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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

Poland

Poland

 

 

Berlin

We were to drive to Poland from Berlin.  In September and October 2014 were in Berlin to meet and spend some time with my new grandson, Leander.  But because we were concerned that we might be a burden to entertain for a whole month-and-a-half, what with the demands of a five month old baby and so on, we had pre-planned a number of side-trips.  The last of these was to Poland. 

To pick up the car that I had booked months before, we caught the U-Bahn from Magdalenenstraße, close to Emily's home in Lichtenberg, to Alexanderplatz.  Quick - about 15 minutes - and easy.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

My Art and Artists

 

 

One recreation that I find very absorbing is drawing and painting. 

Having once been married to an exceptionally talented artist (now Brenda Chat) I do not pretend great skill or insight.

I always drew and painted but living with Brenda was like someone who has just mastered ‘chopsticks’ on the piano being confronted by Mozart. 

Our daughter Emily has inherited or acquired some of her mother’s skill and talent.  

Emily and I once attended life classes together and I am awed by her talent too.  One of her drawings hangs behind me as I write.  It is a wonderful pencil study of a life class nude. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Electric Cars revisited (again)

  

Electric vehicles like: trams; trains; and electric: cars; vans; and busses; all assist in achieving better air quality in our cities. Yet, to the extent that the energy they consume is derived from our oldest energy source, fire: the potential toxic emissions and greenhouse gasses simply enter the atmosphere somewhere else.

Back in 2005 I calculated that in Australia, due to our burning coal, oil and sometimes rural waste and garbage, to generate electricity, grid-charged all-electric electric cars had a higher carbon footprint than conventional cars.

In 2019, with a lot of water under the bridge; more renewables in the mix; and much improved batteries; I thought it was worth a revisit. I ran the numbers, using more real-world data, including those published by car companies themselves. Yet I got the same result: In Australia, grid-charged all-electric cars produce more greenhouse gasses than many conventional cars for the same distance travelled.

Now, in the wake of COP26, (November 2021), with even more water under the bridge, the promotion of electric cars is back on the political agenda.  Has anything changed?

 

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