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Chateauu Lalinde - the best R&R in France!

It doesn't matter if you are coming back from a war zone or a business trip - sometimes you just want perfect peace and quiet. When you get that plus fine wine and food - you know you are in Lalinde!

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  • Chateau Lalinde : The perfect venue for your event

  • Relocation Orientation in France

  • Lalinde - another favourite stopover.

    The Canal de Lalinde is probably one of the best little gems of the Dordogne River.

    Because the stretch of river that passes Lalinde is the only part of the Dordogne River which, due to a natural stone weir and three rapids, the Gratusse, the Gratussou and the Grand Thoret is too shallow for boat traffic -- and in particular the gabares flat bottomed boats that used to transport goods from the market in Sarlat down the river to Bergerac and further to Bordeaux, it was decided in 1840 to build this excellent engineering feat. By all accounts even back in 1852, 29,750 tonnes of goods passed along the canal between markets, by 1858 as much as 46,000 tonnes and a mere two years later, in 1860, no less than 200,000 tonnes!.

    The Canal stretches from Mausac to Tuilières with three locks along its 15 kilometers, which are still maintained even though no boat traffic goes slong the canal any longer. The lock at Tuilières comprise of a double set of three locks -- quite a remarkable sight! At Sainte-Capraize one can also see a special area where the canal crosses a small bridge.

    During the sixties, after a fatal accident at Port-de-Couze during the Tour de France, the canal was closed for boat traffic.

    Today the canal is a favourite spot for the fishermen - and women of the area -- apparently the fishing is very good, and any fisherman will tell you that in such exquisite surroundings, with its tunnel of Plane trees and soft golden reflections on the still water, the fishing is good even if the fist did not bite!
    From time to time, if you are lucky, you may also see a team of scullers use the canal for their training, and of course cyclists and walkers and joggers have long ago discovered the beauty of this spot.

    Related Links: Scenes on the Canal de Lalinde
    Fishing in the Dordogne
    Tuilières Barrage
    Gabares: Throw-away boats
    Fishing in France

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  • Chateau Lalinde : The perfect venue for your event

  • Relocation Orientation in France

  • Great place to rent in Bordeaux

    La Terrasse à Bordeaux is one of the relatively few apartments available for holiday rental in the heart of the ancient and historic centre of Bordeaux. More than that, it is the only apartment for rent I know of that has a wonderful terrace large enough to dine on or simply take in the fabulous view of the river, the ancient Porte de Bourgogne and Napoleon's Pont de Pierre - the bridge that took his troops to Paris.

    A majority of the visitors are looking for an apartment in Bordeaux while exploring the Bordeaux region and usually with an emphasis on discovering the wines that have made the area world famous. Make no mistake, wine tourism is a huge industry and good modern apartments are hard to find. At some times of the year there is little or no accommodation within 50 kilometres of the city - so plan ahead and book early!

    Bordeaux's historic centre has been revitalised in the last few years and is now one of the biggest pedestrian precincts in Europe - yet compact enough to be visited on foot. In the area adjacent to La Terrasse à Bordeaux are wonderful cobbled streets with some of the best restaurants and bars as well as an open-air food market and antique and bric-a-brac market on weekends.

    Porte de Bourgogne

    The Porte de Bourgogne sits at the end of the Victor Hugo Avenue, where once one of the city's gates stood. At our left we have the Quartier de la Rousselle, with its beautiful old houses, at our right we have the Quarter Saint-Michel with its amazing cathedral and directly in front of our terrace we have the La Garonne river and the famous Pont de Pierre .

    The photograph at the top of the page and the small one at the side will give you a pretty good idea of the spectacular view from the terrace of our apartment at sunset.


    Back to Iraq

    Just a quick note. One of our friends lost three of his staff and the client they were guarding in the latest shooing incident. Zak is fine and Gordon has headed to Croatia and then New York for the funerals.

    I'll be back in Iraq as soon as I can get a flight organised. Hopefully the "rug".

    The yanks are as jittery as all hell, so (Brian) I will take your advice with all things!

    If all goes well I might finally do the tip to Iran as the boys on the ground now appear to trust me enough to arrange it.

    Happy birthday to the boss.
    Great tour of New Zealand - John and Nick.
    And Rastas. Thanks for the headsup on the latest DU research. Samples have been collected. Rokke is not as reliable as he claims so went via another source.

    2007 starts with a bang.

    Cloudstreet - killer duo slay the crowds

    The New Year saw me back in Australia from a long trip through Somalia ( no, this time I did not get shot, but, as I didn't shoot anyone, my pay was docked), Mauritania ( no hassle and no broken bones) and on to Morocco to visit my old friends Zany and Samir who had just completed their fabulous restoration project and written two books ( that is one each). Someone should slow these guys down before they burn out. Zany is editing a book for Penguin at the moment and then heading to Paris to seek out a writing base there.


    Samir returned to OZ for a couple of months holiday and also goes to Paris in February before setting out for Fez again. Their blog The View from Fez, goes from strength to strength and is part of my daily reading.

    On the music front - Cloudstreet were superb ( as usual) at Woodford and are now on tour in New Zealand. Then they cross the world begin another European tour. All power to them.

    I am hanging out in Australia to catch the latest gig from Women in Docs - ( see story below) - then off to Paris for a gig. Not sure what I will do after that, but may cruise to Morocco for the Sacred Music Festival in Fez or head to the Chateau for a spot of fishing. At least I appear to have given the CIA boys the slip for the moment and I can sleep without fear of knocks on the door. Ah... what a good feeling!

    Chateau Lalinde

    And Rastas? Ah, dear Rastas has been bitten by the flu bug and is feeling to sorry for himself to tell anyone what the real news is. I suspect he is working on yet another evil scheme to send me thousands of miles from home to find some strange new instrument of torture!

    Women in Docs!!!!

    Just how hot are this pair? Red hot! Women in Docs have a new album out Red Wine and Postcards - and it is a ripper! You can find out about this superb duo here: Women in Docs.

    And where can you get blown away?


    19 - 21 Jan, Tamar Valley Folk Festival, Tamar Valley, TAS

    25 - 28 Jan, Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli SHowgrounds, Bulli, NSW


    2 & 3 Feb, Judith Wright Centre, Brunswick St, Fortutide Valley, QLD
    (with Sally Dastey, ex-Tiddas).

    Cobbler's Apprentice - what a ripper read!

    Rather than demonising Islamic terrorism, particularly Palestinian, McCutcheon opens a window into their desperate situation. This may well be the way forward in spy thrillers."

    The reviews have started to come in for The Cobbler's Apprentice - the thriller with large sections set in Morocco and particularly in the Medina of Fez.

    Jeff Popple, writing in the Canberra Times says:

    The best of the current crop of terrorist novels is The Cobbler's Apprentice, by Australian author Sandy McCutcheon. This intelligent novel blends the machinations of the spy novel with the action and geopolitics of the international thriller to produce a credible and truly scary read. McCutcheon has a good grasp of modern-day politics and has concocted a clever plot that grips the reader's attention from the opening page to the final twist.

    This is no black and white account of terrorism but an intricate, mufti-layered tale that captures the complexity of the war on terrorism and the people caught up in it. This is McCutcheon's finest novel to date and the best spy thriller I have read in some time.

    Patricia Escalon writing for the Australia Council The Program says:

    A spook thriller in the post-millenial jihadi era, The Cobbler's Apprentice keeps a furious pace, reeling in the reader from the opening sentences.

    As a thriller, The Cobbler’s Apprentice hits the spot almost unerringly. Each chapter raises the stakes, compelling the reader to continue until the last page.

    The bazaars in Fez heave around us. The smells assault our nostrils in our imagination. Funnily enough, we identify with Sami, our young mujahedeen. McCutcheon paints a very human portrait of Sami, one that reveals the motivations behind suicide bombers and the extremes that drive them to violence. Rather than demonising Islamic terrorism, particularly Palestinian, McCutcheon opens a window into their desperate situation. This may well be the way forward in spy thrillers.

    Ross Fitzgerald writing in The Australian:

    SANDY McCutcheon's latest fictive offering has a lot going for it. From Canada and the US to England, Cuba and Morocco, The Cobbler's Apprentice follows a young Palestinian, Samir Al-Hassani, who after being arrested in Iraq is held at Guantanamo Bay prison, from which he almost miraculously escapes. This sets up the book's basic tension: who is pulling the strings? Is it Samir's fellow jihadis, the Israeli secret service, the CIA and other agents based in Washington or a combination of the above?

    The novel's central conceit -- terrorism and counter-terrorism via bacteriological warfare -- works extremely well. Along with airborne anthrax, pneumonic plague is one of the most virulent means of causing large-scale human casualties: the prospect of carriers infecting masses of people, especially in urban areas in the West, is terrifying indeed.

    McCutcheon is most compelling describing the back streets of Morocco, especially the labyrinthine laneways of Fez. As a long-time Western agent reminisces, "Morocco had become one of his favourite destinations. Three times he had spent vacations touring the country, and twice agency business had taken him to Casablanca. Although he enjoyed most places in the country, it was Fez, with its extraordinary medina and old gardens, that lured him back time and again."

    The Cobbler's Apprentice succeeds where many such novels fail.

    The character of young Samir as a biological weapon of mass destruction, now aimed at those who released him, is utterly unforgettable, as is the determined and fully rounded photojournalist Nicolas Lander.

    Jan Hallam writing in the Sunday Times says:

    Sandy McCutcheon is one of a few mass market Australian novelists to tackle terrorism.

    His recent thriller, Black Widow, looks at the aftermath of the 2004 Beslan siege, while his latest, The Cobbler’s Apprentice, follows a terror suspect, Samir Al-Hassani, who leaves Guantanamo Bay and becomes an agent of mass destruction.

    It’s a gripping read because of its eerie prescience. In McCutcheon’s professional hands, it will also have you reading on the edge of your seats.

    Samela Harris Adelaide Advertiser

    This book is nothing less than a rip-roaring action thriller with politicians and thugs, scientists and spies — and an unnerving sense of the possible.

    Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

    In a word: Compelling!

    Copies can be purchased by following this link: Gleebooks Online.


    THE VIEW FROM FEZ: Buying property in Morocco - Essential Reading.

    A great post if you are buying property in Morocco. THE VIEW FROM FEZ: Buying property in Morocco - Essential Reading.

    Oscar visits Morocco

    Am visiting Samir and Zany. Wonderful weather, great food and wine - pity that the place is a building site...