I didn’t get to sleep until one thirty this morning so when I woke at 6.00 am I knew it was not a good idea to get up. Back to sleep I wentnuntil nearly 8.30am when I got up feeling fully refreshed. Vital got breakfast. We had talked yesterday about my taste for savoury condiments for breakfast. He had soaked seaweed and combined it with olive oil and lemon juice and sprouted some alfalfa seeds. Extremely thoughtful! We chatted for some time. I didn’t start walking until around eleven.

What a pleasurable collection of paths I walked this morning – country roads, lanes, tracks beside grape vines, and one path which was barely distinguishable. They were much more what a pilgrim path should be like.

Most days my right leg plays up. On the days it does I engage in intense visualisations hours on end to provide pain relief. At times today I was having difficulty walking despite my efforts to clear the pain. At one point I came to a river flowing beneath a bridge I was crossing. Looking down I saw water flowing over a rock ledge about a metre high. I imagined myself in front of the ledge with the water flowing directly onto my troublesome leg. I held this image for two to three minutes while visualising the pain dissolving. When I walked off the pain was gone. But as I have come to learn, this sort of pain relief is only temporary. I have to recommence the visualisation when it returns, and return it did after I stopped to eat.

It’s a curious thing but after I’ve had a break during which I sit for an hour or so, when return to walking the leg can be at its worst. Today was such a day. It got to the point of me remonstrating with my spirit guide. I told him I wasn’t a thirteenth century monk wanting to experience pain for it’s own sake, and if he thought by not giving me pain relief was a way of testing my faith in the efficacy of the visualisation process then forget it because I wasn’t doubting it one bit. Shortly after this remonstration I sat on a roadside bench to check my emails and map. After about 15 minutes I got up and when I commenced to walk the pain was gone and never returned for the rest of the day. Sometimes you just have to put down your foot.

Today was one in which I’ve never seen so much land covered with grape vines:
much more than on any other day. In Abeilhan, one of the villages I passed by, there is a wine producing co-operative to which most of the growers sell their grapes. This seems to be typical, although I did see a number of smaller wineries.

Storm clouds hovered for most of the day, but around 3.00pm the sky began to clear leaving me with quite warm walking conditons.

Ther’s one thing about a French Sunday. Between midday and 3.00pm you won’t find many cars on the road because everyone is having lunch. This is the meal the French regard as the most important of the day.

I pulled into Puissalicon a little after seven with no expectation of a hotel. On the edge of town I saw a space near an abandoned winery. It looked like my campsite for the night. I held out hope for a restaurant. I was kidding myself. However, the mobile pizza van was doing a roaring business in the main street. There was quite a gathering of younger locals. Most of the men were paying bolls. The women weren’t. It’s a male activity. I ordered my pizza which took 45 minutes to arrive. I finished eating around 8.45pm then returned to my campsite after a stroll around the village
centre checking out the shops-all two of them. I was set up before nightfall and sat in my tent writing up my notes and typing this blog. I wonder what tomorrow holds.

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