Flags at Hobsons Bay Yacht Club
Flags are the traditional way of ship comminication
The flags tell a message of respect.
The club burgee at top of the mast says the ship is from Hobsons Bay Yacht Club
The Australian flag from the back stay identifies an Australian ship
The courtesy flag is a sign of respect to the country you are in.
The flying of the aboriginal flag from the cross trees says we are in aboriginal country.
Three flags can give a simple but true message.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind blow always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
Until we meet again
So goes the old Irish Blessing.
Ireland, the soft green place of damp air, great learning, amazing friendliness and intense struggle
Monument to Irish immigrants
The Irish diaspora spread all around the world
The contrasts of Ireland so stark
From the halls of Trinity College
To the murals that are are a record of the troubles found in Derry
And of course the contrast is an actual divide
The north and the south, the Republic and the British
Can this divide be overcome?
People of good will can achieve anything
Peace statue Derry
And on the border of Derry and Donegal bikers from both of the border come together to raise funds for a lifeboat in a little village in the Republic
Mizen Head is the most southern most point of mainland Ireland
As good as place as any to start the Wild Atlantic Way
They even give you a starting line
The route winds up the west coast
Through foggy Irish mist
Over mountains with wonderous views
Mountains where Irish legends such as Finn Mc Cool sat.
A coast where there are fishing villages both small
With cliffs towering out of the sea
Relics of stone age and Celtic history dating back 5000 years
Quintessential Irish pubs
And then at the end
After 6 days of challenging riding
At Malin Head the most northern point of mainland Ireland
They provide a finish line
Jutting out into the Atlantic
Brittany has much in common with the Celtic cousins in Cornwall and Ireland
The quaint seaside ports also along the coastline
Reflecting the Brittany’s place as Frances finisterre (lands end)
Brest it’s major city
With its ancient citadel apon the hill
A long maritime history
And beautiful beaches
A hot run across the Spanish border
Roads lined this plane trees in the Midi Pyrenees
And on to Carcassonne
Relic of the Cathar Dream
Survivor of the Cathar Wars.
Bastion of the past
Standing on the hill
Survivor of centuries
Weathered wall the keepers of secrets through the ages
The ancient citadel on the hill
The citadel dressed up for the Tour d’ France
It well hold its secrets to the sun sets over it for the last time.
A Celtic nation
Adding to Scotland last year
Gallicia, Brittany, Ireland and Wales to come this.
Cornwall is a long finger of coast and culture
The coast is breathtaking
From the beaches and headlands
To the small fishing and trading harbours
Saint Michael’s Mount
The sculpture of Barbara Hepworth
Rowena Cade’s Minach theatre
The historical grandure of Saint Michael’s Mount
Saint Michael’s Mount castle
The history of the Celts
And of course Lands End
Canal passing through Stone a canal town in the English midlands
The canals wind like watery snakes across the English countryside
The narrow boats once work horses now leisure craft
Wending their way across the country side
Marvels of engineering the locks using the power of water to life the boats, their crew and in times past heavy cargo over hill.
Narrow boat exiting a lock
I’m back in the English midlands staying in the pretty canal town of stone.
Staying with friends
Getting the mighty breva II ready for chapter 3 of my European adventure.
Mighty Breva in distinguished company of a Ducati 900ss and Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado
There are times to focus on peace and happiness
Jesus my have been the son of God or just a good bloke
It all depends on your perspective.
But he did try and spread a message of peace.
We often focus on the differences in humanity
Differences in religion and beliefs
Differences in race and skin colour
Differences in culture.
In nature there are also difference
As the solstice passes
At one end of the world there is endless night
At the other endless day
As it was nudging a sweltering 38 degrees in Melbourne recently.
My friends reported – 5 and snowing in Stoke on Trent.
So this is an opportunity to forget the differences.
Forget the distances between us.
And though at one end of the world it is dark and the other end light.
It is one world.
And though there are many religions and races and cultures
There is one humanity.
I wish you all peace and happiness.
The Dordogne Riders had lured me to the Vezere Valley
St Leon sur Vezere a beautiful Village in the Dordogne Region of Southern France
St Leon sur Vezere
Camped on the edge of the river
St Leon sur Vezere Municipal Camp site
Amongst significant historic and prehistoric sites
The Grote de Rouffignac
Maison Forte de Reignac
Maison Forte de Reignac
and Chateau de Losse
The Mighty Breva 11
But southern France is also about the beautiful villages
The continuation of the wonderful biker culture that exists in Europe. *
With the Dordogne bikers and friends
And of course in France food
A delicious lunch
* I was amazed that after 3 months covering 16,000km in 9 countries I was not pulled over once by the police. Three weeks back in Australia I was pulled over for a licence check while not breaking any law. It was motorcycle awareness (HARASSMENT) month.
On the train from the midlands to London. I listened to The Clash, London Calling.
Its both a distopian and resilient view of London. It seemed fitting as a bombing in the tube had set a sombre tone.
But London is London no matter.
Despite the confrontation London open day was in full swing as was Thames week.
And it gave a little sometime for mariner like me.
These 10 Thames barges had sailed up the river.
And were using their motors against the ebb tide to hold formation still in the water. Such seamanship.
And really there is something special about the English is their way with the sea and boats.
Be it Drake’s Golden Hind
Replica Golden Hind
Or the uniquely English narrow boats that carried goods and produce from the midlands to London prior to rail
Narrow boat exits a Loch on the
Along the Grand Union Canal.
And now provide floating pleasure.
So I did go to London!