Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 98

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Monday - Wednesday July 6 - 8, 2009 (diary)

The Provence near Perpignan My mind is somewhat woolly these day on account of my late nights watching the TV. First it were the Wimbleton tennis games, now it is de Tour de France. This goes on until around 2 AM, after that I can't go to sleep so read a bit.
I was disappointed when Federer won the tennis final against Andy Roddick. Fair enough Roger is the top player, but I find it hard to stomach these predictable sweety smiley goody goody Swiss, like him and previously Martina Hingus.
I have instead full admiration for the gritty American Andy Roddick, working hard after his time in the wilderness to reinvent himself, now playing better than ever brilliant tennis. For me Andy is the real Wimbleton Champion this year.

If you follow Charlemagne's statement "To possess another language is to possess another soul" (I referred to previously) through to its next logical step, then a country without its own language like Switzerland has no soul. For the Swiss Nation as a whole, I believe, that is pretty much on target. Always remaining "neutral" (while profitting from all sides) without an ideal or belief to fight for, anti social by not being part of that magnificent achievement, a United Europe. Collectively they are the opposite in nature to their magnificent countryside, they remain gray, boringly predictable like the watches they produce, and above all immorally greedy, accommodating and profiting from every crook who wishes to hide his money from the rest of the world.

Unlike most years the Tour de France has had an explosive start this time, with clear winners, like Lance Armstrong and his Astana Team who have already established themselves near the top of the rankings, and clear losers, like the Australian Cadel Evans who already has lost several minutes to the leaders, partly due to the less than brilliant support from his team. It will require a mammoth effort from him to repeat his success of the previous 2 years of a final Podium finish in Paris.
These first stages of the Tour have traveled through the magnificent countryside of the Provence with it lovely villages, castles, churches, even bullfighting rings, shown through aerial filming from overhead helicopters covering the riders' progress. I drove through this region last year, but it was raining heavily that time and I travelled through it very quickly.

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Thursday July 9, 2009 (diary)

Get together with some members of our Nambour Bridge Club I just received an email from Ruth Broderick this morning, telling me that Doug Whiteman is alive and kicking and not dead as I was told early this year. She spoke to him over the phone so there can be no mistake. This is great news as Doug is a wonderful and kind old guy, one of the early members of our little bridge club in Nambour.
Ruth has just returned from Europe, where she also visited another founding member of the club, Anne Porter in Birmingham, UK. Anne is well too.

American novelist Colin Harrison The first match in the Ashes Cricket Test Series started in Cardiff (Wales) yesterday. It was interesting to see with how much fervour and real passion the local audience sang the Wales anthem before the beginning of the match. No doubt about where their heart belongs. Wales does have its own language and without a doubt a unique soul.
After studying English for five years at High school and reading it throughout my University years, I could not understand a word of them when traveling through Wales on a Geological excursion around 1957, my very first trip to the UK.

England won the toss, elected to bat and at my last sleepy glance at the TV last night had accrued 250 runs for the loss of 5 wickets. The Aussie bowlers and fielders all looked sharp and in good form.

Browsing through the Palmerston Library last weekend I came across a book by the contemporary American novelist Colin Harrison, "The Havana Room" (set in New York city). It is an absolute cracker of a read. Harrison has his own unique brilliant style of writing and a very creative innovative vocabulary, beating (in my opinion) his fellow countryman Tom Wolfe (who covered similar environments and subjects) hands down.

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Friday July 10, 2009 (diary, Mijas)

The weather is absolutely wonderful at present, pleasantly warm days with full on sunshine and crisp cool nights. I love coming home at night after bridge and breathe in the unpolluted fresh cool air into my lungs. Life in the bush is healthy and hard to beat. At least that is my view.

Church and Plaza de Toros at Mijas Seeing an aerial view of that bull fighting ring in France while watching the Tour de France a few days ago, immediately cast my mind back to Mijas, a small ancient village nestled on the mountain slope behind Fuengarola on the Spanish Costa del Sol.
My late friend Shirley Pink used to go there for her holidays every year for about 30 years. First with her late husband, then alone or with her mother Irene and two years ago (in May 2007) with me after we disembarked in Lisbon from our 41 day Singapore to Lisbon Silver Seas cruise.

Mijas is famous for its Plaza de Toros (bull fighting ring), it is the only one in Spain which is oval shaped (rather than circular). It is very small and hosts only one or two events each year. Together with the church and an open air auditorium it occupies a small elevated knob in front of the old village with immediately beyond it a very steep rock cliff descending to the Costa del Sol foothills.
Although I found the Costa del Sol rather drab (with its outdated early 1970s holiday apartments and seemingly uncontrolled building going on everywhere), Mijas is a lovely small village away from it all and well worth a visit. Hotel Mijas, although quite large, is a great place to stay and I certainly enjoyed my 4 weeks there.

Tile map of the village of Mijas Every morning I would go for a walk to the Plaza de Toros and sit there for a while in the small park watching the numerous doves fluttering about the crevasses in the rock cliff.
On Saturdays mornings I would sit in the small nearby village square watching the goings on of the weekly flower market, and on days when I felt really energetic I climbed up the slope above the village to a small Chapel (opened only once a year for a special service) from which there are great views of the Costa del Sol and Mediterranean Sea.
Will I ever go there again ? I don't know, but looking at these photos again, perhaps I might.

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