This picture probably sums up the forthcoming British (yawn) Election.

David Cameron cried for help upstairs, Clegg is to young to worry about varicose veins and Brown probably has them.

We got the impression that last night’s debate was all about Cameron and Brown trying to win the beauty contest about who will be in the ‘hung parliament’.

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[news pic – Sky News]

              On 11th March, a certain law-abiding (yes, they do exist!) Aussie was parking in the City of Melbourne and received a ticket – almost in flagrante, to coin a phrase.

He wrote to the Council as follows – this is true – it has not been made up.

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Amazingly, the City of Melbourne withdrew the ticket.

I wish the same had happened to me in Stonington a year ago. Parking behind Coles/Priceline/Dan Murphy just off Chapel Street Prahran I received a $40 ticket for “placing my parking verification receipt on the right hand side of my dashboard” – NOT the left hand side. Needless to say after numerous letters and telephone calls, they would not withdraw the ticket.

[news source – 2Oceansvibe.com]

                                               By the time the UK election is over, we’re going to be heartily sick of it all – except the ladies who drool over Nick Clegg.

However, to keep us amused, it’s fun to look at the UK media and see how some of the pollies (or maybe it’s the spin doctors?) forget some of the basics of commercial photography – the background is all important!

Last night on Sky News Gordon Brown was filmed in front of a “The Big Lie” poster – surely, not an accident? And. here’s David Cameron later in the day in the UK press:

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Although more synonymous with Remembrance Day in November each year, here in Provence we exhult in the red poppy legacy as they start to cover the many fields that scatter throughout the countryside and lie side by side with regimented vine and fruit fields.

The legacy is clouded as to why the red poppy, so revered as a symbol of World War1 supposedly turned from being a ‘white poppy’ into red. The story goes that the blood soaked Flanders fields, churned up by the soldiers boots which caused the seeds to propagate, stained the white petals red – and from this day forth, we commemorate wars and other violent clashes with the red poppy of peace and remembrance.

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In 1915, at a Canadian dressing station north of Ypres in France an exhausted physician named Lt. Col. John McCrae would take in the view of the poppy strewn Salient and experience a moment of artistic inspiration. The veteran of the South African War was able to distill in a single vision the vitality of the red poppy symbol, his respect for the sacrifice made by his patients and dead comrades, and his intense feeling of obligation to them. McCrae would capture all of this in the most famous single poem of the First World War, In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard among the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If yea break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Retail stocks are recovering and stabilising after the O’Reilly’s B-Class Mercedes hire car left Menerbes resembling a Transkei taxi. La Poste had gratefully received two Colossimos and Jonno was heard to mutter that a few more bags would have to be purchased.

The O’Reillys left us for Barcelona and the first text we received was: “shops are fab” – Emirates are in for a challenge.

On the previous day, the boys took Hannah and Sophie off to the tiny village of Saint-Didier and Le Jarditrain. This is a wonderful model train display covering a huge garden and garage. Everything is computer controlled and they have amazing activities for the kids who are kept busy for hours finding various animals, people and objects in the scenery and amongst the bonsaied trees(www.lejarditrain.com).

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[a very happy Hannah at the train]

As they went in one direction we took off for a day visit to Hyeres – north east of Toulon and Marseilles. After negotiating the excruciating traffic in Toulon, we were able to enjoy a quiet lunch with the Fox-Duncans in one of the many marinas in the village.

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[Hyeres is really no different to the many tourist/fishing/boating villages that dot this part of the Mediterranean coastline. Holiday apartments encircle the marinas and there are many billions of euros of boats and other expensive toys nestling between them]

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The flowers are starting to burst out of their winter sleep. The irises have made their presence known and we have spotted the first poppies. Here is a pic of the amazing lilac tree in front of the house.

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[A glorious show of Wisteria and a local veteran vehicle in the village]

A few days ‘turn around’ and then the first Victims of the Volcano arrived – the Kilners (of the Cape Town, not Melbourne variety) had managed to travel from the UK to Nice and hired a little red Peugeot to pop into Entrecasteaux for a visit and then on to Menerbes.

The weather has improved so much that we sent messages to Gilles and Julian to ‘wake the pool up’. (The Prodigal Son arrives next week and everything must be perfect!).

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[‘Waking up’ the pool means removing the cover and giving the winter hued water a shot of no less than 40 blocks of high intensity chlorine. Special plastic floats are removed from the inlet and outlet pipes which prevented them from freezing if water got in, the pool filter is serviced and then switched on. That’s Julien on the left and Gilles on the right. Swimming is banned for three days, naturally.]

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[Gilles, resplendent in a FIFA 2010 World Cup cap, unscrews the outlet pipe to remove the float]

Gilles took the opportunity to start to repair some of the damage caused by the snow to the cypress trees. They have to be trimmed back radically and the tops lopped off.

Of course, our visitor could not resist a little climb up the ladder. Note the crocs on the feet. 2Oceansvibe readers – we can only say sorry.

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All the cypresses will be treated in this way – but now we wait for the cherry-picker to arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As is traditional, Sunday saw us off bright and early to the market at L’Isle sur la Sorgue. Pictures do it far better than any copy.

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[Charles and Janet at the famous Roman mini-aquaducts]

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[antiques, antiques]

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[Spring in Provence – asparagus and strawberries is cheap abundance]

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[a local busker]

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[another local busker]

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[our smoked salmon man who has a deft touch with the carving knife]

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[one of the nine remaining water wheels funneling water off to houses and commerce]

The first sightings last week to denote that air travel is coming back to normal. We all breathe a sigh of relief as the flocks start to travel again.

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Some amazing pics from Reuters:

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Lionel Messi – arguably the world’s best footballer : playing to half-empty stadia?

The Sun (UK) reports that 2010 FIFA World Cup bosses have half a million tickets unsold – with the tournament two months away. Not even the final has sold out – and neither has any other game.
Now desperate FIFA chiefs hope to shift their ticket mountain by putting them on sale alongside cans of beans at shopping centres and supermarkets in South Africa. Around 500,000 tickets – a quarter of the total – are still available.
FIFA had previously insisted the final on July 11 at Johannesburg’s 95,000-capacity Soccer City stadium was sold out. At this stage in Germany four years ago, virtually every ticket had been sold.

But the global recession, the high cost of flying to South Africa and safety fears have resulted in thousands of tickets and packages being returned by travel agents. Julius Malema’s recent performances must have had an effect too.
Organisers have also realised that the initial online process was not suited to local fans, who are generally poor, do not have credit cards and are not used to buying tickets on the internet.

The Sun reports further that “FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted: The challenge we are working on is to make sure all the stadiums are full and that we are selling all these tickets.”
South Africa 2010 chief Danny Jordan said: “If we have empty stadiums, it will reinforce the idea that football is not supported in the country and that would be tragic.

South Africa fans had bought the most – 925,437 – followed by 118,945 purchased in the United States, albeit to watch different nations.
England fans have bought 67,654 tickets, with the FA saying 23,000 have been bought through their official supporters’ club. Germans have splashed out on just 32,269 tickets.

[News source – The Sun and AP]

“Carl Williams is dead and believe me the world is better for his passing. It’s one more vote for a cleaner Australia. He was scum and don’t let TV shows like Underbelly ever fool you otherwise.” – Derryn Hinch.

As usual the ‘human headline’ from 3AW in Melbourne has cut through the cr-p and told it like it is.

There’s no doubt the Australia’s most notorious and, glamourised criminal Carl Williams was ‘taken out’. The taxpayer is better for it. We feel sorry for the child, especially as her mother is an ex-jailbird, so is her paternal grandfather and her grandmother committed suicide.

Talk about the sins of the fathers and mothers.

Naturally, the Aussie media have had a field day. Fodder for the masses. Sales builders. Circulation boosters. Call them what you will. We love the Underbelly saga!

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The Herald Sun website and, Channel 9 (labelled, the Underworld Channel. Kerry Packer spins………]

 

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For those who are interested in the entire story, download the Underbelly series from iTunes. It’s pretty good – gritty but true.

Suddenly the British election has turned interesting. In what could have become a two horse race between two equally bland personalities has been livened up with the commanding TV performance by Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats.

We’ll leave the world’s press to cover the acres of newsprint, TV screens and computer screens but here’s an interesting thought and sideshow to the election:

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[Graphic – Crikey]

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