We found this bench in Kent, near Sissinghurst, UK.

We found this Moggy in a coffee shop in Biddenden, Kent

This is Kent, England we’re talking about..

Meet Bugsy O’Reilly. (Charlie de la Poste’s pen friend).

Bugsy

Our local ‘cave’ or cellar is the Cave de Lumieres. Well situated on the D900 between Coustellet and Apt, it is a small co-operative but produces and markets great wines at very affordable prices.

One of the producers who supplies his wines to the Cave de Lumieres for bottling and marketing is the acclaimed Oscar-winning Director, Ridley Scott (The Gladiator, A Good Year etc).

 

The Chicken wine

The Cave has just bottled ad launched some of Scott’s red wine – the label has little chickens on it.

Why, you may ask!

Scott has a largish estate between Oppede and Menerbes. He visits it once a year but he is notorious in the area for the ‘story of the chickens’.

His neighbour is an Avignon academic with a smallholding and the proud owner of a few chickens. Each morning the cock woke Scott with his crowing and he made no less than six attempts in a local court to have the chickens wiped out. After the sixth court had thrown the application out, the magistrate lost patience and told Scott that he may not bring his chicken case to court again. Undaunted, Scott offered his neighbour €60,000 to dispose of his chickens.

The result? The professor regarded this as an insult and purchased another 30 chickens which still crow in the morning. The only loser in the case has been Scott’s popularity with the local population! The academic has now planted a stone sculpture of a chicken crowing on his gate post, right in Scott’ line of sight when he drives to his front gate.

 

The Channel Tunnel (French: Le tunnel sous la Manche; also referred to as the Chunnel) is a 50.5-kilometre (31.4 mi) undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in the UK with Coquelles,  near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is 75 m (250 ft) deep. At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the Channel Tunnel possesses the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world, although the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres (33.46 mi) and deeper at 240 metres (790 ft) below sea level.

The tunnel carries high-speed  passenger trains, Eurotunnel roll on/roll off  vehicle transport—the largest in the world—and international rail frieght.

Arriving at the immigration entrance at Coquelles. So easy, the camera recognises your car and in you go!

 

Ideas for a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as 1802, but British political and press pressure over compromised national security stalled attempts to construct a tunnel. The eventual successful Eurotunel project began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. The project came in 80% over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has faced several problems. Fires have disrupted operation of the tunnel. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers have attempted to use the tunnel to enter the UK,causing a minor diplomatic disagreement over the siting of the Sangatte refugee camp, which was eventually closed in 2002.

After customs formalities and a visit to Duty Free, you drive down a huge ramp and alight the platform – all the time in your car.

 

Getting close!

 

The polite marshalls keep you driving until you back on to the car in front

 

All very safe, clean and secure

 

 

To-day it is profitable with up to 4 trains an hour making their way in both sirections. There are three tunnels in all, a service tunnel runs between the two main train line tunnels.

 

35 minutes later, arriving in Folkestone after travelling at 140km per hour, you drive off and straight on to the Motorway. Too easy!

 

A peep backwards to see what an empty coach looks like.

 


The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the Miracle of Dunkirk, code-named Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between 27 May and the early hours of 4 June 1940, because the British, French, and Belgian troops were cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk in the Second World War. The evacuation was ordered on 26 May. In a speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill called the events in France “a colossal military disaster”, saying that “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured. In his ‘We shall fight on the Beaches’ speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”.

From 28–31 May 1940, an event known as the Siege of Lille involved the remaining 40,000 men of the once-formidable French First Army in a delaying action against seven German divisions, including three armoured divisions, which were attempting to cut off and destroy the Allied armies at Dunkirk. According to Churchill, “These Frenchmen, under the gallant leadership of General Molinié, had for four critical days contained no less than seven German divisions which otherwise could have joined in the assaults on the Dunkirk perimeter. This was a splendid contribution to the escape of their more fortunate comrades of the BEF”.

 

 

 

On the first day, only 7,011 men were evacuated, but by the ninth day, a total of 338,226 soldiers (198,229 British and 139,997 French) had been rescued by the hastily assembled fleet of 850 boats. Many of the troops were able to embark from the harbour’s protective mole onto 42 British destroyers and other large ships, while others had to wade from the beaches toward the ships, waiting for hours to board, shoulder-deep in water. Others were ferried from the beaches to the larger ships, and thousands were carried back to Britain by the famous “little ships of Dunkirk”, a flotilla of around 700 merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeboats—the smallest of which was the 14 ft 7 in (4.45 m) fishing boat Tamzine, now in the Imperial War Museum —whose civilian crews were called into service for the emergency. The “miracle of the little ships” remains a prominent folk memory in Britain.

Operation Dynamo took its name from the dynamo room in the naval headquarters below Dover Castle, which contained the dynamo that provided the building with electricity during the war. It was in this room that British Vice-Admiral Ramsay planned the operation and briefed Winston Churchill as it was under way.

Dunkirk is not a place of beauty. We went to the main beach, took some pics and left!

 

Historic buildings looking out towards the famous Dunkirk beaches

 

Taking the autoroute from Avignon to Calais, you pass any number of wind farms. Over 30% of France’s electricity now comes form renewable sources such as electricity and the country is now the third biggest wind power source after Germany and the UK.

We found them fascinating, even surreal and added a great contrast to the white snow clad fields.

 

 

 

 

This graph shows hoe France’s wind farms have increased over the past few years

 

 

Been a bit of Instagram tweaking here…….

 

Right outside the magnificent Reims Cathedral are some memorial stones commemorating the capitulation of Germany in the Second world War and the handing back of th country to the Allies on 7th May 1945.

 

The exterior façade of the Reims Cathedral

History.com records it as thus:

On this 7th day in 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France.

At first, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies. But General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces, those fighting in the East as well as in the West. If this demand was not met, Eisenhower was prepared to seal off the Western front, preventing Germans from fleeing to the West in order to surrender, thereby leaving them in the hands of the enveloping Soviet forces. Jodl radioed Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, with the terms. Donitz ordered him to sign. So with Russian General Ivan Susloparov and French General Francois Sevez signing as witnesses, and General Walter Bedell Smith, Ike’s chief of staff, signing for the Allied Expeditionary Force, Germany was-at least on paper-defeated. Fighting would still go on in the East for almost another day. But the war in the West was over.

Since General Susloparov did not have explicit permission from Soviet Premier Stalin to sign the surrender papers, even as a witness, he was quickly hustled back East-into the hands of the Soviet secret police, never to be heard from again. Alfred Jodl, who was wounded in the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, would be found guilty of war crimes (which included the shooting of hostages) at Nuremberg and hanged on October 16, 1946-then granted a pardon, posthumously, in 1953, after a German appeals court found Jodl not guilty of breaking international law.

Detailes sculptures abound

 

The Cathedral seen from a distance. Rather a nice sandwich shop on the left near to the Cathedral!

 

The entrance and the huge doors

 

Directly opposite the Cathedral is the Palace of the Treasury, containing many priceless objects from the Cathedral

 

More history at the Reims Cathedral. In 1962, Germany formally apologised to France for the War. Here General de Gaulle and his German counterpart stood and signed a co-operation Treaty which stands to this day.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!

Snow from Menerbes.

Bastide les Amis, Menerbes

 

A property on the Chemin de St Esteve, Menerbes

 

A Façade Fantastique

 

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