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Diary

Those who moan about the recent proliferation of speed humps should try a French alternative encountered recently in the Languedoc region. 'Speed trenches' is the only way of describing them: v-profiled troughs that combine the functions of speed restrictor and transverse drainage ditch. Marked only by faded blue and white stripes they look quite innocuous but, taken at more than 30km/h, the massive double jolt can shatter even the best-stowed bottles of local wine.

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