Le Tour de France passed through Hebden Bridge this afternoon. Boy, were they ever lost!

Peloton, Le Tour de France, approaching Hebden Bridge

The peloton of Le Tour de France approaching Hebden Bridge this afternoon.

Jen and I headed off across the moor to cut them off at the pass, but they still managed to get through.

The best joke of the afternoon came from Jen. As the lead, breakaway group of seven cyclists passed, she turned to me and said, “Is that it?! What a huge disappointment! I was expecting a lot more riders than that.”

Well, it made me laugh.

More photos here.

Compare and contrast

BBC: Napoleon Bonaparte painting by David identified
A painting of Napoleon Bonaparte by Jacques-Louis David has been identified in New York by a University of Reading researcher.

Does anyone else think Emperor Napoleon bore an uncanny resemblance to the suspiciously French-sounding James Bond villain Le Chiffre, as portrayed by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in the movie Casino Royale?

Le Chiffre

Le Chiffre.



This one has conspiracy written all over it.

Proud to report...

As our train emerged from the Channel Tunnel yesterday, the first words I ever uttered on French soil were: "Can you smell garlic?"

Don't ask about the loos on the overnight train from France to Italy, though. The dirty, dirty bastards. I've finally worked out why the French are such a miserable lot: permanent constipation.

Anyhow, hello from Florence, Italy, where I have just eaten a pistachio ice-cream, and watched egrets and kingfishers next to the River Arno.

Where does a chap get a decent cup of tea round here? (We brought our own, you know.)


Gruts lurker Stense thought it was pretty funny I'd resorted to reading washing-up bowls. Today, I found myself reading a railway ticket. This ticket, in fact:


Notice anything odd? Look again. Look at that date: 08-JNR-08.

SINCE WHEN EXACTLY was January abbreviated to JNR? JNR doesn't stand for January. If anything, it stands for Junior. Abbreviating January to JNR (first, third and sixth letters) makes as much sense as abbreviating October to OTE. In other words, it makes no bloody sense whatsoever.

I'll tell you who's behind this. The French. I'll bet there's some sort of silly euro-month standard so that travellers on Eurostar don't get confused, and the French totally insisted on JNR for January (Janvier)—in the same way as they insisted on having that silly e at the end of Concorde. They tend to do an awful lot of that sort of thing, the French.

We Brits are a tolerant bunch, Pierre, but you can push us only so far!