Canals, the European Union and… running

On Thursday June 23rd, please vote REMAIN!! It’s the only way to ensure that progress can be made in building a better European Union, a union that’s more about politics in the noblest sense of the term, and less about the market. A Union that is led by the best, and not by second-string politicians placed there to give national leaders the illusion of having the upper hand. From Donegal to Constanta, from Lisbon to Tallinn, we should all be voting for lists that will give us the best representatives. The British don’t want that now. They can voice their concerns within the Union, instead of destroying this fragile edifice. Tempted to emulate Boris Johnson throwing his toys out of the pram? How can that be a credible choice and a meaningful vote? For the sake of peace, for the sake of democracy, justice and social progress, vote REMAIN!

It seems like another age, when I ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for the Inland Waterways Association on April 24, 2016. The aim was to attract sponsorship for the unique inland waterways of my country of birth, where a passion for discovering landscapes, cities, whole countries by water was born in the 1960s. See separate page about the marathon

At the same time, I was already devastated then by all that has been disintegrating in the world since I started this page last year. My posts here suggest the geekish frivolity and self-centredness of the long-distance runner. I agree it’s a futile stimulating game that one plays, putting to test the body that is necessarily on the decline.

But I have been promoting European Union all my life, and the cover of Télérama (#3454) was heartbreaking for all that it conveyed. I was moved when I voted YES to the European Community in 1975. Decades of progress (enlargement, the Channel Tunnel, Schengen) were followed by the setbacks of Maastricht, nationalist governments, and now this breakdown of all we have been aspiring to.

Despite all this sadness, the Trumpism in different degrees on both sides of the Atlantic, please consider sponsoring me; all funds go to the IWA and will help in the many campaigns to preserve or restore hundreds of kilometres of canals and historic river navigations. The page is open until July 23. Sponsorship page

Indirectly, the initiative is in support of inland waterways in my home country France, the rest of Europe and throughout the world. That’s why links to the site or blog posts of Inland Waterways International will also appear here. The waterway network is Europe’s common heritage, for transporting goods, boating or running or cycling beside them!

Header photo
A mural painting beside the Canal de Roubaix proclaims ‘We respect our canal’. That’s what it’s all about: restoring, maintaining and using our canals. Here there was to be an express road; almost at the last minute, in the late 1980s, the threat was averted, then a long campaign began to restore the canal through this industrial town in decline. A complete turn-round has been achieved, and the canal is the pride of the town, of greater Lille and its population.