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Just across the field that we’re parked in there’s a huge tent which holds, apart from the fattest lady I’ve ever seen, several other people, three magnificent alsatians, an obscure sort of black and white dog and a litter of alsatian pups. Judging from their condition and obedience (the dogs... idiot!) they are show dogs and the people breeders. I’m telling you this 'cos a fluffy little thing that passes for a dog, from another tent, went bouncing across the field towards the alsatian’s tent full of confidence and curiosity. The three alsatians simply stood up and barked. You’ve never seen a dog lose its curiosity so fast in all your life - it was going into reverse almost before it could turn around. It went into it’s own tent so fast it must have gone clean through the other side or straight up the tent pole - anyway, it hasn’t been seen since.

The motorhome is parked under two enormous willow trees in a lovely, shady spot. On the trees are some birds I’ve never seen before, some sort of tree-creeper 'cos they zip up and down the bark as if they were on elastic, sometimes travelling upside down on the branches to feed off something in the bark itself. They look a little like sparrows, but with more flecks of white.

Just tuned in to the world service to find out what’s happening on the ferry front... what could be more English than sitting in a field, under a willow tree, listening to John Arlot! It’s a little difficult to equate with the eglise St.Marianne directly in my line of vision. What my sketch doesn’t show and should really if I wasn’t so lazy, is that this church is on top of a hill, the highest point around.

Apropos absolutely nothing at all, the bridge in the town was built by the American Fifth Division as a memorial to those who lost their lives establishing a bridgehead across the Meuse in WW11. Just as in WW1, Dun-sur-Meuse got hammered again in WW11 and the fact that the church of St.Marianne still stands is a tribute to absolutely no one at all. The fact that anything still stands in this part of the world is perhaps a tribute to man’s tenacity rather more than his common sense.

The church of St.Marianne at Dun-sur-Meuse

Met the fat lady with the alsation puppies, they’re great (the pups... fools!) She really is gianormous, if she fell on you there’d only be a strawberry jam stain to mark the spot. They all come from Dijon and they do breed alsations - see, told’y so.

Gosh, but it’s a burden being so clever. Whoops! a wasp. You know fag packets carry the warning ‘smoking can damage your health’? Well, in the wasp’s case it’s positively fatal co’s Maggie’s killed ‘undreds wiv ‘er little fag packet; she’s just about the deadliest killing machine around with her Gallagher’s Silk Cut patent wasp crusher. A bit worrying actually co’s she does it with such evident enjoyment - must remember not to hang around the windows.

To re-cap a moment; I’ve just worked out why, probably, I didn’t like the cathedral at Lausanne as much as I might have expected to...I think it was because it was so clean.

Architecturally it’s magnificent, but in their obsession with cleanliness they have sand-blasted the surfaces and removed not only the patina of age, but also the 800 years of worship that was imprinted into the stone. I believe, you see, that everything that happens is absorbed into the fabric of our surroundings, the stones, the walls etc. Which could explain why some houses are warm, friendly and welcoming, because they have absorbed only largely happy experiences, just as others are cold, hostile and unfriendly for the opposite reasons. Ultimately a church has an atmosphere of sanctity and peace because of the centuries of worship that is imprinted into its walls. And this despite the peccadilloes and transgressions of the clergy and their particular hypocrisy - it’s the worship of the people that has been taken in and which, in turn, is given out. In Lausanne they have scoured this out of the stone and the building is left just that, a building, its aura sand-blasted away.

You’re never going to believe this, but the people in the tent next door have brought their hens with them! I’ve heard of liking fresh eggs, but this is ridiculous. Alright, so the people with the alsations have got a bale of straw, that’s no reason to bring the whole bloody farmyard!

The bridge ("Le pont de Jambes") and castle at Namur

Homeward bound...
Ever had that feeling ‘it’s Thursday so, it must have been Belgium’? Yesterday was a WOW! of a day: left Dun-sur-Meuse (about forty kilometres from the Belgium border) at 8am, crossed into Belgium at 9am, had a look around Buollion - beautiful town with a magnificent castle, cashed some money and then hit the road again. Dinat (fabulous place), Namur (even more so), skirted Brussels, Ghent and into Ostend at 4.15pm. Drove on to ferry at 5.15pm, arrived in England 9.30pm. Back home, after fish & chips, via what felt like 200 miles of the South Circular Road, at 3.15 am! Three countries and the English Channel in nineteen hours... bloody ‘ell!

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