Friday, 29 May 2009

Einstein and the Laws of Physics

We have been at the Domaine Rodie in Columbieres Sur Orb for several days now and Neil has been finding out some interesting history about the villa they're staying in.

Parts of the property date from 1783 but it was a Mr. Cremieu, physicist and professor at the Sorbonne, who took the adjoining colonial villa dating from 1910 as his summer residence.

Mr. Cremieu used to invite his friends and colleagues to stay; these included Albert Einstein and Pierre and Marie Curie. The property has 200m² of catacombs purportedly used by Mr. Cremieu and his friends to carry out experiments. Not much remains of their makeshift laboratory apart from a 5m deep pit the purpose of which is unknown. Neil will do some more research on this when we get home.

The laws of physics came into play the other night when the Carcasson winds blew a storm through the Vallée de l'Orb, lifting a plastic patio table and skimming it across my bonnet. What made it worse was the fact that I was very dusty so it left a scuff mark in my paint. When Neil saw this he gave me a good wash then polished out the scuff mark. It did leave a very small dent in my bonnet but it could have been a lot worse.

Tomorrow we depart for Chamalières where, strangely enough, we are staying on Avenue Pierre et Marie Curie!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

I Like France!

After an epic journey yesterday of over 400 miles from Bilbao we arrived safely at our destination for the next week, the Domaine Rodie in Colombieres Sur Orb. We had to be met in the village and guided in for the last half mile down a dirt track because the battery died on the TomTom just as we were approaching. I on the other hand performed faultlessly and really enjoyed the smooth French roads and the distinct lack of traffic.

Neil checked me this morning and in spite of yesterday consisting mainly of steady and prolonged high-speed driving nothing needed topping up. I'm having a rest today, as is everyone else, before we start to explore the local countryside.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Hola Bertie!

We arrived in Bilbao this morning and headed straight for the city centre. I think Neil got lost because I'm sure we went through the same toll 3 times before we found the hotel. I was left in the hotel's underground car park while Neil and Karen visited the Guggenheim then explored the old city. Tomorrow is a long drive through France to Colombieres-sur-Orb so I was glad for the rest.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

Here I am ready to leave Portsmouth for Bilbao; you can see our Ferry, The Pride of Bilbao, in the background. Boarding took ages and I was eventually put on a small section of deck with a steep ramp but we left on time.

Being at sea is a strange experience. I can feel all my fluids moving around but my engine is not running and my wheels are not turning. I lost touch with the MG and Panther I met in the queue and there are only modern euro-boxes for company. All they want to talk about are their folding metal roofs and xenon headlights not the art of proper motoring. The MG for example has no roof but that all adds to the experience and adventure.

Another night at sea before we arrive at Bilbao. Another day of trying to have a sensible conversation with a Peugot 205cc for me; cafes, bars and dolphin watching for Neil and Karen.

Monday, 18 May 2009

European Adventure

Only a couple of days now until we depart on our European adventure. This is the route we will take after sailing from Portsmouth to Bilbao. We will cover 1,500 miles in 2 weeks, take in some stunning scenery and spend some quality time with friends. Hopefully Neil will take some photographs of me for my album which I'll share with you when we return home.

Test Mobile Blogging

This is a test update to see whether mobile blogging works. If it does I will be able to keep you updated while I am on my travels; so keep checking back! By the way, the photo shows Bristol bodies being manufactured at Park Royal.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Bertie goes to the Seaside

On Sunday 3rd May Neil took me on the 39th Ipswich to Felixstowe Historic Vehicle run. This raises money for the Ipswich Transport Museum, which apparently has the largest transportation collection in Britain devoted to just one town. Everything was either made or used in and around Ipswich including several Bristol buses.

Among the 550 other entrants assembling in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park were Barry Naunton from Ipswich with his 410, and Charles Nelson from Thetford with his 409. Neil and Charles continued their discussion about my shared history with his 409; they have now concluded that although we both started out with the Steel Company of Wales, I was with their Chairman whereas Charles’ 409 was with their Managing Director.

At 11:30 we all set off to Felixstowe through the crowds in the park and then past all the people waving from their front gardens. Progress was slow at times as we made our way through several villages and there was a particularly long-winded tailback in Felixstowe where at a crossroads a Policewoman was directing 4 competing queues of traffic. This claimed a few victims as radiators boiled over but I took it in my stride even though I had a radiator full of Radweld!

This was because the week before I thought I would drop a gentle hint to Neil that my radiator might not be up to a 1,500 mile trip through France in a few weeks time. We were queuing at a set of traffic lights and my temperature was quite high when I let a little steam escape. Neil saw this emerging from the bonnet and pulled me in to a lay-by. When he saw that it wasn’t too serious we carried on via Halfords to purchase the aforementioned Radweld. This kept me going until Neil bought me a nice new radiator core made to measure by Colchester Radiator Specialists.

Anyway, when we arrived at our destination I took my place on Felixstowe promenade while Neil and Karen went in search of lunch. Neil had forgotten to bring a picnic and they ended up in a café eating very nice ham egg and chips. This was followed by Peter’s Ice Creams (made in Ipswich) before they came back to see how I was. I was fine of course just soaking up the compliments at the end of a very enjoyable day.

If you want to see grainy footage of me during the run have a look on YouTube at at 5:37.