Having been threatened with the removal of the blog unless I write something soon here’s a little about what’s changed lately.
Not the weather, that’s for sure. It’s still cold and wintry although the daffodils in the garden are putting in a brave appearance. We’ve had snow on and off this week but it hasn’t settled.
View from our back door yesterday
In Cluny we have a new carpark. As an election pledge the mayor, Henri Boniau (as in the ad for dog biscuits featuring the bloodhound?), promised to make Cluny more attractive for tourists.
Mr Boniau (R) and deputy in the new carpark (photo jsl)
Built on the site of the old perfectly adequate carpark it certainly is very pretty with 1000 shrubs planted between the rows. It cost 570,000 euros for 175 places. Until November it remained pretty well empty, the barriers and the complicated payment system scaring visitors off. Stories abounded that if you had a foreign number plate the system would not be able to read it and would not let you out! The students moved out to take over the free parking round the haras. It was only when a big sign went up saying it was 3 hours free and you could escape without using the scary payment kiosk that the numbers of cars parked there went into double figures. No doubt the tourists will be impressed but to me it’s a white elephant. Hopefully funds will be available for gardening as it is already looking neglected.
Meanwhile M. Boniau continues dragging us into the 21st century. Yesterday there was a ceremony in the carpark to inaugurate the first electric car recharging point in Cluny.
How many officials does it take to plug in a car?
Another change that is not for the better is the plan to reduce the speed limit from 90 to 80km/hr on departmental roads that are not dual carriageways. It is due to be rolled out this summer. Most people think it is just a way of raising extra money from fines. Thousands of motorists and bikers have been protesting on the roads, either by going slowly or blocking routes through towns. The biggest protest yet against the change took place last weekend in Paris by motorist opposition group, Fédération Française des Motards en Colère.
The protesting bikers last weekend
Reducing the speed limit is supposed to save lives, France having twice as many deaths on the roads as the UK. But it is quite difficult to keep a modern car cruising comfortably at 80km/hr, and goodness knows there is enough frustration now when someone in front is driving below 90 and you can’t get past. The way to make the roads less dangerous is to get rid of the priority to the right. A lot of junctions round here have been newly reorganised with give way or stop signs, but you still have to be wary of small sideroads where some old local is likely to come sailing out in front of you without even looking. As do Dutch people on bicycles. But that’s another topic….