Bibendum is the name of the iconic symbol for Michelin tyres. There was a large factory near us run by Michelin. Sadly the factory has mostly closed now, its mostly a training facility. The one improvement is that the smell of vulcanising rubber no longer hangs over the city. Like many of the factories and manufacturing in Stoke-on-Trent the jobs have gone. Potteries have been badly affected. Steel manufacturers have gone and other jobs like coal mining went in the 1980’s. Northern areas of the United Kingdom have been badly affected over the years of the late twentieth century and twenty first.
I went to Germany on a wine tasting visit in the 1990’s. It was overland and by ferry, so it took about twelve hours on the coach. Plus I had a bad cold, so it wasn’t the best trip. However I enjoyed it and bought home a German glass. I got that and a small cookoo clock to bring home as souvenirs. One man that travelled with the tour was convinced we had gone over the border into East Germany. He was quite strange. We were actually going to the Rhine area.
We went in the autumn and the trees were changing colour, we went along the mosel River and sampled ‘qualitatswein mit pradicat’ if I remember correctly. The sun set an hour earlier because we were in a different time zone. We enjoyed a trip on a river boat, and to a winery. The steep valleys and winding roads were spectacular.
On our way back we watched the film ‘the hunt for red October’ on the coach TV’s that was the first, and last time I have watched TV while travelling.