Category Archives: aztec lady

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.

Friday 30th July 2021 – THE THING THAT …

… surprised me most about this morning was that after so little sleep – much less than 5 hours, I was up and about so early and so … well … maybe not so energetically but at least I wasn’t staggering about incoherently (inasmuch as I am usually incoherent). And I was even back in here to check my mails and my newsfeeds in a reasonably rapid rate of knots.

It wasn’t long though (geologically speaking) until I had to leave the apartment and head off to the doctor’s and my early morning appointment. And I actually made it almost to the surgery before I realised that i’d forgotten to bring my injection with me, by which time it was too late to go back.

skip lorry loading scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way to the doc’s I walked past the docks as I usually do

My attention had been drawn there a long, long way before I could see them by the racket that was coming from down below. When I reached the viewpoint I could see that there was a skip lorry that was picking up the scrap metal in the skips there.

Bearing in mind my post from several days ago, I mused that it was probably old bicycle wheels and World War 11 munitions that had been dredged up in the shellfish scrapers. Start the day with a bang? Why not!

“This is not the time to be hanging around within pressure-wave distance” I thought.

repairing brick wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on down the hill, this little matter of interest caught my eye.

In actual fact, it was a closed-off car parking space across the road that I noticed at first before I saw the builders’ tape. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, without any help from me, that the old medieval walls around here are crumbling away quicker than they can repair them.

Thai wall here, in between the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers has been quietly crumbking away and bits have gone missing, but it looks as if the local builders have been having a go at it.

Whatever next?

Next of course was the doctor’s. Having forgotten the injection, it wasn’t much of an omission because the doctor wrote out a prescription for me to have a nurse come round.

Furthermore, stocks of this injection are available in France and he’ll write out the prescription for me when I run out of the stock that I had from the hospital.

The Covid certificate is easy. Now that I have a Carte Vitale and an account at the French Government’s Health database, he could do all the necessary and I now have a proper Covid Europass. My telephone even reads it too.

The knee isn’t so simple. he thinks that it’s just the menisque, the meniscus muscle, and he’s prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication (which means that my daily dose has now gone up to 10) and a course of physiotherapy.

But prescribing a course is one thing – finding a therapist to do it is something else completely, especially in midsummer when everyone has gone on holiday.

At the chemists I had to wait five minutes before they were opened – first in the queue as well. But clutching my medication I headed back home.

aztec lady charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall that a few days ago we saw Charles Marie come sailing into the harbour.

Not having been this way since then, I hadn’t seen whether or not she was still there but sure enough, she’s the blue and white boat across there.

As for the dark blue boat behind her, I couldn’t make out at first whether she was Anakena, the boat that had set off to go to Scandinavia but had been caught in the pandemic. If it had been she, she probably would have set the record for the boat that’s been the longest in the harbour.

However, a closer examination of the photo shows that she’s Aztec Lady and she’s been in there for quite a long time too.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut remember yesterday? When we saw a pile of goods on the quayside as Normandy Trader was busy loading up, and I speculated that they wouldn’t be getting all of that into her with the swimming pool as well?

It looks as if I was right – although it didn’t really take much of an effort to work it out. There’s still a pile of freight on the quayside despite the fact that the ship has long-since sailed off into the sunset.

That means that we shall be expecting another visit, either from her or from Thora, in the near future. Imagine leaving all of that stuff unguarded on a quayside in the UK.

On the way back home I met a neighbour (I seem to be doing this quite a lot just recently) and we had a good chat for a while. Then I came back in here for my hot chocolate and fruit bread, which really is delicious!

Armed with my breakfast I came in here and settled down to work on yesterday’s journal entry and the next thing that I remember, it was 2 hours later. Luckily I’d finished my hot chocolate before it went cold.

While I’d been asleep on the chair I’d gone off on another voyage. I was in my holiday home getting ready to go back to the Auvergne because I decided that I was going to move my holiday home … start again … I was in the hotel where I was staying in some seaside resort somewhere in the south of France or somewhere in the west of France. I was going to get back into Caliburn and drive back to Virlet to get some stuff because I was planning to rent an apartment here. I’d thought about going to contact all of the Agents Immobiliers in the region about seeing who had a flat to let. I just walked out of my hotel room and across the hotel into the lobby just to walk straight out, get into Caliburn and drive straight back. I saw the rain and thought “do I need anything to take with me to leave back there? Do I need to bring anything else. Then I had a horrible thought about the train – how was I going to get to my hospital in Belgium?

There was really only just enough time to sort out the photos before lunch and guitar practice.

After lunch I had to ring around for a nurse, but everyone seems to be unavailable. Better luck at the hospital where I was able to change my appointment to the following week. And then I could at last push on with my notes.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk so grabbing the NIKON D500 j cleared off outside.

lancia fulviasport 1600 zagato place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while there was no bus parked outside the building today, I would swap any bus on the road for one of these.

This vehicle is probably one of the fasted production cars that Lancia ever produced, and I didn’t recognise it at first because someone has taken off the distinctive bumpers. But in actual fact it’s one of the Zagato-bodied Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600s.

Made for just two years, 1971 and 1972, there can’t have been many of these made, and there can’t be more than a handful that still survive, especially here in France.

But yes, one of these would do me very nicely, thak you.

man in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having dealt with the car, let’s go and deal with the issue of the beach.

It took quite an effort to make it across the car park because there was now a howling gale that had sprung up. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people on the beach, and I was quite right too because everyone was conspicuous by their absence

Apart from a few brave souls wandering around out there, there was this guy leaping up and down as the waves came into shore. He was certainly a braver man than I am.

waves breaking on rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd waves of course, there were plenty because there was quite a storm raging out at sea.

There are some rocks that even when the tide is well in, they aren’t covered over by the sea and the waves were breaking on them with quite considerable force. We aren’t likely to see too many ships out there today.

But there were crowds of people at a loose end wandering what to do and I threaded my way through them along the path, chasing after my headgear that had decided to go off for a stroll all on its own with the aid of the wind.

joly france 1 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that we aren’t likely to see many ships out there this afternoon, here’s one that I certainly didn’t expect to see.

It was the clouds of spray being thrown around out there that drew my attention to somethign moving so I went to find a high point on top of one of the old bunkers to have a better view.

Exposed as I was to the wind, it was impossible to take the shot that I wanted for when there was a shower of spray over the ship I was being blown out of position. I had to compromise.

Digital enhancement back home brought out the step in the stern of the ship and this tells us that it’s Joly France I battling its way valiantly out through the gale to the Ile de Chausey and I bet that the people on board were not enjoying the trip.

A few years ago I was on a crossing like that, and everyone was leaning over the railings.
“The trouble with you” I said to one man “is that you have a week stomach”.
“Nonsense” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as all the others”.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of these storms at sea I was expecting to see waves of hurricane proportions dshing over the sea wall and soaking everyone and everything in the inner harbour.

Consequently I dashed down the path, across the car park and around the corner onto the path onto the other side of the headland in eager anticipation.

And this is the best that I can get.

It’s true that the harbour wall is well-sheltered from the nor’westers by the headland around which I have just walked, and you can tell that by the fact that I have now replaced my headgear. But I was expecting much better than this.

If I knew who to complain to, I would lodge a complaint.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday (was it only yesterday?) we saw one of the shell-fishing boats moored up and aground at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

Today, it looks as if we have had a tactical substitution because while she has now cleared off, another one his come to take her place.

When I went further round to the front, I could see that it’s our old friend L’Omerta who seems to spend a lot of her time moored over there when she isn’t out at sea.

But anyway, that’s not my affair. With nothing going on any different in the chantier naval I carried on with my walk.

man in hazmat gear le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I stopped to have a look at what was going on in the inner harbour.

The trawler Le Tiberiade is in there this afternoon. She has a sister-ship, Le Coelecanthe and the only way that I can tell them apart is when I see them together because the latter is bigger than the former.

But as I looked more closely, there was something else that had caught my eye. In the background is a white van and a large commercial pressure-washer, being operated by someone in full hazmat equipment.

So whatever that is all about, I’d love to find out more. Although there isn’t likely to be anything in the local paper about it, and at the speed at which I move these days, I wouldn’t be able to catch him before he went.

unloading builders equipment port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I turn my attention to the rest of the inner harbour.

And remember the pile of builder’s material that we saw there yesterday and this morning, well, like Topsy, it “just growed”.

If you look very closely, you can make out the front of an articulated lorry and there’s also a guy on a fork-lift truck busy manoeuvring stuff around there.

All of this seems to indicate to me that the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters is imminent.

But I shan’t be around to wait for it if it arrives on the evening tide. I’m off back home for my coffee.

Downstairs in my letter box was a letter, from the Welsh Joint Education Council. For my “spoken Welsh exam” I’ve scored … errr … 208 out of 220. The reason for that mark is that I have learnt after many years of bitter experience to “Keep it Simple” and don’t try to complicate things gratuitously. Then you can’t tie yourself in knots of your own making.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s entry, about 7 hours later than I had intended, and then made tea. Falafel and pasta with the most delicious pineapple upside-down cake with coconut soya stuff.

No football tonight so I can go to bed. And about time because I’m wasted after my bad night and early start.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Miss Stoke-on-Trent put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Our young friend was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Monday 17th May 2021 – MY SOURDOUGH …

sourdough fermenting place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… seems to be enjoying itself right now.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mix. And sure enough this morning when I went into the kitchen I discovered that it had fermented so well that it had erupted and overflowed the bottle in which I keep it.

That’s what I call a good sourdough mix.

What else was good about the day was that I managed to leave my bed at the first alarm which, seeing that I didn’t go to bed until 00:30. And for a change I had a peaceful night

After the medication I armed myself with a mug of coffee and sat down to deal with a few radio shows. I needed three concerts in order to bring myself up-to-date and in a fit of marvellous concentration I managed to do all three.

The second one was an absolute swine to do and I really had to struggle with that. And then I needed over 4 minutes of speech in order to fill out the hours’ worth of programmes and that was a struggle to keep it interesting for that length of time.

The third one was much more straightforward and luckily it only needed 34 seconds of speech. That’s not really enough but there was no other way of doing it without cropping out some of what I consider to be crucial tracks. After all, it’s my programme and I get to choose the tracks that I like.

This all took me up to a very late lunch but that didn’t matter because I was determined to complete all three before I knocked off. And of course there had been the pause for hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate of course) and sourdough fruit bread for breakfast.

After lunch I came in here to do some work but I do have to say at at some point I crashed out. And it was another one of those crashings-out where I didn’t realise that I had done so until I awoke. I’ve been having a few of those just lately and it’s disconcerting.

As a result I ended up going for a late walk this afternoon. And that wasn’t a bad thing because earlier it had been raining quite heavily, but now it had stopped.

“Gone back to fetch some more” I mused.

people on beach storm waves rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe were also having another session of very high winds as you can tell by looking at the whitecaps in this photo.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to stick my head over to see what was happening on the beach. And being rather late today, the tide was leaving us with rather less beach than it would otherwise have done had I been out at my normal time.

But despite the miserable weather it was otherwise quite sunny and I suppose that if you could find a spot out of the wind in which to settle it would have been a very nice day. But I was too busy hanging onto my hat in the howling gale to notice.

Instead I headed off down the path along the top of the cliffs towards the end of the headland.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of the issues just recently, the local fishing boats seem to be spending more time closer to home rather than farther out in the English Channel.

We have a couple of trawlers out there just off the headland and slightly to the north. One is clearly visible and there’s a second behind it obscured by the haze and mist and what looks like an approaching rain cloud. I hope that I’m back at home when it finally hits land.

There were a couple of trawlers out in the Baie de Mont St Michel as I discovered when I went round to the end of the headland but they were even more obscured in the weather than the ones here so I didn’t photograph them. Instead I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland and along to the port.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I noticed that the place hadn’t remained empty for long.

Today there’s one of the smaller fishing boats that’s come up onto the blocks here presumably to have some work undertaken while the fishing season for certain types of shellfish has paused. And if we’re lucky we might even see a few more of them up here being overhauled.

And in the background over at the ferry terminal, Chausiais is moored up, resting on her bottom as the tide is going out quite rapidly. There doesn’t seem to be anything going on out at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon that would require her attention.

And not mine either. I carried on home before the rain came upon me.

spirit of conrad charles marie black mamba anakena aztec lady la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of occupancy amongts the larger yachts too.

Aztec Lady whom we last heard of at St Cast le Guildo has returned and she’s moored up alongside Anakena and to the right of Vlack Mamba and Charles-Marie. But the big yacht that has been there for ages next to Spirit of Conrad has now left port.

At least though now by the process of elimination I’m able to identify her. She’s called Capo di Fora, registered in Belgium the same as Spirit of Conrad and Anakena. And if you want to know where she is, she’s swapped station with Aztec Lady and is now in the bay just off St Cast le Guildo.

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Back here, rather late, I had some fun working out the bass line to another one of the songs on this playlist and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap tonight with baked potatoes, followed by chocolate sponge with that soya coconut dessert stuff. I’m really feeding myself quite well.

So now I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson in the morning and the exam date is approaching. High time that I did some revision and got on with some work as well. I really do have to knuckle down.

Tuesday 11th May 2021 – LE STYX …

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… didn’t stay long in the chantier navale then.

When we walked past there yesterday we saw her still suspended in the cradle of the portable boat lift despite the fact that the tide must have gone out a good while earlier, so I wondered if she was actually destined to be finding a berth up here, but apparently not.

When I walked past this afternoon, there she was, gone! And never called me mother! Her stay up there must have been remarkably rapid – just quick enough for them to repair whatever it was that might have been the issue, and then back to sea she went.

My stay in bed was rather rapid last night too. I ended up having yet another late night, late nights that I can well do without, but nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of bed at the first alarm.

After the medication I came back in here to start revising my Welsh but I had a great deal of difficulty keeping awake. Not even a coffee could revive me so in the end, I went and had a nice hot shower in the hope that it would liven me up. And afterwards, I came back in here and promptly crashed out.

So much for that idea.

The Welsh that we are learning is now coming thick and fast. We’ve made a start on the subjunctive and conditional tenses which should be exciting seeing as I am still finding it hard to come to terms with the present tense of “to be”.

My brain, such as it is, has gone to pieces … “you’ve only just noticed?” – ed … and my memory has disappeared completely.

We actually finished on time today, the first time for about forever, but I nipped off into the office to attend to one or two matters, one of which involved the Welsh Parliament, and I was so engrossed that I missed lunch. No-one was more surprised than me when I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 15:30.

Grabbing a handful of crackers, I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed for the door.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown to the end of the car park went I as usual these days, to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

The tide is now quite far out so there was plenty of beach for people to be on, but there were very few people out there this afternoon. It’s fairly warm out here (although I have known it warmer at this time of the year) and nice, bright and sunny, but the wind is back and it was blowing quite strongly.

As far as I can tell, we only seem to have had a handful of days so far this year when there has been very little wind. I’ve never known a year like it from that point of view. I know that we are living in one of the windiest corners of Europe but even so, there are limits and what we have experienced so far this year has gone beyond them in my opinion.

trawler english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell just how windy it is by looking at the whitecaps on the waves out there in the English Channel.

This is one of the trawlers that is currently working the English Channel between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey and it really was working it too because I watched it turn round at the end of its run and go back the way it had come.

There were several out there again today having a go at seeing what they could find. They seem to be putting a lot of effort into working that stretch of indisputably-French water over there and not heading for a confrontation with the Jersey authorities right now.

But like most people, I’m taking rather a vicarious pleasure in thinking about what they might do next.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just in the Baie de Granville where the fishing boats are working right now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them hard at work in the Baie de Mont St Michel too. There are two fishing boats that we can see quite clearly in this photo but if we peer into the gloom and haze in the background we can see several more out there over by the Brittany coast.

Having watched them for a few minutes I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland to go and have a look at what was happening in the chantier navale and we have seen that it’s pretty quiet in there this afternoon, so I carried on home for my hot coffee

spirit of conrad charles marie aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back I paused for a moment to have a look to see if Aztec Lady was still in here at her berth.

Sure enough, she’s over there dead ahead doubled up to Anakena who also spend a considerable amount of time in the chantier navale just now. Immediately to their left draped in some kind of canvas is Charles Marie and to her left, sideways on is the other big yacht that was in there for a while.

To her left is Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the coast of Brittany last summer. I wonder where she will be going this year, if she will be going anywhere at all with all of this virus going around.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. The Welsh Parliament was under attack last night from some kind of aerial creature. We formed some kind of group, me and a few other people too to form it and we defended our corner of the coastline and sank a few of these missile things and so on, and we had a party to celebrate what we were doing but someone pointed that there was another one on its way. It seemed that we hadn’t got to the root of the problem at all and killing something of course means that a few others will arise in its place. I was thinking that this was pretty strange, something like a South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive bus to be involved in a fight like this here in North Wales on the coast

Later on there was some kind of war game going on involving ships but I don’t remember too much of it. Later on I was talking to one of the guys, someone whom I knew in Stoke on Trent. he was telling me about a car he had for sale and I was trying to bu it from him but he wouldn’t tell me how much. It was a MkV Cortina. We had this back-and-to for about half an hour and he even brought his old man to have a play at this game “well he wants to buy my car but I don’t know if I want to sell it yet. What’s he asking for it? What’s he offering?” and so on. Then we came to the headlines “the car had run for the 1st time in 30 years” so I thought “it’s not going to be a road-going car but I’ll go and see it”. The car was kept in a fridge and I looked inside. It was a Vauxhall Carlton, the old type, B-registered 1984. I tried to fight my way in to the fridge to get to it but found that all the doors had been locked and the key had been left inside, and the parking light was on. It was an estate. I thought “how the hell am I going to get in here? I could scramble through and it won’t have been the first time that that I’d done that but for some reason I was feeling all claustrophobic and didn’t really fancy the idea of getting inside the fridge and crawling all over everything like that in order to get this car to start.

There were other things that I needed to do but regrettably, I crashed out yet again and ended up missing my guitar practice as a result and no-one was more dismayed than me.

falafel chips salad place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for tea. falafel, chips and salad. All of it was made with my own fair hands.

The falafel was some of the stuff that came from LIDL and I do have to say that it was the nicest that I’ve ever had in France. The chips were cut from potatoes and “fried” in the microwave fryer that my niece Rachel let me have when I was in Canada in 2019.

The microwave fryer isn’t as efficient as it was in her microwave. Mine is less powerful so it takes much longer to work. And in any case it’s too small so I have to take out the rotating plate and put an upturned ramekin dish over the top of the rotator and drop the fryer on that.

It’s not ideal, but at least it works on the odd occasion when I need it.

chocolate sponge chocolate sauce place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as for the pudding, what can I say?

It was absolutely delicious, to such an extent that I was amazed. The chocolate sponge is the lightest that I have ever tasted and the chocolate sauce worked out really well. I shall be making much more of this, and on a regular basis too if only I could prevent the sponge from being so crumbly. I wish that I knew what the secret was.

So having done all that, and reasonably early too, I think that I’m going to go to bed. An early night will do me good after all of my efforts just now. Anyone would think that after the weekend I would have had more than enough sleep just recently, but it doesn’t seem like it.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.

Thursday 29th April 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more movement in the chantier navale this morning, and I was lucky to be there to see it.

As I walked down to the end of the road this morning on my way out to the shops (I did actually make it there) I saw Anakena slowly making her way across the inner harbour – the tide being well in at this moment.

She’s been in the chantier navale for quite a considerable time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so it’s very nice to see her finally back in the water heading off towards her habitual berth in the inner harbour.

Not very quickly, I have to say. She’s taking her time manoeuvring across the harbour, not in any great rush. I suppose that after all of this time she needs to get her sea legs back again.

anakena victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I’d reached the bottom of the steps of the Rampe du Monte a Regret she was pulling into where she normally moors up.

But what caught my eye at this particular moment was the fact the Victor Hugo was also back in town today. Her stay in Cherbourg wasn’t all that long at all – just long enough for them to do whatever it was that they were doing that required the harbour gates to be left open the other day when the tide went out.

Anyway, after my horrible day yesterday, when I went to bed I found that I couldn’t go to sleep straight away. I spent quite a lot of time tossing and turning before I finally dropped off to sleep.

On awakening this morning, I knew that it was going to be another one of those days when I was going to be feeling really bad. And I wasn’t wrong either.

It was a real effort to haul myself out of bed and for much of the morning I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. But based upon the assumption that whatever I do has to be better than doing nothing at all, I filed away a pile of papers and wrote a letter that needed dealing with.

After a shower I gathered my thoughts and then went off to the shops where I encountered Anakena on her little perambulation around the port.

drawbridge pont levis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have been a few construction machines wandering around here this last day or two, and it seems that they are back working here in the Rue Cambernon.

That was closed to circulation a while ago while they had it dug up and it looks as if they are doing yet more work on it. One of these days I’ll have to go for a wander around there to see what they are up to.

Stopping off at the Post Office to post my letter, I carried on to the LIDL, totally exhausted by the walk.

And today I spent a lot of money in there, what with supplied being run down due to me not having done any shopping around Granville for a while. They had frozen falafel on special offer so I bought a box of that for future use. I bought some coffee too, which means that I’ll probably find my missing coffee tomorrow when I’m looking for something else.

The walk home was agony. Being loaded up as I was didn’t help much, and not being well made things even worse. But when I returned home I made myself some hot chocolate and with a slice of my sourdough fruit bread I came back in here.

And that was that, unfortunately, for the morning. Whatever time that was left before lunch was spent sleeping on my chair.

After a very late lunch again, I came back here again and fell asleep in plain mid-edit of the August 2019 photos in Wyoming. I’m currently parked on the verge of Highway 319 just north of Glendo, Wyoming, admiring a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe coal train passing by.

Somewhat later than usual, I staggered out into the sunlight for my afternoon walk.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Just a few people out this afternoon. It wasn’t all that warm out there this afternoon and there was plenty of wind about so I suppose that all of that was keeping people indoors. In fact, there weren’t too many people about at all walking around.

With nothing going on out at sea , I pushed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs. The view out to sea was hazy and misty today and there wasn’t much of a view out there. We could see the ile de Chausey but not really very much out to sea beyond there.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel between the coast here and the Brittany coast over on the other side.

As I walked across the path at the end of the lawn and over the car park, I could see that there were a couple of boats out there working today. There’s a trawler in mid-channel and another fishing boat out on the far side of the bay, although I can’t see what that one is.

There were a couple of others deeper in the bay towards the Mont St Michel but they were too far away to see. So there is evidently enough seafood out there in the bay to keep them in business for a while

people fishing on the rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, the fishing boats are probably having more luck than these people are having right now.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the amount of people fishing with rod and line into the sea. The rocks on the end of the Pointe du Roc seems to be a popular place (or plaice) for them and there is another pile of them out there today.

It goes without saying that I didn’t see anyone catch anything while I was watching … “no surprise there” – ed … so I left them to it and cleared off down the path on top of the cliffs to carry on with my walk.

diggers working in outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my vantage point on top of the cliffs I can see out past the harbour entrance to see what they are up to out there this afternoon.

Being earlier than I was yesterday, the tide is quite far out and so in the distance we can see the two white diggers that are installing this famous drainage pipe out across the bay. They are making quite good progress with that although I think that once we have a few winter storms and raging high tides, it’ll be interesting to see how well it survived.

The yellow digger is there too right by the harbour wall, digging away at this sandbank and they are making good progress with that too. Not only is it going to be interesting to see how much they dig away, it’ll also be interesting to see what else they will be digging up that’s been embedded in the silt for all this time.

aztec lady fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier today we saw Anakena sailing away out of the chantier navale to her berth after all of this time in there.

Nothing else has arrived there over the course of the day so we are now down to just two boats the little fishing boat that came a day or two ago and Aztec Lady that has been there for a while now.

Back in the apartment I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat, and then I came up here for a mug of very strong coffee and to carry on with a few more photos.

That took me up to guitar practice and afterwards I had tea. A slice of pie with veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. I’ve now run out of custard powder so I might have a go at making my own with cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence.

And right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another horrible day today and I can’t afford to have too many of these right now. I really need to organise myself and start to feel better and do a few of the things that have been building up.

So here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.

Sunday 25th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement out at sea this afternoon, as I noticed when I went out for my afternoon walk today.

There I was, gazing out to sea while I was leaning on the wall at the end of the car park and I could see something rather rapid heading my way from somewhere out by the Channel Islands. At first I couldn’t make out what it was. It clearly wasn’t a fishing boat travelling at that speed and so I reckoned that it might have been some kind of speedboat.

But as as came closer and closer, I could see that it was in fact a zodiac. And that was something that bewildered me because I couldn’t see where it had come from. It’s hardly likely to have come all the way over from the Channel islands.

zodiac with small inflatable boat in tow Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt performed a few manoeuvres around and about and then it departed in the direction from which it had come, towing behind a small inflatable boat.

That was something rather strange because I couldn’t see where the boat had come from. I didn’t notice it being towed behind the zodiac as it came across the sea. So what was all that about then?

There was another surprise for me this morning. I sat bolt upright at about 08:10 wondering why the alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00 like it was supposed to, and being rather depressed that I’d missed a couple of hours of the day. It took me all of half an hour to suddenly realised that it’s Sunday and there isn’t an alarm today.

It’s a good job that I hadn’t left my bed. 10:15 is a much more realistic time to leave my bed on a Sunday.

First task today after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone. Tons of stuff on there from yesterday which I’ve now put on line, and then details of last night’s little outings.

We started off doing something about ballet. There was a girl who was a ballerina and I had boughtsome point shoes for her. It was her birthday as well and I’d spent ages working on a card for her and one or two other names on there of people who had wished her a happy birthday but most of the work in there was mine. There was some kind of gangland boss who had something of an interest in her too but only a mere passing but she dashed off to see him with this card. He interrogated her about “who’d done this” and “who’d done that” and “who’d done something else”? From her her of course it was always me. I had the impression that any moment now my number would be up at this rate.

A little later I was doing something in a junk shop. I’d gone into a junk shop and it really was a junk shop with all kinds of stuff piled everywhere. It was impossible to know where to even begin to look for anything. I’d been talking to someone a bit earlier who said that he was going to be looking for a part-time job. There was even a tie swinging over a rail with a hand-written notice on it “looking for work” and his phone number on it. These guys were in here trying to do something and they had to go out. As they went out, the radio suddenly came on with 1 of these really atmospheric stations from miles away playing music. I thought “I’d better leave this. I don’t want to become involved in this” so I went out as well and closed the door behind me. But then I was thinking on “what an absolutely vile apartment this would be. How would I possibly manage to have lived in a place like this when I was a kid, a young adult”? Which was what I had done, I lived in some dreadful places. I look back now and think “I would never ever have done that”. While I was thinking about this I was back in Winsford in my house there and they were building an extension to the housing estate, or there were some plans to, and I was waiting eagerly for the site to be unveiled so that I could go along and reserve a new plot and get myself a better house. I thought “God, how my standards have changed”!

Sometime later I was with Marianne in the USA and we were with a group of people. It was to do with speaking another language and I can’t remember if it was to do with French or Spanish. Most of the people who were there were people who had been on there before – there were only 2 of us who hadn’t. I asked “are we going to be visiting Mexico on this trip”? She replied “the situation in Mexico is extremely difficult. We’ll be only going there if so-and-so (this other new guy) wants to go”. I said “how come I haven’t been asked? I’m a new guy as well. I’ve not been to Mexico and i’d really like to go”. I noticed that where Marianne was standing were these 2 enormous tortoises that were loitering around and they were about to walk over her feet.

Next thing was to check on my sourdough fruit bread. It hadn’t risen very much at all yet again, but I gave it a second
kneading, shaped it and put it in its mould for its second proofing. And for the rst of the morning I didn’t do very much at all.

After my lunchtime porridge and finding that I had run out of pizza dough, I had a major washing-up and cleaning session in the kitchen and made another batch of dough.

later on I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did of course was to go to the end of the car park and look down over the wall onto the beach.

There were a few people down there this afternoon, not as many as there might have been yesterday and that’s no surprise because the weather has changed dramatically today. The heatwave that we had yesterday has gone and the temperature has dropped.

Not only that, the really strong wind has come back again and I was having to hang onto my cap. It’s probably strong enough to have blown everyone back indoors and that will account for the lack of people.

But isn’t it a surprise that the weather has changed for the worse now that I’ve come back home?

zodiac with small inflatable boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then we were back at the zodiac again.

While it was doing its stuff out there in the English Channel I’d taken a few photos of it, and went to enlarge them when I returned home. And this one particularly caught my eye. It looks as if the little inflatable boat has risen up out of the sea, and there’s a frogman in attendance.

It would seem to have all of the hallmarks of some kind of maritime rescue exercise, but I might be able to find out more by looking at the local press tomorrow morning.

So leaving that for another time I walked off along the path at the top of the cliffs while the zodiac and its entourage disappeared back out to sea.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland there was yet more activity going on out at sea, this time in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Someone was having a nice afternoon out in a little yacht, cruising up and down of the Plage d’Hacqueville between Granville and St Pair sur Mer. And you do have to admit that this was the right kind of the weather for it.

There are quite a few people out over there on the beach too. More than there are across here. It’s probably something to do with the fact that the bay over there is probably more in the shelter of the wind than it is over here.

And I have some planning to do about yachting next time I’m out and about, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

people fishing on rocks seated on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver here at the end of the headland there are quite a few signs of life. More than there have been on the footpath on top of the cliffs from where I’ve just come, because I can’t have encountered more than half a dozen people on my walk so far.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that fishing is quite a popular pastime carried on by the local inhabitants. Whether it’s from a fishing boat, on the beach at the very low tide, or from the rocks with rod and line. And it’s that latter that’s being practised today, although, once more, I have yet to see anyone actually catch anything.

And the couple sitting on the bench down at the end of the headland by the watchman’s cabin – I wonder how long they will be sitting there and whether they will have more luck than me in watching someone pull a fish out of the sea.

anakena aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe chantier navale is one of the most important sights that we visit during our post-prandial perambulations around the headland, and I was keen to see what was going on down there.

However, despite my absence over the past three or four days, there have been no changes in the occupants down there. Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, but that’s about it. No-one new has come along to join them while I was away.

But look at the crowds of people and vehicles around Aztec Lady this afternoon. Even though it’s a Sunday and therefore a Day of Rest, they are still hard at it down there like there is no tomorrow.

There are a few people working on Anakena too, although not quite at the same rhythm.

boats moored in outer harbour port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland there have been a lot of goings-on in the outer tidal harbour over the last few days while I was away.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past few weeks they have been doing some preparatory work on installing new mooring chains there and just before we came away, we saw them starting to fit them in place.

But now, we have some small boats actually tied up to them, and so that would seem to indicate that the work is finally finished. But they don’t seem to have done too much for the amount of time and money that they have spent.

You can just about make out the little white buoys that bob up to the surface when the tide is in. They mark the position of the chains and give the boatman some kind of indication where to fish around with his boathook when he needs to tie up to them.

Back here I had a coffee and then gave the pizza dough its second kneading.

Then I prepared a large apple crumble. I do have to say that thats my favourite dessert and it should be even better today because I give the crumble mix a really good mixing, and added some fresh ginger to the apple to give it a certain little extra.

When the sourdough and the crumble went into the oven I divided the pizza dough into 3, put two portions in the freezer and the third one I rolled out and put into the pizza tray. And when it had been in there for 45 minutes I assembled it.

vegan pizza sourdough fruit loaf apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the sourdough and the crumble were cooked the pizza went into the oven. And here are all of the finished products – the sourdough fruit bread which has for once risen impressively, the apple crumble and the pizza.

The pizza was delicious which is always good news, and I’ll tell you about the sourdough and the crumble tomorrow night because I wasn’t hungry after my pizza.

In something of a desultory fashion during a few pauses I’ve been editing photos again from August 2019. Not very many, but nevertheless I’m now on my way from Fort Reno down to Fort Fetterman. Normal service is slowly being resumed and I’ll get back up to speed tomorrow, I hope

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed as I reckon that I’ve done enough for today. I’ll start off with radioing of course and I’ll see where I get to after that.

Tuesday 20th April 2021 – IF THIS POSTING …

… finishes rather abruptly, what has happened is that the football has finished and I’ve gone straight to bed.

As I’m typing this out on the portable travelling laptop I’m actually watching the football tonight on the big office machine. Connah’s Quay Nomads v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League – an important match that Connah’s Quay must absolutely win.

And as soon as it’s over I’m off to bed. The alarms are set for … gulp … 04:30 in the morning and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

This morning I was up once more for the first alarm and after the medication I had a few things to do, amongst which was to sort out my papers that are getting into a mess.

Armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the Welsh revision for a couple of hours – a spell of concentration that totally surprised me.

With my hot chocolate and last slice of sourdough fruit loaf I went for my lesson. To my surprise it all went rather well although I’m still struggling to get to grips with the basics. I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and start again, I reckon.

It’s quite strange really. I can remember some surprising things but I’m totally at sea with some of the easy stuff.

After lunch and a little … errr … relax I spent a little time editing the photos from August 2019 and Wyoming, and then went for my afternoon walk, rather later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I strolled off down to the edge of the car park to look down over the wall towards the beach so that I could see what was going on down there.

There weren’t so many people down there today, something that probably bears some relationship to the fact that it’s a weekday today.

Had it been weekend there would have been hordes of people down there because we were having one of the nicest days of the year so far. There wasn’t very much wind to talk about today and with few clouds in the sky it was quite warm outside, compared to how it has been for the last few days.

council worker working on lawn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was some excitement going on along the path towards the lighthouse too this afternoon as I strolled over that way.

It seems that the local council is doing its stuff this afternoon, with someone out there attending to the vegetation (I’m not sure why I almost typed “devastation” there – a Freudian slip perhaps?). He was cutting off the old dead branches from the bushes and throwing them into the back of his pick-up.

As I went past he stepped into the cab and set off to drive, almost squidging me underneath his wheels. Obviously my fame has spread to this neck of the woods. And when I mentioned to a friend that I had almost been squidged by a motor vehicle she expressed her regret.

fisherman in cabin cruiser pointe du roc baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve been having another encounter with the local fishermen again this afternoon.

From the lawn and underneath the wheels of the pickup I followed the crowds, walking along the path and across the car park to the end of the headland to see what there was going out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And right inshore close to the headland was this little cabin cruiser going past my viewpoint. It wasn’t difficult to guess what they were up to. The fishing net standing upright in the stern gave away the game.

But what was interesting me was whereabouts they were actually going to fish. They don’t seem to have too much luck too close to shore, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel they seem to be having more luck.

Every now and again the fishing boats from the port put in an appearance in the bay and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week they were out there in force. They all disappeared when that military vessel put in an appearance, but now that’s gone the boats are back there again.

There’s one of them there that I could see, and there may have been more. But there was so much haze on the water this afternoon that I couldn’t see very much and very far. The whole of the Brittany coast was shrouded in the stuff this afternoon.

joly france chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s jackpot over at the ferry port this afternoon.

Over the last few days we’ve been seeing various combinations of Joly France boats and the little freighter Chausiais moored over at the ferry terminal, but today we have the lot. All three of them are over there today moored at the terminal so that must mean that they are quite busy.

What wasn’t very busy though was the chantier navale. There were just the two – Aztec Lady and Anakena remaining from the rush over the last couple of weeks but no-one else had come in to join them over the last 24 hours.

men dragging boat across mud fishing boats grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe haven’t finished with the excitement in the outer harbour yet. There was plenty more to go at.

For a start, there were those two people down there dragging that little boat out there with them across the mud. They are probably trying to reach one of the boats that’s moored up further out on the harbour where the tide has already reached, and so they’ll need the boat for the final 20 metres or so where the water is too deep to wade.

But they really are making heavy weather of the stretch across the mud though. They would probably be better off carrying it to the water’s edge and then going back for whatever there is in there.

And once more, we have a couple of fishing boats tied up and abandoned at the quay near the Fish Processing Plant. They’ve been there for a few days now showing no sign of moving.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour we have one of our regular visitors in there today.

It’s the little Jersey freighter Normandy Trader, come into port to take away a load of supplies. We don’t see too much of her these days because one of the Brexit bonuses is that she’s obliged to go into St Malo to unload the shellfish that she carries for the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative.

The shellfish need to have a health certificate before they can be landed and there’s no Health Inspector here in Granville as yet.

There’s no Customs Inspector either for the freight as yet, although there is talk that there might be one in the town pretty soon to deal with the port traffic and the airport landings. Planes from the Channel Islands have to fly elsewhere at the moment where there are customs and immigration facilities.

Back here afterwards I had a shower and shock! Horror! I cut my hair too. I’m actually looking a little more respectable now.

Most of the guitar practice was spent either working out the bass line to “China Grove” or else the chords to Steam’s “Nah Nah Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” and Donnie Elpert’s “Little Piece of Leather” – not usually the kind of song that you would expect, but I have a cunning plan …

For tea I had another helping of curry with rice and veg followed by some apple pie out of the freezer. That took me up to the football.

It was quite a fierce struggle too with the Nomads needing to win. And at half-time with it being a stalemate, Andy Morrison threw caution to the winds, took off a defender and a midfielder and threw on two attackers, changing from a 4-3-2-1 formation to an out-and-out attacking formation.

And later on with the score still 0-0 he took off yet another defender and brought on another attacker.

In the final stages of the game it was all-out attack from the Nomads with big centre-half George Horan playing up front as a striker as well.

And it all paid dividends when with just minutes to go, a shot through a crowded penalty area from a Nomads player took a wicked deflection into the back of the Bala net. And three minutes later as the game was ticking over into injury time George Horan rose highest to a cross into the area to thunder home a powerful header.

So having downloaded onto my memory stick the necessary files that I need to add to the portable laptop, I’m off to bed, fully-clothed, ready for my alarm all at 04:30 and my train at 05:55 if I make it there with this early start.

Monday 19th April 2021 – I HAVE SEEN …

1st butterfly pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… my first butterfly of the year this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk today.

Despite how I was feeling – cold and miserable in the wind, the wildlife seems to waking up after the long, cold winter that we have had. We have already seen the buds out and the flowers blooming on the lawns and on the verges, but now the butterflies are out doing their business.

As for what type of butterfly it is, I really don’t know. I can identify a cabbage white, but that’s about everything. Flora and fauna isn’t really my cup of tea.

But I suppose that having seen the first butterfly of the year, I don’t imagine that it will be long before we’ll be seeing the first wasp and first mosquito of the year.

buoy mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we are seeing the first of are the mooring chains in the harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping an eye on the work that’s been going on in the harbour where, with this new Government grant, they’ve been planning on adding another few mooring chains in the harbour for casual visitors. We’ve seen diggers and all kinds of equipment working out there at low tide, and today it looks as if their work is coming to fruition.

It was the red buoy that caught my eye. That wasn’t there yesterday so I had a closer look. And sure enough, there are three chains down there that weren’t there yesterday either. The buoys are attached to the chains and float to the surface when the tide is in, to give boatmen an idea of where the chains are.

The boatman will fish for the chain with his boat hook in the vicinity of the buoy, haul the chain onto the deck, attach his mooring rope to it and drop it back over the side into the sea.

This morning I felt like being dropped over the side into the sea because it was the only way that I would have awoken, I reckon. Despite my early night I felt totally out of it when the alarm went off.

Nevertheless I did manage to haul myself out of bed after the first alarm and just before the second alarm went off. And after the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone I set to work on the radio programme for today.

Having paired off and joined the music during a spare moment over the weekend, some of the work had been done so it was pretty straightforward. Round about 11:50 it was finished too, a whole hour of it, music, speech and special guest included.

There was the usual break for breakfast too with the hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. Just one more slice of that left, unfortunately. But I’ll make some more when I come back from Leuven.

Having done the radio programme I spent some time scanning and photocopying various documents and then I printed out the paperwork that I need to take with me to Leuven.

After lunch I sat down to edit a few photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but I crashed out instead. And I do mean “crashed out” too because it was 16:20 when I awoke. I’d been out of everything for almost 2 hours.

That was plenty of time for me to go off on a little nocturnal ramble while I was at it. There was a caravan – my brother had bought it. It had ended up somehow without its wheel on and it was sitting on the ground on one of its jacking legs and on something else. My brother was saying “we need 3 bricks to get it off the ground”. I replied “first of all we are going to have to jack it up, aren’t we, to get the bricks underneath it?”. I wasn’t a big fan of bricks anyway so I had to go and find a big trolley jack – although looking at it, I was thinking “where am I going to get the trolley jack underneath?” because with the caravan sitting on the ground like that you couldn’t get the trolley jack underneath. I went off into my father’s workshop and had a rummage around and came back with a load of other tools like spanners and pliers and so on. They guy who was supervising me asked what I had there, so I explained. “Does your father let you use his tools?”. I thought to myself “it’s a strange family that he comes from where that kind of thing doesn’t happen (in fact my family was just like like, but that’s another story). He was giving the most ridiculous orders and I was at this point somehow flying in the air carrying these things. I was trying to drop them onto his head but for some reason whenever I got into a position above him I couldn’t let go of the things that I was carrying. He was going on and on about ridiculous kinds and ways of behaviour. In the end I said that if he had been my father I’d have given him a smack in the mouth a long time ago. There was a family there and two little children, toddler type of people, one of whom was very friendly with me. We were playing a kind of hide-and-seek – she would drop down behind the back of the sofa with her teddy, hiding and saying that the 2 of us should go off on a boat. I said “yes but we’d have to bring teddy”. There was another toddler there who was not too happy at all and I thought that things are getting most unhealthy around here.

There was much more to it than that but I’ll spare you the gory details seeing as you are probably eating your tea right now.

So, about an hour later than usual, I headed off for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe place was swarming with people again, as you can tell from this photo of the beach.

As usual, I wandered over to the end of the car park and looked down over the wall to the bottom of the cliff. The madding crowds were spreading out all over the beach this afternoon and I can’t say that I’m surprised because out of the wind, it was really quite nice and pleasant. Unfortunately there weren’t all that many places where you could go up here to get out of the wind.

A couple of my neighbours were out here on the car park so I stopped for a chat and pass the time of day for a little while. After all I have to be sociable, whether I like it or not.

f-gbai Robin DR400 140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path on top of the cliff one of our old friends came by to see me and say “hello”.

This is F-GBAI, a Robin DR400 140B that’s actually owned by the Granville Aero Club. With her 160-horsepower engine and four seats, she has a range of 500 miles without refuelling, and is equipped for night-flying (all of which interested me greatly). She’s used for advanced flying training and also for local flights

According to the flight radar, she’s been out a couple of flights today just around the local area and back home again. Presumably that’s just pilots who are having to keep up their licences by flying the necessary hours per year, and that kind of thing gives me ideas too.

trawler military vessel baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I went down to look out over the sea at the mouth of the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if there was any shipping in the Bay de Mont St Michel this afternoon, and I was in luck again.

It’s been busy out there for the last couple of days with the fishing boats exploiting the Bay so I was hoping to see a few of them out there again. There was a fishing boat out there right enough, away in the distance over on the right-hand side of the photo close to the Brittany coast and that had been hanging around for a while.

But the trawler in the foreground was steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port at a rather rapid rate of knots from out at sea. I’m not quite sure why because the port was still dry and they wouldn’t be opening the harbour gates for quite a while.

trawler military vessel baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what had caught my eye was the other boat out there in the bay over to the left of this image in the distance.

As to what it is, I have no idea but from its outline I can tell that it’s not a fishing boat or even a freighter. That boat has all the outlines of a military craft – possibly a fisheries patrol vessel. We’ve seen a few of them every now and again in the bay although I’m not quite sure why because there isn’t likely to be much in the way of infractions.

It does make me wonder if it’s anything to do with all of the fishing boats that were in there last week and the fact that there aren’t any in there right now.

So having taken a couple of photographs and having observed the butterfly, I moved of along the path on top of the headland.

anakena aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I arrived at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour and the chantier navale, and I could see that we have had a change of occupant.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there up on their blocks, but Cherie d’Amour, the little yellow fishing boat was conspicuous by her absence.

Her stay in the chantier navale was particularly short so there can’t have been much wrong with her. Apart from the ladder that was propped up against her hull and one or two people loitering around her, there didn’t seem to be much going on with her. But there seems to be a lot going on with the other two boats right now with all of the people around them.

man pegging out on ground fishing boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve already seen the new chains that have been installed in the harbour today, but there’s more work going on as well, as we can see with this guy here.

He seems to be pegging something out in there, presumably relating to the addition of another chain or two. I had a closer look at what he was carrying and he has another one of the red buoys in the bucket that’s in his right hand.

And he has quite a crowd taking an interest in his work too, with those young people sitting on the quayside observing him from a distance.

And incidentally, one of the fishing boats that has been tied up at the fish processing plant and left to go aground when the tide was out for the last few days is still there too. They can’t be in a hurry to go back to work in her.

joly france chausias ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, there’s been some activity just recently.

One of the Joly France ferry boats that runs out to the Ile de Chausey is moored in the inner harbour but the other one, the newer one, is moored out there at the terminal.

At the pier formerly used by the Jersey Ferries, Chausiais, the little freighter that takes the goods over to the island, is also moored there. It’s been mentioned that occasionally when she’s run out there with goods, she’s also taken a few passengers too. I suppose that with all of the second-home owners being out there escaping the lockdown in Paris, there’s more of a demand for transport, but not enough to run one of the full-sized ferries.

crumbling wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I stopped for a closer look at the crumbling wall that’s dropping bits of stone into the highway

And that is starting to look pretty serious to me. There’s quite a bit that’s crumbling away but that part there is the worst. They need to give that their attention quite rapidly if they are to keep the building standing upright.

Back here I had my coffee and edited a couple more photos before going for my guitar practice. And that seemed to go okay today although the bass line in the Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove” is defeating me at the moment. I need to put in much more effort if I’m to make any serious progress.

As for the acoustic guitar, I’m finding that I’m not satisfied with what I’m doing. And that’s a sign that I’m improving rapidly because the dissatisfaction is the sort of thing that will push me on to do more.

For tea tonight I had a curry. There was a sweet potato, a pile of mushrooms and plenty of other potatoes so I made a big bowl of curry. I’ll have more tomorrow and freeze the rest for when I come back from Leuven.

Now I’m off to bed. It’s been a really bad day and it isn’t going to get much better because I have my Welsh class tomorrow and then I have my … gulp … 04:30 start on Wednesday. And with feeling as ill as I do right now, I’m not filled with much optimism about how I’m going to cope with all of this.

Saturday 17th April 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

fisherman throwing fish back into sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that we have watched fisherman after fisherman standing on the rocks, or in boats, or on the beach, day after day after week after week and never ever catching anything at all.

And here we are today, watching a fisherman with a fish in his hand, and what is he doing except throwing it back into the sea. The first one that we’ve ever seen caught around here.

Mind you, this is a bit of a cheat. It looks as if he’s had a fishing net out on the beach while the tide has been in and while it’s on its way out, he’s gone out there to retrieve his catch. But as for why he would want to thrown one of his catch back into the sea is totally beyond me. I don’t understand this at all.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the only thing that’s been puzzling me this afternoon. We’ve had another one of these aerial afternoons today, with an endless stream of aircraft going by overhead.

Not any big stuff unfortunately – that is to say, nothing that I could see, and that is no surprise given the thick 10/10ths clouds that we’ve had today. We probably couldn’t see a thing about two or three thousand feet. Instead we’ve had a procession of all kinds of light aircraft going past me while I was on my afternoon walk.

This is just one of the machines that flew by me. It’s a helicopter of course but it’s of a type that I don’t immediately recognise with its twin outriggers at the rear. The make will probably occur to me once I’ve pressed “send” and published these notes, as this sort of thing usually does.

This morning I was up with the lark and the first alarm yet again, and then after my medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had actually been in Vienna. It was something to do with the cathedral. It was a huge place and there were all kinds of things happening to it so they had set up a team to keep watch on there. Some of the watching was discreet and some of the watching was public. There was a theatre there and a couple of people who were involved in this, at the end of the night when everyone had gone would audition acts who would act out in the theatre. There would be actors, dancers, that kind of thing and I’m often stay up at night and watch. I really couldn’t tell the difference between a good actor and a bad actor from the standard at which they were dealing because they weren’t dealing with the ordinary run-of-the-mill stuff and some of the acerbic comments that they were making about some people I didn’t understand at all because it was way over my head. But it was extremely interesting. The cathedral authorities were receiving notes or finding notes such as “what about the damage to such-and-such cathedral over 11 years that went un-noticed and they were spending all of their time examining what was happening here?” These were generally dismissed as being to work of ineffective or weak people whereas some notes they were taking far more seriously because of the style in which they had been written. This dream went on for ages and ages and there was much more to it than this. I just wish that I could remember it all.

First task this morning after the dictaphone was to deal with the photos from August 2019. And I’ve found to my dismay that I’ve made a rather serious error. While I was in North America I visited the site of Fort CF Smith in Montana and although the remains have been described as “difficult to see”, I couldn’t see them at all.

With everything that I’ve been through, I would have thought that I would have been able to discern something so I was disappointed.

But examining a few aerial and satellite photographs I’ve discovered that the Lady Who Lives In The Satellite has some how made an error of about 200 metres because while the GPS co-ordinates on the Satnav gave me one reading, the same co-ordinates typed into a satellite viewer come up with a place on the other side of the road.

And to make things even worse, from the satellite, the outline of the fort is clearer than anything similar that I have ever seen.

Ahh well. You can’t win a coconut every time. I shall just have to go back there again.

There was a break in the middle of all of this for a shower, and then later on I went for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. No shopping today as I’m off on my travels on Wednesday at … gulp … 05:55.

There have been a few things that I needed to do this morning too. Like emptying out the mailbox, claiming a refund for my delayed train the other week before the time period runs out, and then trying to make a recalcitrant shipping company reply to a message that I’ve sent them four times now.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on with some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. I was away for over an hour as well and I’m not very happy about that. But at least I’ve managed to catch up with some outstanding work that I’ve been meaning to do, and that’s another task completed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a break for my afternoon walk of course and so I went out with the NIKON D500 and peered over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

This afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see very much because the weather was totally depressing. Dark, overcast and miserable. There were a few people walking around down there but not too many actually making themselves comfortable.

The members of the little group in this photograph were just about the only people standing around, although I suspect that they were more interested in the little kiddy that was running around

And of course, there was the fisherman with his net …

Nothing else was going on around here and I had the footpath on the top of the cliffs to myself

boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was swathed in darkness today in the miserable weather.

So much so that in fact I was surprised to note that it wasn’t illuminated, especially as the tide was well out today and the rock was exposed. There was a fisherman around there too, in his rubber boat, having a go at the sea bass and being singularly unsuccessful.

There wasn’t anything else going on out there this afternoon. For a change, there were no fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel either. They must be having the weekend off.

So in the absence of anything else exciting, I carried on along the path and across the main road where a Mercedes actually stopped to let me cross. Wonders will never cease.

cherie d'amour chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe yellow fishing boat was down there in the chantier navale and once again the ladder was propped up against the hull so I couldn’t see the name on it.

With nothing better to do, I went for a walk down there for a closer look and I can now tell you that she’s called Cherie d’Amour. She’s up there on her chocks and blocks, but I couldn’t actually see any signs of work that was being undertaken on her.

They aren’t very big, these fishing boats. But all they do is to go back and to to the shellfish beds and lay the odd lobster pot. And as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they have a cover over the boat to stop the seabirds diving down to steal the catch.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down there, I took the opportunity to have a look at the other more longer-term occupants of the Chantier Navale, like Aztec Lady over there.

She’s actually the longest inhabitant of the Chantier Navale and she’s been there longer than I can remember, and longer than I ever thought she would when she first arrived here all that time ago.

And despite all of the time that she’s been in here, she looks as if she has a long way to go yet. Her hull is looking rather shabby and in need of a coat of paint. I would have thought that they would have given the paintwork a good going over to freshen her up while she’s been here.

anakena chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other boat that has been in here for a good length of time is this one, Anakena.

And seen from this angle, out of the water and up on blocks, you can see that she’s a very serious piece of kit, well beyond what you’d expect to see in a port like this. The carrying capacity of the portable boat lift is 95 tonnes and I bet that she’s pretty near the maximum.

What I do know is that she’s 23 metres long and 5 metres wide and she would have been the kind of boat that I would have considered for a trip up to the far North except that she’s only single-hulled.

Nothing else of any note in the Chantier Navale so I wandered off back towards the apartment.

f-brnq Piper PA-28R-200 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway home, I started to encounter the aerial flotilla that I mentioned earlier.

This particular one is a Piper PA-28R-200, serial number F-BRNQ. I’ve no idea where she had come from but she was picked up on the radar just to the west of Chartres. She then disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south-west of St Hilaire du Harcouet about 15 minutes before I saw her.

Apparently she had taken off from Lognes at the south-east of Paris at 14:47 and landed at Granville at 16:22. And at 17:18 the took off again and flew back to Lognes. She spends a lot of time at Lognes, so it seems, so it’s a fair bet that Lognes is her home airfield.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw the helicopter earlier on. That was the next thing to fly past, but then it was followed by this machine.

This is a type of machine that I’ve seen before. I recognise the shape, but it’s another thing to which I cannot put a name. It’s something else that I’ll probably discover quite soon after I’ve posted this on-line.

But I really don’t understand why it is that there would be so many aircraft, one after the other, flying past over my head this afternoon as I was walking home for my hot coffee. It did make me wonder what I’d be encountering next before I reached my own front door.

modern morgan v twin rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it goes without saying that after all of this I was going to encounter something unusual before my journey finished.

This machine roared past me as I crossed over the Rue des Juifs and at first glance I thought that it might have been the Holy Grail of road vehicles – a V-twin three-wheeler Morgan. That’s probably what it might be, although it’s not what I was hoping for. A lose look at the engine and the front of the chassis shows that it’s a modern reproduction.

What I was hoping to see was a 3-wheeler Morgan from the 1920s and 30s fitted with the old V-twin JAP engine, something that I would sell my soul to own if ever one became available. But I doubt whether one will ever come up for sale in the near future.

Back here there was football. TNS v Penybont on the internet. As expected, TNS ran out winners 1-0, but they were made to work hard for it.

Penybont defended really well but like most Welsh Premier League clubs, were devoid of very much firepower. Sam Snaith is the one player whom they have who can pull something out of nothing but taking him off the field after an hour because he hasn’t doe anything much as yet and replacing him with a player who doesn’t have the same flashes of inspiration and who needs much more service was a tactic that was never going to pay off.

And that’s a surprise considering that Penybont’s manager Rhys Griffiths was one of the greatest strikers that the WPL has ever produced.

While I was doing that I was copying the CDs that I had received from the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. I’m going to be doing a radio programme in the near future that features music from the Festivals.

Tea was out of a tin tonight, followed by one of the desserts that I made the other day. And now I’ve done my notes, I’m off to bed and hopefully having a lie-in tomorrow. And about time too. I’m ready for this.

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Wednesday 14th April 2021 – I AM NOW …

… a proper, legal, registered citizen of France.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago, with Brexit, we all had a mad scramble to assemble piles and piles of documentation to prove our status in France. That was pretty important because we had no clue as to what would happen once the UK left the EU

And having done so, we were eventually all issued with temporary residence cards.

The next problem was that the UK then abandoned us all to our fate, refusing to negotiate a residence position for us, with the result that we were once more left in limbo because our temporary residence cards became invalid and there was no recognised right of residence.

Consequently each EU member state was left to deal with the issue on its own terms, and some of us in France who had had residence cards under the previous system were luckier than others in France and elsewhere because it simply involved reregistering.

That was something that I did just after Christmas and a couple of weeks ago I was summoned to the Préfecture for an interview and to have my fingerprints taken.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the new card turned up in the post this morning. A 10-year card with the right to work. That caused me to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it’s only valid for France though. I can’t up sticks and move to another country as I was able to do prior to Brexit. I don’t think that people realise just how much we have been affected by Brexit. And I’m sure that if they did, they wouldn’t care

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat else turned up today – or, rather, turned up again today – were the fishing boats back in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not as many as there might have been though. The other day there were quite a few fishing around out there but yesterday there weren’t any at all out there. Today though, there were three of them out there fishing in the bay.

You can see two of them in this photo. One of them is away in the background close to the Brittany coast but another one of them is here in mid-channel.

In the background the church at Cancale is silhouetted in the sunshine on top of the cliffs. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other trawlers and fishing boats out and about in the vicinity too, as well as those in the Bay.

The very big fishing boat is out there having a good trawl about this afternoon in the English Channel. You can tell that by the fact that it is going from west to east rather than from north to south or south to north. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them working so close inshore.

Over there in the background to the left is one of the marker lights on one of the rocks just off the archipelago that makes up the Ile de Chausey. And in case you are wondering, that marker light is about 11 or 12 kilometres away from where I’m standing

buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we can see what it’s doing this afternoon. I think that this is another mystery that might be cleared up.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see a few buoys appearing rather miraculously in the Bay just here off the coast at Donville les Bains and Breville-sur-Mer. They have appeared again today, coincidentally more-or-less exactly in line with where the trawler is dragging.

If that’s the case, then we know why those buoys are out there, marking the lanes for the trawler to drag.

Another thing that was resolved today was the question of my mega-tour of Central Europe. Everything is now written out and on-line and you can see the start of it HERE. The page that took me most of the time to write was THIS ONE.

It’s not quite complete because all of the photos aren’t on line as yet. Most of them are there but my eyes glazed over before I reached the end. I’ll do the rest of them tomorrow if I can find the time.

Some of the stuff needs rewriting as well, and I’ll be attending to that in due course.

It surprises me that I managed to do as much as I did today because I had another difficult day. Once more, I was up and about just after the first alarm at 06:00 and by the time the third alarm went off I was already at the computer working.

Another batch of photos from August 2019 were dealt with this morning. I’m still on the Little Big Horn battlefield but I’m now more or less where Captain Keogh was cut down. There’s still a long way to go on this battlefield before I can move on..

Having finished my day’s photos I had a few other things to do and then I attacked the Central Europe trip and worked at it until it was finished and on line, along with most of the photos.

There were the usual breaks too – for my hot chocolate and sourdough, for my lunch of course and then for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being as nice as it was today I was expecting to see hordes of people out and about on the beach.

Accordingly I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end where I could look down and see what was going on. And to my surprise there were hardly any people down there. I had to have a good look around until I could see anyone down there.

And I do have to say that I admire the yellow wellingtons. They added some ambience to the environment.

There were very few people around on the footpath so I could wander around at my leisure along the clifftop. And no bird of prey either. I don’t know where everyone has gone.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the path by the lighthouse, I could see Le Loup, the marker light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance, winking at me.

From halfway along the path down to the car park a really good view of the light presented itself so I took a photograph of it, and then I pushed off along to the end of the headland.

We’ve seen what was going on at the end of the headland – the three fishing boats out there in the bay. But there was no-one disturbing the two buoys right close inshore where we saw that small boat the other day.

And no fishermen out there on the rocks either. They have probably had enough of spending all that time out there and catching nothing.

anakena hermes 1 nyx 3 notre dame du cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe mystery of the pleasure boat in the chantier navale is solved today too.

The boat is down there on her blocks with Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. She’s called Nyx III as you can see by the name on her stern. There was no-one there today obstructing the view. Those men are standing down there on the quayside this afternoon instead of on the stern platform.

Aztec Lady, the other big yacht that has graced the chantier navale for the last quite a while is still over there on the right-hand side. There’s a car parked alongside here and a couple of people who seem to be working on her, but they don’t seem to be particularly fired with enthusiasm.

trawler joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port there has been some kind of activity over the last 24 hours.

One of the Joly France boats is still moored up at the ferry terminal even though the tide is out. So it looks as if she has some work to do in the very near future running out and back to the Ile de Chausey. Her sister ship is parked up in the inner harbour right now so they don’t seem to have all that much work on the go.

But interestingly, there’s one of the fishing boats tied up at the ferry terminal too. Usually they would me moored at the new pontoons in the inner harbour so I’m wondering what the issue must be that means that so many of them are just tied up outside at the mercy of the tide.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day, we saw a huge pile of freight loaded up at the side of the quayside waiting for someone to come along and cart it away.

Today, we’ll notice that it’s all been removed. A message had reached me this morning that Normandy Trader had been on her travels during the night last night so it looks as if she’s been into port at some point and loaded up to take it all away. I’m not sure if she brought in any freight but there wasn’t anything on the quayside waiting for a lorry.

But at least we know where Chausiais is today. She’s moored up down at the bottom at the loading bay this afternoon so I’m wondering if she’s going to be running some freight out to the Ile de Chausey on the evening tide.

We’ll have to see where she’s moored tomorrow.

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something interesting going on at the new building at the roundabout at the Square Pelley le Pleville, with that cherry picker .

From this distance I couldn’t really see what it was but back here, having blown up the photograph (which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I can see that the cherry-picker has some men in it and they seem to be working on the mobile phone aerial on the roof.

Back in the apartment I had my mug of hot coffee and came back in here to carry on with the work. I knocked off with the Central Europe photos when it was time for guitar practice, and afterwards I had tea – a madras curry out of the freezer with rice followed by the last of the jam roly-poly. And what a success that was.

Somewhere along the way I’ve peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots too, so it really was a productive day.
I’ll be glad to get into bed now and have a rest because I reckon that I’ve deserved it