10 October 2010

Good morning to you all and a happy 10-10-10.

So, a bit of a weather update for you. Following last week’s “good cop, bad cop” pattern, we had a grim day on Sunday, Monday was pretty reasonable; Tuesday was awful, Wednesday was pretty good and then Thursday was . . . oops! It was pretty good. Friday, a bit overcast and the forecast earlier in the week for Saturday was sensational – bright sunshine and temperatures approaching 70 degrees. Alas, I’m afraid to say it was not to be. Saturday turned out to be overcast and cool. Still, today’s forecast is . . . sensational! Bright sunshine and temperatures approaching 70 degrees. Hmmm, we’ll see how it works out: as I look out the window the sky is . . . grey and dreary, just for a change.

In spite of the forecast for July-type temperatures, one can certainly tell that autumn has arrived. We’ve had the occasional chilly dip overnight and, as Molly walked us around the Edgcote estate earlier in the week, we noticed some very bright yellow colour amongst a couple of the trees. Clearly we don’t get the colour those of you in the northeast traditionally get to enjoy, but the early signs are that this year could be moderately spectacular for the UK.

We watched the film French Film (aka A Frenchman’s Guide to Love) the other evening. It’s a bit of light fluff but was tolerably entertaining if not exactly one to challenge for the Oscar. At one point one of the characters describes what falling in love is like. Amongst the other descriptions, he says that when one falls in love everything in the world takes on a sepia tinge. Later in the film when the main character, Hugh Bonneville, realises that he is falling in love with another character, everything in the film turns sepia as the camera pans away. At that point, Pen turned to me and asked, “Is that how it is with you? Does everything seem to be in sepia?” To which I obviously replied, “You mean you see things in colour?!!”

Nothing else of any significance this week, I’m afraid so I’ll move on to a couple of articles which caught my fancy this week. The first comes from the BBC site and is an article about the incipient London to Paris cycle path. Although it is in no sense a finished product currently, the idea is, apparently, for a traffic-free cycle route, safe enough for a child, linking London and Paris. Still, enough of it is in place already, it seems, for the BBC correspondent to cycle its length. Not surprisingly, stretches of the path make use of disused railway lines and, equally not surprisingly, the quality of the disused railways and their suitability as cycle paths is markedly different on either side of the channel.

The French have converted the railways into broad, hard-surfaced tracks, suitable for rollerbladers and wheelchairs as well as cyclists. They have also kept control of vegetation around the path, so that for the most part the surrounding countryside can be seen and enjoyed.

On the British side the paths are so overgrown that they resemble tunnels, providing barely a glimpse of the world outside. Mile after mile, this becomes monotonous.

Only one of the British disused railways (the Cuckoo Trail) has a hard surface – and it was being well used by wheelchair users and elderly people in mobility scooters the day I travelled down it. The others have lumpy surfaces of cinder, chippings and earth that are barely manageable on a narrow-wheeled road bicycle.

If it weren’t for that I’d be on my way tomorrow!

1982 PetrusThe second article to catch my eye referred to one of my favourite activities – drinking some half decent wine. This was about the eye-watering prices being commanded by some of the finest wines in the world. The auction house Christies has a wine coming up for sale, a 1982 Petrus, which is estimated should fetch about £4,000 per bottle. The article says that the 1982 Petrus is generally recognised as being the best wine there is. However, it goes on to say that next to a good Bordeaux costing about £20 the differences are small, which for those of us on a budget, is good news.

Still, that’s small change compared to a case of 1978 Richebourg Burgundy being offered by Berry Brothers and Rudd for a mere £135,000 or a cool £11,250 per bottle. Can you imagine? And to think: Penny is not particularly keen on Burgundy. Whew! Thank goodness for that.

Finally, some photographs from the recent International London Tattoo Convention. Hmm, I’m still not convinced that the tattoos will look all that cool when their owners are in their 60s and 70s. I guess I’ll stick to drinking wine.

Love to you all,

Greg