Very hurried as it approaches 10:00, my planned departure time. For the past two days I have been trying to sort out the mystery of why black borders appear around videos uploaded onto Youtube. The issue related to the various size formats at which the camera shoots, the way the software edits and how the actual Youtube site runs. It is an intensely annoying problem as it can take several hours to upload a video and then find out that it is black bordered on Youtube. And then there is all the editing time wasted if you find it is the wrong format. But just before I leave for Italy, I may have fixed the problem - i.e. found one setting in which the software edits and it uploads onto youtube without the border.
A surprisingly quick drive to Dover and I am offered the 13:55 ferry rather than the 15:40 I was booked on. The ferry is really quiet, maybe only 25 vehicles! I can have my pick of the lounge, where I have started reading Safranski's biography of Heidegger - I have read this before, but want to analyses the book's structure in more detail as part of my ongoing biography project.
The sun came out about 100km south of Calais and was all surprisingly nice as I passed the Aire at Champagne Sud, one of our stopping points last year. Music is provided by a couple of Stuart Maconie's Freakshow episodes, one focused on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Other highlights included Zoe Keating's 16 Cellos and John Renborn's The Maid in Bedlam. I managed 5 hours of driving after coming off the ferry, mainly thinking about our tentative France project, and near-term fishing plans.
I slept in an Aire not far from Lyon. Surprisingly comfortable across the back seat under my "cat's meow" sleeping bag.
Six or seven hours sleep and the phone is finally working, so I can call home. Some worrying text messages referring to me now being "roaming" and my apps (do I have such things?) might be clocking up huge bills. It says I have to push "connect" for this to happen, but I haven't so presumably it hasn't.
A couple of calls from Jerome to discuss some aspects of the option trading and the jump in Vol that has occured in the past couple of days as the markets are in free fall.
At Chambery, I have a break, mostly spent reading Susie Kelly's Two Steps Backwards, with some snow covered foothills of the alps in the background. More Maconie Freakshow tapes to listen to.
One of my better photos I think
Today's route takes me through the Frejus tunnel and I am soon passed Turin and on the way to Genoa. While on my afternoon break, a long call from Daughter who is deep in thought about her immediate future and her wish to travel and do an MSc.
Traffic is heavy at 6:00 in Genoa but at least I didn't make the same mistake here that I have made twice before and ended up in the centre of the city at the waterfront.
Turned off the motorway at La Spezia to find somewhere to sleep the night. A brief stop in the centre to admire the vintage yachts on display along with some sports cars, including a rather garish yellow Ferrari Dino.
I eventually settle in the small town of Lerici for the night. This is actually rather nice. I have pasta with clams for dinner but am crashed out in the car by 10:00, despite the town still being in full swing. I was so tired and had little trouble sleeping threw the noise.
Where I spent the night - about to depart, Saturday morning