Wednesday, 2 May 2012

184. Après moi, le déluge

2nd May 2012. It looks like the weather has finally turned warm and dry again here.. In common with much of the rest of western Europe we've been deluged with water here for the last hundred years / well, since Christmas anyway / last month (delete as applicable) and, with the sun up and running, the garden has started a belated frenzy of growth. The graphic on the right shows the different amounts of rainfall experienced between March and April across major cities in France. Look who's #1..!

I have to mention the lawn here - I know I'm going to regret saying this but at last it's starting to look reasonable with no bare patches. We've tried a number of different types of grass seed before landing on the one that seems to be working best - Gazon Rustique Sud. This is a coarser bladed grass of the type that seems to flourish in the US - hopefully it will resist the baking summer heat better than its predecessors.. And if anyone else out there has been plagued with birds pecking the life out of their garden then I can highly recommend dangling some old CDs in strategic places. I was slightly sceptical about this old trick but since I hung about half a dozen up a week or two ago, the garden has been bird-free - which is a pity as I like having birds around - but, for some unknown reason, they'd been pecking the bejasus out of the lawn.. Tip: Des O'Connor CDs seems to work best!

This cartoon reminded me of the frustration I felt 6 months ago after my PC had a major meltdown due to a virus that I inadvertently let in.. PCs have become such a necessary part of our daily lives as we turn to them more and more - accessing news from all parts of the globe, managing our finances online, linking up with friends via a webcam on Skype and a thousand other things we never dreamed of. Consequently when our PCs have a hiccough, the impact is felt immediately and across a whole range of our activities. This cartoon sums up the feelings I had the last time it happened.  

It's a long time since I've featured a slide guitar here so here goes - it's from that underrated little film "Crossroads":
6th May 2012. Yesterday evening at ~5pm the new SNCF bridge being built to replace the 152 year old structure in the background - built by Gustave Eiffel (yes, him!) - collapsed into the Adour. Full story here. (English  translation here) (Slideshow here)
Bridge in the troubled water
The Sous-Préfet of Bayonne has been quick to act - for safety reasons, he has closed the river to traffic. That means, for the immediate future, that my former club - Société Nautique de Bayonne - will not be able to row upstream from their position just a few metres downstream of the two bridges and, secondly, rail traffic has been forbidden to cross the old Eiffel bridge just a few metres away.
video
The two rowing clubs in Bayonne (Société Nautique de Bayonne and Aviron Bayonnais) have co-existed in an uncomfortable relationship since Aviron Bayonnais (my club) was formed in 1904 by a breakaway faction of Société Nautique members following the expulsion of an individual for irregular activities (ahem!), perhaps more befitting the former head of the IMF! As the more turbulent waters of the Adour downstream from the Société Nautique don't consistently lend themselves to rowing, the Société Nautique might elect instead to row on 'our' river, the Nive. Who knows, it could even lead to a thawing of the relationship and perhaps a rapprochement

2 comments:

Lesley said...

Perhaps the club frostyness will thaw and some good will come out of the collapsed bridge.
Look forward to seeing the eventual 'blame' being placed on the damage and, fortunately, only two injured. I suspect that Aquitaine, SNCF, EU will be paying a bit more in the longrun after having accepted the lowest bid.

Pipérade said...

I must admit that it seems strange to me that, in a town of 40,000 inhabitants, there are 2 rowing clubs that seem to exist in the other's blind spot. Think a thawing of the relationship could only be for the best.
As for the bridge, I suspect the contractor will be hammered. I'm no structural engineer but I suspect that, in the pressure to get the project back on schedule, the crews fitting crosswise concrete beams on the structure placed them assymetrically vs the concrete bridge supports - causing the joints between the modules to fail. It's only my guess though.