Thursday, 24 January 2013

201. Réseau Comète on the map..

24th January 2013. As both my regular readers will be aware, since living in this region, I've taken a great interest in the Comet Line - a network that was set up in WWII by a 24 year old Belgian woman - Andrée de Jongh. Her noble aim was to assist evading Allied aircrew shot down over the Low countries to return to the UK via the Pays Basque and on to Gibraltar and home.

If this subject is new to you, then scroll down and look in the left hand column to where it says Shortcuts.. Click on Comet Line. A few minutes reading there should bring you up to speed. For quite some time I've been of the opinion that the activities of Comet during the war deserved a large scale map and so I've been busy the last few days populating an interactive map with sites of special significance to those interested in the Comet story. The map coverage extends from Spain, up through France to Belgium and a few sites in Germany.

Holding your cursor over any of the locations should bring up its brief description - and clicking on the location should bring up an image after a second or two's delay. Just underneath where it says Terrain (in the top right hand corner of the map) there's a button that will bring the map up in full screen and use the +/- signs at the top left to zoom into and out of the map. The locations are accurate in 99% of cases down to house level so it is worthwhile zooming in.
Please let me know if you spot any major omissions or inaccuracies. The images are a mix of my own plus those I've trawled from various places on the net. If I happen to have used one of your images and you'd rather I hadn't, let me know and I'll remove it.

31st January 2013. I've been busy lately working on things related to the Comet Line.. so I haven't had much time to scribble here. Just thought I'd mention that we had lunch outside today in Bayonne.. It's still January and it was 17-18°. There's a good little Italian on the banks of the Nive - we've been there before and it's worth a look if you find yourself in Bayonne. Tick VG!

2nd February 2013. It was a great afternoon for some serious armchair sport today - it was the first day of the annual 6 Nations rugby.. There were two matches yesterday - the first turned out to be a thriller in Cardiff between Wales (last year's Grand Slam winners) and Ireland. The lads in green held out to win 30-22:
The other match was England vs Scotland  for the Calcutta Cup. This is always a fiercely competed fixture as this is the one that the Scots hate to lose. Yesterday's match saw a hard-fought win for England by 38-18. Some commentators have suggested that the 20 point margin of victory was not a true reflection of the game but that's how it finished. As always it was hard to watch - my legs were twitching constantly! Here are the highlights:

4th February 2013. Yesterday saw Italy squaring up to France in Rome - the final match of the first weekend's 6 Nations action. And what a game it turned out to be..! For the second time in 2 years, the Azzurri of Italy beat les Bleus of France in a - at times - ragged encounter. I have to say that there were times in the second half that France appeared to have lost all cohesion and they looked like a dispirited rabble. I think it was the worst display by a French team that I can remember. I don't think the sole answer lies in changing the manager either. England faced a similar situation after the last RWC and they appointed a new manager who rebuilt the team with many new faces who play a different game to the sideways crabbing tactics that they showed under Martin Johnson. I wonder if Guy Novès (manager of Stade Toulousain) will be offered the post?

I don't think it will be too long before Italy move up the pecking order in the international rankings table. Here they are winning 23-18.    

9th February 2013. It's been a wet week here in the Pays Basque - too wet for outings on the river - with only the 6 Nations rugby this weekend to add some sparkle. Today sees Scotland play Italy in what I expect to be a bruising encounter at 1430 UK time then France play Wales at 1700 UK time - with both sides there looking for their first 6 Nations win of the 2013 series. What could be better after a good Sunday lunch than Ireland vs England in Dublin. (at 1500). This promises to be a cracker of a match by two sides that are widely tipped to be the best this year. Too close to call in my opinion. All matches are being shown on BBC1. Watch it live via this!

10th February 2013. I mentioned earlier that I've been busy with the Comet Line lately. Here's a video I put together of some of the many courageous people who chose to involve themselves in what turned out to be an extremely dangerous occupation. If you click on the YouTube logo and watch it there instead of here, then look underneath the viewing screen and click on "Show More", I've written brief notes and in most cases included a link about each of the men and women.

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