May 5th, 2011

Mallory Park


My lovely friend Jim from the X9 Forum has lent me one of his extensive scooter harem to be going on with, so I'm mobile again. Though I must be very careful, as I only have third-party insurance for other people's bikes.

It's been a week and a half since I rode anywhere under my own steam and I've missed it greatly.
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5: Cahors

Another day when we didn't roam far. This time we visited Cahors, home of France's most-photographed bridge. To ensure it stays that way, here's a photo.

We also visited the Museum of the Resistance, the Deportation and the Liberation. The three themes had a floor each; the ground floor was all about the occupation of France, while the second level had some horrific stuff about the fate of French undesirables in concentration camps. I thought the Belsen Experience at the Imperial War Museum had inured me to further shocks, but no. Who on earth thought that tattooing babies could possibly make you the Good Guys?

Luckily the top floor (Liberation) turned out to be mostly model aeroplanes, which cheered me up.

In the evening we had a romp with the lovely Bess and her two inexhaustible fox terrier friends.

Ice cream flavour of the day: Caramel 'Fleur de Sel'.

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Husky Airways

6: Bergerac, Biscarrosse

One of the first things I do when investigating potential holiday destinations is to see if there are any aviation museums in the area.

The Musée de l'Hydraviation in Biscarosse was a little out of the way - four hours' drive - but looked hopeful enough for me to request it.

I was very excited to be travelling through Gascony, breeding-ground of brave Musketeers. We stopped on the way in Bergerac to pay homage to Cyrano (in fact the real-life version didn't come from there at all, but changed his name to impress the Gascons in his regiment).

There are two statues to the long-nosed duellist. The old one is the same age as me:

The new one is in Technicolor:

What with this side trip, it was 4PM by the time we arrived in Biscarrosse. To my disappointment, the museum was in the town; I'd pictured it by the lake itself, with seaplanes bobbing at anchor.

In fact there are very few actual planes at the museum, mostly due to the effects of salt water on fragile aircraft skins.

There are, however, paintings, photos, ephemera, propellers, models and a short film, all of which evoke the golden age of the flying boat.

I sighed for the days when you could be transported to another continent in airborne luxury, landing nightly by some sunset shore to enjoy a sumptuous dinner before bed in your very own cabin. And those names, promising exotic adventure: Canopus! Croix du Sud!

I was fairly restrained in the gift shop (mostly because there were no T-shirts for sizes between 10-year-old child and medium adult), but I did buy a present for my absent scooter: a 'Danger! Ejection Seat!' sticker.

Ice cream flavour of the day: prune and Armagnac at the Bar St-Exupéry, Biscarrosse.

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