Today was one of those days where I just wanted to get to where I was headed, Manosque, and attend to some personal affairs in a city which looked large enough for me to be able to do them.

When I awoke at around 6.45am with the sun shining onto my tent and beckoning me to start my day, the sky could not have looked more different to what it was twelve hours before. It was a beautiful pale blue and such a contrast with the angry grey and black that it was the previous night. The morning sun made it a little easier to pack up a very wet tent. I’ve been on then road now for nearly eight weeks and during that time the weather has really not inconvenienced me. There have been a
few wet days and some quite cold nights but the gear I’m carrying has enabled me to cope well with these conditions. I’m grateful I’ve been able to keep dry and warm, when needed.

The French seem to have the same attitude as the Italians to street signs which indicate how far it is to the next town: a rough guess is o’kay. They are certainly at odds with the satellite navigation. Take today as typifying my point. My satellite navigation told me a distance to Manosque from my campsite. I commenced walking and had done between two and three kilometres by the time I reached an
intersection where a street sign said I still had the same distance to go as when I commenced to walk. It can be dispiriting.

I mentioned yesterday about a lack of fences around crops. What I failed to tell you was the French love of electric fences. They seem to be used very extensively, even judiciously. A week or so back I saw a small herd of cattle eating out a corridor of grass about 7m wide up the width of a paddock. The corridor had been determined by electric fences. They certainly have a deterrent value. Yesterday I was reluctant to throw my wet shirt over one when I stopped for a break.

Not much caught my interest for the first 15km of today’s walk. I had about 5km of climbing and descending a mountain. Done that before. But about 5km from Manosque there is an area devoted entirely to intensive fruit farming. There are a large number of lots and each of them is covered, presumably to keep out scavengers like bats and birds, and each lot is irrigated from overhead. It looks a massive undertaking.

Just beyond this farming on the approach to Manosque development begins. It’s
always tempting to settle for the first hotel I see. Today I walked past three and that took some doing. I’m glad I did because I ended up in the old quarter of town where I have a hotel room with it’s own entrance. Not that this makes the room more special but it does give extra privacy.

I have to wait around tomorrow morning until my mobile and internet provider opens its store at 9.30am to sort out a couple of problems that were created by the man in Barcelonnette who sold ne the SIM cards and failed to credit my phone with a��25 when he said he did. Such are the vagaries of international travel.

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