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Monday, 11th December 2017
Driverless cars to be on the roads THIS Spring!
Renault is currently preparing for Europe’s first large scale test of robot self driving technology.
The test will initially see four eclectic Renault ZOE’s running on 10km of public roads on three routes in Rouen’s business centre.
Passengers will be able to ‘stop’ a car by using a smartphone app. There will be no designated pick up/ drop off points
The tests aim to deal with real life problems such as busy junctions, aggressive drivers and safe parking.
For legal reasons there will be a ‘driver’ in the cars but as soon as the law evolves, the driver’s seat will become empty. Bit of a scary thing to imagine, but I have absolutely no doubt that the ZOE robot car will be able to park much better than I do!
Renault aims for half of all production to be made up of electric or hybrid cars by 2022. Renault also plan to build 15 self-driving models.
I haven’t thought much about self drive cars, only that if I had one it would park much closer to the supermarket entrance. Thinking more, if self drive cars are the future, there will be no need to learn to drive. Will drivers licences become obsolete?
Tuesday 5th December 2017
China rejects French cheese
It appears that China seems to have got a taste for all things French.
Over the past few months I have noticed that the butter shelves are all looking a bit thin and on a couple of occassions there has been no butter at all!.
Apparently, the Chinese rather like French patisserie and are importing French butter to recreate their own viennoiserie, leaving the French almost butterless!
It is not only the odd croissant that the Chinese have got a bit of a craving for, French cheese is also pretty popular as well, but the chinese authorities appear not to have the same relaxed French view when it comes to bacteria.The Chinese authorities have banned certain French cheeses, including Camembert, Roquefort and Brie amid concerns over ‘undesirable bacteria’. Consequently, China is experiencing a shortage of French cheese.
I thought the bacterium in cheese was good for the gut, but the Chinese authorities don’t agree!
The European Commission is in talks with the Chinese to try and persuade them that in fact the ‘undesirable bacteria’ are ‘friendly bacteria’.
Thursday, November 30th, 2017
Baguettes change colour, to black!
These baguettes may not look very appetising, in fact they look burnt!, but they are selling very well in a Normandy boulangerie.
Boulanger, Benjamin Rose wanted to make his ‘baguette de tradition’, to which no chemical additives are allowed, stand out. So, he added vegetable carbon charcoal!.
Mr Rose believes that supermarket bread, although cheap has lost the flavour of traditional bread, so he needed a bread that catches the eye and that tastes really good. Most supermarket breads contain about 14 additives and there is a growing demand for less additives and tastier bread.
I am not so sure that these black baguettes will really catch on!, they have not arrived yet in Réminiac!
Bees cure asthma and migraine
A beekeeper says that bees can cure asthma and migrane and that asthmatics can find almost instant relief in Lot-et-Garonne if they sniff the air from his beehives.
Apitherapy ( an alternative medicine that uses honey bee products including honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom) has been used since the early 1900’s and many asthmatics can find immediate relief from breathing in the air from beehives. The benefits last from days to several weeks.
Modern research has identified hormones released from bee larvae in the hive which inhibit the overexpression of genes causing asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and migrane.
The Worlds best Sausage!
Only in France, could there be a competition to find the worlds best sausage.
We are building up to a pretty important competition and entries are already being considered!
A sausage club from Ardèche (just how many sausage clubs are there in France?!) has launched a contest to find the world’s best salami in June 2018.
I wonder, how do you judge a salami ??
Salami producers will compete for the prestigious Rabelais Medal, named after the the 15th century writer who came up with the word ‘saucisson’.
Visit the Amazing French Castle of Guédelon
One of France’s most unique attractions is the Castle of Guédelon.
This castle is being built completely from scratch using authentic techniques. This project is completely unique. There is no other construction on this massive scale using medieaval technology. The first stone was laid 20 years ago and it is estimated that the castle will be finished in another 15 years.
There are three blacksmiths on site making quarrymen and stonemasons’ tools.
The site employs 70 people and has helped to revive many almost forgotten skills.
There is a lot of interest in this project, from archeologists to schools and the general public. Lyon university have taken a particular interest in analysing the data produced from the site whether it is quarry production rates, properties of lime mortar or how long it takes to build a stone wall. Everything is on such a large scale, for example they don’t need one kiln of roof tiles, they need 80,000.
Part of the project is to share the experiences and last year over 300,000 people visited the site. It also has a designated ‘heritage skills’ training centre which is used for professional training, university students and for young people in ‘second chance school’.
There are also some 600 volunteer workers all keen to take part in the construction of this medieaval castle.
This month visitors can expect to see progress on the gatehouse where the first of the slotted stones have just been fixed. These will one day serve to bring down the portcullis.
Eating Ortolans is just barbaric
Usually I am pretty positive about France and anything French, but eating Ortolans is just barbarian it is shocking, horrific.
To my shame, I didn’t know that this practice still occured. I thought in my ignorance that it had been stopped years ago.
Every year, in the Landes (South west of France) 30,000 Ortolans (a protected song bird) are caught, fattened up, sold for €150 each, drowned in Armagnac and then cooked.
Fans of this clandestine meal eat them with a cloth over their head to trap the smells given off by the dish. They should cover their heads in shame.
Thankfully the Ecology Minister, Nicholas Hulot has said that the must be ‘no tolerance’ and the area’s prefect must step up surveillance, checks and fines.