Saturday, 2 November 2019

273. "In November you begin to know...

" long the winter will be.” - Martha Gellhorn.

29th November. This is a stunning piece I found recently - Albinoni's Oboe Concerto in D minor, Op. 9, no.2 - II. Adagio. Unfortunately this live recording was marred by the thoughtless person  who just had to cough (nothing registers displeasure quite so quickly and succinctly than a good "thwack" from a baseball bat) during that first sustained note from the oboe - beautifully played here by Amy Roberts..
Quick trip out to an out of town garden centre this morning for some Black Friday shopping. It's a surprisingly warm day (16°C / 61°F) - which is just as well because the forecast for the first few days of next week here is for a shivery 2°C.

28th November. Not a good day to be a turkey today.. especially in the US! Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers here.. (still time to dig out those pants with the elasticated waist!)

An unwelcome envelope in the mailbox at midday.. a speeding fine! 90€ for doing 61km/h (38mph) in a 50km/h (30mph) zone. Ouch! 

George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is a great favourite of mine that I first heard in childhood - and ever since Woody Allen used it brilliantly to underscore the opening credits of "Manhattan" (1979), it has become synonymous with the incomparable imagery of New York's skyline. Both were made for each other.

Many years ago on a business trip, I routed through New York for a destination further south. I first landed at JFK, from where I changed to New York Helicopter (ceased operating in 1988) for onward travel to Newark airport via LaGuardia. Flying low across Central Park in Manhattan in a Sikorsky S58 was truly unforgettable and a real thrill.. and it was just like it appears at 1:31.

See what you think of this latest mix of Gershwin and NY:
27th November. I treated myself to a bottle of Alain Brumont's Bouscassé Menhir this afternoon. It's a 2006 Madiran and it promises to be quite something. Still deciding whether to open it at Christmas or to lay it down in the cellar for a few more years - (I'm an optimist!)

No prizes for guessing who this is..! If it can't be sniffed or licked he's not interested. It makes for many interesting encounters when we go for a walk.. He gets away with murder - especially with the ladies! 

I received a text message yesterday to say that my carte d'identité had arrived and was waiting for me at the Town Hall in Bayonne. Phew.. that's a weight off my mind. As the Brexit saga grinds slowly on, the acquisition of my new status as a French citizen guarantees that, whatever else may happen, I can remain here.

At the 2017 General Election, I received the postal ballot papers only 4 days prior to the Election date and despite returning them lickety-split by post, I was never entirely convinced that my vote had been registered and counted.

After the announcement of the forthcoming UK General Election on 12th December 2019, I asked a friend in the UK if he would act as my proxy and vote on my behalf. When he confirmed that he would, I applied to the town responsible for managing voter registration in my former UK constituency for a postal proxy vote. I arranged for all the necessary papers to be sent to him and he's now primed to vote on my behalf on 12th December.

On returning home yesterday after a shopping trip in Spain, I was amazed to find a complete postal voting pack-up waiting for me in our mail box.. I phoned the Electoral Services office in the UK and they seemed blissfully unaware that I was now equipped with the means to vote twice. How hard can it be to manage a list of voters such that vote duplication does not occur? (How did we ever run an Empire? Ye gods..)   

As things stand, this will probably be the final UK General Election in which I will ever vote. It's a little-known fact of expat life that a registered elector loses the right to vote in UK elections after living outside the country for 15 years. I served in my country's military for almost 30 years and the government insists that my pension must be taxed in the UK - and yet, in 3 years time, I will be disenfranchised by my own country. If I am to be taxed in the UK, I should have the right to vote on how tax revenue is collected and disbursed. (How other countries manage the right of expats to vote in their country of origin). 

The "No Taxation without Representation" mantra was heard loud and clear during the rebellion in the American colonies pre-1776 - and it was a major causal factor of the American War of Independence (1775-1783). It seems that 250 years later that this particular lesson has yet to sink in with the legions of shiny trouser'd civil servants in Whitehall who make the rules.

24th November. Just when I was beginning to think that perhaps we'd seen the last of the rain, the skies opened in the last half hour and we had a torrential downpour. The lunchtime news featured the flooding experienced in south east France in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes.. Starts at 0:25..
Strong winds over the last couple of days have stripped all the leaves from the trees in the garden, especially from our red maple. The forecast was for winds of around 100km/h and it certainly felt like every bit of that when I took the pooch out.

On the bright side, the Beaujolais nouveau is in the shops..! Madame brought home a few bottles of George Duboeuf's Beaujolais nouveau - and we tried some on Friday evening with the wood burner providing us with a toasty heat. Mmmmm! Think they'd call this a hygge moment in Denmark.

19th November. "You Couldn't Make It Up" Department! General Georgelin, the French army general overseeing the reconstruction of Notre Dame, has fallen out with the architect in a disagreement over the spire (below) put in place by Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-19th century that was destroyed in the fire this year. Predictably, General Georgelin agrees with President Macron (no surprises there) that the replacement should be contemporary in design, in opposition to the vision of Philippe Villeneuve, the project's architect. In a meeting over the construction General Georgelin prompted gasps by saying that Mr Villeneuve should “shut his mouth”. (More here)

I think the architect understands exactly what is required of him. He stated unequivocally in mid-October that if he is allowed to restore the building to the condition it was in before the fire, then he will continue in post. If, however, a "contemporary" arrow is added to the spire (in accordance with President Macron's wishes) then someone else can take over. I imagine that neither President Macron nor General Georgelin are remotely qualified to make an artistic judgement on a building of such global renown and significance. Why don't they add a 'contemporary' red nose to the Mona Lisa while they're at it?

18th November. As it's been a dry day so far today here's a little treat for you - the sublime opening minutes of the 3rd Movement (Adagio molto e cantabile) of Beethoven's Symphony No 9 in D minor, played by the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Start the playback at 29:30.. or just enjoy the entire work:

Compare this with Daniel Barenboim's interpretation of the 3rd Movement with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

16th November. Here's an action that I guarantee you'll never see in a TV commercial in any country - other than France. I refer of course to the scene portrayed at 0.07..
I hope "ze pipi rustique" isn't mandatory with the acquisition of a French carte d'identité! 

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Bayonne was soon declared to be at risk of flooding. After a prolonged period of rain (since the beginning of the month) the ground is absolutely waterlogged and so any further rainfall just runs off.

The confluence of both the Adour and the Nive is in the centre of town (right) and the area most at risk in my (non-expert) opinion is where the Nive has been constricted (here) to flow through town. There are other rivers that feed into the Adour such as the Gave - and here are a couple of disturbing short clips (here and here) of the Gave from a few years ago - and one from the Nive. These are all old videos but we can't be far from these water levels.

As the Adour and the Nive are both tidal in Bayonne, it doesn't require too much imagination to see the potential for flooding. According to this map provided by the Town Hall, we are outside the flood risk area.

15th November. During the course of my first visit to the Pays Basque (almost 30 years ago) I was struck by the shape and the structure of the Pyrenees. The mountains are generally steep-sided with jagged summits - and the contorted underlying strata is often visible. It's clear that the Pyrenees are the result of severe forces of Nature at work. This is from Wiki: "The chain's present configuration is due to the collision between the microcontinent Iberia and the southwestern promontory of the European Plate (i.e. Southern France)". Put simply, the Pyrenees owe their distinctive formation to a collision between Spain and south west France.

(Had a phone call from a friend today to tell us that "there was snow on them thar hills!")
13th November. I'm not making a comment either way about the story that follows.. (you'll see why!)

Yesterday we were invited out for lunch by a friend.. and during it, one of the ladies present was telling us that she'd checked the oil level in her car engine by looking at the dipstick and she was shocked to find it was absolutely bone dry.

She drove to the dealership and told her story - and when the man checked, he found that the dipstick hadn't been replaced in its guide - it had merely been inserted somehow around the engine.

He asked her where she had been putting the dipstick and she showed him how she jammed it down the side of the engine so that it held firm..

Laugh? I almost did..☺! (but I know my place!)

You should be able to see (& hear) live images of the beach (of dog walking fame!) at Anglet..

9th November. 8.15pm: I've just closed all the west-facing shutters at the back of the house (and got soaked in the process!) as driving rain continues to blow in from the bay. I think we'll start to see some flooding around the town centre once the levels of the Adour and the Nive start to rise. We're up on a hill here so I don't anticipate any problems.

I opened the back door at around 4am this morning to let the pooch out for a leg stretch - but all I could hear was the sound of water running in the gutters - it was yet another downpour. He went out with the greatest of reluctance - and was back within seconds! (as long as he's happy etc etc)

Here's an artist's rendition of one of our favourite places for an apéro and a spot of people-watching in summer - the tree-shaded place Louis XIV at Saint-Jean-de-Luz:
la place Louis XIV, Saint-Jean-de-Luz
However, once the branches of the platanes are cut back in October, the square loses a good deal of its charm and looks very bare. 
Here's a museum that is sure to be a great success - the newly-opened International City of Gastronomy at Lyon.. (here) and unlike any other museum in the world, you can actually eat the exhibits! 'Look but don't touch' is the rule at most museums, but not at this one - instead visitors are encouraged to taste the exhibits. Exhibits will include menus, recipes, films and photographs. Plus there will be a range of interactive exhibits like the Atlas of Gastronomy, a touch-screen, wall-high map where visitors can learn about cuisines from around the world. On top of this, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a series of tasting sessions and culinary workshops in which audience participation is encouraged. The food visitors can taste here will rarely be repeated. There will be different themes on different days ranging from food from a specific international country to the speciality dishes of certain local chefs. Around 300,000 visitors are expected each year at the International City of Gastronomy. The location of the museum is no coincidence as Lyon has long been considered the heartland of French food. The city and its surrounds are home to 39,000 farms and 80 distinct wines are made in the region.  

Speaking about the opening of the the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie, the president of Lyon Métropole, David Kimelfeld, said: 'Lyon’s gastronomy, a jewel in the crown of the French art of living, recognized as part of the Unesco World Heritage, is integral to the city’s identity and part of its universal appeal and reputation. 'The Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie will be its emblem, a showcase for the entire world to see and enjoy.' The museum will be open every day from 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday to Friday, and from 10 am to 10 pm on Saturdays. The majority of the third floor of the attraction has been dedicated to these events. The recently opened Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie (International City of Gastronomy) in Lyon, France, aims to immerse visitors in the world of both French and global gastronomy using all five senses.

Visitors to the attraction, housed inside the restored Grand Hôtel-Dieu, a former hospital, will have the chance to digest information about everything from how food has evolved through history to setting an attractive dinner table, and from the lives and culinary legacies of Lyon's most revered chefs to utensils used in kitchens around the world.

8th November. Further to my question yesterday about the "One, two, buckle my shoe" rhyme, I'm advised that it continues: "Seven eight, open the gate; Nine ten, do it again". This doesn't ring any bells with me. I'm wondering if there were regional variations to it?

We had a minor domestic event to celebrate today but as it was raining chiens et chats (cats and dogs!), walking to a restaurant in Bayonne was a non-starter. Instead, we headed off to Ascain for lunch at Restaurant Larralde, one of our "bankers" (ie, always a pleasure). When we arrived there, we were delighted to see that they were featuring a set menu with an "Autumn" theme.. (this usually means game: venison, wild boar, wood pigeon etc).

Where to find Irouléguy
We decided on an omelette aux cèpes (wild mushrooms) to start with - then a healthy portion of wild boar served with a red wine reduction.. then a variety of brebis cheeses - and then desserts (ouf!) - and coffee.. followed by a slow waddle back to the car - accompanied by the sound of creaking trousers!

Madame enjoyed a generous glass of Pacherenc sweet white wine as an apéro (me - a dry Jurançon white) after which we switched to our old friend - a velvety Irouléguy Gorri d'Ansa red*.

We won't be eating this evening!

* I know what you're thinking but we only had a glass each of it! Honestly..

There's an excellent feature on Irouléguy wine here. The reds are the ones to try in my opinion - especially Gorri d'Ansa. Irouléguy wines can be sourced in the UK (with Google's help) but sadly with a hefty and unjustifiable mark-up.

The Cave d'Irouléguy is well worth a trip to carry out comparative side-by-side tastings of Irouléguy - without any pressure to buy. You'll find it in the heart of the Basque Country, in the village of Saint Etienne de Baïgorry. And about 300 yards away to the east, you'll find the Fabrique Maison Petricorena - where you can stock up on all sorts of Basque products - including the unobtainium-in-the-UK Sauce Basque (forte - with the red top). It's highly addictive.

I'd recommend trying to search out Jurançon white wherever you are - the dry and sweet varieties are both worth the effort. As for the marketing claims given in the link, clearly neither of us are drinking enough of it! There's a very readable article here on the wines of Jurançon. I think a bottle or two of the sweet would be especially well received at Christmas. 

Whoever is in charge of turning the rain on, I wish he/she would bear in mind that there's an OFF position as well as ON! We've had what seems like a week of downpours, interspersed with short periods of grace that are just long enough to tempt me into making a quick dash out with the dog before turning the rain tap fully on again when I'm far from home..!

7th November. At lunchtime, for some reason or another (two stray neurons colliding after a good lunch?!), I suddenly came out with "One, two, buckle my shoe..".. There was a pause - as a few more lines of the old nursery rhyme were remembered that I hadn't heard for decades - and then this came out: "Three, four, knock at the door.. Five, six, pick up sticks...". I tried to dig deep for the rest.. but I couldn't dredge up any more. If you can finish it off (without Googling(!)), send me the rest via the comment feature at the end of the post. Very odd.. I haven't heard that for years

The vast majority of the visitors to the Pays Basque generally stick close to the coast and often ignore - or simply forget - the rural interior. For me however, the interior has a special magic all of its own that isn't to be found on the glittering coast. Once you've experienced the pleasure of being up high on those magnificent and largely empty hills, with breathtaking vistas all around, the hills fading to blue as they march away into the distance, you'll return time and time again to gaze perhaps at an isolated Basque farmhouse, with its white-washed walls dazzling in the sun, perched high on a hilltop or tucked into the side of a valley - always with that same thought - what would it be like to live there?

Madame - ever-practical - is a "townie" - whereas my instincts would, if left to my own devices, lead me unerringly towards a Basque house on a hill somewhere! (I'm still not totally reconciled to living in town - even though the advantages of doing so are self-evident)

This video explores the interior of the Pays Basque and it starts with a visit to Saint-Martin-d'Arrossa (about 45 mins from Pipérade Towers) and the Massif de Larla:
5th November. Just as well there's no Bonfire Night here in France.. you'd need an industrial-strength blow torch or thermal lance to start your mountain of thoroughly soaked wood.. We've had rain and still more rain (and wind) here - and the avenue is adrift with piles of wet leaves. I shudder to think what it must be like up in the mountains.. When we did our annual Comet weekend in 2017, we enjoyed similar weather - horizontal wind-blown rain - up on the mountains - and it tested our communal resolve to the limit.

2020 Vauxhall Brexit
4th November. The Labour Party is proud to announce that it has a new sponsor for the 2019 General Election - Vauxhall - and that they have just launched a new model - the Vauxhall Brexit. The manufacturer has donated a fleet of them to the Labour Party to help the candidates travel around their potential constituencies. The Brexit was deemed to be a perfect fit for the Labour Party because it looks like it's heading in one direction, but when it moves it actually goes in another - and ultimately it has no idea where it will end up!!

Health Warning: Feel free to skip this next section if you're not a UK voter. The UK is holding a General Election on Thursday, 12th December - but - you're unsure who to vote for? Here's a refresher to remind you of what we've been told since the outcome of the 2016 Referendum. If you voted Leave because you wanted to sever our links with the European Union, then be very wary of the Brexit 'deal' that's being dangled in front of our noses..

When it comes to the day in question, try and bear in mind the following statements by the "Great and the Good" of Westminster and then vote instead for what you actually believe in - what you voted for in 2016 - as opposed to so-called "tactical voting", ie, voting for one party to keep another party out. Remember which party* tried to prevent Brexit from happening by every means, trick and device open to MPs and their Civil Servants. (* Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and SNP)
Since the 2016 Referendum, we've witnessed the greatest outbreak of parliamentary anarchy in the UK that I can remember - and my memory goes back to Suez.

We who voted Leave have been repeatedly characterised by Remainers as racist, bigoted, intolerant, provincial, xenophobic, uneducated Little Englanders who are nostalgic for Empire.. and I'm sure there are a few more epithets that I've forgotten. I can only speak for myself - I love France and Europe - it's the undemocratic and unaccountable European Union that's been forced on the people of Europe by a politically motivated élite that I take exception to. I was brought up to believe that those who indulge in ad hominem attacks have lost the argument. As I've written before here, Brexit is all about returning sovereignty to the UK - everything else flows down from that.

Here's the full text of the Withdrawal Agreement. If it is passed into law, Boris Johnson's Treaty will mean:
  • Britain remains under EU rules but with no vote, no voice, no veto. During the Withdrawal Agreement’s extendable ‘transition period’ (which lasts until at least the end of 2020 and almost certainly years longer), we won’t withdraw from the EU at all but become non-voting members. We will still be trapped in the EU customs union and single market, subject to all existing EU laws and any punitive new ones they might pass (Articles 4.1, 4.2, 6, 41, 95.1, 127). And we’ll be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) (Arts 4.4, 4.5, 86, 87, 89, 95.3, 131, 158, 163). The difference is we won’t have any say (Arts 7.1, 34). Is this Brexit?
  • EU judges can still override our laws. The ECJ – a foreign court – governs the Treaty and EU law takes precedence. Future British parliaments will be bound to obey ECJ rulings, and UK judges will be obliged to overturn laws passed by our Parliament if the ECJ says they don’t comply with the Treaty or the EU laws it enables (Articles 4.4, 4.5, 86, 87, 89, 95.3, 131, 158, 163). In some cases, the ECJ will rule for years even after the transition ends. How is this possible?
  • We won’t control our fishing. The dreadful Common Fisheries Policy continues in UK waters during the extendable transition period, but we will have no say in it (Article 130). That means huge foreign trawlers plundering our waters at the expense of our coastal communities. After the transition, the Political Declaration (PD) signs us up to sharing ‘access to water and quota shares’ (PD, paragraph 73) – which equals continued EU exploitation of UK fishing grounds. No way José..
  • We still won’t be free to trade as we see fit. Boris boasts of leaving the EU customs union. Yet the Political Declaration states any future free trade agreement with the EU must ensure ‘a level playing field’ (PD, paragraph 17, 77) and ‘deep regulatory and customs cooperation’ (para 21). This means sticking to EU rules. It will be hard for the UK to reduce tariff barriers to cut the cost of living and make trade deals with other nations. The PD also requires we pursue ‘ambitious customs objectives that are in line with the Parties’ objectives and principles’ (para 22) – another restrictive EU customs union in all but name. Is this Brexit?
  • We won’t have control of our tax or state aid policies. EU law applies to the UK during the transition period (WA, Article 127), and beyond that the Political Declaration obliges the UK to adopt EU rules on state aid rules and ‘relevant tax matters’ (PD, para 77). This all means we can’t change tax rates to be more competitive and can’t assist a strategic industry such as British Steel. Is this the UK being an independent nation again?
  • Britain can’t pursue an independent foreign policy. The Treaty restricts UK sovereignty by preventing us taking ‘any action likely to conflict with or impede’ EU foreign policy (Article 129.6) – despite having no say in policy making. The UK will be signed up to all EU treaties, including new ones, throughout the transition period, and must ‘refrain… from any action… which is likely to be prejudicial’ to EU interests within international organisations such as the United Nations Security Council and the WTO (Art 129 points 1 and 3). Is this Brexit? (How on earth did Mrs May or Boris sign up this?) 
  • Britain can’t pursue an independent defence policy. The Political Declaration commits us to security integration through the European Defence Agency and the European Defence Fund (PD, paragraph 102(c)). We will fund the EU’s military plans during the transition period at least, and British troops in EU battlegroups will be under foreign command (WA Articles 128.2, 129.7, 156, 157). We're a nuclear power, a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and a founding member of the NATO Alliance (before the EEC and the EU were thought of). Defence matters are totally outside the remit of the EU. How on earth did Mrs May or Boris agree to this?) 
  • The United Kingdom will be divided. The Treaty creates a de facto customs and regulatory border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain. Goods moving between NI and Britain will be checked. Citizens living in NI would effectively be staying in the EU, without any say in their laws, for at least four years after the transition and quite possibly forever. In other words, the UK gives up part of its sovereign territory —for what? (“Backstop” Protocol Articles 5 and 6.2). Is this Brexit?
  • We pay the EU billions and get nothing in return. The Treaty commits us to pay a sum to be decided by the EU (WA, Part Five). The £39bn payment demanded is likely to be just the start, with billions more to follow. What have they been smoking? Does this sound like a good deal to you?
  • And we’ll be trapped by the Political Declaration. The problems won’t end with the transition period. Don’t be fooled just because the Political Declaration on future relations is not legally binding. Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement requires us to use ‘best endeavours, in good faith’ to negotiate a future deal in line with the PD. Any breach of this duty will see the EU haul Britain before an arbitration panel – half EU appointees, half pro-EU judges from the UK. And the panel must defer to the European court on anything concerning EU Law. If they rule that a UK law goes against the Political Declaration, UK courts will have to overturn that law (WA, Articles 170-175). The Political Declaration is a trap from which there is no plausible escape. You must be joking.. No wonder Boris only talks about losing the Irish back-stop. 
Can any Brexiteer inclined to support this Treaty honestly say that it amounts to a proper Brexit? We deserve better than this. A Clean-Break Brexit remains the best deal for Britain. We need a General Election for a Leaver alliance to win a big majority and make Brexit a reality.

There's only one party committed to taking the UK out of the EU with no "deals" - just out - and that's the Brexit Party and fortunately Nigel Farage has chosen to contest and fight every seat with a Brexit Party candidate. He's doing this to ensure that as many of the electorate as possible will have a Brexit Party candidate to vote for - a candidate from the only party committed to leaving the EU with no strings attached. It's that simple. 

3rd November. If you're not familiar with the great Chet Baker, listen to his understated trumpet playing - described as "minimalist eloquence"..

The squally rains sweeping through here today from the west put me in mind of the atmospheric opening scenes of Woody Allen's 2011 film "Midnight in Paris" - a well-chosen montage of Parisian scenes accompanied as always in Allen's films by a great jazz track - in this case, it's Sidney Bechet with his "Si Tu Vois Ma Mère"..
We're thinking of going up there sometime before Christmas for a few days.. As in visiting London, I think about 3 days-worth will be my limit! (Too crowded for my liking)

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of strong winds as they howled around the house. Every now and again, I'd swear I could feel the house shudder as it was buffeted by a sudden gust of wind. The forecast last night was for onshore winds of 140km/h (90mph) and they sounded every bit of that. I'll go down to the beach this morning to take a look what's going on down there.. the waves should be spectacular.

This morning the garden and the avenue were covered with twigs and ragged and torn leaves.. there were some almost a foot across that were from platanes (plane trees).. I took the dawg down to the beach mid-morning and the grey sea was a mass of churning explosions of foam whipped up by the strong winds. I sympathise with anyone finding themselves at sea, especially in the Bay of Biscay, on a day like today.

I must congratulate the South African Springboks for their stunning victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final.. Despite England having played what many observers said was the perfect game against New Zealand last Saturday, clearly the 'Boks hadn't read the script because they shot out of the blocks playing their devastating blend of direct power rugby and speed that England simply couldn't cope with. The men in white were second best all over the pitch - and this was especially evident in the scrum where the mighty Boks just pushed them aside. A well deserved win by the Boks. England can have no complaints. 
2nd November. There are still several places on my "To Do" list - I mentioned a day or two ago the church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe set high up on a rocky outcrop on the north coast of Spain. To that could be added the Café Iruña at Pamplona.. Here's a Flash Mob having an "impromptu" sing in the Café Iruña - it looks somewhat staged to me - but still fun. This is yet another of Ernest H's hideaways! Enough said. This is exactly the sort of café in the grand style that I wish we had nearby:
Then there's the Flying Boat Museum at Biscarosse (Le Musée de l'Hydraviation de Biscarosse) - this has been gathering dust on my "to do" list for years. Photos here.

There's also the Guggenheim at Bilbao.. a visit that's difficult to manage with the dog. Still trying to work out how best to do it. Another one is the suspension bridge at Holzarte.. There are more!

Later this morning: How wrong could I be!!! I'll stick to weather forecasting from now on..☺

8am. The day of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final in Japan.. Who's going to emerge with the win? What a question..! If I was a betting man I'd stake the house on England. They really impressed in the match against the current world champions New Zealand (or, as French TV commentators have it, "les Nouvelles Zeds"). They meet South Africa's Springboks in the final but I honestly don't see that South Africa have the weapons in their armoury to trouble England. If England do win today, they will have beaten in this RWC all the giants of the southern hemisphere: Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - Wales and France having both dodged the bullet.

By the end of the morning, this forecast will be proven to be either fine judgement on my behalf - or, as seen by the usual England haters, as yet another example of English arrogance! We'll see! Kick-off is in 2 hours..   

1st November. Living in this blessèd corner of France, winters usually only have one attribute - rain! - but when it's not raining, there are often burning blue skies to keep the spirits up. I'll be glad when they make an appearance!


Anonymous said...

Glad that you are not a betting man and the house is safe! What a shame for England. Lesley

Pipérade said...

Who would have expected the wheels to fall off the wagon like that? After Kyle Sinckler's exit, they were unrecognisable from the team that took the ABs apart just a week ago. I switched off a few minutes into the second half when the score was 15-6 - the writing was on the wall in big letters. When you see the scrum being shoved backwards like that, it's game over.
On the bright side, I've still got a house to come home to!

Anonymous said...

As always I have to vote for the party that has a manifesto that I agree with most and hope that the result of the election enables them to implement it. This has not been the case for so long now that I am concerned what any outcome will produce with smaller parties calling the tune and the tail wagging the dog!

Pipérade said...

I think it's too early to decide which party to vote for on 12 December. I believe we'll see some kind of deal done between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party. I don't think Boris' "deal" meets the needs of those who voted Leave. I'd rather leave on No Deal (WTO terms) and be truly independent than be beholden to the EU and the ECJ.

Anonymous said...

That was what I voted for a Brexit Lifetime ago. Lesley

Pipérade said...

We keep being told that No Deal will be "catastrophic".. I don't believe it. Sounds like "Project Fear" to me. If money is involved, Big Business will always find a way through. Whose interest will it be in to delay things at ports of entry.. The EU export waay more to the UK than vice versa - so the usual suspects (politicians) may bleat but business will continue.

Anonymous said...

There is a newish ad for a car that is a reprise/rip off/homage to the old Coke ad where the women meet up at the window to see the 'hunk' drink his regular refreshment. The car version features the same backing tune and the women (plus a man) watch the car park! As you may note I have no idea what brand of vehicle - or for that matter which drink it was- does this mean that the ad does not work? Lesley

Pipérade said...

You'll have to find a link for that one.. doesn't ring any bells with me.