A lot of yesterday was spent talking while cycling two abreast on wide asphalted paths beside the canals. The scale of everything is incredible if you come from the Hibernian Isles. It was hot cycling into the wind and talking isn’t always practical (or safe) so it was good to pass this time together.
Chris had said his only intolerance was that of intolerance itself. The noise of fighter jets on night manoeuvres at the Robinson Air Force Base was absolutely intolerable. Woke me up at 1am. Kept me awake until I realised I was hungry. The rocket salads and cheese weren’t enough for dinner. So I ate half a quiche around 3am. Did the job.
Minds are weird. I’m already struggling to remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Over lunch yesterday, we discussed the positions that we had taken in university essays in 1976. “Plate tectonics: a panacea?” – what? you ask. We recalled reading and quoting from papers by Meyerhof and Meyerhof, Tuzo Wilson and the seminal Matthews and Vine. These scientific researchers informed us and shaped the opinions we presented. Other advisers may have been passionate but with unobvious biases: wisdom can be a problem too.. As I said, I don’t recall yesterday’s breakfast but I think recall the essay.
I certainly recall being lambasted for my position in that essay. I believe I was told that plate tectonics and continental drift were stepping stones to the reinterpretation of geological history. I had said the jury was hung, there were still many unanswered mysteries. I was never a flat-earther but skepticism can be very helpful. The dressing down I got changed the way I considered science because I was wrong because one (incorrect) source that I respected biased my opinion.
Chris wondered in reply what paradigms today hold us prisoner. I think gender is one for sure: male dominance is anachronistic. Think heart attack prevention – science has studied men which doesn’t predict faithfully for women. Isn’t it mad that most crash test dummies are male? Yes, gender equality isn’t yet close to a reality.
I was disappointed today that we had to leave the Lac Du Der unvisited. The biggest woman-made lake in France, I looked forward to stopping at it when this cycle trip was going to be a hike. I’m a birder and so I hoped to see thousands of Common Cranes migrating: their very narrow flight corridor goes across this region. The lake feeds many species and it would have a treat but it was too far off Our Francigena given we were doing two 90 km days back-to-back. But as luck would have it, Chris noticed two huge birds as they could be seen briefly between trees. I heard them. I took out the camera, the binoculars but missed them. They circled back and landed where I could see they were Black Storks. Clacking. Common enough hereabouts perhaps but a first for me.
We arrived in Chaumont around 5 (knackered by wind and heat over 90 km) and had to put the bikes, one by one, vertically inclined, into a tiny elevator to get us to the 3rd floor. My steed passed an uneventful, comfortable night at my bedside (after I cleaned tyre tracks from the elevator mirror).
25°C Mostly Clear
11 Route de Brottes, Chaumont, Grand Est, France