (half bottle) - all the above €10).

Once this cloud passes I am away from this in distinct distilled bar-tabac a la rurale France. Alcohol is a superfluid, but happiness is a warm bed and I guess some would find being absolutely alone above a Mairie in a clean bed in such a quiet village - with only my thoughts for company - a little too far? Since I left the old people's home in Lillier L'Évêque I've needed this silent and divine bastion - truth is all around but you must be able to perceive it. What I need to know is if this exists in every town beyond Dange Sainte Romain, if only that was in the French Saint Jacques guidebook instead of Chambre d'ote,  Hôtel, pensions, B&B or campsites that are closed prior to the resurrection. All I need is a bed with a toilet - but not in another time zone (last night in Saint Maure slept on the 1st floor, but you had to leave your room, unlock the outside door, go down the stairs outside, unlock the door to get back inside and access the toilet or shower - I was grateful for a bed but I ended up just pissing down the stairs (it was raining) - I have little patience when I am in a warm bed and have all these procedures to perform at 3am (and I can cope with 100% urea on my ankles with all this walking to do!).

No brutal and selfish religious questions either to make me seek alcohol madness and oblivion a la Tours. My suggestion is let people always find their own way and do not act in anyway as an advert for your own perception. Get on will each other for our differences not being the same!
Today will be short where, yesterday extended to 29kms rather than 22kms, so 16kms into Châtellerault from nine this morning. Mayorial elections all the way. 23rd March - I've noticed posters all through the villages, towns and cities on route: primarily of males desperate for power. The power they have to remain where they are today, behaving like it was yesterday, for all of society's tomorrows. Cyclic but trapped in a closed loop. If they could just emote a different possibility I would not so frown and so walk on regardless.

It is true that many gamblers are also drinkers so I guess putting Loto, PMU, spirits and beer together puts them away nicely hidden from more high brow France? At 7:50 am a panel show reviews yesterday's horse races! On a Sunday - where did they clone these semi - celebs! I guess these mechanicals will be switched off after, dusted and boxed ready for the next early morning moment. Prove to me the television is not filled with illusions,  pantomimes and robots! The Amigo FDJ portrait smiles (some terrible advertising loop) I have seen on the walls in every bar are also robots - their smiles are not genuine. To enjoy a brief morning coffee in France anywhere other than these here monsters seems highly unlikely. So I am aware of this nonsense and too much wine yesterday is depressing me on such a fine sunny Sunday!

During this journey I have become aware that the French working classes struggle within the same stereotypes of hoped for escapes; out of drudgery in 'one big win'. It is getting near that time when something significantly different will need to occur for me to follow this hollow way. No Via Turonensis, or the other Vias, can deliver me from a France that remains trapped in formaldehyde. After a while France becomes just as depressing as England.  The French working man is just as expressionlessly lost on this highway of truth I am aware of. It is not their fault and I don't judge, yet they are trapped looking into the cave seeing only the shadows of reality that bounce upon the wall.

On Monday I need to get somewhere that exists in eternity not clock time. My float is reaching the conclusion of its reason. Must to the Plum Village Monday. A large part of me knows this was really my necessity: to assure myself I wasn't missing something in France,  Germany,  Spain, etc., that wasn't unexceptional to the declining Western system in UK. Leaving west I pass over La Vienne and will set out at once south for Châtellerault.

Elect those maintaining this illusion and you shall remain in this illusion for ever. I've walked through this decaying land from Dieppe unto Châtellerault but found nothing golden leading me off the path, unless I am 1 to 1 with nature: yesterday's wet and cold extremity was this nuture naturally. Indeed I've walked many of Western Europe ways and find it infested with a routine milaise.

Free will? A split mind has no freedom to chose;  it is an illusion of the completely intact ego. My ego is being shreaded, but still remains.  However I do have insights out of the cave mouth which i cannot convey other than by action. Is it madness to want more stuff, more to complete me,  everyday: possibly. Do I need to be filled up at all? Wouldn't an eternal intangible emptiness be better?

End of etape but on the wrong side of Pont Henri IV. Returning to right bank for one night's peace before Monday is back to the first railway since Dieppe. Took the wrong turn coming from the river, where dog shit and alley were mutually inclusive, but a helpful madam took me back to the Presbytery, which was closed and the only number on the door went to a mechanical answer machine so a fine mother decided to let me stay at her families abode above the wash room and away from bustle. Number 39 next to the church Saint Jacques. If I had not taken an wrong turn I wouldn't have met her and would now be stood in the Gare awaiting any train south west to Poitiers. Time for a glass of Muscatel sur lie to ponder another barren and simple town centre.

Well a train to Bergerac is €48 and I would arrive by midday leaving around ten. This has to be the next way? Either I walk to Poitiers (35kms) and do the same from there to Bergerac the same day and then get out to the Zen Monastery by another means. Actually the Plum Village isn't in Bergerac. Perhaps it would be best to travel off peak at 8am to Poitiers? Not sure again! Indecisive me appears in Châtellerault; which is deadly quiet on this Sunday;  which is just like Chateaudun last Sunday. Dimarche is a day off for everyone stuck in the greased cogs of modernity Lundi until Samedi - in France they work six days and then disappear on the seventh. Second muscadet, this one not 'sur lie', in a bar which is not a gambling den - Cafe de la Poste.  At two I return to 39 for a siesta.

Truth is I am stuck in limbo. Everyday is like Sunday, but this Sunday is just like everyday when I need a day of recovery I am thinking, but am I recovering from more than fatigue - walking, Tours, bar-tabac, locked Eglisé and dog shit along every thoroughfare? My finances will only stretch to getting me to the Plum Village - that is what the float is for - it eluded me until now why I held onto €400. After that life will not revolve around disappointing town squares. Limbo is my current predicament. Can I being in zen, have tranquilty and be out of the chaos?

Life can become turmoil if you allow something to overcome you. In France they often fear that what they're giving you is not enough. This is a perception of a lack in something where nothing could possibly be lacking when you offer a complete stranger a bed, a way to wash themselves and their clothes and some warm honemade food to eat.
Paul, the father of this 'rented' town petit château maison, with an inner courtyard, which is entirely hidden from the outer reality of streets leading to and from the eglisé Saint Jacques, felt he had to take away my own free will and suggest ways to reach the Plum Village tomorrow - which confirmed a train would do this. But did he think I had not planned this route before I risked my lot with Keith of Amiens Bla Bla Car on 3rd March? Rather than helpfulness this is a manic maniac needing to possess my simple openness and unexpected traversing into the universe of being. It reminds me of the procedure gone through when someone shows me photos of holidays, babies, etc., why are they so in need of replacing my nature with this distrust of free will. Instinct tells me some people lack the insight into the depths of my psyche and can't let it be?

At all times I must acknowledge and give love to my brothers even when whatever they do or say is clearly in the grip of the ego. There is such a great deal to take in with each person and it is truly difficult not to react with judgement or exhibit a reaction from my own ego. is it necessary for me to acknowledge their 'madness' as my own and to accept them purely without malice of forethought because I am only perceiving my thoughts? This new road is being built of very sharp broken slicing glass and stiletto blades.

Food with the family always gives me a second bite of the cherry. Much more relaxed and now I am douched and all clothing is reclaimed from mister dirty-soils for a few more days. The stress of finding a place to sleep, then finding one (but being unable to relax instantly) and having to emote on a level which doesn't suggest nonchalance is a test. Being eternally grateful for the love given by French families to a passing soul, whose intentions are vague, provides me with all the sustainance I need to put aside fear of the bar-tabac syndrome. Time to apply Kamol liberally before another result comes in: sleep on a bed.
Thank you P and S for another silent night's sleep and I am ready to depart. Away from the Chemin Saint Jacques forever. Away from confiture, pain and coffee for a while as a different possibility for truth presents. Last night my dreams were bold and I was victorious. Thank you to all the individuals, people, families and servants of a system who have helped me to this moment. Byeeee.

What a relief to travel so far, so fast, without dependence on energy levels, tired limbs and not feeling really engaged by the world beyond limitless walking, regardless of weather, terrain and distances, and another untruth: the historically inaccurate visiting of random villages often not following a direct route but guaranteed to dis - identify with the common persons living our their stationary existence in mind numbingly repetitive and thoughtless actions.

Seventeen days walking, with only one day off in Tours, two short lifts and three short bus journeys; complete with train journeys at either end. From Amiens to Dieppe and from Châtellerault to Ste Foy La Grande seeking the whole route out of the insubstantial. Looking for the unmanifested in the fog of illusions.

Travelling with speed passed the vague suggestion of a Grand Cru Saint Emilion, conceit for wine in a so-fine physical structure - Château and the trimmed vines march in time to the metronomes of desire and presently the Dordogne crawls onto the plains and I can only accept wine as an essence of the year and it is benign - never a hammer to doubt. To present more in the barrel than is ever contained there speaks to me of a mental decay. There need be no desire for wine it is not a possession. It is only a seasons loving caress, tears and dry-eyed consolation, given by nature in time to remember again and wake up.
Relief. It might be raining outside but I am no longer heavy. My feet might be sore but I suffered short term for a solution in eternity: and they will still support me where ever I go.

This joyous room is infinitely tranquil and only one noise, gentle rain, invades the minds quiet space and away beyond: Blueberry. The world is no longer crawling up my veins and poisoning my true lungs. Beneficence of the universe and food to answer a need: away from the tragedy of too much meat, cheese and bread; oh to be in France but eating Vietnam and handing me back my sanity. Walking here from Ste Foy la Grande was necessary - €60 for a taxi. It is better to have suffered and arrive than to arrive plainly unprepared for peeling/peeking at truth and reality. Oh! If only in a corner stood the mystic brazier burning fragrant coals to deliver me into rapid solumulant smiles.

Thank you Claire for planting this seed, thank you feet for bringing me as far as they were able, thank you bank for giving me clock time, thank you Thich Nhat Hanh for being in Europe, thank you Buddha for waiting a lifetime, thank you divinity for never ending, thank you universe forever beginning. Peace brothers and sisters. The rain need never stop as my soul is still.

Awake to a chorus of Monks in the lotus position I arrive a little before 5:30 am, the moon if bright and halved, to the meditation hall: bells, chants and silence. Noble Silence. Following the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Followed by breakfast at 7:30 am and Five Mindfulness Training from 9:30 am where I fear to just to listen and am too eager to show my stigmata or allow my ego to speak in so many barking riddles.

The knowledge is written down: love. So I read between sessions, but I am physically exhausted so sleep concludes this afternoon: the pain is gone in a smile and the gentle rain cleanses my thoughts.

At three I will see registration, allow what is to be and I have already felt the next way sending me its signals: Friday to Rocamadour, now allow Mindfulness to retrain my mind until then and beyond then.

The Buddha advised us to identify the kinds of nutrients that have been feeding our pain and then simply to stop ingesting them. Western society is my pain and I will stop ingesting it. Cleanse my inner body and my outer body will be readied.
There are a number of forms of meditation which are performed here at the village. One that feels bound to my current expression of will which is walking meditation.

The total channeling of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path in all parts of the day creates a very relaxed happy joyous accord amongst the 'short term', 'long term' and monastic order of brothers and sisters. The awareness of silences - Noble Silence during all activities, from waking around 5:15 am until the final hour prior to sleep, and during meal times, up roots the conflicting nature of modernities piston rod, coughing, chugging, exhaust fumes, leadened heaviness, erratic violin straining chords. Plugging into the collective silence reinforces my firm belief this is so missing from the collective consciousness of 21st century that many don't know it exists as a soulful loving expression - we are all one in this state of grace. Uninterrupted is the song of a myriad birds. Out of the ether a stirring up of bamboo, the shaking of dandelion heads, the bobbing of wild flowers petals. The vivid and the colourful revel playing in this environment. The absence of hustle, bustle, wanton chaos, greed and violence and the mighty oak bursts green from deep within after holding its winter sentry - no more short day waiting. This morning, after a fine breakfast, I walked from the PV to Happy Farm, around the lake and left the sanctuary of the temple complex for a circuit of 'meditative walking' towards Puyguilhem and back into the estate passed the Black Buddhas and the Monastic habitations. On my own I travelled slowly and steadily hearing and seeing the world, with an open face, without a mind filled with yet more questions, I then returned to reading slowly and without too many mind distractions before Lunch - yet more bountiful clean refreshing detoxing provender and now I contemplate taking part entirely - without fear - the Mindfulness Day (Thursday) which is led by Thich Nhat Hanh and all the villages congregate.

Like layers of an onion we live dependant on the prison of knowledge, knowing, encapsulating, proof, explanation, quantifying, labelling, placing in a box, tucked away in a specimen drawer never to looked at fresh, unloaded, again and can't we just not question again?
Lists of things we must achieve, to do, to 'be'. There are still lists over analysing, summarising, bullet-pointing everything. If there seems always to be an infinite number of pathways to achieve enlightenment then surely there is only one true route to enlightenment - and all this conceptualising divides to never find what I am looking for? All ways through the dense fog must be only be one way and every-which-way is the truth for one; even if the route takes you over a cliff and smashes your concepts on the shore (where I am sure the sea will eradicate any doubts).

All of the different aspects of this Buddhism are entertaining, but I don't think I will ever forget that 'the' Siddhartha Gautama - the man named Buddha afterwards - didn't write down what he was saying and, in a similar context to all the sayings proverbs psalms we are told are Jesus's, all we really have is a vast litany of sources passed down orally (Chinese Whispers) then written to reinforce (because the pen is mightier than the sword) to choose from to interpret our perception of what amounts to 'an' enlightenment - I argue all enlightenment is individual. There really is no answer for everyone,  just more questions answered indirectly - as parables, tales, stories, myths - and with so many padlocked, firmly closed, ajar or wide open doors and the rooms cluttered up filling to eternal capacity - the trillion things which seek to explain the inexplicable and now gather dust forgotten because they become hollow and cavernous and didn't sound true in the passing of time. Did the Buddha actually exist? But I don't suppose that really matters at all if it helps some people seem better.

The simple onion becomes a million layered, then a billion cells, ad finitum, but then we are still looking for conditions, theories, suggestions or lucky charms to solve all our puzzles. The riddle isn't a riddle at all but a question that doesn't need answering; just being. Truth is being; nothing else is that simple. But the truth cannot be rationalised and if we think we can summarise it, write it out a trillion times or put it together in a million word thesis we are really eluding the truth. Constructing this multi-dimensional inner rational diminishes the truth that is literally 'the end of all things' (the end of the perceived universe of things) - all this conceit is just another auditorium filled with voices (some struggling to be heard, some still, some quiet and some booming and out of control) not stopping to 'not-think'. Thinking either 'I think; therefore 'I' am' or 'no thought; therefore 'I' doesn't exist'. It's all an illusion trying to fill the empty space and it is unnecessary.

The scratching noises I imagined in my dreams on this Wednesday morning were nothing more than the plan simple 'one-pointed' realities trying to make me understand, but that is such a distant place being only in a fading dream; wishing for this 'only' point within the moment of conscious presence. How could I feel something singular, yet infinite, trying to awaken in me to the truth that will make me free: stop thinking that there needs to be an answer at all and accept what is.

Mindfulness should actually be mindlessness or 'not mind full' - the universe has no-mind that we need to return from washing the dishes to scouring endlessly for. All points suggest back to nothing and I want to pay it no mind.

Zen Buddhism still appears locked into cycles not points.


The space was vast and the voices in unison sung; with very clear orchestration there were a few timid questions fearing that there might not be meant to be any questions at this time (surely you must all know). The monk I recognised is a band leader, conductor, co-vector coalescing waves of voice into a unit of Zen (with stereo surround effect 5.1). The mantra 'Mindfulness' must be persuasive. Rhyme and reason as the song reverberates and the 9 am sun whitens the eastern horizon and I see it highlighting the stained glass - "Surti Samadh Prajña" amber, red and opaque whites. The wooden oblong room looks to the west facing an alabaster white demi-god, who was a man with a wisdom he himself, it has been suggested, never achieved his own stated goal 2600 years ago (and I feel perhaps he too did not exist as we think we should remember him), and is always faced towards and acknowledged, least we forget, it is the same mindless symbolism in a different church. Then the recording could be replayed a million times before someone brave stands up and destroys the tape. Why do we trust such long shadows?


All these words flowing from a mouth with such a history, but I wanted to leave when I realised my pain was being forced into a situation of conforming to any eastern/western stereotype: a lesson recorded for ever; and TNH's words are a mantra from which even he will probably never stop. My freedom beckoned me again. My solace is my joy even as it is my pain and I watched the horde vanish over the horizon to the Black Buddha's I chanced upon yesterday.

Truth is knowing and acknowledging the singular, linear, right(straight), way in your life; whatever that path is - even when it flows against the current, tide but is still the one universal flow. Like the bamboo they sway independent of each other, reaching up to the sun as they see the one definite article, but they do not challenge the right to be free, single and independent.

We are nothing without everlasting presence - knowledge of the infinite now - to astonish our eyes and bring tears of joy where once pain was a confusion that fell, staggering us like a combined avalanche of hatred, fear, anxiety, worry and other conditions. The amount of mental and physical pain we take inside will perhaps eventually reveal truth in a climax which will be inner peace of mind, oneness with the body, mind and spirit and remembering that a non-struggling essence is all our nature must be.


The bell can become another form of obedience. The bell is a manacle to cyclic attachments: it can be remade into bombs, chains and bondage. The bell is now, but it was and will be again, so it is possible ever peel is a another descend into concrete deceits? In the blank room, where everything isn't, no attraction to the things of form have meaning; indeed they repeal the laws of structure. The bronze of a bell could be reshaped into a cannon and in turn be turned into a bell. Casting is temporary, slight and transparent.

Admitting to myself that I actually don't know what I am seeking and seeing clearly that this is not it at all. This is a community of Mindfulness, but it is still an attachment to a hive need for gross interpersonal-ism to find a common shared goal for personal salvation and truth. If you think a community sharing ideas and replacing one set of ideals with another then that is just another branded reality. Mindful is in my mind only. All else is an unnecessary charm and still denies the individual for the group: no matter how much smaller and 'better feeling' it appears to be.

Still in these groups I still dare not speak the truth for fear of being seen as a heretic, fool, destroyer; fearing the looks and expressions that deny my position in any and all society.

After the sun of the morning, and my clarity, the skies are covered by grey clouds and a slow dreary rain dampening my  mind so it is time to return to reality: to shower for the first time since late Sunday at the house in Chatterault before I disgrace the SNCF with my Zen ordure and charms of meaningfulness. As John Lydon once said 'Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?' ...

My mood switched within a few moments of hearing Thich speak, where everyone seemed riveted by his manner I just desired to leave and return to nature without all these things. Now I don't know who to talk to without feeling that I am wrong or have been mistaken and I am unclear on what Friday will mean. At lunch I finally got the urge to work in the dining hall so when the generous Monk asked me to help with the sanitising at lunch I hugged him for his invitation and jumped to be ready while the community ate together in the main meditation hall.

All I wish for is a simple answer without too many conditions or options: will I ever  be mentally clear enough not to worry, rocking steadily back and forth, waiting for this one time to be - when I know I have eternity to understand? I want to call this consciousness 'point-being' and to find this route backwards from this vipers nest in the post-ego clamour and not be 'point-blind' for too much longer.


This evening's soup was a perfect way in which to finish the week's mindful eating -  with a little over indulgence (three bowls) a distended belly and empty bowl - into the tomato based light broth I threw a loving spoonful each of fresh chopped coriander, piquant birds eye chilies, tofu, peanuts, mushrooms and some flat noodles. As the searing chili brought tears to my eyes I could again see clearly that, although I am alone, I am not dispassionate about the garden of heavenly delights the monks do always present as their fayre - the balance of detoxing is right minded - and am settling into a new way stumbling and tripping less and less. But now at seven pm that is me and Zen is over tonight until the final together - alone morning meditation.
The tranquility of the morning. No organised meditation. The slow repetitive action of a kitchen worker chopping bananas, another stirring porridge, one man meditating to himself in the dininghall, an orange - blood orange - crimson sun rise, the early dawn calls of the finches, blackbirds, etc. and a fresh ground perk(coffee). My stomach rumbles from too many chilies last night. Even monks have a day off - no chanting this morning - this thoughtful solitude is the oneness that eludes the many. A smell of pencil shavings fills the nostrils, it is a golden awaking and the upright piano rests open silent and expectant. Come sun : you are the king, queen, everything and yet nothing - I praise you as life begins again. There seems but one Buddha and it is the story of the Sun King enveloped in myth. Long live the king for he never died. Long live the queen for threading a mystery for ever. Within my being I register a reverberating pyramid of lights. A monk rings the bell to suggest the community begins a cycle again. The singular mystery is the universal.
Last time that I was here my brain was stem dead - dead from walking and traveling, I was terminally short of cash and, even with all the things I'd seen, I was very naïve. Even with a job guaranteed I was strictly unsure. This afternoon I'm sat in a bar watching the Bordelais femme and homme smoke and coffee in the shadow of lacloche saint eloi and place fernand lafargue and I will be happy in a painful situation because I will never find joy in these crashing cities; but it is a passing whimsy. Off to find Vietnam fodder.


Returned to the Auberge to change my feet and relaxed a tad. Now heading direct to the river via Central Do Brasil for a glass of vin rouge - what must the Bordelais think!

B2c15s2 I have to see a  conventional, manufactured British pub I ventured along the Garonne on the left bank to face Frog Pub. Utterly crap. It is so bad I am actually smiling at the fact. A rip off and very bad. But I really needed to remind myself of this thing we think is wholesome and true. Before the retreat I would've found it truly depressing to think this represents Pub Grub! But it's actually belly laughingly funny and I am approached by a fat drunk French woman as if I need her company in a faux boozer - I just said no and eventually she drifted back to a point.


My loneliness is my joy and my pain. Acceptance is my one true path so now I bring myself to a bar/tabac. There is no way I won't return to Brasil in a moment. Just as he returned with my Leffe I decided 'non' place palm outward and headed back to a livelier vibe I'Apollo. Yep it is crap too. But a Paulaner Weißbier is more interesting than Inbev Leffe and in pops a random Persian selling individual moments of death: roses that will die. But I can see in their eyes that the flame they have is burning frustrated with the lack of oxygen. To Central Do Brasil it is!

Last time I was in Bordeaux I wasn't in my mind and today I am walking along streets passing objects of desire, a hen party assaults me for a photo with the bride-to-be giving my cheeks a blushing, but I actually remember somewhere else. I was not here. Time for morning Mindfulness and tea - any'teas. Although I am enjoying a tranquil moment a la thés in a hotbed of boutiques, I think vanity began en francaise and spread over the Manche then onto a ship that then crossed the Atlantique circled the globe and broke the back of Zen in a cluster-fuck of gross possession of things which are valueless to provide a meaningfulness that can never complete this emptiness we all feel. Impermance puts us transfixed hoping for a bullet of precision between crossed eyes; I place no value here. The tea was Zen, but the zone intrudes too often with nothing left to be - the façade is unreal. The cup and the pot do not deliver a message, but the tea might.

This might still be a very commercial, affluent, almost 'royal' city, however I still just-about feel an attachment to its ways. But I would like a moments relaxing back at the Auberge, but I won't be able to retreat from the corporate spread until at least four this afternoon.

Time to be an attendant to a Lord and visit a couple of celebrated museums in Bordeaux: Musee d'Aquitaine and Musee Beaux Arts. There are extensive sign posts pointing the route of the Chemin Saint Jacques that in my middle life haze I semi recall last year on my speedy return northwards. Sat consuming my penultimate plat du jour (poullet aux legumes in a very relaxed (except for usual 'chill out' Muzak being my pain) Aux Remp'Arts Cafe - Brasserie - 9€) in this turning of the wheel. Leaving tomorrow I will never return to France at this point in my impermanence.
Strange feeling knowing altogether a chapter is complete in my disparate existence. Knowing that, for how every much longer I have alive in my life, France will not come again.

Final morning broken by loud youths, chanting football supporters, early departing Brazilians, too many fire alarms and some other devil pulling the sun back eastward an hour - out dated daylight slaving!

Notice to self: don't ever stay in an inner city youth hostel/backpackers; this is a battery humans means to self destruction. All together too loud because there isn't any curfew...

Coffee beast I seek in Marche des Capucin to think of the events through the previous four weeks. Sounds of rampant decadence sought by the hedonistic Bordelais(e pour femme) drinking oblivious of the nature of the market. Lost in a different drifting tongue, but I leave them to a praise le Bio des Capus and sweet avoine au lait bio and nour café allongé-allongé. Un like Kerouac my vehicle is built by aerobus and cultivates not wistful dreaming of shirts bought in Hong Kong or betting on horses in Melbourne.

In my gun I would require many a chamber, keeping her happy and warm, to house many bullets to dispatch these funeral chanters. SS Roamer awaited Kerouac and Easyjet lounges after I. Smashed up resentfully forgotten boiled egg pressed up hard against the seldom stressed Nike sneaker of some bonadrag. A very different forked tongue folk still referring, fag instance in hand, to revelation Saturday a la foot. Fat, forgetting and repulsive is another aspect of France I cannot detach from across the Channel.

Those who beg on streets in France. How did they wash up on the streets and why do they seek refuge in hand outs for being sat  one spot all of the days; it really confuses me. So i must feed my last need: salvation vinyl. Last leg on this trip is back at Quinconces from where I will catch number one west to the airport and wait in that terminus mindful of forethought and ruminating as I loath the pain in the diesel choking fists.

Looking for some garment to purchase, and have a tangent remaining of this sector whenever I don it, yesterday I bent backwards in time to a French label (Lacoste) that in my youth I was desperate and wanted (though it must've caused mighty frictions between Gary and Jayne I was amazingly unaware of). A cotton jumper in a variety of summer colours I must leave unfurnished in a drawer least I need wash away the past completely by 1525 this afternoon (when my plane touches down). Time to be tested by suitcase morons for whom manners were never considered necessary to assault the simple ways. Mechanicals at Meyignacs passing three gates to secure the world against this invasion of the self. This all corroding negation of moi; it cannot last. A plague shall claim all these creatures without love in a battle with showing an expression. No joy in this machine, but this is one thing I must accept to set me free: I must accept airport waiting lounges ...

A few days without reaching towards these notes - seeing Snoopy, spending ill gotten funds - cheers Glenn - eating well and drinking a bit too much: I only ever connect with England this way and I am flawed. Now for something complete and different: the coast to coast - a defined regular path which I will resort to the backwards route (Robin Hood's Bay east) and there might be something vaguely Buddhist on that route?

Later I will be leaving on the 412 to York feeling a bit savaged by thoughtlessness since stepping off the train in Saint Pancras. In the back of my mind fear lingers; the chains are straining against the interior of the cave. Must not let it win after such good work in France. My weight is officially 86.6kg - troubling that I care what I weigh after the long walk in France. I'm never going to be a rake while beer still rattles around the dark passages of doubt. There must be a way, or someplace where it doesn't come to haunt my every waking thought. You are a fool and must be mindful - to be aware of these doubts is not enough.

Betfred fills to busting, Costa bashes saucers and I need none of this interlocking madness. Departing will be welcome. The numbness has come, but the short turn around is short in Scar(ed)borough; thankfully, but I wanted to leave when I stepped off the train and out of the Station (£15.60 York to Scarborough).

Arrived at Boggle Hole YHA, made the bed and then walked along the shore to Robin Hood's Bay Town. I now know the official end/start of the Coast to Coast - the Bay Hotel - lady on the local shop recommended Candy's for fish and chips. Welcome peasants food for £6.50 perhaps the shakes will leave my body? Not a huge portion but fair enough.

It's not happening and I am not here today. Walked back along the shoreline, hiding from the pubs clustered next to the ramp and where the roads converge, beating the incoming tide. Leaving the ice cream, seaside rock, bamboo and net rods, The Old Post Office to its seldom useful trinkets and tat and wave upon wave of highly visible and very noisy primary school children(50) marching down the hill to The Bay Hotel. Finished today. Sunrise is at 6:25 am so i will see that weather permitting...

It's definitely not sunny, but there is enough blue skies to mean waking at 6 am has been useful - enough to feel mindful as the tide came in - looking out over the vastness of The North Sea and knowing how massive this planet is in every atom of its being.

As I leave the average night's sleep shared with 3 other guys, suffering from early morning bladder relieving needs, at YHA Boggle Hole I must be fed and away without further distractions.

Before I start I am tired: and the families I had sharing the 'annex' block didn't stop their toddlers running up and down the corridors until ten pm - dealing with an all day hangover is never acceptable if there is this mindless noise with which to fight with all of the night.

As I grab my stuff, change into walking attire in the main dining room in this YHA, I await my £4.99 English Breakfast with eager anticipation - local sausages, bacon and free range eggs (two of) (I live in hope); if I am potentially vegi then the love we give to the beings we slaughter in their billions, vis a vis the table, should be evident at all times.

Once I worked for the YHA and we had a slogan 'eat the view' - but today this only relates to the views within industrial battery farms, empty sausage casing and briefly wet cured bacon. If anyone of merit was here I would smash their faces with watered down coffee, frozen croissants and green bananas - not even evidence of Oats on this fine Sunday. Oh God the mindless hordes descend like drugged vultures to this waste of perfectly good space. Again I leave feeling bitterness towards the monolith that is now YHA: I mean why no porridge at the start/end of the Coast to Coast - the coffee was verily translucent so I sought caffeine love in a can of red and white reliance. The YHA offers zero solace to the wanderer for £24.99; I poo, brush teeth, fill my flask and depart northwards, into Baytown, expecting an incline of early morning exerting onto the Plateau unfulfilled! The term, I believe, is 'gash'. YHA is 'gash'.

The wind picks up and clouds arrive from the moors, but the sheep and lambs are bleating talkative or whisperin conspiracies that join with the rattling breeze which will become my companion.

Passing the A171 and entering the North Yorkshire Moors officially I loved that my passing created such a breadth of birds escaping from my feet. But my hastily repaired boots are failing as soon as the concept of H2O is presented to them. Maybe I accept they really are an average pair - not for the distance I've covered since May. No amount of conditioning or seelant is making the leak lessen. Bugger. On the peat, bleak, unrelenting, slowly inclining, gorse covered plateau they fail (these are Gore-Tex too). Getting stuck, without a clue where the illusive track vanished to, going right I found a pond with pitch black water and felt like Tuor heading into the ancient west staring at the pool of Livrin for an answer as his cousin passes by quite oblivious on the opposite shore. Then I looked ahead seeing trees - withered stooping shortened scrubby pines: suggesting drier land. Heading straight through any puddles, waterlogged moss to reach trees! Once inside this Mirkwood I stopped to ponder and carried on to find the hidden path. Stopping just at the border of the wood, where most silvan entities were dead, to get covered up for suggested rains and urinate away from the wind, I felt for my mobile device. It had vanished. I went through all my pockets, patted myself down, checked my rucksack with that increasing sinking feeling. How could , alone on top of this bleak plateau, left my 'direction finding device' somewhere back between here and the tarn I'd just contemplated copse freedom. FUCK! The Moors look the same in all direction; where could it possibly be? Any clarity I was hoping to maintain at the start of this exercise evaporated in to anger and frustration. Where to start looking; this is a little like being lost in a cave or on an ice plateau - if not so insane - knowing everything would turn to poo if I didn't recover my attachment.

... Excuse me - the voices in the Arncliffe Arms are too tedious for me to recover from this state of agitation ...

What chance did I have to find my path back through the damp, soggy or wet trail I was forcing through to reach sanctuary? Suddenly I recalled Android devices have a locating app that I'd never set up on my tablet before but had played about with on my phone! However the wind was loud and the black cover on my phone didn't stand out against the gorse and peat black soul. In vain I traced my steps backwards then I recalled I had just taken a panorama in the copse...perhaps I dropped it about there when I readjusted my backpack. I got back there and listened as hard as I was capable against the constant noises. Then I saw something shiny leathery black against the duller matt blacks and greys. It was there; then I heard the ring tone too! Yippee. Unnecessary distractions on this demanding landscape. When I finally came off the moor, and found shelter in the Methodist Church at Littlebeck I wept as I drank free coffee and a slice or three of Genoa Cake I'd bought back in Bay Town! Tears for all the mad things I am doing and all the situations I seem to get out of without reason during this odd couple of years!

As the sun waves bye bye, and an owl suggests it is it's turn to go about feeding, I am laid up in room four allowing aching feet to breathe in my small but tidy chamber (£42 b&b). It is positioned above the back bar which is now thankfully emptier. That country pubs still exist to trap pointless, thoughtless, greedy, loud, stupid, trivial, repellant, untrustworthy clientele makes me grateful as otherwise I'd need to have kept on walking. I don't feel Sunday was further enough from hangover Saturday to allow real trudging.

At the end of today's walk I watched a steam locomotive pull out of Grosmont Station heading West, as i was straining down the steep slopes bringing me to the Esk Valley, while enjoying a huge homemade Steak Pie with amazingly tender cooked vegetables and trad mash(£8.95) and decided I'd jump on a train and sleep in Glaisdale no matter the cost: tomorrow I head to Blakey Ridge and a cheaper option; at that junction where I will walk to will be decided - west to Osmotherley for another YHA or south to Ampleforth for an Abbey...

When villages, towns and cities choked under the smoke of so many steam engines can we really consider the novelty worthy of all those who suffered physically through the dreaded industrialisation railways brought to the now? I hopped on the 1544 for two stops and leave my boots to dry out for another day!

Oh and I passed someone midway at around one pm, enjoying the view and a flask of tea, he was about to conclude his Coast to Coast 14 days in from Saint Bee's. We wished each other well and he gave me yet more luck: I feel I will need it after my brush with fate a little earlier upon Low Moor.

Good morning, I say good morning Cockerel's! This pub faces back towards the Esk Valley with numerous cocks singing the joys of spring, the ram has already run his course and people who longed to go on pilgrimage now feel a little lonely. I would recommend staying with the convivial landlord and landlady at The Arncliffe Arms (sausages by Short's of Skelton) and a huge breakfast, complete with a one inch thick disk of black pudding, for the long 'Rigg' ahead before Blakey Ridge presents. If a British Breakfast(or Irish) is done with the right amount of time, respect and effort then it is not so flawed. Take heed YHA that up-selling is even possible if the one meal most customers will have is Breakfast; and word of mouth spreads far and wide with the dawning of the Internet. A one night stay for one (ensuite) with natty petit dejourner only €42 and off we go at nine on the dot

Currently my phone is telling me one measurement and my tablet another. Which is correct? Resetting both devices GPS and the My Trails App I can forget the endurance sapping Moors as I sit down at around 1345 for food at the 'average' Lion Inn. It has this feeling of a place you come to sit comatose in the corner being prodded to if you return any response. It is grandly decorated, with photos of bygone times, low beams, brasses, etc. but the Lion Inn @ Blakey Ridge isn't my thing. Outside the window I see horizon to horizon, wall to wall, cover to cover mist blowing east and I i got drenched in this wall of 'fret'. Hopefully a chance to dry my things. But I doubt it. This is not the Aubrac, and guess I am enjoying some of the unexpected trials, without too much of that Sherburn fear, but I am not free.

Before I joined the manmade section of the route - railway sidings - I was corralled by a herd/posse of young ... "wethers" ... They led me to the edge of their territory and told me never return that way again; which I won't. Although food in the Lion is excellent it is a little too expensive, so I was a lot happier leaving with a couple of free (stolen) sachets of Quaker Oats Fruity Porridge knowing there will be little 'breakfast' after I continue my flight.

Walked on along the disused railway deciding that this is quite far enough for another day. Down into the Farndale Valley and rock up to a quiet Camping Barn at Oak Farm (£8.00 per night (an additional large sack of wood (£3.50) to put on the burner) and tomorrow I turn south to reach Helmsley and Ampleforth Abbey - the Cleveland Way goes north west that way and the distance between here and Osmotherley is too great without a single halt available on route. But I am happy in the solitude of this barn (sleeps twelve) as soon as the smoke clears from my attempt to burn damp wood...but once the fire is roaring all the rain falling outside can't dampen my spirits. A cup of tea and slice of Elizabeth Botham's(of Whitby) LandlordFruit Cake gives me simple mindful nourishment. I realise a good fruit cake can provide plenty of happy energy when there isn't much else on offer in a local shop. Oh the divine luxury of a "Caliban" burner, English tea and a smidging of very dense cake while my plums are warmed gently in the early evening.

Decided to venture to another "Boozer" - The Feversham Arms - for beer(more beer!(twice £3.20)), fish & chip (more food!(once £10.95) and a pack up for tomorrow's over the Moors (more Moors!(£2.50)) we all deserve more and a vibrant landlady who has aspects that would warm this heart.

But she's very vocal about a long break up between bf and her; and in that mind a problem shared is one halved. Those types of men are totally confused by what they have. My fire will be burning still. Second pint before the struggle back up the daffodil trail. I've never heard of Farndale before I walked down into the valley.

Sweet views towards Pickering, Malton, Kirkbymoorside, looking south east, at the dale end section of the valley and black clouds sat on top of dale head. Returning to collect a little more kindling from Dave, wife and his variegated dancing chickens. There is nothing more natural than listening to the bleating of lambs, the thrusting early dusk call of birds and the background crackle of a revamped, relit, flickering, dependable fire feeding of wood, resin, oxygen and satisfaction. But "Caliban" is still, of old, a trickster setting off the alarm thrice when the countryside least needed or required is. The sun has gone and I will retire shortly too. Once the ringing stops in my ears ... Officialdom does disturb many a tranquil slumber: fire alarms in a barn where the only fire is enclosed within a cast iron chamber.

Minus a pillow my bed is made. On second thoughts the damp cushions hastily dried on the steel stove plate above the fire - watching them for any signs of singe - complete this peaceful realm! Now if only my mind would be quiet reminding me how much I am spending on too much food since this walk began. Tomorrow is a day of porridge, fruit and nuts, but for tonight I am hidden here.

The NY Moors became too isolated and the barn too isolating - staring into the flickering flame - so I will come back down to the edge of reason (currently I am on Occam's Razor -Gillamoor) and am heading down the narrow rigg rowards Kirbymoorside. Carrying a 12kg rucksack up ascend and into vale is very difficult to do and now I understand why "Sherpavan" offer a baggage carrying service: I would never be able to walk 20 miles a day this way.

Last night I was damp all night in the barn - it lingers in my bones and my back won't straighten - and awoke with a start to a cock crow which seemed to be right inside my skull. I was fully clothed in my sleeping bag but awoke when ever the cowl/hood of the bag evaded me.

Although the views from the top of Gillamoor were staggering my body feels so heavy with every footfall - on the slops or even on the flat and I know I would not have reached Helmsley in one piece: sane or alive. My boots have split and I am blank, but the Abbey is worth the effort. Relief is the tranquility of the refuge my life has delivered me here.

Judging myself by Saint Benedict's Rule I appear somewhere between the second type 'anchorite' and the fourth kind of monk: 'gyrovagues' and I feel my whole existence is just as confused. Would these voices cease then perhaps I might not be so spiritually split.

Am I 'a lamb amongst wolves' or 'a wolf in sheep's clothing' - I keep feeling these stereo types are the polar opposite of my being. Love and hate. Joy and pain.

More chanting, this time in Latin, as I cleared my mind of mental and physical pain in closed eyed mediations. Sounds great in the private chapel, but the words are literally pointless and they could be humming in Taihitian. All I hear are the bells from the Plum Village dragging weary soles to a heavenly choir.

What terrible suggestions: no rule should suggest 'punishment' if a lesson cannot be taught. Saint Benefict was wrong to inform any abbot/abbess to acts of corporal punishment on those who are defiant and resistant to the laws of the order. The scriptures endorse 'a fool cannot be corrected by words alone'; even as I lay in my cell - much too plush - and the Abbey bells peel for obedience so return monks and routers (those on retreat). I find the special relationships endorsed by Saint Benedict the root of what is foul in the ideologies of the church. Quote '[Abbot or Abbess] should not love one more than another unless it is for good observance[obedience] of the Rule'. We are not bees in such a religious hive - where only the queen bees destiny counts - we must be able to be distinct, different, clashing, a life less ordinary, disrobed, undressed, bare or else nothing in the joys Humanity would ever have occurred, except prejudice, bigotry and lies told to scare children in their dreams. We must awake to the form of 'control' religion decided. From all sections the singular is never allowed to speak. The vast armies spewing liturgy without hearing the lies told to kill the tulip's soul dead in the poorly fed soil. Nothing can be gained by restrictions. We truly are aliens to the reality of not forcing nature upon the 'one'.

At dinner while everyone was hot in condemning the food I was mindful and silence thinking that the Eastern European slaves, dragging their screaming souls across the kitchen floors, had provided us great quality fare and I left my mumbling fools to say thank you to the workers.

Was the Knight in Chaucer's CT nothing more than a blood hungry Mercenary as he sides wherever and whenever there is innocent blood being shed and in almost every 'legendary' corner of the land; or was he another liar?

Like a monk walking into a market place temptation presents to me where my blindness away from the cities is never questioned. Currently I am tempted to question each and every vanity I read in the books provided by the Grange Library.

Just prior to a tea break I met briefly with Father Kevin, from Ireland, and I am grateful he listened to the story of my emotive plight  Path of Grace. I will speak to Kevin later on in my journey.

The brewery is not at the Abbey. It is at little valley brewing near Skipton! Swindlers...

There before the Grace of God go I on the 9:51 am towards York in the morning.

Love or Confusion.
To be tired of all things but eager for more things.
Switch off until Vespers, evening meal, meditation, shower and rest. Matins at 6 am and it starts again. There is no end to this inner space or another outer space - Things and nothings. This spiritual journey I am bouncing along in is still travelling through tunnels with brief intervals of light; bring me in the light.

Although I feel God suddenly, I've decided all constructs in religion are a lie. There is only one way.

Any mumbling we do isn't real. It is a form of show just like the jersey you wear or the car you drive. We all know what we really fear. It is time to look within and not force our beliefs on anyone expecting they add to our things.

Look at the flowers ... They neither think, toil nor toll, but die without doubt they shall return. Being convinced of complete death is the only reason we turn to what was written. Not to live and forgive but to punish and kill.

Want is a lie.

There is no solution in owning anything more than what we need to breath until the end. Stand aside and watch the procession of the dead from the banks of reality.

Silence is a hope.

What to think when my last 'best' friend's brief bubble vanishes into the ether never ever to be seen again. A cold beer at the York Tap and I turn the final corner to a straight lane at the end of another day's bus home and I need to leave everything we ever thought was real at the back of the cave and go into the light forever.

Why was I bullied? Was it because I wasn't normal ... What a shock - I've tried all my life to understand why I am alone and how I could alter this fact; but there was never anything I could do.

What I have learnt over this passed year has revealed a gaping chasm under the bedrock of what I was already totally unsure of. Which is like resting a crazed China cup on the head of an antique porcelain doll; where all the joints are now loose and you just couldn't trust it to rest there with gravity doing its total worse... so I am not really as confused as truly disappointed that I didn't see me earlier and, although I am relieved I am somewhere else, the headlock of the 41 years (until May 2013) suffocating and stifling love less existence makes me empty again because none of this matters.

What I must do is very worrying and I confess that waiting so long is also an issue that need never be. The space between me and the rest is so wide there is nothing physical that will cross and not snap like twigs under a boot. This gap is  the unconsciousness at work. One hundred percent are turned inwards, bent and shadowy, they seek answers in the cave but it burns my eyes in the darkness with the sulphurous intoxicating poisonous yet insubstantial chatter of inward facing nodders.

The most beneficent of my chattels did once help me contain, without total literal escape, but now there is nothing, zero, zilch that could force my mode away from destinies operandi.

The suggestion of an 'other' way - the way of monastic life and the office's of the day. Simple rhythms and bells chiming - enter the day. But now I know that there is another way ... It is either death or separation that will save me.

Since I came off the hill at The Plum Village I have been descending into misery and couldn't reach my arms out of the pit I was falling into. There I stood ill at ease and literally blind to the roughhewn path out of my hell leading me to a light where I would never fear again. It took Saint James Church in Wetherby to remind me that I will never fail. Sitting there alone in silence brought a thought into my head I'd not heard for too long. Gone is Lent and finally Easter is away too. On the 28th I vanish to Brecon Beacons and leave the mindless in their seldom peace.