Sunday, April 29, 2007

Christianity - mixed up.

Doh! The damn site *IS* satirical. Like Landover Baptist. And I fell for it. Ah well, I'll leave this post up as a lesson to others to keep thier irony meters tuned. Trouble is, unlike Landover, Lark News is pretty damn close to spot on accurate!

What a mixed up crazy religion!

Have a look at Lark News. It's "a good source for Christian news". And what is christian news?

Anyway. I'd always assumed that the church frowns on gambling. When you gamble, you are hoping for a win, a win based on luck. ie undeserved reward. Further, in many forms of gambling, poker for example, you are winning other people's losses. Kinda flies in the face of Jesus' number 1 rule to love your neighbour.

But over at Lark News, on the left sidebar is a thing called "Lot Caster" It says "Stop struggling with tough decisions. Throw lots with the Lark Online LotCaster!"
When you click it a little applet pops up. You type in ypur 2 conflicting issues, hit the button and hey presto! it tells you what to do. I tried it out.

And there you have it. The christian applet recommends that I abort my baby rather than save it and dedicate my life to Jesus.
And how about these testimonials:
"I was really struggling with whether to marry my new Bible college girlfriend, or my church girlfriend back home. The Lark LotCaster gave me just the answer I needed."
- Justin, Richmond, Va.

"I had been in prayer about a vexing problem until I found this. It gave me the answer I needed to get out of my endless prayer loop. Thank you, Lark LotCaster!"
- Ellie, Northampton, Mass.

"I don't have a prayer journal anymore. All those 'past problems' were just weighing me down. Now I come here and get my answer quickly from the Caster. This product saves me time."
- Louis, Queens, NY

I'm sure there are some stupid OT verses to back up this business of "casting lots". What does Bible Gateway have to say?
Ah. Sure enough. Leviticus 16:8, Joshua 18:6, 1 Chronicles 24:31 and loads more.
It seems that when you have a tough decision you have Biblical precedent for simply rolling a dice.
At Lark News, apart from the fact that their applet, is just a random selector, there will be people making life changing decisions and then claiming that "God has spoken"
Or is it a christian in-joke that I'm too obtuse to see? And why can't these people make decisions? The testimonials certainly seem satirical, but, but . . .
My brain is about to explode!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 28, 2007

One set of mythical beliefs and a dead language upset another group of myth believers

Latin Mass may offend Jews

This is the headline in today's Daily Telegraph.
The whole story of course, is more complex but the headline is indicitive of how ridiculous believers can get.

It seems the cause for alarm is not just that the Catholic Church may revert to saying mass in Latin, but that it may revert to the old mass, which has a section in it praying for Jews' conversion.
Any liturgy that presents Jews as being doomed in their faith doesn't present a very healthy attitude towards Judaism and the Jewish people.

Rabbi David Rosen, the president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations

We have here numerous complexities. One is the inability to seperate religion from culture and race. The specified passage in the old mass should not be offensive to jewish people on a theological or faith level. After all, if Judaism is the true religion and the Catholics are praying to a non-existant God, what's the problem? Also, if the g*d of Abraham and Isaac, being all-powerful etc etc is aware of their prayers, he won't take heed of them because the Jews are his chosen people. BUT, because jewishness is not merely defined by religion, but also ethnicity, you can see why they'd be upset.

On the Catholic side, it becomes apparant that tradition and culture are a stronger force than the theology. The punters want the Latin mass back because it is "more beautiful and inspiring than modern liturgies". It's obviously not because Latin is the official language of god. (or is it?) And how can you be inspired by a language you don't understand? No, hang on, apparantly people weep when they hear Italian opera, but that's another can of worms.

Which ever way it twists, however you analyse it and pick out the rights and wrongs, it is justification of Richard Dawkins' idea that religion is a scourge on humanity.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 27, 2007

Christians are such lovely people

There's a new little forum I've been visiting.
It's called Russell's Teapot
I'd recommend this site for a number of reasons, not least because of the EXCELLENT cartoons by Chaz Braman, and their BRILLIANT series of "know your Bible" posters.
If you have not seen the cartoons or posters before, stop reading this post and click on the links to go there NOW. Go on, I can wait . . .
The site is named after, of course, Bertrand Russell who said of the ability to disprove the existance of god:
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time

Now this excellent site has a little, young forum, so far only 36 registered users and not many posts. As a result of their comics and posters content (which you've just been to see, haven't you?) Their server receives constant attack. Chaz says:
It's interesting to note that the site is almost constantly under malicious attack by hackers. ... there's a big group out there working very hard to shut us down. Maybe Jason, my admin, can share some specifics about the attacks we receive. The numbers are pretty amazing actually.

Jason replied:
In the last 24 hours, we've had...
- +2000 brute-force break-in attempts.
- 13 distinct types of SSH, Apache, PHP, and MySQL attacks
- +500 spam e-mail addresses to various accounts
- 2 attempts to spoof or misroute our internet packets

and, my favourite by far...

- Over 100 distinct attempts to logon to the server, webpage, and forum as "JesusHatesYou"

The people involved probably think they are frontline soldiers in spiritual warfare. More likely they are bitter nerds who are breaking the law.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Liquid Double Entendres

To go with my Arse wine I now have some Fanny Pastis:

What would they taste like mixed?

Labels: , ,

Family interlude, Spring etc.

This past week has been very hot. Although it's not yet May, it is already feeling like Summer, and yet the swallows still haven't arrived in any great number.
Fiona took the kids for a walk to the lake down the road and the picked spring flowers.
Here are the kids in hippy mode. Callan wil be nine in August and Briony will be seven at the end of November.

Because my wife, Fiona is such a creative genius, she had to make these sculptures for the garden. She's been working hard on her website, as well as another site for a client, and it was driving her crazy staring at a screen all day. So she banged stuff together in a catharsis of sculpure.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some jokes get lost in the translation

Man cuts off penis in restaurant

This story made me laugh out loud! OK, the story is tragic, so it was rather the headline and the photo -

Because in France, "zizi" is child-talk for penis.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


At 6:30 this evening I was in the cafe, getting a bottle of gas for the barbeque and having a cold pineau while I was at it.
There were a couple of election officials in the cafe, the polls had closed 30 minutes before. They had the commune poll results with them. these results had already been faxed to the Prefecture.

For Cherves Chatelars the results were 86 votes for Royale, 77 for Sarkosy, and then the others. Le Pen got 20 something. The turnout was 76%.

The national results have Sarko at 33% and Sego at 25.5%

So its a race between these two for the second round. It's going to be close. If we assume taht all the people who voted for the splintered left will vote Sego then she should overtake Sarko.

Have faith . . .

One of the YouTube atheists - ridi0t. He was a full-on christian preacher, lost his faith (and his family as a result) Makes superb videos. Follow the YouTube link and watch his stuff, he is a superb communicator. His message here - let's have faith in humanity, let's be kind to one another.
It's not complicated.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Catholic Bishop gets all my respect

My wife & I were both born in Zimababwe. My parents still live there.

It is a country that has descended, with ever-increasing speed into chaos and madness. The thug in charge is Robert Mugabe, who has been in power now for 28 years. He recently celbrated his 83rd birthday in a year where his fellow countymen can hope for an average life expectancy of 35.
Mugabe does not tolerate opposition. His political rivals have had car accidents, drowned in swimming pools, disappeared, been jailed, tortured, beaten.
A long-time critic of his is the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pious Ncube. Most other churches and church leaders have either turned a blind eye to Mugabe's antics or sucked up to him.
The Pastor of my church, Noel Pashapa is now a vocal supporter of Mugabe, and turns out at his rallies.

Ncube, on the other hand has said:
I'm very angry with African leaders for letting their people down. They have cared too much for themselves and too little for their people. Their record, since the end of colonial rule, is enough to make you weep.

He will carry on protesting, he said, even if doing so risked making himself a martyr. "The Church has a prophetic role to speak the truth when no one else dares to. I accept that it may mean that I lose my life."
His faith has been put to the test, but it is the frailty of humans and their failure to use their brains which is to blame, he said.
"We can't blame God if we don't use them and stand up to our leaders," he said.

I was prompted to blog this, because the article appeared in yesterday's telegraph, but also because the Sacred Slut blogged about church activism on her blog A Whore in the Temple of Reason

I know exactly how she feels. I think it would be scandalous if churches could get away with defying the state and the authorities, but you only have to read the accounts of Pious Ncube in Zimabwe to see that there are countries and situations where if the church wasn't making a stand, no-one would be.
Of course I use the phrase "the church" in the widest possible sense. I have already mentioned that in Zimabwe the church is divided, with some denominations supporting Mugabe.

Update: The transcript of an interview SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda talks with Archbishop Pius Ncube, Pastor Ray Motsi and Bishop Trevor Manhanga for the HOT SEAT programme.
The Bishops are asked if this coming together of catholic bishops is in any way official or sanctioned by the Pope. Could the church ex-communicate Mugabe, and what would be the reaction to that? Notice Ncube's veiled criticsm of his counterpart the Archbishop of Harare, Mugabe's diocese.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Evolution is full of holes

Thank you to Dave the webmaster at He has the ability to put lucidly in a few words what I struggle with foggily in my brain.

Few people would trust a mechanic to perform an appendectomy. Surgeons are generally not solicited to install circuit breakers in newly constructed homes. And people don't usually seek out shirtless road crew members to officiate at weddings or administer communion. Yet, when it comes to evolutionary science, a bible-school-educated religious philosopher's observations are touted as equally as valid as someone with, for example, a doctorate degree in molecular biology? How does that happen?

I have never understood how a minister can even be in the same debate with a scientist. I equate it to a dentist having a debate with someone arguing that the tooth fairy is the one that takes a child's tooth away and leaves a dollar.

Read the full article here.

Labels: , , ,

There are two kinds of people . . .

There are two kinds of people: those who blog, and those who don't. But that's not what I'm posting about.

There are two kinds of people: those who generalise and those who don't.
There are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.
No. Really. There are two kinds of people: those whose urine smells funny after eating asparagus and those whose urine doesn't. I'm not shitting you, that is the real topic of this post.
It's something I noticed years ago, when I was young. After eating asparagus - fresh/tinned/whatever, within the hour my pee would smell funny. Whenever I remarked on this phenomenon some people looked at me weird, but other people said "Yes, me too!"

Well, I was ever so pleased to discover a while ago that some serious scientific research has been done into this most important issue. A recent meal of asparagus and the subsequent visit to the toilet has reminded me to blog it.

Studies have shown that this phenomenon is genetic. 46% of 115 people tested produced the odor in one group of British citizens, according to 1989 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, while 100% of 103 people produced it in a group of French citizens. (Go France!)
It turns out that asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan.This compound is also found in other smelly things such as rotten eggs, onions, garlic, and in what comes out of skunks. This compound cannot be smelt in the raw, unprocessed asparagus plant itself. It is only when you digest it, by-products are released that cause the funny scent. The process is so quick that your urine can develop the distinctive smell within 15 to 30 minutes of eating asparagus.
Here's a killer though - not everyone can SMELL this chemical. And this ability to smell the chemical is also genetic.
It's possible that someone may think their pee doesn't smell after eating asparagus, but it DOES, they just can't smell it. Curiouser and curiouser.
This info from Eau D'Asparagus and You should know, you're a medic

Labels: , ,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Crap Hunters

About 20 kilometres east of here is the "Forêt de la Braconne". It's a kind of national park, it's owned by the state, so hunting rights on it are auctioned. According to the local paper, the guys who have one of the parcels of land (which they won in a secret bid auction in 2005, paying 53400 Euros per year for 12 years on 2650 hectares) have not been killing enough wild boar.
Asterix and Obelix would hang their heads in shame.
They are been taken to court for "only" killing 354 boars. They had agreed by contract to kill 485. They are accused of voluntarily allowing the number of boars to increase. The population explosion of boars means that the beasts are overflowing into neighbouring farmlands and destroying crops.
The accused feel thay are being targeted by those who did not win the auction because there are other hunt organisation in the forest - hunting with horse and hounds for example, who have also failed to meet their targets, but are not being prosecuted.
I think it's a great example of cultural difference between France and UK. In the UK hunting is only done on private land. Only the rich can afford to own propert large enough to house game. Hunting with horse and hounds is theoretically illegal.
And here in France you get taken to court because you haven't hunted enough!!
In france we hunt in the winter, although wild boar, fox and others can be hunted out of season if the local authorites declare that they are causing a "nuisance"
"Pest" animals like fox, badger, coipu can be hunted all year. You need a license of course, the French government never miss a chance to raise revenue.
I passed my hunting license 2 years ago and I have a 12 gauge double-barrel shotgun. I didn't hunt this year because I couldn't afford the fees.


Everything is Pointless

Louie Savva has been contemplating the alleviation of angst at his excellent blog "Everything is Pointless"

It's all very complicated, what with the meaning of life and all, but it has been proposed by existensialists that what impedes happiness is existensial anxiety. I presume they mean stuff like worrying about the mortgage and getting twisted up about the boss and work, worrying about the kids, and whether that failure to get an erection last night was a one off or the start of something more serious.

Louie says:
If tomorrow, I were whisked away to a desert island, allowed to live in peace, with a coconut tree on one side and a breadfruit tree on the other, I might attain happiness for a short while. Nothing like the existential joy that the paper talks about, but perhaps for a short time I might be allowed to enjoy, relatively stress free, that singularly unique experience that is, being alive.

However, such a satisfied state will not last forever, and sooner or later something bad is going to happen. My body will age and begin to fail, and then that fear of death kicks back in, leaving me berating existence until the last breath.

I therefore disagree that existential joy is achieved through transcending existential anxiety. It is merely the potential highpoint of a trajectory, from nothing, back to nothing. It is little wonder that people try their hardest to avoid the truth. What choice do you really have?

Now, when I was a freelance computer programmer living in the Thames Valley, I used to drive past road crews and ditch diggers and think "Man, I wish I was like them. If I was a ditch digger there would be no stress".

Well, years later, and here I am working in a factory. Automated ditch digging. It's shift work, so when I knock off, some other guy takes over. I don't have to worry about mounting paperwork, or deadlines. The end of work is the end of work.

And I can testify, as Louie has hypothesised, we make our own stress and anxiety. There is always going to be something in life to get you uptight.

You can't flee from life. You have to find ways of handling it, coping with it. Which is where religion comes in. Religion is pre-packaged how to cope. When there is no god and no religion you have to figure it out for yourself. I'm not painting atheists as life's heroes here because figuring out how to cope is what millions of people do, and have done, day by day. Part of our problems come from being to proud to ask when we find we can't cope, and to shy to share when we think we are the only ones in the world who can't manage it.

One of Louie's recommended aids in the fight against anxiety is . . .
a gum shield! Stops him grinding his teethe while he sleeps, so he gets a decent nights sleep and emerges in the mornings a less stressed man.

Another plus is that no one has ever been persecuted over gum shield dogma. Yet.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Science kicks ass!

Diabetics cured by stem-cell treatment

From the Times (London)
Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again.

This is the kind of story that makes me punch the air and shout "YES!"
A trial involving 15 young type 1 diabetics. They were given immune supressing drugs and then stem cell transfusions taken from their own blood.
As a result, their bodies have satrted producing their own insulin. 13 of the 15 "guinea pigs" no longer need to inject themselves with synthetic insulin, and have been indipendent of insulin suppliments for 3 years.

It's early days, but what a break-through! Type 1 diabetics have to inject themselves up to 4 times a day from childhood. Type 2 diabetes is the kind that appears later in adulthood and is linked to environmental factors like diet.

There are still question marks about exactly how the treatment works, and further studies will be required to fully evaluate it’s safety and efficacy.
“As a research scientist I am always hesitant to speak of a cure, but the initial results have been good and show the importance of conducting more trials,” Dr Burt said.

This caution, and that the trial took place 3 years ago, and is only now hitting the news, make me feel that this is science and medicine at its best. Slow, methodical, peer-reviewed, cautious, but at the same time an unstoppable force.
In one of my favourite books "Zen and the Art of Mororcycle maintenance" Robert Pirsig says of the Scientific Method:
When I think of formal scientific method, an image sometimes comes to mind of an enormous juggernaut. A huge bulldozer--slow, tedious, lumbering, laborious, but invincible. It takes twice as long, five times as long, maybe a dozen times as long as informal mechanic's techniques, but you know in the end you are going to get it. There is no fault isolation problem in motorcycle maintenance that can stand up to it. When you've hit a really tough one, tried everything, racked your brains and nothing works, and you know that Nature this time has really decided to be difficult, you say, "Okay, Nature, that's the end of the nice guy," and you crank up the formal scientific method.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A picture paints a thousand words

I took my digital camera to work and filmed the Mulder press and some other stuff. I've tried to describe this press and its processes in previous posts, but seeing it in action makes it easier to understand.
Apologies for the narration ending mid sentence, Peter Greenaway I am not.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, April 07, 2007

France - A Secular Nation?

It's my dream blog entry. I live in France and started this blog to chart the cultural diffrences between the French and me, and the unique experiences of working in a roof tile factory. Lately, the themes of atheism and skepticism has been taking more of my time, and in today's local paper, what do I find, but a pre-Easter survey on the religious persuasions of the French.
And the surprise is that France is becoming increasing secular. I've scanned the graphs in from the article. 4000 people were interviewed, across all ages and sectors.

This first graph is titled "Could you say which is your religion, if you consider yourself to have one?" The interesting figure here is that 29%, nearly a third of French people claim to have no religion. Note also that only 3% are declared muslim, a figure that would have been higher if this survey was exclusively from one of the big cities.


This graph is titled "People who declare themselves Catholic" But notice that the figures don't add up to 100% What the graph is saying is that 44% of people aged between 15-35 years of age declare themselves catholic while 75% of people over 60 do so. It shows that as time goes by, France will become increasingly secular. (Set aside issues of Muslim immigration)


This 3rd graph is a breakdown of the behaviour of the Catholics. "How often do you attend Mass or religious services?" The large majority, 53% only ever step inside church for baptisms, weddings and funerals. This is the declared catholics remember. This demonstrates that for most of the 59% declared Catholics oin France, their religion is has only cultural implications, and not deep religious implications. Only 23% say they would pitch up for the big feasts like Easter, Assumption and Christmas


Graph number 4 asks: "In each of the following areas, would you say, in your life are very important, fairly important, not very imprtant, or not at all imprtant?" And the 2 bars they show in the graph are the figures for people who ranked the areas as "fairly important" and "very important". The thing to notice here is that most French regarded family, friends and social life, leisure and culture and work as important. Religion and spirituality was only rated as "fairly important" by 37% of people and only 13% thought religion was "very important" in their lives.


This last graph is the killer. Only 38% of french people believ in God. 38% could be called agnostic, and a whopping 22% of french people declare themselves atheist!

There is also an accompanying article that gives a bit more detail and interviews 2 local priests for their opinions. I'll post the translation of that tomorrow

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Atheist Blogroll

If you look over to the right hand side of the page, in my links section, I have added the Atheist Blogroll.
This blogroll is currently running at over 220 sites, they may not all be exclusively atheist content. Like me they may only get on their atheist soapbox from time to time.
If your blog has atheist content, if you have significant things to say about the absence of evidence for any kind of god, and how that impacts on life, get added to the blogroll.
Joe Crumpler at Deep Thoughts can provide code for a rotating 25 site list, or a scrolling marquee. I've opted for the full list because at certain sites I visit daily (like Skeptico) have excellent links that I use daily, and I'd be bugged if I went there and a link I use regularly wasn't there.

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Godspam - Junkmail for Jesus.

I often get these emails full of treacly, sentimental christian urban legend. They often have a twist at the end to show some message or parable about God & Jesus.

Like the one about the teacher who got his pupils to put up drawings of people they hate and throw darts at the picture. When they had all done he took down the cover that was over the cork board to reveal a picture of Jesus, his hace torn by the dart holes. "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Matthew 25:40


Or the one about the girl walking home alone, and another girl was raped just after she had gone by. When the cops caught the rapist they asked him why he hadn't attacked the first girl. "because there were two big men with her" The girl was a christian and the two men had been her guardian angels


Here's a little example:
> >> It's these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my
> >> time had come.
> >> I would regret it, because I would no longer see the friends I was
> > to
> >> meet, or speak to them on the telephone, or send the letters that I
> >> was going to write ... "One of these days".
> >> I would regret and feel sad, because I didn't say to my brothers and
> >> sisters, sons and daughters, not enough times at least, how much
> >> I love them.

See all the response chevrons? Its because the softheads that forward this stuff are too useless to reformat or type, they just think "Aw that's real purty" and hit the reply or forward button.
Also notice how these mails always get forwrded to a pile of people at a time. Often, (and this is very bizare for co-called christians) these mails have superstitious warnings about not forwarding the mail. or they have stuff like "Ashamed of Jesus? then don't forward this"

Why do people forward this crap? Is it because they feel they are doing a good deed? Evangelising? Witnessing? because often the sentiment and theology demonstrated in Godspam is very weak or even plain wrong.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone had a short, concise, rational and logical response I could use to respond to Godspam, rather than just deleting it. uch a response is unlikely to have any effect on the worldview of such people, but if it menat they never mailed me another one, it would be worth it.

Labels: , ,


While looking at the referrers to my blog I noticed that someone had arrived here via a google search on "A french wine called Arse". This peculiar search string brings my blog up as the first entry. Today's post will no doubt re-enforce my internet dominance of anatomically labelled alcohol.
Now it so happens that I have drunk this very wine and at about 3 Euros a bottle, it's not too shabby at all.
Its full name is Château Seigneurie d'Arse and it is a Fitou. It has won a few medals, for example it took a gold medal in the "CONCOURS MONDIAL DE BRUXELLES 2006" for its 2004.
Fitou is in the department Aude (11) in the south of France. It was the first of the regions in the Languedoc to be awarded its own Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in 1948.

To finish off tho' still on the arse theme, I give you Bob Fleming and Clive Tucker.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gideon's Bibles

Edward Baker, in his blog "In Defence Of Reason" suggests a petition for the removal of Gideon's Bibles from hotel rooms in the UK.

As I read his piece my thoughts went through a strange process:
1. No, leave them there, then we can insert atheist literature or just keep taking them home.
2. Rather, lets have atheist literature in the rooms as well.
3. No, let's not, where will it end?
4. Yeah, let's sign this petition.

I participate on an Ex-Christian forum and this very topic came up recently. At Friendly Atheist the topic has also been recently blogged. Some people advocate taking the bibles home and dumping them. At the very least it costs Gideons some money.
Someone pointed out the irony that the scoiety is named after a very nasty piece of work. By today's standards, Gideon would have hung alongside Saddam for war crimes.

You can get warning stickers for bibles here and here

Which got me wondering why we couldn't petition to have atheist or humanist literature in hotels. But then all hell would break loose as we'd then have to have the Koran, Book of Mormon and god knows what other crap filling the bedside drawers. Each hotel room would have to have its own mini library of religious bullshit, in the name of equality and balance.

So I've come round to the idea, either leave things as they are, Gideons in the rooms, and feel free to mess with them as you wish, or remove all religious crap from the rooms, including Gideons bibles. Go sign Ed's petition.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Un week-end debauché II

EEK! Over month has gone by and no posts to the blog!

And yet so much has happened. - Where to start . . . .
I think the best policy is to just plod on, I promised a report on the dirty weekend so here it goes.

Firstly, Bordeaux is big. Not New York/Chicago/Dallas big but for this poor country boy it surpassed my expectations. The traffic is nasty, and Bordeaux has an extensive tramway system, that I found confusing as a car driver. One of Bordeaux's sleek trams.
It wasn't obvious which roads were for trams only and which were for cars. On one occasion I found myself face to face with a tram and I had to reverse out.
The Hotel we had booked looked easy to get to - right next to the old theatre, near the river in the heart of old Bordeaux, but we came in over the wrong bridge, and the map I had bought was a tram map not a road map. After a loss of temper we decided to simply find the river and follow it until we got to the destination. I parked the car in an underground lot. I knew it would be pricy when the barrier didn't issue a ticket, but instead asked for my credit card. The nest day revealed that an overnight stay in the car park costs 17 Euros.
The hotel was basic, basic. The room had a double bed, a TV with a dozen channels, a shower. But it was very clean, and suited us fine. We had a shower and did what comes naturally. It was very handy being in the middle of the old town because we could come back to the room at any time. handy because the weather was foul - windy and rainy. There were many inside out umbrellas ditched in the city's litter bins.
For us country hicks the shops were fantastic, all the big city names and brands as well as cafes, epiceries, boulangeries, chocolateries. Fantastic. I was impressed with this wine shop. L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des Vins
L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des VinsIt's called L'Intendant de l'Hôtel des Vins and has 4 floors served by a spiral staircase. The collection includes over 15,000 bottles. Naturally, it only dealt with bordeaux but it was impressive the way the wines went round and round the staircase. I bought a bottle of Moulis Chasse-Spleen - my favourite bordeaux for 27 Euros. Bear in mind that a bordeaux superior for daily drinking will cost about 5 Euros.
Old restaurants, old buildings and old whores
We spent some time in the afternoon mooching around the alleys of the old town, searching for a good restaurant for the evening. We found a street called "Rue des Faussets" that only had restaurants and we were spoiled for choice. They all display their menus and prices. In some of the more secluded alleys and parks we noticed women of a certain age sitting in chairs in doorways. As I had already noticed a few "adult" shops in the area I put 2 and 2 together and realised they were hookers. But they were all over 50 and looked like your mom! I had sex on the brain when I saw this sandwich shop. KY Jelly"KY sandwiches? The sex industry is going too far!" Turns out the KY was the last letters in the word "COOKY" the O's being replaced with hamburger icons
At 8:00 pm we went back to Rue des Faussets to find it changed. There were more people about and many of the restaurants had ushers at the door trying to tempt you in. One woman insisted that everything in her restaurant was home made and offered a free aperatif if we came in. It was very tempting. We settled on "Le Grill au Thym" a very cosy looking place. It already had customers which is always reassuring. They have a web site here. We chose from their 21 Euro menu and it was excellent. I had "Foie gras mi-cuit au gros sel de Guérande" it melted in the mouth and had cruchy sea salt sprinkled on it. Fiona chose a salad "Crevettes sautées au pistou" We both had "Magret de canard à l'orange" for a main course. Heaven. Magret de canard is the duck breast, grilled with the fat side down to the flame, still rare and pink inside. My mouth is watering as I type. We staggered back to the hotel.

Summary - Brodeaux is a wonderful place and I would love to get to know it better, learn how to use the tram system, get better value from the time spent there.