The Story of the Leatherman and Other Things…

The Leatherman

I stop for a snack at a forest cross-roads – a nectarine and apple ought to see me through to lunch. So out comes the leatherman to slice the juicy fruit, which is rapidly devoured. To search for a much needed tissue, I carefully place my shiny-new, blue and silver leatherman knife on top of a not-so-shiny (but blue and silver none-the-less) ‘sharp corner’ road sign, which I was parked up against.

‘Must remember the knife’, I think.

‘Mustn’t forget to remember’, I also should’ve thought.

Tissue found; hands and face cleaned of nectarine mush; rubbish neatly cleared away; map checked; ready to cycle. And off I cycle.

Arrived at a small town just 15minutes later and decide it’s time for lunch already! Bread and cheese bought, I open my handlebar bag to get the leatherman to slice the already pungent Camembert. Rifling through my things, I’m wondering where the leatherman is…

And then it comes to me. ‘OH NO!!’ (I actually used several explicit expletives, which I’d rather not repeat in print). ‘Must remember the knife’.

Quick recall – it wasn’t that far back since my break, it wasn’t busy so the knife will probably still be there (rather well camouflaged too) and I do rather like that leatherman and it has been coming in very handy.

Quick u-turn (making sure I’ve got everything with me) and off I go to get it.

A 7-mile round trip and I’m back in town with baguette, Camembert AND knife. Now I can have lunch.

Pretty sure I won’t be making that mistake again – I’ve got far enough to cycle as it is, without having to make detours due of pure idiocy on my part.

The Other Things

Two days later and I stop for another break –  to take some photos of an historic church in a quaint, popular village. Being security conscious as I am, I sling my handlebar bag with my valuables in over one shoulder, while I wield the camera and shoot the church from every conceivable angle. Photographing done; time for a snack – bread and jam this time. So I set my things on a park bench and set about filling my stomach. Contented, I put the food away and off I cycle, happily enjoying the rays of sun and mild breeze on my way.

Passing a field of sunflowers, I spot yet another photo opportunity and reach for the handlebar bag to get the camera, but it’s not there. Now that’s really strange… OH NO!! (and yet more expletives).

This time, no recall needed.

Quick u-turn on the double and a cycle sprint back to the park bench.

Too many thoughts to properly process in the dash back…. what was in the bag? (passport, money, credit cards, gps, ipod, compact camera, phone, keys, THE LEATHERMAN!…) and the DSLR camera was on the bench too. What’s the process in France for reporting lost/stolen items? Maybe a nice villager picked it up for safe-keeping knowing the fool who left it all would be back? How could I make the same mistake again?…

Dripping with sweat, I turn the corner round that lovely, historic church in that quaint, popular village and I see all my things, just as I left them. PHEW!! Now that really is a relief!

Lessons learned:

  1. I clearly am very capable of making the same mistake twice.
  2. The leatherman is blatantly not going to make it will me to Cape Town. Accept it.
  3. I am an idiot.
  4. I am a lucky idiot.

I really hope I won’t be making that mistake again! I might not be so lucky another time.

Hope you enjoyed reading… A full update on my first week on the road in France coming very soon