les rues de France 2012 pt 2…Amiens et Rouen

The morning after my fruitless adventures in Lille and Belgium, I had planned to set off for Rouen, stopping in Amiens if the weather improved. The forecast was for rain all day, but the next day looked promising. Off I set through intermittent rain, but by the time I was approaching Amiens, the sun had come out. I drove into town, found some free parking, and walked to the centre to locate the ‘walking street’. It seemed to be bustling, and despite one elderly French busker, there was plenty of room for me to set up without disturbing him. The unwritten rule for me is not to set up within earshot of another act. Would that all of us street rats adhered to that!

I returned to my car, unpacked my gear and set off back to the spot. As I walked it seemed the rain clouds were gathering and darkening by the minute. Nonetheless I continued, arrived at the place I had chosen, and began to set up. Almost immediately rain began to fall. I quickly repacked and set off back to my car through the rain, deciding to eat one of the sandwiches I had prepared and take a nap while it rained. This I did, and when I awoke the rain had stopped. After a quick visit to a cafe for a coffee and a pee, I returned to my spot. I set up and sang for about half an hour and then the rain started again! Still in that short time I hadnt done badly and folks were friendly enough. I look forward to trying again on a brighter day….

I returned to my car and set off for Rouen where I had a room in another Formule 1 hotel booked. By the time I arrived it was pouring down. I parked in a small square near the cathedral and ran to a nearby bar. Time for a beer! The handful of people within were half heartedly watching a TV on which a Euro 2012 football match between France and Ukraine was not taking place on account of the torrential rain there. It had been stopped after 4 minutes play, and the pitch looked like a swamp. Eventually they did begin again and I watched the remaining first half. By this time the rain had stopped and I set off for a walk.
Rouen is a very beautiful city.  The cathedral is extraordinary and perhaps most famous for the many paintings Monet did of it. Nearby was a lovely old cobbled street, long denied to traffic, with shops of all kinds, ideally suited for my purposes in the morning. 

After 2 nights of salads in my hotel room, I decided to treat myself to a hot dinner. I found a brasserie near the cathedral and ate Steak Tartare Normandie, which comes with thinly sliced apple on the top and a glass of Calvados on the side, which I poured over the meat. It was served with some of the best french fries I had ever had and a green salad. Absolutely delicious!

The next morning was clear skied and sunny and by 10.30am I was installed in the appointed spot. I played for about 3 hours, and did well enough to justify taking a short nap in my car and coming back for another hour and a half toward the end of the afternoon. People were friendly and generous and I sold 5 CDs. I even got offered a private gig on Bastille Day in Dieppe, but sadly had to turn it down as I was due back in the UK at that time.

After such a marathon, I was happy to buy a few items in a supermarket and have a quiet supper in my hotel room in front of the computer. I figured out online where I could go to mass the next morning, and turned in early, much encouraged by the days outcome.


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