It cleared up a bit, and we continued on our way, across some more shoddy surfaces that we took on foot- we are still a bit like overly-protective parents when it comes to what our darling karretje can handle in his slightly-damaged state. In addition, I could feel Kev starting to struggle a little bit. As everyone who does a bit of fixing on him remarks, he is an old Raleigh (and luckily not too sensitive about comments regarding his age), and suspension ain't his biggest asset. I frequently try to put him at ease by telling him that wear and tear on the joints is a natural part of that ageing process, but it's difficult to have that right in your face as you are forced over gravelly paths and quaint-but-crap cobblestones. So sometimes we just walk.
There were a few problems with directions- I felt a little bit let down by our man Paul Benjaminse (of the 'Cycling to Paris' book fame) with slightly dubious directions where normally he is so right-on in his guidance! It definitely wasn't our fault that we took a wrong turn somewhere after Dailly and ended up having to go on a little detour with a big dip down and up. Anyway we got to Baileux, and that was the main thing. From here it was onwards to Boulers, and we stopped for lunch in the sun, after, what was it, golly, a hard 30kms? It was our shortest day, but only because from our research, Forges had turned up as the last place with accommodation before Laon (another 70kms), so we accepted today would be a light one. It felt like more though, really, because of the uppy-downy-ness of it, and the “huh?” moments in finding our way.