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France

Saturday, 25 October 2003
nous faisons les textos

Chateau Fleckenstein

This picture was taken at Chateau Fleckenstein, from the top of the castle wall that I displayed on 8 October 2003, but at a different time of day.  ruth is noting the shapes of the mountain. There is a glipse, at the end of the valley, of a village that is just over the border (from Alsace) in Germany.

I have decided to go to Paris for the weekend. eric is having his 40th birthday party at Verneuil-sur-Seine. OK, so not really in Paris itself but the banlieu I’ll go through on Saturday morning, returning Sunday.  It should be fun - I’ll let you know how it goes.

brenda, davidm and holly have been in Spain for the past week. I phoned alex this evening to see how he was doing, but he wasn’t there - he went to the evans for the weekend. Within an hour I got a text message:

Hi hope u r well, Dana said u called * Alx is fine * we r bac Sunday AM * Hope to see u soon grin

Yeah, was just checking up on him. Am leaving tom. for my friend Eric’s 40th b.day in Paris. Coming back to UK on Sunday am.

Eric the half a bee? :*)

Is that a childrens character? If so, beyond my time !

Monty pythn

lil blue meanie just explained. . .  grin

. -Y-

So did the rain all fall on the plain? It is now cold here. Frost this morning.

Littl rain & warm but it will b good 2 b home >o

<

I’ll call you on Sun to see if I can pop round. But have flight on Sun pm back to SXB.

Great looking fwd 2 it I D

This morning it was below zero in Haguenau, with frost on the front and back windows.  But although it remained cold the whole day (maximum 4 C) at least it was sunny.  When I fetched bluemeanie from choir practice this evening, one of the other parents told me it had been frosty in Oxted too.

Posted by bigblue on 25/10/2003 at 12:40 AM
Filed under: France • (3) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share
Thursday, 23 October 2003
la ligne maginot

la ligne maginot

The above photo is one of the 89 shelter bunkers located a few miles behind the ouvrages of the Maginot Line.  All in all the fortified frontier of Alsace with Germany is made up of innumerable fortresses and blockhouses.  Of course Hitler cheated by going around and striking directly towards Paris. Still, one of the forts (Schoenenbourg) held out for a few months, surviving artillery and aerial bombardments.

Today is still cold (2 C) and grey. Outside has the ambiance of a tupperware box. Inside the office, the brighter neon lights keep the melatonin levels at a reasonable level.

I didn’t post yesterday as I got home at about 1 am this morning, after attending evening puja at the centre zazen in Strasbourg and then salsa classes at au camionneur restaurant/bar.  Tonight we are going to other salsa classes, this time at Strasbourg Uni. After that a colleague is participating in a separate salsa animation at another venue.

So salsa seems to be the flavour of the month in this region.

Edit: With thanks to my colleague Lynn for her careful proof-reading of my blog, I have corrected the perennial error of typing seperate instead of separate (28.04.2005).

Posted by bigblue on 23/10/2003 at 04:17 PM
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Wednesday, 22 October 2003
il fait froid

garden

This is the picture of the garden outside my room in chez Wolff.  The garden is very peaceful and in the summer we sometimes eat outside under the tree in the evening. The grass is a bit dry after the long hot summer.

At the moment it is 2 C outside, and it should drop to below zero overnight.  Finally summer is over. Yesterday and today we had showers of rain.

Last night I backed up all my webpages and then upgraded my blog software. It was a bit more time-consuming than I thought it would be, and it’s just as well I made the backup because in my tiredness I made a mistake and the simplest way to fix it was to restore.  You shouldn’t notice any differences after the backup, but it will allow me to introduce more things in the future.

According to lil blue meanie:

bluemeanie is sick today. done
german homework. my day was good.
i want to go to japan.

In fact she has been nagging me about going to Japan since our trip to Cape Town in August. Last year I nagged them about going to Japan (but they weren’t keen and we ended up in Cuba instead). I am pleased that she wants to go now, as I have been wanting to go to Japan for about the last 21 years.

gogo has also been in touch, and said on Sunday night:

I have been reading all your news and looking at the photo’s - such joy to me!  I particularly enjoyed your comments about last weekend in Oxted and the photo of MasterParkholly certainly makes her views known and I agree that she needs to be able to join in conversations!

I won’t lose much sleep worrying about that.

Posted by bigblue on 22/10/2003 at 01:03 AM
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Monday, 13 October 2003
Peter idit vo sxkoluf

Peter and Sophie

This is a picture of my colleagues peter and sophie taken at le clou restaurant in Strasbourg earlier this year.

Today I have been thinking about peter quite a bit. He is now actually an ex-colleague, since he gave up the world of consulting at the end of last month, having decided to do something useful with his life.  First step: join a culte.

I learned lots of interesting things from peter during our 27-month working relationship, including Erich Fromme, the film Götterdammerung, fuel/motor alternatives such as Biodiesel and Elsbett.  We discussed why and how Father Christmas got his red robes in 1931. peter was the one who reassured me that the magnetic poles were going to flip over, not earth itself, which was naturally quite a relief.  He “introduced” me to his famous compatriot Danielapeter told us all who paid for the first Gulf War.  He introduced me to the delights of swimming in lakes in this region, to some local organic food shops and markets and to Slovio (the 2nd or 3rd most widely understood language in the world!). His partner eva introduced me to eurithmy and showed me how to write with my left and right feet!  I miss our many discussions on all the above, and more: peter and eva are now studying together at Dornuch in Switzerland, about 2 hours drive away from here (Haguenau).

St Jean's fire

Talking about cults, here’s a picture peter sent me some time ago of his friends celebrating St Jean’s fire back home (in Slovakia).

Au revoir!

Posted by bigblue on 13/10/2003 at 08:48 PM
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Friday, 10 October 2003
Petite maman s’intèresse beaucoup au RWC

Rhine River

Bon anniversaire!  This week my house-mate anna-sofia celebrated her 22nd birthday.  Here she is (white cap) with her friend erieka, also from Sweden, crossing the Rhine into Germany [taken in July 2003].

Last night I travelled back from France to the UK. Therefore I spent most of the evening just across the border, at Baden-Baden airport, waiting for the other passengers (and airplane) to arrive, and listening to announcements like

Will all passengers for flight FR 9775 make
their way through passport control.

  The airport is so small it would be a disaster if everyone left it to the last minute.  There doesn�t seem to be much chance of that though � the enthusiasm and punctuality of the German passengers seems to match the anality of the announcers.  The other aspect of airports is of course listening to the conversations of your fellow travellers.  stuart brought along his laptop to play pinball and solitaire. In between we laugh and talk a bit.  The guy on the right says loudly into his phone:

I am actually at a place called Baden-Baden.

stuart laughs and looks at me. His response:

It is a bit like that. The other person says �Where�s that?� or you have to say �Nah, it�s not sarf ovva river�.

As stuart gave me a lift to Oxted from Stanstead Airport (1 hour drive), and he was travelling light (hand luggage only) I didn�t bring a suitcase. This saved us half an hour getting through Stanstead.  So I packed some dirty laundry into a small over-shoulder suitcase with my laptop.  Apparently the limit for hand luggage is 7 kgs. Mine weighed 10,5 kgs but they let me through. It can be a problem with these cheap (20 Euro) flights � they get pretty sticky with the rules and regulations.  Coming back they may not be so lenient, because they are pretty �jobsworth� in Stanstead. 

So today is the start of the RWC.  Can�t say that I�m particularly excited though. petite maman is of course, and she sent me a link to a TV schedule giving times and channels for a number of countries.

I was at her house-warming last weekend and must have said something because I had seen a print-out of the schedule on her TV. In the office today ashley, who is from Melbourne, was surprised when I mentioned the RWC. He didn�t know it was on, and isn�t interested in rugby at all.  Apparently they aren�t very big on the game down there.  I laugh Australia wins. His disinterest in this won�t go down very well in our international (though largely French) office.

Posted by bigblue on 10/10/2003 at 03:00 AM
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Wednesday, 08 October 2003
J’habite

Chateau Fleckenstein, Alsace

So, where am I now? Above is a picture I took at (nearby) Chateau Fleckenstein.

I am posting from Haguenau, which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described as:

“.... A quiet, quaint and ancient town
Among the green Alsatian hills,
A place of valleys, streams and mills,
Where Barbarossa’s castle, brown
With rust of centuries still looks down
On the broad, drowsy land below .... “

Posted by bigblue on 08/10/2003 at 06:20 PM
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