Sweaty lycra and a flexed finger..

Normally, superstitious people would tell you to avoid travelling on Friday the 13th. So obviously we didn’t take any notice of silly things like that when we planned a short trip down to the Ariege where Susie used to live. We reckoned without the Tour De France. Fridays stage ran from Fougeres to Chartres and bisected our region West to East. We wanted to travel North to South. It’s difficult to portray how important Le Tour is, certainly enough to invoke major road closures while the riders pass, though preceded by a lengthy publicity caravan and followed by the team cars, medical personnel and official cars.

I slaved over online maps and the race time schedule, trying to locate the most convenient point to try and reach when the roads were open again. Needless to say that afternoon we couldn’t attempt to drive down our chosen road and we circled back towards home and tried a more direct route. Friday the 13th doesn’t always turn out as predicted, as we arrived at the crossing point just as they were removing the plastic barriers. Much relieved we headed toward the autoroute.

Some five hours later and despite an unexpected, sat nav induced tour of the light industrial areas of Poitiers, we arrived in Pierre-Buffiere and the Auberge Dupuytrens. It’s a charming place (though with lots of stairs to it’s rooms) and has a good restaurant. In our room, to which the term bijoux could readily apply, we read about Guillaume Dupuytrens, who was born in the town and was an anatomist and military surgeon in the early 19th Century. It was he who first described a condition of flexed and rigid fingers which became known as Dupuytrens Contracture. I’d appreciate a quick mention if this nugget of information ever came in useful during a game of Trivial Pursuit or a pub quiz with a very eclectic and esoteric question setter.

This morning we were on the road again and by mid afternoon (without sat nav dramas) we’d arrived in Rivel to stay with friends Maggie and Martin. Tomorrow afternoon we drive to Seix to join in a celebration of the life of one of Susie’s friends who died earlier this year.


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