Skin Diving to 4m

My snorkelling day was shared with four beginner scuba divers and their instructors. During our lunch break we were in four meters of calm water and one of the instructors came to the surface announcing he'd just touched the bottom without his air tank. So the challenge was thrown out there and we all had a go. My first attempt was close but not close enough. My ears hurt. They showed me how to equalise and then I had a second attempt. Yep. I touched the bottom. Pretty excited about that. flippers allowed but no bouancy vest. 

One of the dive instructors heading for the bottom.  

One of the dive instructors heading for the bottom.  

and on the way up again. 

and on the way up again. 

My turn to try to reach the bottom, with flippers.  

My turn to try to reach the bottom, with flippers.  

yep. Winners are grinners 

yep. Winners are grinners 

The sea floor.  

The sea floor.  

Watching cormorants, part two.

Pelong Rocks, off the north coast of Brunei is protected as a wildlife santuary.  No one is allowed to visit to walk on the island as it's home to a pair of rare white kingfishers. Snorkelling around the island is however permitted. 

Pelong rocks is also home to a 500 year old legend, where there was a cockfight between roosters belonging to The Sultans family and the Chinese. Both roosters died at the end of their fight, the winner died and fell into the sea forming Pelong Rocks.  

While snorkelling today I found this pair of cormorant.  

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And then there was one  

And then there was one  

Back together again.  

Back together again.  

We're off to the farmers market

Nora and I are off to the market with Aji, her husband. 

Nora and I are off to the market with Aji, her husband. 

Not by boat, but by car 

Not by boat, but by car 

Plenty of green veggies for me. 

Plenty of green veggies for me. 

And a great assortment of chillies 

And a great assortment of chillies 

such a colourful market

such a colourful market

I've forgotten what these are called, but boiled up they have a very nutty flavour. 

I've forgotten what these are called, but boiled up they have a very nutty flavour. 

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

This poor little fellow was looking for his mumma  

This poor little fellow was looking for his mumma  

we then went home and had an amazing lunch with all our fresh veggies and some durian. Smelly stuff and not quite my favourite of all the new foods I sampled. 

we then went home and had an amazing lunch with all our fresh veggies and some durian. Smelly stuff and not quite my favourite of all the new foods I sampled. 

Improving your brain function with labyrinths

Most of you will know I've had a fascination with labyrinths for quite some time.  

After visiting the 13 ring labyrinth on the floor of the Cathedral at Chartres in 2003 I decided to build one onto the garden at 5 Cooper Street. That didn't quite get finished but I'm not finished with labyrinths yet. 

the National Geographic photo of Cres Island stone labyrinth. 

the National Geographic photo of Cres Island stone labyrinth. 

Next year I will travel back to Croatia to visit the labyrinths on Cres Island.  I didn't know they existed until I bought a beautiful National Geographic photobook, "Croatia from Above",and dang! There is a photo of a stone labyrinth. It was too late to head back to northern Croatia so I decided I'll just have to go back in 2019 and make sure I have more time to have a proper visit to Cres Island. 

Just one of the 270 labyrinths on the London Underground.

Just one of the 270 labyrinths on the London Underground.

A few years ago the London Underground celebrated its 150th anniversary  As part of the celebration 270 different labyrinths were placed in the stations. They are beautiful in their simplicity and large enough for you to run one with your finger. great stuff, I love it❣️

 

Whether you are running a labyrinth with your finger or actually walking one, you can use the experience in many ways. One way is to be thinking of your problem as you walk in, ponder in the centre until you have that light bulb moment and then use the time walking out to explore how you might achieve your solutions.

Just the mere action of turning left and right and doubling back on yourself opens up neural pathways and this then improves your memory and problem solving abilities. That's got to be a good thing doesn't it? 

 

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There are several labyrinths in Victoria that I've walked, near the Dandenong and near Violet Town and a beautiful big one in Launceston at the back of one of the Churches.  

And one day I may even finish the portable fabric one that I have started. I have stored it in the garage at Sulphur Creek!! 

This labyrinth pattern is one of the Nazca lines in Peru.

This labyrinth pattern is one of the Nazca lines in Peru.

Royal Enfield in London.

And it was a given that I would track down a Royal Enfield dealer in London. 

And I bought myself a nice cardi!!! 

And I bought myself a nice cardi!!! 

The RE Concept Store  

The RE Concept Store  

Awh, and look at the bike in the middle. It's actually a model later than mine and like all Himalayans in Europe has fuel Injection and no carbies or choke. It also has an upgraded magneto. 

Awh, and look at the bike in the middle. It's actually a model later than mine and like all Himalayans in Europe has fuel Injection and no carbies or choke. It also has an upgraded magneto. 

A great display of old RE ads and news articles on the wall. I certainly enjoyed my visit.  

A great display of old RE ads and news articles on the wall. I certainly enjoyed my visit.  

Ace!!

Every motorcyclist worth his/Her salt must visit the Ace Cafe whilst visiting London?

This iconic cafe first opened in 1938 and soon became a favourite hangout for morocyclists. Very popular with the Ton Up Boys in the 1950's and the Rockers in the 1960's. Rock'n'Roll Bands often played there. Today motorcyclists come from all over the world, the walls are lined with newspaper cuttings from the 50's and 60's documenting the Mods and Rockers cafuffles. Live music is still a feature as are theme nights, special guests and it's often a film and tv show location. Charlie and Ewen started there're Long Way Round here, Top Gear often use the cafe. And now one of my stickers adorn their walls. 

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It's an easy cafe to find as there are motorcycle cut outs on walls and fences all around the area, pointing towards the cafe. I really don't know why/how Diego found it so difficult to get there. (Refer HU Italy story)

It's an easy cafe to find as there are motorcycle cut outs on walls and fences all around the area, pointing towards the cafe. I really don't know why/how Diego found it so difficult to get there. (Refer HU Italy story)

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And now I'm off on foot!

well really, it's trains, planes and automobiles with the odd ferry and fishing boat ride thrown in for good measure.

 

It felt a bit strange this morning, no helmet, jacket and boots. Just a back pack and sandals!!

It felt a bit strange this morning, no helmet, jacket and boots. Just a back pack and sandals!!

Liverpool Sttreet Station

Liverpool Sttreet Station

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Paddington at 6 am 

Paddington at 6 am 

I'm no soccer fan but I did get enthusiastic about Croatia in the World Cup. To me, they won it!! And the Airline is very proud of their efforts. 

I'm no soccer fan but I did get enthusiastic about Croatia in the World Cup. To me, they won it!! And the Airline is very proud of their efforts. 

and boats!!

and boats!!

Ottolenghi revisited

I think there are four Ottolenghi cafes in London. I probably will not get the chance to visit all four, but I have now visited two...

This one was walking distance from where I stayed in Paddington.

It serves mainly takeaway salads and cakes, with a small table to share at the back if you want to sit in and soak up the atmosphere. Indulgent.  you can guess what I did!!

It serves mainly takeaway salads and cakes, with a small table to share at the back if you want to sit in and soak up the atmosphere. Indulgent.  you can guess what I did!!

Some of his beautiful books.  

Some of his beautiful books.  

my snack, while I flipped through his last eat book, Simple. I would suggest he call it Smart and Simple. 

my snack, while I flipped through his last eat book, Simple. I would suggest he call it Smart and Simple. 

The front window, dripping in yumminess.  

The front window, dripping in yumminess.  

Loved the colour combo in the window.  

Loved the colour combo in the window.  

Is there a connection here?

this was the cause of some of my bike woes! 

this was the cause of some of my bike woes! 

my first thought when I approached this roundabout in Calais was that this is a BIG magneto!! 

my first thought when I approached this roundabout in Calais was that this is a BIG magneto!! 

in actual fact many of the roundabouts in Calais show different parts of the tunnelling machinery used to create the three tunnels under the English Channel. Two for trains and a third tunnel for emergency services. I'm in England now and there is a lot of talk about a second referendum for Brexit. Some feel that if England leaves the EU they will fill the tunnels with concrete. From both ends!!! 

Belgium

I did not really see much of Belgium as it was pouring with rain. I spent much of my time sheltering under bridges!!  In fact every time a car or truck went past it was like being hit with a Karcher. I have a video to add here, just having trouble loading it. 😩

Just inside most countries there is a reminder for the local road laws. Quite handy really. 

Just inside most countries there is a reminder for the local road laws. Quite handy really. 

I'm not sure if Bus drivers are dyslexic? 

I'm not sure if Bus drivers are dyslexic? 

Town signs were quite different.

Town signs were quite different.

Belgium number plate. 

Belgium number plate. 

Lucie and Raymond Aubrac

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Raymond Aubrac was born Raymond Samuel, he was a leader of the French Resistance during WW2. He married Lucie Aubrac at the beginning of the war. He was used to taking many pseudonyms, carried fake identity papers and was often arrested and interrogated. 

Raymond and Lucie's Resistance activities started off with buying boxes of chalk and writing graffiti on walls. They then moved on to writing tracts and putting them into people's letterboxes. In the autumn of 1940, they also formed one of the first underground Resistance groups in Lyon. Lucie was generally able to assist in his escape. In fact in many ways I think she was the brains of the outfit, and Raymond the better communicator. After the war they joined Charles de Gaulle government is exile.  Their wartime exploits have been immortalised in two French films: Lucie Aubrac (1997) and Boulevard des hirondelles (1992). 


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Ooops, what have I done now??

It was after 3 pm and time for me to start looking for accom for the night. I'd stopped to ask a fellow by his car if there was a pension or auberge in town and he gave me very detailed directions to a hotel, all in French, I didn't have a clue so it was a cheery Merci beaucoup! And off I headed in the direction he pointed. I think I actually pulled out in front of these guys, didn't even look in the mirror. Oops.  

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So the first bike comes up beside me and waves, yikes then slows down while the second bike comes up beside me and points to the front of my bike. Ok, so I pull up behind the first bike with the second bike beside me. Hmmm I'm blocked in , so no hasty escape happening to this little fluffy duck!! 

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Number two said something to me, in French, so I replied I was looking for a hotel for the night. No worries, follow me!! So I did, one bike in front and one behind. We rode like that for about 5 km and then the lead bike turned down a gravel driveway to a hotel. Wow. That was good.  

I was barely off the bike and all the hotel staff and guests came out to see why two police bikes had arrived in their car park!!! 

Then came the obligatory, Where are you from? Then lots of questions about the bike, and I mean lots of questions, what troubles had I had etc. I think one of them has a friend who is thinking of buying the Himalayan.  

They took a few photos of the bike and some of me, know doubt they'll end up on Facebook somewhere. Along with all the other photos people have taken of me with the bike!! 

 

 

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My travel buddy

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For the last 155+ days that I've been travelling on the bike I've been blessed with fine weather. Some days have been too hot for me to enjoy on the bike but other than that the weather has been great for riding.  

In fact I think the worst weather I have experienced for the whole trip was on Day 1, the day I left Tassie. The flight was cancelled until the next day because the weather was so foul!! Strong winds and heavy rain.  

 

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Bon jour Monsieur

I'm back in France and where is Mitchell, so I can have a quick practice of my greeting.  

I crossed the italy/France border today, high up in the Alps. The scenery was spectacular to say the least.  

looking towards France from my balcony in an Italian ski resort. 

looking towards France from my balcony in an Italian ski resort. 

and yes, I got to France and had a close up view of this mornings horizon. 

and yes, I got to France and had a close up view of this mornings horizon. 

beautiful landscapes at every turn 

beautiful landscapes at every turn 

you can see some of the tunnels I came through today. 

you can see some of the tunnels I came through today. 

very pretty villages and flower boxes everywhere. 

very pretty villages and flower boxes everywhere. 

the villages are to far apart. 

the villages are to far apart. 

tunnelling along. 

tunnelling along. 

not in this tunnel though 

not in this tunnel though 

more tunnels 

more tunnels 

mountains everywhere, on all sides and even in the mirror. 

mountains everywhere, on all sides and even in the mirror. 

and a dip in the pool to end a spectacular day. 

and a dip in the pool to end a spectacular day.