To Paris, France for the day

The rendezvous outside the Louvre - Paris, France

The rendezvous outside the Louvre – Paris, France

Any chance you can join us?”  A message from an American friend pings into my in-box.  Hmmm?

There’s sensible … and then there’s Paris.  Even if only for a day.

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The Royal Palace at Caserta, near Naples, Italy: it’s big

The Royal Palace at Caserta

The Royal Palace at Caserta

Big is a little word that can’t quite fit all of this palace in.  Size is everywhere but still the giant proved hard to find by car.

We knew we’d reached Caserta but even though we were within metres of the palace we couldn’t see it.  The area was a strange, any-man’s-land of straight roads and plain buildings.

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Update: Zimbabwe’s wild-born elephants flown to China

A baby elephant and family

“… But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curiosities …”
(Rudyard Kipling’s ‘ The Elephant’s Child’)

A deal has been done – a sale has been agreed and the animals delivered … but not everyone is happy. The animals sold are young, wild-born Zimbabwean elephants, and the buyer is China.

Zimbabwe is selling not just the family jewels, it’s selling family.  It is exporting them as though they were goods, to a remote land that has little experience of the needs of this great, intelligent species.

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Hotel Beau Site, Talloires … and a rendezvous

The rendezvous - the garden of the Hotel Beau Site in Talloires

The rendezvous – the garden of the Hotel Beau Site in Talloires

We had a rendezvous to arrange … and it had to be perfect.

Our final choice was the Hotel Beau Site in Talloires.  It looked beautiful on its website – more like an old, elegant home than a hotel – and, more important, it had grounds that seemed to lead down to a private beach on a pristine lake.

The bad news – it was a self-promoting hotel an easy drive from of some the most famous ski slopes in Europe.  Surely a web-trap?

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Ségolène Royal says no to Zimbabwe’s elephants

Screen shot of statement from Ségolène Royal

Ségolène Royal says no to Zimbabwe’s elephants

In a statement released this evening Ségolène Royal, France’s minister for “l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie” clarifies that she will not authorise the import into France of elephants from Zimbabwe.

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