I leave my accommodation to explore the surrounding countryside.
As I make my way uphill, I immediately come across bamboo in a local garden.
Bamboo grows in many parts of China and I practice Chinese medicine so I have an affinity with it.
A wonderful range of trees awaits me on this walk: oak and the resounding pop of acorns under foot; they make a lower note than the beech nuts which have more of a scrunch when I walk across them.
Not far on I find a cross reminding me of my Spanish caminos.
Oh the Autumn colours please me! As this is farmland, there are sheep, and further along the way, horses too.
With a lot of space to wander and feed. They aren’t fazed by me at all.
One matching chestnut, one dappled grey and one white. I wonder again, do horses (and cows) communicate with each other? Do they vary their behaviour at different times of the day? ‘It’s getting dark guys, let’s have one more meal and then lie down for the night!’
Here are the wide open arable fields where huge spreaders are spraying (just like Kent!). There are almost no flowers or birds as a result of the chemicals. These are recently sown and ploughed fields.
I follow the sign posts and there are also familiar neon arrows at ground level to keep me right – pointers for a run or cross-country cycling no doubt.
I remember the red and white stripes of the French walks I made in Normandy, but as always the entrances and exits for walkers are unusual.
This one was a sort of turnstile of oxydised metal.
I tread quietly. Once I enter the woods, the leaves are falling randomly around me and there is a sweet autumnal leafy smell.
Saw-edged sweet chestnut leaves litter the way, bronze and tan.
Ash and sycamore, acorns in cups, chestnuts in their prickly cases.
There are no fuchsias here like in Ireland, the hedgerows are instead bountiful with clematis, their furry seed heads studded with dark brown cores.
A tweet here and there; a rustling up high; and chirp chirp as a bird darts past.
I pick my way over sandy white soil, and admire the whispy grasses.
Laden with ruddy apples, on a carpet of windfalls.
Downhill, past domestic vines, beehives and allotments with bright flowers, I discover Saint Thomas.
The mairie, town hall
Ceramic flowers on a grave
By the end of the day, the effects of the sun as she brightens the wall and path shining low now behind a telegraph pole or street light so a shadow is thrown.