Well, I am back from France; the trains (buses) all worked as expected to get me back to Ebbsfleet bang on time, and a hero's welcome from my brother in law Andrew.
The trip has been a good one, 60 miles walked in 6 days ( with a very welcome day off in the middle). The scenery has been great, perhaps not as spectacular as it will be later on in places like Conques and Rocamadour, as the first part of the path travels across high level plateaux, all rolling countryside rather than valleys and hills. But the plateaux are covered in flowers at this time of year and we were fortunate to be there before the cows were let out to eat them all, so we were treated to acres of wild daffodils, small pansies in varied colours from pale yellow to purple, orchids, cowslips and wood anemones, to name only the most extensive. We also chased a number of small birds which tended to be impossible to identify reliably without binoculars and a bird book, but the kites, red and black were easier to see, and the sounds of the cuckoos and woodpeckers pretty typical.
The towns/villages were a bit minimal, but had their moments. A mad woodcarver in Saugues had produced much to marvel at, and there were some beautiful stained glass windows in the varied churches on our way.
France is beset with bank holidays in May, which led to a few hairy moments, particularly in Aumont Aubrac when we realised that the shops would not be opening that afternoon, despite our lack of rations for the evening meal. We were very lucky that the local hotel was prepared to feed us (possibly under false pretences, but no matter). Pilgrim meals at Gites have allowed us to try some local delicacies including Puy Lentils, wild greens as salad and Aligot, a sort of cheesy potato. All have been delicious, though its difficult to be picky about food at the end of a hard walking day!