Friday, 20 July 2012


Two momentous arrivals today - a niece and a new part for my shower. The former took no effort on my part, whereas getting the agent to fix the shower involved months of effort and annoyance. So I shall send flowers to my sister-in-law and my plumber in grateful thanks. One can only hope that the niece dribbles less than the shower and hasn't inherited the family's trademark triple chins.

On the agenda today: more research into Welsh travel writing, while keeping a sneaky eye on the Tour de France. What a dull Tour it's been, frankly. Sky's totalitarian team tactics have delivered an efficient and historic first victory for a British rider (Ireland's Stephen Roche won it in 1987, along with the Giro d'Italia and the world championship), but there's been little joy - few of the individual battles, the daring escapes the lung-busting heroism. Instead, Sky have blocked the front of the peloton, ignored breakaways lacking GC contenders and ground their way to Paris. Road-racing's about derring-do and superhuman feats, not efficiency. I think I preferred the Tour when everyone was on drugs and too spaced out to plan things rather than just take off like a rocket and leave everyone trailing.

Bernard Hinault, 'Le Blaireau' ('the badger', for his aggressive riding)

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