Tag Archives: France

Eiffel Tower under construction

Salut mes petit pois, this one has been doing the rounds on Twitter and t’internet, but thought it was worth sharing here with you…

A few petit facts interesant pour vous: The pig iron structure of the Eiffel Tower weighs 7,300 tonnes… as the tower was initial supposed to be demolished in 1909, and as a demonstration of the economy of design, if the 7,300 tonnes of the metal structure were melted down it would fill the 125-metre-square base to a depth of only 6 cm. And secondly, depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the tower may shift away from the sun by up to 18 cm because of thermal expansion of the metal on the side facing the sun.

And for all those of you who thought you were going to get a glimpse of the actual construction… Bien, et Mange tout alores!

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Filed under Technology, Timology

The most expensive book sales of December

Each month ABEBooks produce a list of their most expensive sales… its an interesting distraction. December’s most expensive list spans from the 15th to the 20th century. The oldest and most expensive item was a single leaf from the first edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales which sold for £6,818. This fine piece of incunabula is one of the most sought-after works of Middle English writing.

However, the most interesting item included may be a sequence of photos of the notorious French criminal Jacques Mesrine who was responsible for multiple bank robberies, jail breaks, burglaries, murders, and kidnappings in France and Canada. Mesrine’s crimes read like a Hollywood script: robbing multiple banks in a single day, holding a real estate mogul for a 6 million Franc ransom, attempting to kidnap a judge who had once sentenced him to prison, escaping a crime scene by running out of a surrounded building (past police) yelling “Quick! Mesrine’s up there!” as he got away, and of course the multiple jail breaks. Mesrine’s eventual demise was also in Hollywood fashion; police were finally able to track him by means of a woman thought to be his mistress. The two of them were heading out of town for a weekend in the country when police boxed their car in at the entrance to an intersection and opened fire, shooting Mesrine 15 times. Throughout his escapades he earned the title of Public Enemy #1 in France. [I have plundered this from the ABE newsletter, so do go and check them out yourself… they are good people.]

And what a good word… ‘incunabula’

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Team Otter 2011

I am super proud of my chum Zem and her friends at Team Otter 2011 who have just swum all the way to France!

Together they swan 30miles in 15hrs 6mins.  Each ‘Otter’ swimming 3hrs each in one hour bursts. I struggle to swim in a warm pool for more than 20 mins, so what three hours much be like in freezing water, full of old tin cans and jelly fish can only be imagined.

This is the route they swam: 

The best bit about it all is that they were doing this madness for a couple of really good charities, WaterAid and Allsorts. So dig deep into those purses and wallets, and give them all a wet fish style slap on the back.

WaterAid is a long standing international charity that helps the world’s poorest people have safe water and sanitation. Once they’ve achieved this basic human right, their health, education and livelihoods all improve.

Allsorts is an innovative Gloucestershire charity that works with disabled children and their families to provide often disregarded young people, their parents, carers and siblings with support.  This includes toys and equipment, plus a wide range of exciting and unusual activities, serving Gloucestershire’s unique Of Course We Can programme.

You can read all about their crazy project, endurance training, and see all kinds of aquatic athletics on their blog: http://teamotter2011.wordpress.com/

 

 

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