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Mirmande

Mirmande is a very pretty stone village with very steep streets. We had booked into a charming hotel and found ourselves in a large comfortable, light filled room on the top floor looking out on the hill above.

 

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Mirmande

 

 

The village turned out to be excellent exercise, on a par with Awaba Street in Mosman.  We panted our way to the top, thighs complaining, and then headed down narrow paths between the many pretty stone cottages and little gardens.  Dinner in the hotel dining room was the longed for traditional French cuisine and delicious.  Not a pizza in sight.  We slept well and contented.  And the traditional French continental breakfast the next morning completed the delightful experience.

We continued down the Rhône valley towards Avingnon.

 

La Tour 
Citroen C4 Diesel
Our car next to a field of corn.

Quite soon we came to the large Cruas Nuclear Power Station, on the other side of the river.

A check on line revealed that site contains 4 pressurized water reactors of 900 MW each, totalling 3600 MW total.  This is one of nineteen such plants in France. France generates the great majority of its electricity using atomic power and exports surplus electricity to several of its neighbours.

Just three such plants would replace all the coal burning generation in NSW.

 

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Cruas Nuclear Power Station

 

 

The plant has been the target if antinuclear protesters.  A mural on a cooling tower is intended to advertise its ecological credentials - zero emissions. Nine mountaineers were employed to paint it. The painting reflects the basics of Water and Air and is titled Aquarius. A couple of 2MW wind turbines complete the clean-green message. 

As nuclear plants generate a good deal of waste heat, water vapour from the cooling towers generates a considerable cloud that can be seen for miles.

 

 

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Travel

Southern France

Touring in the South of France

September 2014

 

Lyon

Off the plane we are welcomed by a warm Autumn day in the south of France.  Fragrant and green.

Lyon is the first step on our short stay in Southern France, touring in leisurely hops by car, down the Rhône valley from Lyon to Avignon and then to Aix and Nice with various stops along the way.

Months earlier I’d booked a car from Lyon Airport to be dropped off at Nice Airport.  I’d tried booking town centre to town centre but there was nothing available.

This meant I got to drive an unfamiliar car, with no gearstick or ignition switch and various other novel idiosyncrasies, ‘straight off the plane’.  But I managed to work it out and we got to see the countryside between the airport and the city and quite a bit of the outer suburbs at our own pace.  Fortunately we had ‘Madam Butterfly’ with us (more of her later) else we could never have reached our hotel through the maze of one way streets.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

My car owning philosophies

 

 

I have owned well over a dozen cars and driven a lot more, in numerous countries. 

It seems to me that there are a limited number of reasons to own a car:

  1. As a tool of business where time is critical and tools of trade need to be carried about in a dedicated vehicle.
  2. Convenient, fast, comfortable, transport particularly to difficult to get to places not easily accessible by public transport or cabs or in unpleasant weather conditions, when cabs may be hard to get.
  3. Like clothes, a car can help define you to others and perhaps to yourself, as an extension of your personality.
  4. A car can make a statement about one's success in life.
  5. A car can be a work of art, something re-created as an aesthetic project.
  6. A car is essential equipment in the sport of driving.
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Opinions and Philosophy

A Carbon Tax for Australia

 12 July 2011

 

 

It's finally announced, Australia will have a carbon tax of $23 per tonne of CO2 emitted.  This is said to be the highest such tax in the world but it will be limited to 'about 500' of the biggest emitters.  The Government says that it can't reveal which  these are to the public because commercial privacy laws prevent it from naming them. 

Some companies have already 'gone public' and it is clear that prominent among them are the major thermal power generators and perhaps airlines.  Some like BlueScope Steel (previously BHP Steel) will be granted a grace period before the tax comes into effect. In this case it is publicly announced that the company has been granted a two year grace period with possible extensions, limited to its core (iron and steelmaking) emissions.

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