Unsurprisingly, trying to canoe the continent can make you a wee bit tired. As the day wears on, the sun heats up, the wind gets stronger, our arms hurt more and slowly but surely we turn into zombies.
This mental fatigue effects us in different ways. Jzimmee is prone to go sullen. I start burbling bullshit. It is usually the person at the front - with none of the respite offered by steering in the back - who feels worst. In the front, I count out 150 strokes on each side. As with running, counting seems to keep me focused. But last week my paddling rhythm became a bit invasive. Three nights in a row, as my breathing fell into subconscious 150s, I awoke. Panicking. Desperately I flashed the torch and woke Jimmy. I tried to change direction in our struggling canoe.
Much to Jimmy's amusement we were in the tent. The canoe was safely on dry land next to the tent. And it was half 1 in the morning.
Since then I've made sure I chill out a bit before going to sleep. As with the anxiety which left Jimmy unable to eat a full meal during the first few days; chilling out a bit solves most problems.
Something that's made it more monotonous since our rest day is the uniform landscape. We no longer have regular bridges and ports... Now it's just trees. One thing this does do is to emphasise the sights we do come across. Yesterday the jumping fish that made jimmy scream like a girl was a highlight. Today the ineptly covering up nudes gave us both something to look at. Apart from that, the towns have been perfect. Sun-kissed chateaux and more cafes than you can shake a paddle at provide regular highlights. Life could be worse.
Another effect of this beautiful countryside that I keep complaining about is that it's pretty difficult to judge where you are. The last couple of days we've had targets to reach as we chase the Tour De France. Yesterday this resulted in us confirming with a fisherman that our chosen town was around the corner. Same again today. Only thing was, today we'd already gone past our target. On both occasions we've ended the day elated but exhausted, camping on the slipway. Although last night we were worried by an embarking fishing trip, my conversation with the father showed just how nice some French people are - as well as how much my French has improved.
Apart from that we're still eating like kings. The weather's banging and the Loire valley is spectacular. Like I said, it could be worse.