Dudley Moore Was only pulling my leg.

So far my journey has been more or less problem free. The most I have had to contend with is a blister. All be it one the size of a 50p piece. However yesterday I had not one but two set backs. Nothing major but it did make me think of the small margins between achieving a goal and not.

About 4 days ago I went through a patch of brambles and both shins showed the scratch marks proving the encounter. I had also several mud splatters along the front of my right leg just above the top of the sock and just brushed these off while I ate my lunch.  Later that night I noticed that I had what appeared to be a thorn stuck in my right shin where the mud splashes had been. I extracted the thorn but the next morning the area was  sore, quite angry and what looked like a bruise was developing. Over the next two days it became more and more painful but only on the down hills. My shin was kind of  locking preventing me from pointing my toes forward. A trip to le Doctor was required and so on arriving in Cauterets I went in search of…. the Doctor…. que BBC theme tune ”

The Doctor had a striking resemblance to Dudley Moore and  every time he asked me a question I had to hold back the urge to reply with my best Peter Cook impression. He pushed and pulled at my ankle, bending the foot forward and back then diagnosed that whether it was a thorn or something more sinister my shin was infected. The infection was causing tendonitous, preventing me from pointing my foot forward. He gave me a prescription for a kind of surgical spirit I have to rub on the area, some cream I then have to apply and a course of diclofenic anti inflamatory tablets. He told me to rest for at least two days.  Oh well. There are worse places I could be marooned.

The only trouble with anti inflamatory tablets is they affect the stomach…leaving you feeling,…. er how shall I put it…hungry! So far I have managed to get by without the need to ” Dine Alfresco” lets hope it stays that way. No more to be said on the subject.

The second set back was I cracked the screen on my Sony mobile phone. Back home this would honestly not have bothered me at all, but having mooched around Cauterets today I now realise how much energy I was getting from doing the Video diary.  Being able to share the views, places and people with you was really adding to the magic of the trip.

The town of Lourdes is a 50 minute bus ride and that is where the nearest phone shop is. Having been brought up a good catholic boy I know a number of people who have visited Lourdes as part of a group pilgrimage. Whilst many of you will be sceptical about such things please do not underestimate the healing power that the feel good factor of such a trip can bring to people seeking the same. However no matter how much I beleived I doubted my phone would be blessed by such a miraculous recovery. Particlarly after I removed the back to extract the sim card to use in my old Nokia I had brought along for emergency.  My good friend Dave Stephenson very kindly gave my the Sony phone and I called my wife and asked her to get Dave to call me. I only had her number saved in the Nokia.

“Dave where is the sim card in this Sony phone? I have removed the back and I can’t find it.” ” That’s because it’s not in the back, it’s in the side. The back is supposed to be glued on”  Oh so immersing it in holy water wont fix it then ?

Whilst waiting in the Doctors waiting room I noticed a poster asking people to attend a meeting protesting against the introduction of bears into the area. What a shame my phone is broken. If I encounter one there will be no point asking it to pose for a photo.

Here are some pictures I took before my phone died.


Spot the Dog –  Yes there is Patou hiding in the photo. I stopped to tie my shoe lace against that rock and a sheep wrapped its mouth around one of my walking poles…”Ey Ewe” I shouted as I tried to wrestler the pole from its lamb chops…then the Dog jumped over the rock and started barking at me. It’s head is in profile just above the rock top LH corner.


Me – Yes Really – with the  Lac D’ayous and Pic De Midi Ossau in the background. ( Picture taken by Wilf Harrison of Bristol ) Wilf very kindly doneted all the blister plasters from his first aid kit .  Thanks Wilf. They have been put too good use.DSC_0026

Wilf, Christine, Kevin and Caroline.


One for my wife –  The tables at the Mountain Hut at the Lac D’Ayous are all laminated maps. I still think they would look better on the walls of our new conservatory. Discussion to be continued.


Some of the flowers growing on the path up to the old lead mines. Amazing how anything could grow in that soil



Remains of a building at the lead mines above Gorrette. Look how brown some of the rocks are.


The pretty village of Borce boasts a chess set with seats for the players under this shelter. Is that what the chess afficionados mean when they refer to a closed position ?



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