Back from holiday and it is time to get back to some blogging.
We went, as we do most years, to a small village in south west France not far from Cognac. and it is the best running country I know. A rolling, open landscape with few hedges but an occasional lines of trees and small areas of woodland. You can see for miles, the sky is big and the light wonderfully clear. Criss-crossing are plenty of small, empty roads that make planning a route of any distance a doddle. As the land is undulating there is always some challenge so you know you have done some work but without the grinding intimidation of really steep slopes.
In the height of summer you have to get out early before it gets too hot but nearer to autumn there is more latitude. Getting out at 8 - 8:230 was just fine. Once out the feeling is one of peace. Obviously the landscape is highly cultivated and everywhere there is evidence of people and their work but with hardly anybody about you can feel you are on your own. You can stretch out without any sense of being crowded, and it encourages you to look around. Overhead there are birds and I am particularly taken with a buzzard who patrols the area - it is his. But you don't have to look at anything in particular: the sense of openness is enough.
The picture shows another feature - the allotments scattered around all the villages. This is a reminder (even if this particular allotment has mostly been harvested) of what I like about France - the food. Not the most unusual of insights perhaps but nevertheless true. Whether it is the restaurants or the riot of colourful vegetables in the markets, there is much that tastes good.
So there you have it, my holiday defined in one short sentence: run a bit and eat a lot. Perhaps not a recipe for tip top fitness but as a holiday plan there is a lot to recommend it.