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Late this morning I went up the lane with a dutch hoe and a stiff broom. The idea was to cut a path through the grassy bit in the middle in order to allow the water to drain. The water was run-off from the field.

On the way home, I got a little carried away in observing a trickle of water passing down through our part of the lane. This, when a more powerful flow, when post trucks drive through at dumb speeds, or when it freezes, cause degradation of the surface. There are already a number of large potholes that have formed since the summer (so definitely not us - mom hasn't driven since the end of August, and my bicycle... yeah...).
A mixture of too fast and too much water will do that.

I have previously mentioned how the neighbouring farmer must have been asleep during science lessons, you know, simple stuff like water flows downhill), There used to be ditches there for a reason, not so it can be flattened down and used as a tractor crossing. So, in order to try to work around the failed land drainage, I busted my balls (and my back!) digging out a trench for the water to use in preference.

I fully expect the next time he passes that way to be all "WTF is this for?" and drive right over it. Instead of, you know, telling the guy that operates the backhoe to come out and finish it off with a better (bigger, deeper) channel. Or maybe laying a short length of drainaway pipe?

Judicious camera angles and pushing the colours can make it look more impressive than it really is. It's a wide river with steep scary cliffs either side. I just hope this doesn't end with an epic Hollywood-style waterfall.


Fibre optic

I have a stack of newspapers, dating from - curiously enough - the 28th of September. One day I will zip through them, or get fed of picking up the pile when it falls over and put them all out for recycling.
Today the pile fell over. It might have had something to do with careless human avoiding stupid cat. As I picked the papers up, I noticed a mailshot claiming that Brittany will be an ass-kicking place by 2030. This particular one was about how loads of people will have fibre optic by 2021, 66% of the region by 2023, and everybody by 2026.

Yes. Everybody.

So I went to the website that said that 50,000km of cables need to be installed at a projected cost of 1.66 billion euros.
There's a map for checking when an address will be eligible. First problem - my address isn't known. Useful. However the alternative is to go to the place on the map. So I zoomed in. Top of the access lane is projected to be hooked up in 2022. Me? By 2025. Though I note it says the same thing if I tap a random field with no properties for half a kilometre.

Speaking of half a kilometre, that's about how much fibre would need to be installed just for me, because that's about how long the access lane is. I can't see anybody in a hurry to do that, as my internet subscription is unlikely to come anywhere close to recouping the cost of installation.
But, we shall see...

To be honest, the only reason it would be nice to have fibre is so I can "get what I pay for". My current contract is for something like "up to 20 megabit" or whatever, while I get between three and four depending upon the phase of the moon (right now it is 3.46 megabit download, 1.01 megabit upload). I guess I wouldn't be bothered if I paid a little less due to the lesser bitrate, but it doesn't work like that.
For everything else... sure, 1 megabit was a little slow, 2 was okay, and 3-4 is perfectly useable. It's only me, so I can stream videos from Amazon, download stuff. It isn't instant, but then I cut my teeth on downloading episodes of older animé on services that would artificially limit the download speed (on some cases, to speeds that wouldn't even max out an analogue dial-up modem!). If there's something I want to download that is big, like a phone update or Linux ISO, I just set it going with an intelligent download manager (one that can do it by pieces and auto-resume) and leave it to get on with it. I certainly don't "need it now dammit", because that shows a spectecular lack of forward planning. You can't make a decent cake without having all the ingredients in place. Well, you can't play around with Linux or update such-and-such without having the update in place.

So I shall patiently await 2025. Well, I will await around 2023 when they say "oh crap, we've run out of money" before those of us in outlying areas get forgotten. Again.
If you wonder about my cynicism, I shall point out that the Bretagne 2.0 project in 2007 promised everybody 100 megabit internet to everybody by 2012-2013. That said, you just knew it would fail dismally when it was "name" suffixed by number-point-number. I'm surprised they didn't prefix the word "Cyber" in front just to show how totally out of touch that ambition was.
There's another site that recognises my address (different map provider) but the indications of the status of deployment simply don't seem to exist for the right-hand edge of Brittany. It also promises "by 2030". So, yeah. I shall wait until 2025. Then I shall wait a bit longer...


Halloween in France

In my explodey-pumpkin post, David Pilling asked in Halloween was a thing in France.
The answer is - not really.
McDonald's tries to make it a thing, and supermarkets sell get-ups and stuff for children. Some local shops have a bowl with sweets in, but it's usually scavanging teenagers that don't even bother to dress up coming in for free stuff. I think the whole thing is considered amusing by little children, an opportunity by teenagers, and a pain in the ass by adults.
Certainly, it's nothing like on the scope of how America does Halloween. Or Samhain as I prefer to call it, the festival of darkness for the coming winter and a time to pay respect to dead ancestors (especially fitting this year).

As for the pumpkin, this is an American conception. Originally (in Ireland and Scotland), one would carve turnips (!) but migrants to America preferred instead to carve the larger and softer (and hollow) pumpkins that were native to the region. Through the years, like Christmas, it has been corrupted into a commericalistic holiday with such peculiarities as churches selling orange votive candles, not to mention bags and bags of sweets.



Elsewhere in this part of the world, people are celebrating The Great War. The War To End All Wars.
Which, because we are humans, was followed a couple of decades later by another terrible war.
At least, this time, Europe learned a lesson the hard way and thus began a long difficult ambition of people working together instead of fighting each other. Something that, as the older generation die out and the cities gain wealth at the expense of rural areas, is slowly being forgotten in people's belief in the lies of the right.

Always remember - blaming foreigners and those who are "not like us" for the ills of a country's own mismanagement was what eventually led to the Second World War. It's easy to blame Jews, Poles, Romanians, Arabs. and whoever else is different. It's harder to realise that years of crippling austerity were the result of a government's self inflicted pain. A lot like how Brexit is playing out. The Right will dazzle you with easy solutions, people to point at and blame. It's bullshit, and history has demonstrated enough times that fervent nationalism and isolationist policies don't work in the long run, and really absolutely don't work for tiny nations with populations under half that of Russia, a fifth of America, and a twentieth of China. They're the major players in the world. The best the smaller countries can do is band together and act as a united whole. Oh, wait, that's exactly what they are doing. Well, some of them at least...



Well, all this work has made me hungry. Time to go build a pizza.

I mean that literally. I have a pack of pre-made dough that I unroll. A jar of Panzani sauce (looks and tastes like a generic pasta sauce but is actually quite nice), and I bought a selection of cheeses to throw on top.
Nothing fancy. No meat, no pineapple, no olives (yuck!). The bit I like is warm dough. Everything else is a bonus. I will open out the dough base and fold it over itself. That way, it ought to rise up to become something approximating deep pan.

The dough, folded over itself. On top of that, about a third of the jar of sauce (and I felt that might have been too much). The lower (lighter coloured) cheese is an emmental/mozzarella mix. The upper (darker) cheese is what passes for cheddar around here. It's not bad, sort of a weird red leicester.

Fifteen minutes later (as I was writing this), lightly cooked dough, a smattering of tomato, and gently browned melted cheese. Perfect pizza goodness.

That, and a nice mug of Tetley. What more could a person want on a chilly public holiday in northern November?



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David Pilling, 12th November 2019, 23:12
That trench you dug, need to put optical fibre in it. Same thing happens in UK, if you're in the countryside, pay for broadband but get rubbish speeds and no refund. Here in the town, fibre to the cabinet, much faster than your speed. I could imagine high power WiFi covering the last half mile. 
Interesting about Halloween - sounds slightly less than in UK - retailers going to look what works in one place and copy it.

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