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18th: Now Jenny has decided to “get on the bike”. She has been cycling a few times in Canada and on holidays in the UK, but my impression is that these trips have been at a fairly gentle pace. We decide to take things step-by-step, so our initial effort is to cycle down to the village shop and back. Most of the journey to the shop is downhill, and although Jenny at times seems a little wobbly, after working out how to change gears, she is more or less in control of her vehicle.

The journey back is more of a challenge. The road back to Les Oliviers seems more or less flat in the car, but when you are cycling, every gradient is either plain sailing (down) or a challenge (up). About two thirds of the way back, Jenny stops dramatically and sits on the side of the road breathing as if she is about to have a major cardio-pulmonary incident. I try to be supportive, and we end up after a brief pit stop wheeling the bikes back up the remainder of Chemin des Capitelles and then down the steep slope to Les Oliviers.

Clearly we will both need to be more fit. I dig out the skipping rope from my kanken rucksack. That afternoon I manage a brief run of no more than 15 skips before the pain becomes too  much for me. Rather like on the journey with Emily, before I catch my second wind, my chest aches and I feel too much pain on my thighs to proceed. I dive in the pool, have a read of my Fractals book, then have another go. This time I manage another 15 before once again retiring hurt. It’s ridiculous. I realise I am totally unfit. By the end of the afternoon, I have raised the number of skips I can do in one go to 50, and I have done 300 altogether.

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