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bastards cycling Travel

Car bore: 80

I’ll start by saying that I don’t really mind the new 80 kph speed limit. I’m rational enough to know that in terms of journey time and arrival time, taking into account 50 kph villages, acceleration and deceleration, tractors, lorries, the timid and the hesitant, it’s not going to make much difference. We’re not travelling […]

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bastards cycling Travel

Prenez-le à la limite

  My wife drew my attention to this news, which I missed when the Guardian covered it a month ago. In short: from 1 July 2018, the speed limit on a two-lane French N- or D- road is being lowered from 90kph to 80. This is a reaction to an increase in road deaths in […]

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cycling Travel

Microcosmic

The Ile-d’Yeu is a 30 minute ferry journey from the French mainland, off the Vendée coast.  The Vendée is my favourite part of France: a different kind of landscape, with (I seem to recall) the second best microclimate in France. The Cote d’Azur gets first prize for sunshine, and has the calm, warm waters of […]

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bastards musings

If you have to light a fire, is summer over?

Years ago, before the kids, B and I drove from round here to the South for a week or so, sleeping on the sofa bed in one of her great aunts’ houses. Conventional wisdom had it that you drove overnight, so we set off at 10 pm and, to begin with, stayed on the Route […]

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bastards musings

Will I miss it?

Inspired by Twitter’s top philosopher (or top Twitter philosopher) @guylongworth, this post is. A few years ago, I used to think about retiring to France and worried about missing a few things from the UK. Over time, that list of things-I’d-miss has grown shorter and shorter. Packing for our summer visits would often involve compensating for those […]

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musings

The balcony

We persuaded my oldest to come away with us in the summer, guessing it might be a while before the whole family went on holiday together. She won’t be with us this Christmas, and who knows what she’ll be wanting to do next summer, after ‘A’ levels? Anyway, it occurred to me that I might […]

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bastards

Heading South

I’ve already done my complaining about the South, the narrow strip of coast that seems to attract the whole of France and points beyond every summer, creating a crush of humanity and noisy traffic. Sitting here looking at this view, yes, this view, you’d wonder why anyone would complain. Yes, this rental house is ideally […]

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bastards

Zen and the Art of Barbecue Assemblage

Having noticed the extortionate price of Weber gas (and other) barbecues in France, I cleverly bought one in the UK and shipped it over at Easter with my wife, who was on her own with one of the kids, with plenty of room in the car. (The box was BIG.) I bought a Spirit 320, […]

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bastards cycling Television

Finally: the last days of Top Gear

My sister sent me a link to this article in the Observer, which asks if cycling has “finally” become a natural part of British life. As with most newspaper headlines that ask questions, the answer is, of course no. One of the things the article mentions is how much better cycling is in more civilised […]

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Baking

Home-made viking loaf, attempt #1

In France over the summer, I became enamoured with the Banette Viking, a very dark seeded loaf that only seemed to be in the bakery occasionally. It turned out that they only baked them on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and even then only made around four. On the last Saturday, I bought all four, and […]