Sunday, 24 July 2005

more brittany

Another week, another round of tourism.

The original plan last Tuesday was to catch some trains up to Bayeux and Rouen and check out Normandy, but forecasts of bad weather and dodgy train timetables made us reconsider, so we took the easier option and jumped a TGV out to Brest, via St Brieux. After an afternoon there exploring the maritime museum and various parks, we caught the train down to Quimper, where we ran into a large celtic/european cultural festival. We took in a concert or two and wandered around amongst the crowds, and along the way established (or, in my case, reestablished) the opinion that Breton dancing is entirely without rhythmic, diversionary or any other sort of merit. We had a quick visit to the gallery there, but had to cut it short, which was a shame.

On Thursday morning we caught a ridiculously cheap but out to the Pointe du Raz and had a scramble on the rocks. It was a very different day to my previous visit. The visibility was high, the winds low, and the gulls largely absent, and the flowers that had been so colourful had seen their hues quite dulled by the sun in the month since.

After an afternoon of sun, we were pretty tired catching the TER back to Rennes, and collapsed basically on arrival, even forgetting to check the score in the cricket.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005


So Lee got in a bit over a week ago, on a Saturday afternoon, and has been staying with me. We've pretty much gotten her to every place worth seeing within reasonable reach of a day trip: St. Malo, Mont St-Michel, Vannes, various trips around Rennes, and even Betton and the canal yesterday. In between times I've been filling in some gaps in her cultural education, in the various forms of Firefly episodes, and Blade Runner, and revisiting both of our childhoods in the form of the Mysterious Cities of Gold. Notably, the latter has fallen into my basket of childhood pleasures that stand up less well to the passage of time.

This afternoon we're looking to head up to Normandy for a couple of days to look at beaches and the like. We'd go to Switzerland, but I'm still working out troubles with my carte de sejour (which should all be sorted next week, the lady assures me), so am nervous about leaving (or more accurately re-entering) France.

In a spare moment, we've set Lee up with here very own blog, over at Vikings and Fjords. The name doesn't fit so long as she's parading around sunny Brittany (I'm unable to convince Australians that Brittany is a rainy place!), but should do better once she gets to Oslo in August.

Saturday, 9 July 2005

trading places

Mick flew back to Australia on Thursday, after trips to Spain, Scotland and Switzerland. Meanwhile, Lee arrives in Rennes in a couple of hours after a few days in KL and a very, very long flight. I really should have gone to meet her at the airport in Paris, but I didn't get my butt into gear. In any case, I'm excited to see her, although things are a bit of a mess here in terms of thing scattered and undone.

Friday, 8 July 2005

hamlet's ghost

Paul Keating evidently believes that the current ALP opposition is incapable of holding John Howard accountable in the public eye. Perhaps the only thing more discouraging than a retired politician who won't let old grudges die is when he is justified in doing so. *Sigh*

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

sport and podcasting

After tennis with Franck last Thursday and a big bike ride on Sunday, the natural consequence was more tennis on Monday, this time with Seb as well as Franck. I put myself against the other two for the first hour or so. I much prefer it that way; better for my fitness, and in theory at least I should be more reliable than them, and this is becoming more and more true as I slowly work out my problems on my forehand.

Today, Raphael dropped in for a visit from Lille, ostensibly to speak with Jean-Marc about a European project they're putting up, but the opportunity to talk about other stuff was also useful.

In other work news, I'm still getting nowhere on reviewing a paper for tomorrow, nor on updating the camera-ready copy of my Jamaica paper. I think I've narrowed down my little model type well-formedness niggle, though.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to more ABC radio than I have since college, with Philip Adams & Robyn Williams on Radio National, Karl Kruszelnicki, Jon Safran & others on triplej and grandstand all having podcasts out there for me. I'm also getting into WeFunk's archives in a pretty big way - makes outstanding cycling radio.

Monday, 4 July 2005


After wasting Saturday on NBA Live (on defense I've got these hands, and on offense I've got handles like pots and pans!), I got a little more done on Sunday. OK, so I watched a couple of games of football - 3 for the weekend - but I also got on my bike (literally and figuratively) and went for a ride on the track along the canal d'ile et rance. A few months back I rode this coming back through Betton from the foret de rennes, but this time I went quite a bit further, up a few kilometres past Chevaigne. Turning around after just over 27km, I was feeling alright, but there was a stretch of 4 or 5km of coarse bluestone gravel that really put the hurt into my legs, so by the time I got home the 53.6km was not lost on me.