From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Day 9 - Somewhere near Le Barroux

Anne:- As our stay in the Côtes du Rhône wine growing area is a pilgrimage, we are not trying to head north every day but are spending our time exploring the area around Beaumes de Venise. Today we wanted to stay on fairly flat ground to give the horses an easier day while keeping up the kilometers, so navigator in chief Martine had selected a circuit that took us out to Le Barroux and back.

Grooming took a bit longer day due to various things. Yesterday I had found a huge scab in Gigi's mane, and had cleaned up and sprayed it with Betadine, but today I asked the lady who runs the yard to have a look, and we agreed it was probably the aftermath of a tic, and sure enough we found another one further down her neck. Also the wires in one of Martine's boots came out of the track after a readjustment and it took ages to get them reseated. And finally there was an additional piece of gear for both horses this morning, as they have been suffering from flies around their ears, doesn't Flurry look cute !
Flurrry + head gear
Gigi is particularly impressed by this guy he is a Selle Français
The neighbour
While this one gets the cold shoulder.

We started off along the canal again today retracing our steps towards Beaumes de Venise, passing a really narrow bridge that had a hand rail on one side and was open on the other side. "Glad we don't have to cross that" commented Martine. But two minutes later, after consulting the map, she realised we did have to cross it. Both our minds filled with about a million "what if's" the major problem being that if either of them fell in we would have real trouble getting them out as the canal sides are concrete and vertical. We both dismounted and Martine led Flurry across first, and he calmly followed her like a pro. Gigi had a good look and dug her heels in, so I turned her around and came at it again in a more direct line, and over she went, Martine said she was practically on her toes ! We are both so proud of our horses.

Once more we trekked through the small town of Beaumes de Venise, and took a wrong turn that ended up in a car park surrounded by houses, we were just going to look the map when a car came into park, and the lady driver glared at us  just at the same moment that a dog rushed silently at the horses from the other side of a fence. Well of course they both shied, and the woman started shouting at us that we could damage the cars. The horses quickly calmed down, and we beat a hasty retreat!

Soon we were out in open country again with vines all around us once more. Frequently I look around at all the beautiful and varied scenery, and find it hard to believe that I am here with my horse, I feel so privileged to be able to live this wonderful dream.
Anne surveying yet more vineyards
There were lots of opportunities for trotting, but very few for cantering, as a lot of the tracks are covered in loose sharp stones. It was getting late and we hadn't reached Le Barroux for lunch , but we knew we were close, George phoned to say he had found a grand picnic spot near the cemetery, and we told him we wouldn't be too long.

We turned off the main track down a footpath, neither of us like doing this as the paths are not necessarily horse friendly, and this proved to be the case. We came across a sign with a picture of a staircase on it, so once again we dismounted, and while I held the horses Martine went ahead to reconnoiter and she came back to say it was far to steep for our babies. We reckon we were only about a hundred yards from the road, so frustrating! So we had to turn around and find our way back to the road by another route where we came upon this picnic spot, complete with views of....more vineyards! George quickly relocated and we had a wonderful lunch of dried ham, goats cheese, fruit, and to finish a bowl of strawberries and a glass of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise! While the horses had a grand pick of grass, which Gigi supplemented with a banana, skin and all, and orange peel !

The view in the other direction was towards the town of Le Barroux, which we had intended to visit, but would not have time today.

Le Barroux
As George had worked so hard supporting us all week and doing the day job as well, it seemed only fair to let him ride the second half of the route so I said a fond farewell to Gigi, telling her to mind George !

Their route took them past this amazing village constructed around a rock

La Roque-alric
And back over the  narrow bridge we had crossed at the beginning of the trek. No bother to them! This time they just strolled over it. Each day we marvel at how quickly they adjust to new things and are prepared to take on anything.
That Bridge
Le Big Trek, the story from the other side 

Today the Wagons had planned a short hack from the stables to Le Barroux. My job as the LSH was to get lunch and meet them at a pre-arranged rendezvous near the town. No stress there as it was going to take them three hours to get to that place. So there I was, camera in hand and dogs tied to to my belt loops, walking the streets of Beaumes de Venise when the town clock struck noon..."Sh#%te the shops close between 12 and 2 and I have not bought lunch yet"...15 mad-panic mins later (you know what women are like if they are not fed on time) I managed  to find an open shop and got some fruit, ham, the obligatory half bottle of muscat and a slab of Lint chocolate. By this time the dogs, having finished their brekkie only an hour earlier, where demanding water. Cookie inhaled two bowls to Cinny's one and then I legged it out to the meeting point.

Alas the best laid plans don't always secure success. The was no safe parking at the meeting point (actually I could not get the car anywhere near it), the Wagons had taken a different route anyway, the car was hot  and the dogs were now gagging for a pee.

If your looking for a quite spot with parking in any town the cemetery is your best bet, so that's where we headed and found a decent enough spot even the dogs felt relie....Diddly ooh do diddly ooh do diddly ooh do doo..."George its Anne, our route through is not safe for the horses so we are going back to the road. Don't know how long it will take..will call you...battery is French mobile...". The dogs, one in each hand fully freshened up and unaware that I was on a phone call, decided it was time to explore. Cinny headed for open road while Cookie headed for cat country, aka the town, at speed. I must have looked like Jesus on the cross with my arms held out and head tilted to one side to hold the phone.

Anyway the dogs had made their wishes clear so I set off with them for a w...Diddly ooh do diddly ooh do diddly ooh do doo..."George we have found a great picnic place it's on the D90A...". Now GiGI does not do standing still so I bundled the dogs and cameras into the car, headed into town for some 3G coverage to find the D90a on google maps. The road was twisty and turny and I had to hold Cinny as we rounded a  particularly bad hair pin b...Diddly ooh do diddly ooh do diddly ooh do doo..."George that's the D90a not the D98..."...ok ok I get it.

Anyway we finally met up and it was a fantastic spot. The LSH turned into the LSH, that's Ladies Stunt-double Horseman, when Anne very kindly offered me her horse for the return journey. Being Largely Same Height as Anne there was no adjustment required to the leathers and so off we set on what Martine said was a shorter route as it was now 3pm already.

The first thing that grabs you is the tranquility, you can feel the stress ebb away from diddly ooh dos here. On sure ground the horses look after you and you can sit back and enjoy the country side. Yep, this is the way to do it.

The terrain does get rough at times. Think marbles on Yule Brenner's head and you have the right idea. Leave the horses to their own pace and they cope admirably. There is the occasional steep stone step which you might take on in the heat of the chase on a good day's hunting, but when you need your mounts to last 500km discretion is the order of the day. Then there is the occasional impassable route for which you just have to find an alternate way. But that all adds to the sense of adventure.

Despite all that, keeping your legs that far apart while balancing on your lower legs for 3 hours is a wholly un-natural act, made all the worse by having 50 year old joints that have not done this for a good while. So when Martine suggested we get off and walk over the skinny bridge and on home it was a blessed relief.

Thanks Anne, it was a beautiful afternoon. My hat is off to both of you. I don't know how you do it for 6 hours a day, but at least I know why.

LSH (lathering soothing hointment)

Day 9 - Somewhere near le Barroux at EveryTrail


  1. No... I think Flurry has his eyes closed in the hope that he can't be seen.....It was nice for George to get involved in the riding....the thing that upsets me is that it could/should have been me!!!!! I was happy for George. What surprises me is how mature the horses are. It will be a great experience for Flurry. Martine sure got a suitable one there.

  2. GG - who spell-checked for you?!! ;-)

  3. Wow... The bridge!!! What brilliant, trusting horses to cross it! Brilliant read.. as always

  4. yaay...glad the LSH got to enjoy some horseback time too: the world will wait:)