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Offline anderson

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #20 on: Sep 17, 2020, 02:26 PM »
Looks like the Versys on the street-view has gone to lunch. Either that or my eyesight is blurred from tears caused by reading that last part. I love travelling for so many reasons and this is just one of them, the people you meet.  :031: :028:

Oh and talking of  :031: that pub name is hilarious.
« Last Edit: Sep 17, 2020, 02:30 PM by anderson »
It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Offline jonnster71

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #21 on: Sep 17, 2020, 04:22 PM »
Bloody outbreak of extra-seasonal pollen allergies round here after reading about the tin hat and the toy car...Jesus wept, literally.

Offline Stewie

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #22 on: Sep 17, 2020, 05:25 PM »
Not a lot to say about that.

Offline Oldplodder

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #23 on: Sep 17, 2020, 09:13 PM »
This is up with best ride reports on the Forum.
Please keep it coming.

Dave T
Lord, Please make me into the person my dog thinks I am.

Offline Clunkyboy

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #24 on: Sep 18, 2020, 07:19 AM »
MT 5, KH 100, IT 175, XR 250, GPZ 600, GPZ 900, GPZ 750, GSXr 1100, XJ 1100, XJ 1200, Super Tenere, GSX 750, 10YR Break, VERSYS Mk1,VERSYS Mk2

Offline Zipperhead

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #25 on: Sep 18, 2020, 09:12 AM »
I've got a couple more days worth to write. As I'm on holiday today I'll try and dash out another one before I get the bike out.

Offline Zipperhead

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #26 on: Sep 18, 2020, 04:29 PM »
Day 5 - 2nd August 2019

The action today starts a mere hour the day. At 1am I was in bed asleep when my brother burst through the door in excited mode. "Quick, come and see, a drunk driver nearly hit your bike!"

"Is that nearly hit but missed?"

"Yes but you've got to come and see, there's plain clothes police with guns"

I'm awake now, so I might as well get up and see and then he won't be telling me about it all morning (spoiler, he did anyway).

So we leant out of the window to watch the action below. There were the passers by who had pulled the drunk out of his car, the two plain clothes cops who had happened to be passing in an unmarked car and were cuffing the perp. Action over and back to bed.

The next morning we wandered up the road to a patisserie to get some artery cloggers for breakfast and surveyed the scene.

I had parked my bike in this little triangular bit of pavement, thinking it would be out of the way.

Monsieur le Villain had come down the hill and crashed into the corner of the triangle and stopped beside my bike.

It turned out that it hadn't escaped unscathed. The police had rolled it backwards a little to pull him out and the lock had dinged the mudguard, but I didn't notice it until I was back home (and completed another tour) so it took me a while to work out where it had happened. C'est le vie as they say. Cosmetic damage.

Le Rozzers pushed the drunkmobile back into the parking bay out of the way.

On the way back with our breakfast Colombo and me pieced together some of what had happened. The idiot had ignored the no entry sign and the bicycles only sign and driven down this bicycle lane "massaging" the bollard on his way, then driven the wrong way down the one way street until it became two way and he got to my bike.

My brother, very kindly I thought, picked up the wheeltrim and a big chunk of wheel arch liner from the bicycle lane and put them on the windscreen, he also added a card for a local taxi company - "He'll be needing this"

Breakfast consumed we set off on foot to see the Citadel. Now, if my brother had said to me "it's very close to the military cemetery where great uncle Albert is listed in the names with no known grave" then I would have said "ok, we head west until we get to the ring road and we will be very close.

Instead he said "It's beside the football ground". Note the use of "the" in that. Off we set in a southerly direction. I was a bit concerned at the sign with the French equivalent of "You are now leaving Arras" and the other one "Welcome to..."

It's a good job that I was wearing walking boots and not bike boots!

Finally "There must be more than one football ground", yes at least one per town.

"Where is this place?" I asked, "Do you remember when we came to the cemetery to lay the wreath underneath where great uncle Albert's name is? Well it's right next to there"

No point in getting upset, I shouldn't have believed that he could actually navigate anywhere besides it will give me ammunition to take the piss out of him for years to come.

Because of our unorthodox route to the Citadel we arrived behind it and entered through the back door (you can make up your own jokes here.)

Down here (I don't know if it was built as a moat) 218 members of the resistance were executed by firing squad.

The memorial plaques go round the corner and all the way to the end of the next section.

I do like nice brickwork, this is about 350 years old.

The chapel was nearing the end of its restoration. Wikipedia describes it as a "Baroque-style chapel", as it was built before Bach (JS) was born I think it could probably just be described as Baroque.

Just a nice ceiling inside the entrance to the Citadel.

And out through the in door

Surprisingly when we walked back into Arras for lunch it was a much shorter walk. Granted the navigation was also easier, just look out for old towers (although rebuilt after WW1) sticking up and walk towards them. If only football grounds were grouped together like that.

After lunch we went for another stroll, I made sure of the directions before we left, but as we had walked most of the way there in the morning I was already sure of the way. We went to visit the Wellington Tunnels, the tunnels that were used to hide troops during WW1 and as civilian air raid shelters in WW2.

The tunnels date back to the middle ages, but during WW1 they were extended by Kiwi's and Royal Engineers to a total of about 20km. Thousands of soldiers were living down there just before the Arras offensive when the exits were "opened" with dynamite and the soldiers rushed out to surprise the Germans.

You have to wear a helmet to go down, but you get issued with a "tin" hat for the duration. It contains as much tin as my wooden leg, but looks better than a yellow hat.

On a hot summers day the temperature 20m underground was very nice, but it was also cool in the other sense of the word.

In places the walls have graffiti on them written and drawn by the soldiers, which due to the lack of light (and no doubt some luck during WW2) must look pretty much as it did when it was created. The signs are still on the wall pointing to places with familiar names (the tunnels were given names of places that the soldiers would be familiar with).

There are telephone wires high up on the wall, and because the insulators are glass that helps date them - at a certain point porcelain insulators were introduced.

There are still a few bunk beds down there and some of the carts that were used to carry spoil out on a railway.

You can see where the exits were that the soldiers used to attack from.

There are traces of their use as WW2 shelters as well, they are signs painted on the walls in red.

Flash photography is (rightly) not allowed down there so the only picture is one my brother took of me looking like a ghost from the past.

Just around the corner from the tunnels is a memorial to the New Zealand tunnelers

That evening we rode up to Notre-Dame de Lorette, but not to see the museum there which was closed for the day.

We had come to see L'Anneau de la memoire, a big oval monument this inside of which is lined with panel which lists the names of all the soldiers who died in northern France in 1914-1918.

High up on one of them is our great uncle Albert.

When we arrived there were a few other people there and a few more came and went, but as it got later everybody else left.

The sun was now moving through the last bit of sky before it made way for night.

As it did, for a short while the colour of the panels intensified.

A few minutes more and the day was finished.

We stayed up there for a while longer enjoying the view of the lights of the towns and cities below and the synchronised beacons on the wind turbines.

Distance for the day 47 miles ridden and 10 walked.

Offline uralrob

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #27 on: Sep 18, 2020, 05:06 PM »

  Thanks again, Zipperhead. Gripping stuff and superbly presented.


Don't take Life too serious, it's not permanent.

Offline Zipperhead

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #28 on: Sep 22, 2020, 09:29 AM »
Day 6 - 3rd August 2019

Our last day before returning home and plenty of interesting places to see so after breakfast we set off. Our first, brief, stop was at Flesquieres to see the tank Deborah. But since my brother had last been there a new visitors centre had been built and the tank moved inside - and it doesn't open until afternoon.

Should you wish to check the opening times - Visit Deborah at Flesquieres

"Right" he said "We'll go and visit Guillemont church which has a memorial to the Liverpool Pals killed in the battle there, I've been there before. We go that way" he said waving his arm.

"Ok," I replied "we're going that way then" and pointed in the opposite direction.

On the outside the church is fairly normal looking, it blends in with the village, but inside it is very brightly decorated (I believe the theme is peace)

The plaque to the pals is on the wall inside.

Just outside the village, only a short distance away is Delville Wood. On one side of the road is a large CWGC cemetery and on the other the South African Memorial and Museum, which we had come to visit.

When you go through the gate the memorial is at the end of a long walk with a double row of oak trees either side. When the memorial was built in the 1920's acorns were taken from an oak tree growing in South Africa. That tree had in turn been grown from an acorn planted in 1688 by a French Hugenot settler.

Before you pass through the arch ahead you go past the alter stone.

Which is in the curve of these walls.

You look back through the arch past the alter stone to the cemetery,

And then ahead to the memorial and museum

In the centre of the museum is the cross. The whole building is beautiful. It's just a pity that thousands had to be slaughtered to get such a memorial.

When we had finished looking at the museum we (as you must do if you visit) left the building and walked into the woods behind it. All of the trees were replanted by the South African Department of Forestry.

There are wide open "rides" in the same locations as they occupied before the war, each named with street names that would have been familiar to the troops - Regent Street, Bond Street. The names are shown on stone markers.

But either side of them are the real memorials, the remains of the trenches.

As I stood looking at the trenches and wondering how many bodies lay amongst them I got the feeling that they welcomed me, were pleased that people came and remembered them.

There is one tree that wasn't planted after the war, this is the "last tree"

The only one from the original woods that survives. The trunk has pieces of shrapnel embedded in it.

If you are nearby then go and visit even if like me the nearest that you've come to South Africa is watching Nelson Mandela on television.

It was now past lunchtime (for the French) so we went to the Old Blighty Tea Rooms and had a leisurely lunch (with multiple cups of tea of course) and looked at the artifacts there.

Half a click away is the Lochnagar crater. Miners tunnelled to within 100ft  of the german trenches and placed two charges 60ft apart, one of 36,000 lbs of ammonal, the other of 24,000 lbs.

We're very effective (good is not the right word) at killing each other.

Our next stop was at Villers-Bretonneux, where on the hillside is a CWGC cemetery, with behind it the Australian National Memorial and behind that the Sir John Monash Centre.

The tower of the Australian National Memorial is pockmarked with scars from WW2, when the German army and Luftwaffe attacked it while it was being used as an observation post by the French.

The Sir John Monash Centre tells the story of the Australians in WW1. The building itself is stunning. I don't think I've ever been in such architecturally amazing toilets. While I was relieving myself in them my brother entertained himself by making using my camera to make a 4k video of him gurning. This was significant later.

On the way back through the cemetery I was looking at the headstones and saw this one

With a small plaque on the ground in front of it added exactly a century after his death.

Every time I read that it moves me. It contains a lesson about service that most politicians will probably never understand.

After there we went to visit the local prison, which might sound a strange thing to do.

On the wall beside the main entrance the plaque says

To the French patriots killed on February 18, 1944 in this prison where the Nazi barbarians martyred them
Does it look like the wall has been repaired at some time?

As I finished taking that picture and was walking back across the road a group of prison officers walked along the pavement, obviously having just clocked off. They looked at me a bit suspicously  as I was taking pictures of their prison. Amiens Prison. "Operation Jericho" I said, and they smiled and nodded.

Up the road is the local municipal cemetery and at the back of that a small CWGC cemetery.

Just after I'd taken those pictures my camera ran out of memory - because I was running with a large memory card I hadn't brought any spares that day. Also I didn't know about the gurning videos otherwise I could have reclaimed plenty, so the last few pictures are going to be from my phone.

We had just one more place to visit now, but as it was going to be very late by the time we got back to Arras we stopped on the way at a branch of the golden arches, sitting outside and enjoying what was almost the last sun of the day.

About halfway along the completely straight road to Bapaume, at about the highest point there are two memorials, one either side of the road.

On the north west side is the Windmill Memorial to Australian forces who died here, and on the south east the tank memorial.

This is where tanks first saw action in 1916. It's peaceful now, none of the horrendous mud that you see in the historical pictures is visible just neat fields in the evening sun.

Around the memorial are four model tanks representing different marques of tanks used.

Surrounding the monument on three sides is a chain fence. The chain is drive chain from some of those first tanks and the fence posts are the barrels of their six pounder guns.

And that was it, we've seen as much as we can on this trip.

We had a gentle ride through the darkness, back to Arras and did as much packing and tidying as we could before turning in for the night.

Distance for the day 123 miles.

The next day was an easy one, get up, have breakfast, finish packing and tidying and head back to Dunkirk and the ferry home. Of course once we were back on the British side of the channel driving standards fell to levels of stupidity that we hadn't seen in the rest of our trip.

152 miles after leaving Arras and I was home, my brother had another hundred to do but he stayed the afternoon before going on.

A month later we met up and headed down to Lake Como for a long weekend, but you'll have to wait a little bit for that tale.

Offline grumpyoldgit

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Re: A little ride with my brother
« Reply #29 on: Sep 22, 2020, 09:44 AM »