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  • In September 2011, I went camping for the first time in many years, and I stayed at a small, quiet campsite in the Poitou-Charente region in France. I drove down overnight and was south of Rouen as dawn was breaking, and by the time I was past Le Mans, it was blue skies and bright sunshine.

    Golden fields of Sunflowers are an iconic image of France, but, as I discovered, mid September is not the best time of the year to see them, and as I drove through central France, the only fields of sunflowers I saw were faded, dull brown fields of flowers that were past their prime. I was a little disappointed at not seeing cheery swathes of bright yellow flowers.

    For the first few days of my holiday, the weather was mixed, and when I went out each day, I would leave the campsite in the same direction to go exploring, but, after about 4 days, I decided to head out in the opposite direction for a road tour of a different part of the region.

    The sky was clear, not a single cloud. It was warm, about 30 degrees. There were no other vehicles on the lazy back roads. Then, as I rounded a bend exiting from a tree lined stretch of road, there in front was the most beautiful field of glorious, happy, brilliant yellow Sunflowers.

    It was a wonderful sight to see, Sunflowers that seemed to stretch to the horizon, and it felt special, like I had discovered a hidden secret, and it was all mine.

    I saw many beautiful places during that week but it was finding that simple field of bright flowers which will stay longest in my memory.
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