Autumn Walk

Mme Patricia Curd

Thank you, Tony, for organising yet another hugely successful walk. Friday 5th October, twenty-one members and friends of the ESU Loire Valley assembled together in the car park of the “Club de Tir” in the woods above St.-Hilaire-St.-Florent to set out together into the forest. Our departure was somewhat delayed due to unforeseen road closures that morning. Anyone who knows the area will understand that it is very easy to get lost around the little roads that twist and turn through the countryside. Several cars circled the area before Tony managed to hail them down. Needless to say at the start of the walk communication between some drivers and their passengers was somewhat strained, to say the least.

All was soon forgotten, however, as we wandered through the autumn woodland. It was a beautiful sunny morning and quite soon jackets were removed as the temperatures soared into the mid-20s. We ambled rather than walked and chattered in little groups as we went along. Meandering provides a good opportunity to chatter and mingle which isn’t always possible at our restaurant meetings.

Gracie was the only dog among the walkers. She was impeccably behaved as usual although she was kept on the lead at all times as first we passed the animal refuge and later we could hear a pack of hounds at a hunt in adjoining woods.

We trampled over pine needles, cones and chestnuts savouring the smell of autumn in the warm sunshine. Several of us wished we had taken bags to collect the fallen nuts but Tony already had his hands full patiently waiting for the stragglers.

Back at the starting point it was a short drive down the hill to the centre of St.-Hilaire-St.-Florent to the restaurant ‘La Bella’Siette’. Tables had been laid for us in the covered veranda.

Two additional members joined the party for a most enjoyable lunch. The chatter continued throughout the meal. At coffee time we were joined by the proprietors’ French bulldog who mingled among us and made friends with anyone willing to talk to him.

Thank you to Jack-Henry for suggesting the restaurant which was perfect for the occasion. And special thanks to Tony who works hard to prepare the Autumn and Spring walks for us, always ensuring that everything is in place and that everyone is safe. On behalf of all of us, Tony, walkers or non-walkers, thank you for taking on the job of providing us with exercise and bringing diversity to our annual calendar.