fly me to the moon…

Dear diablog,

I must, first, apologise for my long silence. It would be good to blame a hectic social life but that would not be really true.

For totally inexplicable reasons business has been positively booming and I seem to be a hologram of Smiles with constant travel both home and abroad getting in the way of the important – G+P!

However, honestly as a filler to next week – and even then I may be all over the place – I am grateful to Philippa

phirripa real

for this theme related submission – though at a level way above mine and even probably that of Smiles himself.

Welcome to

Mr Trumps personal ride – take that any way you like!

Yours diablog, in the hope that I can catch up properly soon


una paloma 2…

Dear diablog,

You will recall that I left you at the wonderful market where all sorts was for sale



including, bizarrely, motor bikes and specifically


I have no idea if this brand is still British let alone in existence but these look new enough.


No, I didn’t buy one but they certainly were popular (maybe the T shirts?) and added to everyone’s enjoyment.

Night fell and after a quick visit back to the hotel to freshen up it was out and to a tapas bar that had attracted our attention…


Continue reading “una paloma 2…”

una paloma 1…

Dear diablog,

As I write this I suddenly realise that Engine Room gets all sniffy about too much info in one post so have split this into two.

Last weekend Mme and I spent 3 days in Spain which is unusual for us (Spain that is) as we have never really rated what we have seen of it so far.

The first day was in a Parador – this link tells you a bit about them and you can look up any place you fancy – though frankly the buildings and comfort are wonderful but do your best to avoid eating in them.  Having tried 7 so far, we have only ever had one good, let alone outstanding, meal.

But then it was on to Madrid for 2 days and a brilliant hotel right on


Plaza Neptuno. Note that we were nowhere near Plaza Mayor (the sort of Piccadilly of Madrid which, frankly, sucks and is full of rubbish (of all descriptions and very sad).

By sheer luck we were there when (in the surrounding back streets) there was the most wonderful ‘happening’ where Mme had her fill of her earlier life as an antique dealer and Glynsky really enjoyed himself amongst all sorts of stalls




Continue reading “una paloma 1…”

burning bridges 2…

Dear diablog,

As you know I was recently in Rouen, the location for the trial and demise of St. Joan of Arc


(looking this time surprisingly modern!) where all sorts were to be found


including a wonderful cake/coffee shop which would be the equal to many in Vienna (shall we meet for coffee Smiles?)


with an interesting selection in the window


and a little further on the Vieux Marche (the site of the funeral pyre)…


Continue reading “burning bridges 2…”

burning bridges…

Dear diablog,

As you may have noticed I have been missing for a while – oh ok, you didn’t, tant pis.

The French bit is a clue. I have been checking out –




Or, Rouen (hence Joan of Arc), the town of Cognac (with specific reference to their excellent products) and a nondescript piece of road near Cognac known as ‘Freddies Curve’ (an homage to one of our ‘patron saints”).

First to Rouen, and an excellent place to visit which diablog heartily recommends to readers, no more than 2 hours drive from Calais and within easy striking distance in less than a day from London. In fact why more don’t go for the weekend or whatever is a mystery as the old town is both charming


Continue reading “burning bridges…”

All terrorists are … British

Dear Reader,

Now we have proof. And it comes from the BBC, so our Brits at diablog cannot argue.

The Brits are to blame for all this security theater. It is not Islamic extremists, who cause it, it is the Brits. Thanks to Brits travelers like Smiles and I are being pestered and inconvenienced.

In case you do not know, what I am talking about, read Eurostar’s problem …...

Let me quote, emphasis mine:

When the Gare du Nord was evacuated on Monday after a passenger tried to take a disarmed artillery shell onto a Eurostar train, rail operators may well have let out a deep sigh and thought: “Not again“.

International and domestic services were delayed because of the hold-up at the Paris railway station, which is Europe’s busiest.
But it is far from the first time such an evacuation has happened.

Another delay occurred a little more than 12 hours earlier, in the northern French city of Lille, which also has a Eurostar station.
Again, an X-ray spotted an old artillery shell, trains were diverted and the station was evacuated.

In July 2010, a British couple even brought a live artillery shell to the Gare du Nord.
An official with SNCF, France’s national railway, told the BBC that such incidents were happening “fairly regularly”.

“It’s always Brits,” he said.

There you have it. It is the Brits terrorizing the whole world. Further proof, Glynsky admitted here, and I quote, “off to terrorise the neighbourhood!”

Stay amused,

Engine Room

Europe the American way

Dear Reader,

By now you know, everyone at diablog is somewhat nuts.

To fit in properly, I did a typical American thing. A European tour, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Tirol, Italy and France in a bit more than a week. You want crazy? We got crazy. Four countries in one day, usually that is reserved for our beloved


Smiles. He does that on a regular basis.

Anyways, it was great fun. It confirmed, I do not like mountains and narrow valleys. I need an overview and the sea. It also confirmed, I do not like the French.

Almost all of them pretend to not speak or understand English. And their prices are plain robbery. Ten Euro for an espresso? You got to be kidding me. 100 Euro for 1,000 km on the highway? Do I want to buy the damn thing?

But the worst was a hotel manager, again claiming not to speak English, also claimed 120 – 107 = 3. When I insisted on getting all my change, he had to consult a calculator. Yeah, right. Never mind that my room had been paid in advance and the whole procedure was a scam anyway.

Yet, I had a tremendous time even in France. Partially because I was allowed to stay in a 11th century fortress:


freshly restored, and refurbished to maximum luxury. The outside of the building isn’t what you would call pretty.

But have a look at one of the bedrooms:

Continue reading “Europe the American way”