Saturday 22 June 2024

Lunch in Mindin

Last Monday we drove to Carnac. As it's a longish sort of drive (certainly longer than the 3½ hours Google maps suggested) I planned a picnic lunch, with shelter if necessary. The spot I chose was in Mindin, across the water from St Nazaire. There were a couple of reasons for this, none of which I shared with Susan.

Approaching the Pont de Saint-Nazaire

This was the first reason. I love big bridges, and this qualifies. Unfortunately the weather was not great, but it was still a bit of an experience.

Where the Loire meets the sea.

I figure that line of rocks pointing to the far shore marks the end of the Loire river and the start of the sea. The Loire is important to us, so this is quite symbolic.

The Bridge again.

In the background is The Ville De Bordeaux, an airbus Roll On / Roll Off ship. It is now en route to the port of Mobile, USA and is expected to arrive there on July 1. Those three white towers on the ship are eSAIL, which uses wind energy to generate thrust, which means substantial fuel consumption and CO2 emissions savings. The system also generates lift, reducing the load on the ship’s main engines. 

Last year the ship was fitted with a 500m² 'Seawing' - an automated foil kite developed by AirSeas (an Airbus subsidiary) to provide wind assistance to propulsion. You can read more about it here. I'm not sure if both systems run at the same time.

Utopia of the Seas 

According to Wikipedia, "Utopia of the Seas is a cruise ship under construction for Royal Caribbean International. She will be the sixth ship in the Oasis Class and is scheduled to enter service on 19 July 2024 out of Port Canaveral." With any luck that means the last time France will see this monstrosity is in less than a month's time.

The Serpent d'Océan

The third reason I chose Mindin is the Serpent d'Océan, a 130 metre long sculpture made of aluminum. It represents the skeleton of an immense imaginary sea serpent, whose vertebrae undulate to end in an open mouth.

As somewhere to stop for an hour Mindin is full of interest. There is also a picnic shelter (only one), but the public toilets weren't open. Luckily there's a café restaurant opposite, that does good after lunch coffee.

Friday 21 June 2024

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the longest day of the year. As we were near an arrangement of prehistoric standing stones it felt wrong not to do something to mark the occasion.

So at six o'clock yesterday morning we left our cabin and walked the 200 metres to a vantage point I had previously chosen, and waited. At 06:14 I took a photo of what should have been the sun rising over the standing stones of Carnac.

As you can see, it was cloudy in the east. The west was clear, though.

Thursday 20 June 2024

Wednesday 19 June 2024

A View From Brittany

We're away for a couple of days. This is what we've been looking at. Details will follow in due course.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Once Upon A Time in Loches -- Resistance Attacks 1944

 Poster for an exhibition on the liberation of loches, Indre et loire, France. Photo by loire Valley Time Travel.

" Fighting intensified in the Touraine during 1944. Allied bombing was more frequent and Loches was welcoming a new wave of refugees. The tension, and the hatred of the German enemy, grew and the new landing of the Allies in Normandy gave hope to the population of Loches that the end of the war might be close. The maquisards (armed combattants) and Resistants saw it as an opportunity to redouble their action. 

On the night of 10-11 July 1944 a group of men led by Captain Lecoz arrived at the home of Dr Abribat in Saint Flovier to requisition one of his vehicles. Dr Abribat was a confirmed supporter of the Vichy Regime and a conviction Pétainist. He had even met Maréchal Pétain several times, making him a traitor to the Nation in the eyes of the Resistance. So when he refused their request and raised his voice a burst of machine gun fire from one of of the maquisards resulted in Abribat receiving two bullets in the head. His brutal death on this night in July, the first summary execution by the Maquis Lecoz, was perceived by the Germans as a provocation.

 During the summer of 1944 the Resistance attacks against the occupying Germans multiplied. On 14 July the young Resistants hoisted a Cross of Lorraine flag on the Donjon de Loches. Around Loches roads were blocked, railway tracks sabotaged and bridges dynamited. The Maquis Lecoz increased their provocative actions with snatching supposed collaborators and forcing the sons of Pétainists to join maquis groups. Lecoz's men frightened the local inhabitants and the Germans felt they had to respond."


This poster is part of an exhibition in the Chancellerie on 'Loches in 1944'

Monday 17 June 2024

Turning Back the Clock on the N10

Yesterday we did something that's becoming increasingly rare for us. We actually went to a car gathering with Claudette. It's not that we don't enjoy these events any more, it's just that Claudette is living in our garage near Tours whilst Célestine is poorly in our garage at home. This means that serious logistics is involved if we wish to take Claudette out for fun.

However - last week we happened to have Claudette at home, but needing to be returned to Tours. It just so happened that Nostal'10, who are restoring the old Bellevue (which we wrote about here), hold a monthly meet and it coincided (a planned coincidence) with our trip to Tours with Claudette. 

As usual, we ran into a number of friends and acquaintances, saw some cars we hadn't seen before, and had a convivial time.

The weather wasn't great...

A new banner.

We haven't seen this H-van before

Claudette with her close contemporaries