First we encountered a ghost from the trenches. Hugh recognised him as his grandfather, but a young man now, perhaps twenty, in his khaki uniform. He told us how he'd been gassed at Zonnebekke 'Sunny Stream'. Hugh remembered how he could never eat mustard, how it triggered night-mares. He gestured to the graveyards with their un-named graves 'A Soldier of the Great War. Known unto God'... "These were my friends and comrades... forgotten now". We invited him to join us.
We passed Barakken 'The Barracks' and Triez-Caillon 'Sorting Cobblestones'. An old smuggler took us to where the Cabaret des Pres 'The Cabaret of the Fields' had stood. It was the weedy corner of a maize field now on the Belgian/French border. He told us how, when he was alive in the 1780s he would drink a toast to his smuggling successes. He told us how, even today, his great great great grandsons were bringing drugs over the border, queering the smell with crates of foxes so the police dogs couldn't follow. He showed us the schandpaal 'pole of shame', the stocks where he'd had buckets of piss poured on his head for being caught stealing a hen. He fell in beside the soldier and joined us on our journey.
We passed Dronkaert 'Drunken Man' and Paradise. In front of us stood, suddenly Marcel.
Was he a ghost? He had a pony tail and a yellow nicotine-stained moustache.
"What is this?" He looked at the wagon, "Is it for children? Where are you going?" All the time he was speaking he was tugging at the black stitches from an operation scar on his belly. We didn't invite him to join us
At last we arrived in Moeskren, at La Prairie. Our horse Lotus had finished his first 12 km. He deserved his rest.
The next day we travelled along La Barberie 'The Barbarian', where behind a big fortified farm, we met the ghost of a Roman General. He was dressed in bronze armour and had a purple cloak over his shoulders. He was limping from a terrible festering wound in his thigh, the handiwork of a Gaulish axe. He told us he had been buried under a hill behind the farm. He told us that many centuries ago a castle had been built over his grave, but that too had returned to dust. Then he reached into his chest and pulled out a couple of bullets. "Damn Germans, I'm as full of holes as a gorgonzola cheese. The farm was full of them during the First World War, they set their targets on my hill and half their bullets went into me. Please can I journey with you?" We nodded and he joined our company... and only just in time, from across the fields came the sound of Hurleux 'Shouters', they were running towards the farm with pistols and knives. An attack! On we went, and fast!
our first maps, measuring black carbon quantity in the air and noise level.
thanks IDEA for the collaboration.
a little bit more than 30km today...busy day...we all look happy in the pictures but sometimes is not easy no no ... me personally i had to deal with pain today.. hope just tendinitis on my leg.. is nice to observe and accept the pain.. observing how the body and mind react on it ...play, sing and swear on it. It could happen to reach the point to integrate this pain , kind of eat it in one bite... and it taste adrenaline... anyway without loosing a good mood we've reached the place to rest, and slowly take care of ourselves. Probably this will be the tough week of the journey, but still sunny today. During the walk everyone start to have their own pace and the sideways wayfarers spread themselves along the map...paths crosses here and there.. people are nice to us, someone invite us for a tea in the garden and other attention were given... i had nice conversation on Tarnaq papers and Baumann books and an ice-cream.. everybody has a different way but there are always common points to get a step further...we are XXIst century and looking for new paths to discover the future, that's clear to me.