Posts Tagged ‘transport’

No Through Road


Saturday morning is my earliest start at work. 8:00 for a four and a half hour shift, with breaks lasting until 13:00. 20151031_170728_22010392404_oThis week it also happened to be the day after our staff party so I was not at my most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and took long enough getting up that I did not have enough time for breakfast. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am subhuman early in the morning, if not up to midday and that breakfast is one thing which helps make me more human. So the last thing I 20151031_170654_22445236890_oneeded was something to throw things out of kilter.

So, I walk downstairs, open the gate, turn out of the flat and get in the tuk-tuk and see that the road is blocked off in front of us. (Picture top left)

Ahhhhh how will I get to work? I’ll be late, they’ll think I got so drunk at the staff do I couldn’t make it. Fortunately the panic did 20151031_134233_22617175782_onot last long as the driver turned the tuk-tuk round and we went another route around the road blockage. Actually it worked in my advantage as the changed route took us past the ABC Bakery and I was able to stop and get breakfast. So, things improved.

I did the shift and returned home to see the public notice telling people that the road was closed.(top right) Later on I paid my rent to my landlord and, chatting with his daughter whilst he was seeking change for me, I discovered that the road had been closed for a wedding, which was better than closing it for a funeral,  and that it would be closed for two days.(picture second left showing how effectively the road was closed) I also learnt that there would not be singing and dancing on Saturday evening but that it would take place on Sunday morning.

So Sunday morning I was up early and out 20151101_122112_22473843730_oon the balcony for my breakfast and I heard some quite haunting and beautiful music. Not exactly what I am used to but pleasant none the less. Later on, after midday, people started to leave for their cars. (picture second right) Though, in parenthesis I do know what the trucks were doing in the centre of the street blocking the car in. Earlier one of them had been piled high with bikes, clearance of a second-hand bike shop? Who knows what?

Well, Sunday afternoon I went to the The Flicks 1, self-described as a community movie house, (A room soundproofed with a projector, quadraphonic audio and scatter cushions and some seats i.e. not a conventional multiplex)  to see Beasts of No Nation about a child in an African country who loses his mother and sister and then sees his father and elder brother killed and 20151101_163857_22678703511_oends up fighting for a militia.

I returned home to see the street as clear as it had been before the tent was constructed, (last picture left) with maybe a bit extra rubbish by the side of the road but that would be gone by the morning and probably was nothing to do with the wedding but just the people whose houses were cut off during it, not having their rubbish collected whilst the street was blocked.

So just another day in Phnom Penh. The street was blocked. Some people got married and then it was clear again. People’s lives went on around it and walking around and talking to, admittedly only a few people, I did not detect any fuss or people expressing inconvenience.


This morning a new tent appeared on the street. Oh, it really is wedding season. But then people just went through it as if it wasn’t there. Tent there at 12:30 when I left for work and gone at 20:15 when I got home again and seemingly gone for some time so the tuk-tuk driver knew not to worry about taking another route to avoid it when going back home.

A Sunday afternoon walk


After a day and a half’s hard work, following the break for a public holiday, the weekend arrived and a night watching City beat Bournemouth 5 – 1 with a friend and his wife, at Score Bar and a lie-in I decided to go for a walk to look at some of the city.

P1130999I started by getting a tuk-tuk to Sorya Shopping Centre (pictured left) which was the first of the new wave of shopping centres in Phnom Penh, such as City Mall and Aeon Mall which I have already written about here and here, respectively. Sorya is bigger than the first and smaller than the second and, like both, has a cinema on the top floor. There was nothing on which interested me though I did make aP1140001 couple of purchases in one of the shops before leaving and crossing the road to get a top-up for my phone.

Further up the street was the Central Market, somewhere I had previously only been past at night and thought was a dump. Well how wrong was I about the wonderful piece of Cambodian Art-Deco architecture, restored recently with help from the French government. Views of it from outside and inside were just great:

P1140005 P1140009 P1140012 P1140018

I’m afraid the photos do not do justice to the wonder of the building. I wandered around the building looking at the clothes, electrical items and P1140023other things for sale then left. I wanted to walk more of the city and I was headed in the direction I had travelled a few times at night. Leaving the market I entered an area that at night seemed dark and dingy but I came upon the wonderful art-deco building pictured left. My Chinese is not good enough to know what it is now. One of the reasons to walk in this direction was coming next. P1140027It was the film, “The Last Reel“, which I may have mentioned once, maybe you didn’t notice, had an important location in the centre of Phnom Penh, a former cinema which is used for parking Moto’s and, on my way to the Empire in this area I had seen a former cinema used for parking Moto’s and I wanted to get a picture of it. Research, however, showed that the cinema which inspired to was on street 19, across from Norton University where the writer was then working, rather than street 130 where this was.

Further along the street was the Empire, a bar with a soundproofed room on the first floor which acts as a cinema. After finishing work at 19:30 or 20:00 I’m not going to P1140032do much more as I need to eat and then it would be too late to do much more. So, a quick tuk-tuk ride from work and I am here, special of the  day for two or three dollars, three dollars fifty for the entrance to the film and one dollar fifty for a beer means you can get a good night out in the week, after work for less than $10. This time I was not in for a film but a pit-stop. Whilst there I chatted to the bar staff and discovered they had only been here a couple of days, that they are working as volunteers in return for a bed in the floor above the cinema and food and drink. Lunch at a Thai and Khmer restaurant a few doors down was a caramelised pork cooked with Kampot pepper on a bed of rice.

P1140037Eating done it was down to the riverside, Sisowath Quay alongside the Tonle Sap River. The river coming down from the lake of the same name which is a marvel in itself and I will experience next month the river changing direction which is part of a water festival with boat races and fireworks, and three days off work!  The Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel and residences are in the background on the right across the river. P1140043The road alongside the river was fronted with a lot of tourist bars, pizzerias and other places interspersed with the Royal Palace I pictured here and the building on the left, which in the same post I expressed a total lack of knowledge about, I now discover is only Wat Ounalom, the headquarters of Cambodian Buddhism. Opposite the Royal Palace there was a pagoda and from here on the riverside became much more busy with Cambodians sitting by it, P1140054stalls selling food, little birds and flowers, the latter to be cast upon the waters.

Just after the last picture (right) the riverside ended with a restaurant then a big hall took up the space on the bank of the river opposite the Buddhist University. So, I wandered off and found a tuk-tuk and went to my local Lucky Supermarket to get stuff for my breakfast then walk home. A good day seeing some of the sights of Phnom Penh and getting to know the city better.

SNCF drop a bollock


Having booked tickets with the French national rail carrier, SNCF, they have my email address and SNCFsend me occasional emails letting me know about good deals etc. Just as any sensible company does their marketing. However, their recent email (above) was a a bit of a mistake. They tried to entice me onto the train to visit Christmas Markets. Living in Strasbourg, the ‘Capital of Christmas’ why would I want to go anywhere else to a Christmas Market?

OK the city is rammed – it was very difficult walking to the pub to see City defeat Newcastle 3-1 yesterday due to the large number of people, and, I may wish to visit other markets, having got bored of Strasbourg’s? So lets take a look at where they suggest I go, one of the historic ones in Dresden, Bautzen or Vienna? One of the major attractions, say Dortmund, Erfurt, Nuremberg, Dresden, Stuttgart or Augsburg? No, of course not they are all in Germany or Austria and this is the French national rail company. The choice I was offered are:


Metz? Seriously, Metz? When it’s so close to Meh? But more important where do they say Metz is? Alsace. As any fule know Metz is in Lorraine. Oh dear SNCF.

I want to ride my bicycle


I guess it should have been obvious. Last weekend I wrote about the bout of good weather we had with temperatures over 20°C during the day. It continued into the week and, as the picture shows the beautiful colour of some trees on the way home in the sunshine on Wednesday. This weekend I woke to sleet and the temperatures last night hit negative. You can also see in the picture there is a cycle path on this quiet, backstreet, road and I have just come on a cycle path in a tunnel under the autoroute, that has lights which come on when you enter it. Strasbourg has over 560km of cycle paths and, together with being on the banks of the Rhine and therefore it is very flat, are probably the reasons the city is the number one city in France for the number of people cycling. Iuse a bike as my main form of transport and I have not experienced such fantastic provision for cyclists before. I wrote in the post one before last about having posted French translation of the title of Johnny Cash songs to my friends on facebook in advance of seeing a great tribute to the singer. I have also posted up on facebook the same map you see here of a journey I have made on Friday morning between two different sites where I work, finishing at 9:50 at the site B and have to cycle the 5.2km to site A to start at 10:00. Obviously It is understood that I cannot possibly make this journey in that time. On the map from the park all the way to the autoroute there is a dedicated cycle path separate from the road then there is the tunnel under the autoroute and then another (pictured above) under the rail line. It comes out into a space next to the off-ramp from the autoroute into the centre of the city which is one-way. To get the cyclist up to the next junction and allow the cars to turn both left and right there is the pictured route with the cars able to turn right and left and cyclists able to travel through the junction. What a marvelous piece of civil engineering. When you get to the junction, as a cyclist you are treated as any other item seeking to get through the junction and, because the cars are going left and right, the cyclists can go straight ahead. Through the junction and you are then on a raised, protected route in the middle of the road past a car park and down onto the route past the main shopping centre. For a cyclist it is a dream. This is nothing special but just one example, from a journey I had to make for work for a few weeks. This is why Strasbourg is so cycleable.

On the rails


Back in Strasbourg, trying to survive the canicule, after a few weeks working on the south-coast of England, there’ll probably be more about that later, and listening to the last day of the last test match of the series against the South Africans.

Staying at my parents in Twyford before and after the work I travelled through Reading a few times using the railway. It was interesting to see the progress on the redevelopment of Reading railway station. The first picture shows the new footbridge, being built over the railway to the west of the current footbridge, taken from the existing footbridge.

I am particularly interested in developments at this site as I have a personal interest in the redevelopment of the station as I played a part in starting it off when I was a councillor on Reading Borough Council, in particular as the Chair of the Transport committee. At the time I started Reading was a District Council with no power to do anything much for transport in the town. Two years later the County Council was abolished and Reading had more power on transport for the town, but not to do with the railway. However, at the start of my work in the role I had three main ambitions for the railway:

  • the redevelopment of Reading station,
  • work to Cow Lane bridges to remove a bottleneck there, and
  • Crossrail to happen with Reading as the Western terminus.

The second picture shows the new northern end of the station and the third the inside of the waiting room between what was platforms 5 and 8. From the first meeting of the Transport Committee I pushed forward on the three items. Not too long before I left the council in 1999 they were successful with a large bid to rebuild the M4 junction south of Reading, largely because the slip-roads to the motorway had become unstable and had to be rebuilt, and I was afraid that such a large amount of money being spent by the Government on the town would result in the massive amount of money necessary for the station and the bridges not to become available. Well I was wrong and the Gordon Brown government gave the go-ahead for the project and the coalition government confirmed it would happen. The project to rebuild the station that was approved included the work on the Cow Lane bridges to remove the bottleneck. In the 1990’s when I was pushing for this work to happen never in my wildest dreams did I think that the £850million work would happen so every time I travel through the station I look with great interest, and not a little pride at having played a part in it coming to pass, at the work taking place to improve the station for travellers and to remove a bad bottleneck on the rail network.

In the last decade Crossrail was given the go-ahead providing an east-west link under London giving extra capacity for people wishing to travel in those directions, whether as a whole journey or as part of it. On journey’s into London it has pleased me to see work on the scheme going ahead, whether the tunnel opening at Paddington or at different sites around London. The good news was tempered because the western end was to be Maidenhead and stop short of Reading.

From the 1990’s when the dying Major government cancelled the project Reading Borough Council’s official position was to campaign for the scheme to happen. With the encouragement of the then leader of the Council, David Sutton, as Chair of the Transport Committee I worked with the City of London to campaign for the scheme. So, in the middle of the last decade, when the then Labour Government announced consultation on the scheme I was overjoyed. However, the Leader who had been so supportive to me in campaigning for the scheme the decade before now went along with my successor, John Howarth, in his weak support for the proposal as part of Howarth’s work to undermine and deselect the Reading East MP, who was such a strong public supporter of the scheme. This lack of support and campaigning for the scheme from the Reading Council played an important part in the decision to stop short of Reading. It is a crying shame that the pathetic small town politics, of two people elected by the people of Reading to do their best for the people of Reading, has resulted in Reading missing out on what would be a bonus for them. Shame on Sutton and Howarth.

The last picture shows work taking place on new state-of-the-art train sheds between Scours Lane and Reading West junction on the west of Reading station. In the background, but perhaps not visible, are the stages and other preparations for Reading Festival.

Show Me The Way


Something which I believe has a large impact upon the environment of our cities is advertising, whether the large billboards at junctions or the smaller A-boards outside shops, whether on public transport or in posters outside shops. In fact I have commented upon this before here and here for example.

When I was more active in politics it was always my ambition to advertise on the side of a bus. To have an image you’ve created driving around the place you live in I think is just fantastic. So one of the things I was most pleased with myself for achieving whilst working for a Labour MP was to get her and her contact details advertised on the side of a bus. It was great seeing the advert I had taken the photo for, and then designed, driving around Reading. I had also wanted to get an advert shown at the cinema but I was not able to make that happen.

So I am very aware of the averts and other things I see around me whilst traveling around Strasbourg.

All of the tram-stops have lit poster sites, with around six to eight adverts on each side offering over 15 adverts at each normal stop, with more at sites where lines intersect or there is a transport interchange with busses. The adverts are changed around Tuesday and the company who host the adverts also maintain the shelters they feature on, including cleaning them. The maintenance is done to a high standard. Most of the stops have lights not working or replaced but all the lights work in the adverts.

Last week, suddenly, there were semi-naked women everywhere showing off their underwear. Though as it was an advert for a make of underwear I assume it was underwear the women had been paid to have their picture taken wearing, and not being their own personal underwear. Not having been involved in this I do not know, but it might be that they got to take home the underwear they had been photographed wearing.

As a red-blooded heterosexual man I must say I am pleased at this sudden appearance of pictures of women in underwear forming part of the backdrop to my daily journeys around my home city. Underwear models are usually more like normal women, they are not stick thin – although those in these pictures they are on the thinner side.

At the same time as the pictures of women in their underwear appeared, around Strasbourg there appeared some other  adverts, giving some clue about the reason for the sudden appearance of the underwear adverts. Jewelry and perfume, together with adverts for lonely hearts, ah Valentines Day is approaching. What surprised me the most is that the people selling what seems to me to be quite expensive and high-class women’s underwear, jewelry and perfume think it worthwhile to advertise on posters at the tram stops in Strasbourg.

Does it say something about the people who use the tram and their spending power? My observations of the customers of the tram company are mostly people who don’t spend their money on the kind of underwear or perfume being advertised or buy jewelry much if at all ,unless for various facial piercings.

Or is it that the adverts will be seen by people passing the tram stops? Not the people riding the tram but those in their car going past/ Are they the customers these adverts are really for? Either way I do not know but I guess they must work or the underwear, perfume and jewelry retailers would not use this form of advertising would they? Anyway I’m not too bothered about it as having semi-naked women to look at whilst travelling around and then post here has improved my life.

When the bus was travelling around the people it got most noticed by and we got the biggest response was teenage schoolchildren. A group that we had not had any interest in relating to any other initiative the MP had carried out. Even when she did things you might think they would have been interested in. This shows I think that this group spend more time walking around our towns and cities so what is shown on advertisements and the side of a bus form a bigger part of their landscape and are more likely to be noticed by them. I wonder what the teenagers have made of the pictures on show here?

November spawned a Monster


In exactly one month I shall already be in the air, having departed from Paris CDG heading towards Shanghai on a China Eastern flight with the final destination of Sydney. I hinted that something big was happening in this post in June. JTO was not overjoyed at our Oz 2011 trip getting the name Monster. That earlier post was written in June just after the tickets for the trip had just been bought and if I was excited then I am, perhaps unsurprisingly, even more excited now.

We arrive on 1st November and after a night in a hotel head off to experience one of the country’s most important, if not the most important, sporting occasion, the Melbourne Cup. Whilst not at the racecourse it is such an important event that it is celebrated across the country. Then the first of four wine trips to the Hunter Valley, NSW‘s premier wine-producing region and somewhere I’ve not been before. Back in time to meet up with wider family on 5th November. (Though with no fireworks) The day after we leave to one of the few cities I’ve not visited in my four previous trips downunder, Adelaide. Here we’ll meet friends and visit the vineyards you are most likely to have drank wine from, if you’ve ever had any Australian wine outside the country. All the time staying at a beach-front motel in Glenelg. We leave there very early in the morning to do a three-day, two night tour along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, a city we both love and we’ll have a few days here, including a visit to the Yarra Valley vineyards, before taking the night ferry to Tasmania, another part of the country I’ve never visited before. We’re planning to hire a camper-van to explore the island, visit the two other main cities and, of course, visit the vineyards. As the climate in Tasmania is closer to that in Alsace I’m expecting the vineyards and the wine they produce to the closest in the country to those here at home. We return to the mainland on the ferry overnight, I just love travelling by ferry or train overnight; have a couple of drinks at the bar then go back to you cabin and be rocked to sleep and then wake-up in a new city. Fantastic. We’re still planning how to get back to Sydney from Melbourne but the current favourite is to do it by rail as it would allow us to stop off and visit family at Shellharbour and near Sutherland before returning to Sydney for a few days before our return journey on 27th November.(Boo)

One thing is for certain Oz 2011 spawned a monster of a blog, enjoy:

Pourquoi moi?


I think someone has it in for me and getting any better at the French language.  Last Thursday I was due to go to my French class.  However, I had to work afterwards and had been given the use of the firm’s car so that I could leave my French class in time to get to work.  It was the first time I had driven to the Eurodistrict in Strasbourg.  I had thought that taking the route through the town would be OK and it would take much less than the half an hour I would set aside for the journey, parking and getting to the lesson.  Between home and the car park where I left it overnight I decided to take the Autoroute, as that’s bound to be quicker isn’t it? Ha.  I took a wrong turning and ended up on the route to Germany.  I got off that and was stuck going in the wrong direction in Neudorf.  I got out of that and managed to head in the right direction and found myself lost in Robertsau.  What is a twenty minute cycle ride took me around an hour and twenty minutes before I found somewhere to park, an hour and a half before I got to the building where the classes are held.  With it now two thirds of the way through I decided to have a coffee and leave early for work.  It was just as well I did as when I got to the place I was going to work there was a lot of photocopying and form filling etc which took up the extra time I had from leaving early from my lesson.  It’s OK I thought I have a lesson organised on Monday.

19102009026This morning I left for that lesson to get a message at the tram stop saying that the lines A & E which go south of Strasbourg have a ‘technical fault’ and are replaced by a bus service.(‘Technical fault’ means a tram has broken down and is blocking the route, see above.)  Line A is , of course, is the route I need to take.  On arrival at the transfer to line A I see one leaving the tram stop.  It takes more than ten minutes before another comes but, at the transfer to the bus I get some luck and I’m the last one on to the bus.  Twenty five minutes late for the lesson.  Fortunately it went ahead and I get the full lesson which is good as I now understand the Imparfait and Passe Compose better.

Pay it forward 1 – the kind German Police


A busy week and no time for posting so, inspired again by Mr London Street (I hope the RSI gets better so he can get back to his full length [fnar, fnar] posts –  that’s not to say that I’m not enjoying the writing in the 100 word posts we’ve had this week.) today will be the first part of a two parter.

The title for this post comes from a film first shown in 2000.  The film concerns a schoolboy, asked by his teacher for an idea that can be implemented to make the world a better place.  He suggests that, in return for a good deed done to you, rather than doing a reciprocal good deed to the person who did you the good deed, you do a good deed to three other people, you ‘pay forward’ the good deed.  I’ve never seen the film so I am not able to comment upon whether it is heart-warming and life affirming or sugary-schmalzy pap.  I also haven’t spent time thinking through the implications of the idea or of a comparison between it and other similar ideas like doing random gratuitous good things.

Pay it forward

After my return from a season in Hull I had a great, though far too short, visit from my brother and sister-in-law.  They left on the morning of the last Wednesday in August and we had most of the day to finish packing and tidy the flat up before leaving early evening for Germany and a train to Düsseldorf.  Here is not the place to write about the project but, together with JTO, I have a project to visit every European capital before the end of next year, not 27 EU capitals but the 45 or so in the whole of Europe.  As a break after my work in the UK, and JTO‘s continued work through the summer, we were going to Moldova to tick Chisinau off the list.  It is not an easy city to get to, particularly cheaply, so when an old favourite, Air Baltic, started flying there it was too much of an opportunity to be missed out on; take advantage of the cheaper introductory offers and get to spend time in one of my favourite cities in the world, Riga, and visit friends living there.  I was worried about the very short time we had between flights and any delay might mean we miss our connecting flight.  As a result of flying low-cost, and as is so often the case with cheaper flights, it meant we had a journey overnight to get to our departure airport in time for our flight.  That was not so much of a problem as we had plenty of time to get ready.  In hindsight we had enough time to go to Düsseldorf and spend the night there so we woke fresh and ready for the flight to Riga, but we didn’t.  We got the tram and then the bus over the border into Kehl in Germany. (I make no excuses, international travel was so much not done by people like me when I was younger, that I still get excited travelling and even crossing the border into Germany from France, passing the redundant, and since the NATO summit in April, destroyed border posts – I know it’s only 5 km from where I live – but I like it.)  Here’s a report of the border post being destroyed in April:

In Kehl we got some dinner at a very nice German restaurant we had eaten in before and then the train via Offenburg, Frankfurt etc.  to Düsseldorf.  On the stop before Frankfurt our itinerary said we should switch trains but, hey, we thought, the train we’re on goes to Frankfurt as well, we’re comfortable and have seats, so why change?  A lesson we learnt, if the itinerary from Deutsch Bahn says switch trains do so.  We came into Frankfurt railway station to see our connection to Frankfurt Airport, and on to Düsseldorf, leaving the station.  I ran to the information people only to find it was the last train of the night and there were no more to Düsseldorf.  Running around the station area only revealed there were no buses that would get us to Düsseldorf in time for our flight.  JTO found a taxi driver who was willing to drive us but he wanted €300.  We spent more time trying to find a way to get to Düsseldorf but there were none.  The only thing we achieved was to get the taxi price down to €290.  By now it was around 1:00 in the morning and if we wanted to take the flight we had no choice. So, the taxi it was.  We left Frankfurt and got onto the autobahn.  I was full of paranoia that the driver would take us a long way to make up the fare, when it was close locally,(which it actually wasn’t) that he might drop us off somewhere leaving us to be robbed or worse.  Of course he didn’t.  He took us to the airport.  He went the most direct route as he wanted to get us there and then go home.  JTO, with her ability to fall asleep on any form of transport slept through the journey while I stayed awake stewing in my paranoia.  I also had the Kraftwerk song, Autobahn, going through my head during the journey so here it is with the original film:

We got the to airport and JTO went to get her wallet to pay the taxi driver and, second awake nightmare  of the journey, it was not there.  I had already got money out from that I had earned in the summer, would I be able to get more?  Feeling really bad I went off and found a cash machine which fortunately gave me the money for the fare.  What an awful way to start our week away.  We tried to sleep for a couple if hours before the check-in opened with not much success.  After check-in we got something to eat and then got onto the plane.  Of course my previous concern about the transfer at Riga came back, after the night we had had, it would just be the end if we missed our connecting flight to Moldova.  Of course, it went totally smoothly.  We arrived in the early afternoon and got a taxi to our hotel worried that the disappearance of the wallet, together with the money and cards, would mean that we would not be able to make the best of our stay in Moldova.  I was pleased I had the money from working in Hull as it would make the difference between enjoying our tie there and not.  That was when our luck changed.

On our first day we walked around and saw the sights of central Chisinau and then had something to eat.  On return to our hotel JTO discovered she had a missed call.  It was from American Express.  Her wallet had been found on a train in Germany and handed to the German Police and because it contained one of their cards the company had been contacted and now had contacted us.  We were given contact details for the police station where the wallet was now being kept.  A bottle of something sparkling was clearly in order to celebrate our good fortune.  Although the things we wanted to do whilst there didn’t quite come off we enjoyed our holiday particularly the break somewhere totally different from home.  Time was spent trying to work out how we could get to the police station to collect the wallet on our journey home and talking to the police station in Germany to collect the wallet.  We went to Riga and whilst there realised that it was impossible to get to the police station and use the train we were booked upon.  It would mean buying extra train tickets, hiring a car and a number of other logistical nightmares.  Why not get the police to courier the wallet to us?  Talking to the police they said we would have to courier and fax them a letter of permission before they could take money out of the wallet and send it back to us.  So, we found the DHL concession in the basement of a new shopping centre and between Russian, some Latvian and the assistance of a person from a nearby shop we managed to explain what we wanted and organised and paid for the transaction.  During it we had to talk again to our third police officer, explaining the full story each time, in my schoolboy German and his schoolboy English to get the exact address of the police station.

We returned to the UK and both went back to work.  The following Thursday I came home to find there had been a delivery which had been missed and had to be collected from the post office.  I took the card round with ID and got back a package for JTO.  When she returned she opened it and inside was the wallet.  She had to complete a form to let the German Police know we had received the package but the timing could not be better, just before we left for our 10th anniversary and our trip to Ch’tiland.

Coming Next: Pay it forward II – The American Case

The far from lost weekend part II


After the match finished the rain started to fall seriously and we piled into P1030466cars and drove the 20 minutes or so to our accommodation for the evening.  It was a farm which had been converted into two houses and managed to put up nine people.  After welcome warm showers we gathered to enjoy a BBQ which, because of the weather, had to be cooked under the grill instead, a few drinks and a pleasant chat involving the Strollers and members of the Montbard team.  P1030478It was our leader’s birthday and he got a birthday cake to celebrate.  People started leaving at 23:00 but I was with a hard core who stayed up to 01:00.  After a cold night and another welcome warm shower we had breakfast before heading off, as seen on the right.  There had been much discussion the night before about whether the motorway P1030487or the scenic route were better for getting home.  It was agreed that the time was pretty much the same for either route so it would be better to go the scenic route.  I was in the two seter sports car on the left of the top photo and a lack of rain meant it wasn’t long before we had the top down.  The above picture was taken from above P1030506the windscreen and it looks like the cloud above is following the road.  Fortunately we managed to stay in front of it before it decided to drop any of the rain it was carrying.  I said in yesterdays post that my lift had spent the previous day Geocaching and the journey back offered me a chance to find out about this pastime.  About midday we came up to P1030495Chaumont and the viaduct shown above.  We turned off and at the bottom of one of the spans was found the box, pictured left, which also had a log-book which the provider of my lift completed.  We looked around the viaduct a bit then drove into the town and found something to eat.  We stopped at the restaurant opposite the P1030543station called L’Affiche.  It was named after the ‘Festival international de l’affiche et du graphisme de Chaumont’ which was taking place at that very time, for the 20th year. After brochette de dinde and a nice tarte almonde we were refueled for the rest of the journey home.  I got a chance to drive and above is a picture of me P1030552taken when the car was being refueled.  We passed through Champagne and then returned to Alsace.  On the way we looked for a cache in a 10th or 11th century (According to which sign you believe) castle and had success at a château.  I got home with just over an hour left to vote which I then did.(The above picture taken on the return to Strasbourg shows how much the Cathedral stands out.  It had been visible almost as soon as we came down from the Vosges.  Almost as tall behind it are the hills/mountains of the Black Forrest.)

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