Category Archives: les epiettes

Thursday 14th April 2022 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… nautical afternoon this afternoon while I was out on my patrol around the headland.

So while you lot admire the photos of various water craft out there at sea this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about my pretty miserable day today.

And “miserable” is hardly the word for what I’ve been up to today. It all went horribly wrong.

And it started to go wrong when I awoke this morning – or, rather, when I didn’t awaken. Because when the alarms went off at 07:30 and again at 08:00 I simply turned them off and rolled over.

trawler cabin cruiser speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What beats me though is that I can do it when I really try, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today I just couldn’t, for some reason, haul myself out of bed

No matter how much I tried and how much I was telling myself to move, I just lay there. It was actually – would you believe – 12:25 when I finally fell out of bed and that would be a tragedy for a Sunday, never mind a weekday when I’m supposed to be working.

It isn’t as if I’d had a late night either. I was in bed before 23:30 and 8 hours and more is plenty of sleep. It’s not so long ago that I was functioning quite happily on 4 hours sleep every night and I still can when I have to when the trains are messed about and I have to be on the 05:55 to Paris so I need to be up and about at 04:00.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What I might put it down to is the distance that I travelled during the night. I wasn’t hanging around at all here in bed, despite what you might think.

We had a football match last night. I can’t remember who was playing against who but it wasn’t any football clubs. I dunno – maybe it was a class from night school against another class from night school or something. We were pretty accomplished though. I don’t know how we made up the teams now but I was playing in central defence which is a surprise because it’s about the only position on a football pitch where I can’t play and I still have nightmares about a game where I played in central defence in my early 20s for all of 45 minutes before I was ignominiously – but quite rightly – subbed at half-time but I was having a good game as well. We were doing quite well defending and there was a big crowd watching us, including a little girl who was obviously some connection to me because I was shouting messages to her during the match. On one occasion she asked how long to go. I replied “15 minutes and then we can stop to have a cup of tea”. She shouted back “yes, we can have 4 cups of tea afterwards” in the pauses of the game. We could pause the game and have 4 cups of tea afterwards or something like that.

trawlers waiting at inner harbour gates port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We were playing another football match where we had a big centre-forward and a striker who played alongside him, something like that, I don’t really know. We’d won 9-0 or was it 7-0. One forward scored 3, I’d scored 2 and this striker guy had scored 2. In the next match we’d played, we played against the league leaders and won 2-0.

There was then a group of us in a house and we wandered off. Suddenly there was a noise and shouting and shots being fired. Those of us downstairs were being pinned down by shots from upstairs on the stairs. There was a woman screaming and we thought that we were being robbed or something at first but something didn’t quite add up. In the end I looked through the railings, almost being shot, and all that I could see were these women so I assumed that these women were trying to rob us. That was exactly the case so we fired back. They fired but we ended up killing 2 and capturing one. It was another one of these violent dreams where I dragged her out of my house by he hair down to the guard and through the fence and I was dragging her off down the street by her hair.

These days I’m having far too many of these violent dreams

trawlers unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And then I’d been to see that Steve Bell rehearse. We’d been having a really good chat while his group was rehearsing. He had dispensed with a couple of players and was down to just a basic four-piece band. He asked if I would go to see them tomorrow or Sunday. I asked where they were and he said that they hadn’t anything lined up on Saturday but they would play anywhere that was reasonable. On Sunday they were playing at a pub in Crewe. It was rather rough, the pub, but it sounded reasonable. He was also saying that he was doing a disco for the college where they had Paul Simon lined up to appear and they were looking for a 80s backing band to support him. My ears immediately pricked up but he was planning to do that himself. In the meantime I thought about this gig, that a certain girl who had once been a girlfriend of mine would be back home. I could contact her to see what she’s doing and hopefully be able to persuade her to come. I must have contacted her and picked her up because we were in the car driving out of Crewe back towards Audlem. We reached Mornflake Oats was. There was a bakery at the back of it. Some woman was reversing an articulated lorry with a loaf of bread on it out of the yard into the road. Thinking that she was going to turn left down the other way, I stopped but she stopped as well so I reversed up a bit more, she reversed a bit more and then dropped this huge loaf of bread off right in the middle of the road. Then she prepared to drive away. I went to ask her what was going on. She refused to answer so this led to an enormous row. Other motorists who had found the road blocked by this huge loaf of bread also joined it. It led to something of a slanging match but this woman didn’t care at all. She was just going to drop the bread there and go off. She was working the early morning shift and that was all she cared about. We all said that we were working night shifts and remembered the days when people were polite but she was stil being quite insistent. In the end, when she drove away and left this loaf of bread here we all cut up this loaf of bread and stole it. We then went back to the route that she had taken with her lorry and started to rig up a system of trip wires across that would stop a lorry and cause her to have an accident, all that kind of thing. We were all quite incensed about this.

And more bread again? What on earth is happening here?

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My brother contacted me. He was updating his accounts and had something for me so could I go over to see him. I had 15 minutes between finishing work ay 17:00 and my bus at 17:15 so I could call in. He was making all of the arrangements, saying about his savings account that needed splitting between us. He wanted to do it then and there. I explained that I had my bus to catch and I didn’t really have the time. My mother and one of my sisters walked in. My sister said something like “there are people looking for you” about something or other. I said that I didn’t have the time to deal with it at the moment. “Would it be OK if they had a word with me tomorrow maybe or some other time?”.

Later on I’d gone round to my house in Virlet and it was all overgrown. We couldn’t get in through the door. One or two of the neighbours were upset about the state of it. I can’t remember who I was with now but there was a third person there too. She took me to see some more neighbours. They were American soldiers, a man and wife. This 3rd person was telling me stories about them, discussing the conflicts that I was having with the other set of neighbours. She said that the conflict isn’t with me but the house which I didn’t really understand but I let it go. We were doing some stuff outside and I suddenly said to the person with me that we have to go round the front. She wondered why. I went round the front and noticed that all the windows and the doors weren’t my windows and doors. I suddenly realised that I’d actually been messing around and doing all kinds of strange things at the wrong house. It wasn’t my house at all but a 3-bedroomed semi somewhere in the suburbs and not my house stuck out in the wilderness at all.

The sleep that I had had after the alarms went off must have been quite deep because according to the times on the dictaphone I’d even managed to wander off during that sleep. There was a group of us at a seaside holiday resort somewhere. For some unknown reason we had jacked up a car that was parked in a car park. There was one of us underneath it with an angle grinder cutting something out of this car. We had a generator going to power the angle grinder. Of course there were people going past. In the distance I saw what looked like a harbour official complete with peaked cap wandering down the boardwalk. I told whoever it was underneath it that I was going to lower the car down and switch off the generator. I made a gesture to the generator operator to switch it off. He did and we lowered down the car. We had to wait for him to come past. He was taking so much time to do it that right by where all these cars were parked was a café. It was lunchtime and people were bringing their lunch. Someone came and I thought that they were going to get into this car but in fact they sat at a table right next to it and took out all their sandwiches. I thought to myself that this job is going to take a week to do this what should have been a simple 5-minute job whatever it was, with all of these disturbances etc going on. We couldn’t jack up the car and start cutting again while these people were there eating their sandwiches.

But the girl whom I mentioned just now, she was lovely. She was quite a bit younger than me and at one time I’d had a fling with her elder sister. She worked at the library in Nantwich on Saturdays while she was at school and when they had new LPs and cassettes in that she knew I would like, she would smuggled them out when she finished for me to tape and then she would smuggle them back the next Saturday morning.

One Christmas when we had no money (the usual state of affairs in the mid 70s when I was guitaring), we made up some pretty cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round on Christmas Eve to all of the local important bigwigs in Audlem. “Ohh … Merry Christmas. Do come in. Have a sherry, have a mince pie”.

We were both totally smashed by midnight. And it didn’t cost us a penny either.

Her parents hated me with a passion and I do have to say “not without reason” but she was lovely and we would have made a really good couple.

A few years later when I was coach-driving I popped into a bank to draw some cash and guess who was serving behind the counter? We “exchanged pleasantries” but it was all that we had time to do because I was on a 20-minute break.

Some time later I did go back when I had more time but she wasn’t there. Apparently she had only been doing a placement there.

Story of my life, I suppose.

That, believe it or not, took up most of the early afternoon right up until the time that I go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

As you might expect, with it being such a beautiful day this afternoon, there were crowds down there enjoying themselves.

There wasn’t anyone actually in the water but there were a few people manoeuvring … “PERSONoeuvring” – ed … an inflatable dinghy around down there so I imagine that it won’t be long before someone falls in or they puncture the boat and have to swim for it.

One of my neighbours was also there leaning on the wall looking at the excitement so we exchanged pleasantries too. I’m not the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but living where I do, I have to do my best to make an effort.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just on the beach and in the sea that things were quite busy. There were lots of things going on in the air too.

Most of it was too high for me to be able to see exactly but there was no missing this as it passed by overhead.

There are several bizarre machines that fly around out of the airfield up the coast and one of them is this red powered hang glider. He burst out from behind the College as I walked down the path towards the lighthouse.

By the way, I’ve not forgotten my promise to blag a flight in one of these machines. I’m rather pushed for time right now – even more so if I lie stinking in bed until stupid hours of the afternoon.

55-qj light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There are also several light aircraft whose serial numbers aren’t recorded on any database that I can access that fly out of the airfield too.

One of them was coming the other way, having just taken off, and it passed the powered hang glider as I watched. This one is 55-QJ and we’ve seen this several times in the past.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it doesn’t file one and these planes don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so we can’t track them in real time either as we can do with the others.

les epiettes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people on the path this afternoon. They must all have been either out at sea or on the beach or in the air this afternoon so I had the path practically to myself.

Amongst the boats that were out there this afternoon was Les Epiettes, the little boat that belongs to the Ponts et Chaussées, the “Roads and Bridges” department.

The tide isn’t far enough in to allow the harbour gates to be opened so she’s hanging around outside the harbour with all of the others waiting for the tide to come in further

And as you have already seen in a few of the earlier photos, there were plenty of other boats waiting around too. It’s been busy this afternoon out there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were plenty of spectators observing the maritime activity too, even if they weren’t up here with me.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a young couple soaking up the sun this afternoon.

But I wasn’t hanging around though. I’d just remembered that I’d forgotten to set the coffee on the go before I set out so I need to head for home.

No change in the chantier naval, I noticed as I went past, but Le Roc A La Mauve III now has her signwriting done so it won’t be long before she’s back in the water.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having seen all of the trawlers either unloading at the fish processing plant or waiting for the harbour gates to open, there’s going to be a dispute or two very shortly.

Chausiaise, the little Ile de Chausey freighter, is tied up where all of the trawlers usually tie up so I imagine that they will all want her to move to her own little spec down at the bottom corner as soon as they come in.

She usually ties up down there at the bottom with ehr friends next to Marité so I’ve no idea what she’s doing there today unless she’s loading up by hand ready to sail on the tide.

Back here I made a coffee and then there was another job that needed my attention.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I said that I would have a potato and mushroom curry for tea tonight, but in fact I’ve ended up with pie, veg and gravy.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because with not being up in time, I didn’t make any bread this morning. Lunch was therefore porridge and toast with what was left of the bread, and when I returned from my walk I made a loaf of bread.

With the oven being on, it’s a shame to waste the heat output so I bunged a few potatoes in as well and then added a slice of pie to warm up. The veg was cooked on the hob and the water was used to make a gravy.

Tea was delicious and by the looks of things, so will the bread. Plenty of sunflower seeds in it and also a Vitamin C tablet seeing as I remembered to buy some the other day when I was at LeClerc.

So having now finished everything I’ll have another play on the guitar and then go to bed. There’s no alarm tomorrow with it being a Bank Holiday and I have remembered to take the hot cross buns out of the freezer ready for tomorrow, but whether I’ll be eating them is something else completely.

Either I’ll be awake at 06:00 and can’t sleep or else it will be another dismal 12:30 start. If only I could find a happy medium I would strike her, but that’s not likely around here, is it?

Monday 21st February 2022 – THIS WINDY WEATHER …

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… is really getting on my wick these days.

The other day we had a storm warning for Storm Useless and it wasn’t anything at all to write home about compared to what I have experienced in the past. And yet subsequently we have been battered by winds that would have knocked Storm Useless into a cocked hat.

The high winds that met me this afternoon and which were churning up the sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel were better than anything that we have experienced over the last few days.

In fact the last six months or so have seen nothing but wind and I for one am becoming really fed up of it.

Another thing about which I’m thoroughly fed up are these bad nights that I’ve been having.

Last night, despite going to bed at a reasonable time and falling asleep fairly rapidly I awoke shortly after and it was as if my right leg and both my elbows were on fire.

One of the side-effects of one of the medication tha I take makes me itch and with having really thin blood, every time I scratch myself I bleed. And having made a right mess of my right leg a few months ago and then spent several months doing everything that I could to help it to heal, then it’s now back to even worse than it was back then.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall one of my habitual partners in crime (was it Zero?) seeing my leg during one of our nocturnal rambles and bursting into tears. Well, that was exactly how I felt when I saw the mess.

At some point towards the morning I must have fallen asleep because I went off on a ramble. There was something strange last night that involved a girl whom I knew although it took place in French. It concerned some kind of confusion between a couple of people who were having marital problems. I knew someone called Michael and she knew a different person called Michael. I knew the one who was having marital problems and it turned out that the one that she knew was also. When we were discussing them we were confused about who was the one about whom we were talking. But the alarm went off at that moment and I can’t remember any more.

Hauling myself out of bed at 06:00 was pretty miserable but once I’d checked my messages and everything I had a go at my radio programme. And by 10:45 it was all up and running and I was listening to it.

In fact I could have finished it earlier but I had a ‘phone call. The nurse was in the building giving someone a blood test so he wondered if he could come round to give me my fortnightly injection then instead of coming back at lunchtime.

No point in inconveniencing him so he came round and inconvenienced me. Not that it really matters, I suppose

While I was listening to the output, and also to the radio programme that will be broadcast this coming weekend, I had something of a tidy up and did a few other things here and there that needed doing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I headed off into town.

showmen's wagons port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You’ve already seen the effects of the wind that was whipping up the sea in the bay, but something else down there had caught my eye.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Carnaval has been cancelled this year but it looks as if the Fête Foraine – the funfair – is still going ahead.

Down there are all the living quarters of the showmen who will be setting up their amusements on the car park down by the Salle Hérel.

That’s not very many compared with what we have seen in the past so it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few days if more and more of them come into town.

les epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Someone else who has come into town today is Les Epiettes.

She’s painted in the colours of the French Government and the sign on her rails saying “do not tie up to me” would seem to bear that out.

Further research tells me that she’s owned by the Département des Ponts et Chausssées – the Department of Roads and Bridges – and she must be based reasonably locally because Les Epiettes is the name of a buoy somewhere off the coast of the Ile de Chausey.

And that was where I encountered her for the first time when we were out there on Spirit of Conrad two years ago.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Someone else who is in port today is Chausiaise.

But she isn’t moored up where she has been for the last couple of weeks. She’s now moved and is underneath the crane in the loading bay.

That would seem to indicate that she’s off on another voyage somewhere very soon. She usually goes out to the Ile de Chausey although just recently we’ve noticed her coming back from St Helier in Jersey.

With important things to do, I had to leave her there and wander off into town. I’ll go and have a walk around the harbour at some other time. I need to go to see the doctor some time soon.

Meanwhile down at the Post Office I posted off my letter and then made ready to come back home. I wasn’t going to hang around.

sideshows place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the street outside the post office the people associated with the fête foraine were setting up a couple of stalls.

It seems that they are making the most of the absence of the Carnaval to take over some of the ground that the Carnaval would otherwise occupy.

Incidentally, despite the fact that the half-term holiday is over, the kiddies’ roundabout is still in the square so it looks by the nature of the stalls here that they are going to have a kiddies’ corner in the town centre.

Presumably, the activities in the car park will be reserved for the adults and take place during the hours of darkness.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The walk back up the hill towards home was rather more difficult than I was expecting it to be, seeing as I had only myself and the NIKON D500 to worry about.

Halfway up the hill I stopped because there was something that I was keen to see. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago they had replaced some of the crumbling brickwork with some new stuff but they hadn’t actually pointed them.

And when I had a close look today, I saw that they still hadn’t pointed between them. Once the frost and the rain get in there the new brickwork won’t be staying there for very long.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Before I went back to my apartment I braved the gale-force wind and went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Down below on the beach, regardless of the wind, there were several people wandering about. Mind you, it was quite sunny so I suppose that if you could tolerate the wind it was quite a nice day.

Back in the apartment I had my coffee and came back in here where, regrettably, I fell asleep again for half an hour or so. Mind you, after the night that I had, it was hardly any surrpise.

And then I went for tea. A stuffed pepper with rice and I do have to say that the stuffing in the pepper was the best that I have ever made. The way in which I make it is rather hit-and-miss but this evening’s efforts were definitely a hit.

Having written up my notes and having transcribed the massive amount of dictaphone notes from yesterday I’m off to bed. I’ve soaked my leg and elbows in some cold cream and I hope that it will work and I won’t set myself on fire tonight.

Sunday 17th October 2021 – I WAS ONLY …

ile de chausey yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… half-right about last night.

While you admire a couple of photos of maritime activity today, I can tell you all about it

It was almost 03:00 (in fact 02:50) when I finally fell into bed this morning but as for the “sleep through until tomorrow afternoon” bit, I was wide awake at 09:25.

There was no possibility of going back to sleep either and by 10:00 I was up and about and taking my medication.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from overnight. I was with a friend from school and his sister, a girl on whom I had quite a crush at school and who has appeared in my nocturnal rambles on a few memorable occasions in the past. There was something going on about jeans that was happening or had happened in Shavington and she hadn’t seen us. I said that if I’d known that it was going to be in Shavington I’d have been there to see her (but I didn’t add those last three words on when I spoke to her). The conversation rolled on from there and she started to measure me for jeans. She couldn’t understand what was going on with my lower legs so she rolled up my trousers and saw my elasticated stockings and bandages and all the other kinds of paraphernalia and burst into tears. I took her into my arms to console her and said ‘you can understand why it is that I have said that I have had to give up so much of my activities just recently because of all this but don’t worry. I’m still here” – some consoling words like that. But that was a situation that I found extremely touching and I wish that things like that would have happened to me in real life instead of all of the fighting with which I had to contend back in those days. Some emotion expressed to my benefit would have been a wonderful thing for me, but I must stop trying to look backwards because that ship sailed a long, long time ago.

There was a girl called Marie Uriah, whoever she was when she was at home, if she ever was. I thought that something had happened to her as she was being treated by the doctors. When the doctors’ surgery split up her case was retained here for some unknown reason. She was a girl rather similar to Castor by the way. In the meantime we were=we were tidying out the garage. We’d had three cars in there. We’d been using one and then another then instead of the second we decided to use the 3rd and then the 2nd instead of the first. That meant swapping a load of stuff around. We’d been house-decorating and rebuilding it. We had tons of cheap plastic and copper piping so I was sorting that ut and putting it into the eaves of the garage. Nerina came home and asked what we were doing so I explained it to her. At first she couldn’t see why I was keeping all of this stuff but when we explained that we were going to need this for future she seemed to agree with it. We had a chat about things that we were planning to do so she said that she wanted to see this and this and this, and she wanted to see the file on this Marie Uriah and her National Insurance number. Another night sweat.

There was something to do with ice-skating rinks last night and I’d been asked to give evidence. Someone asked me in how many cases I’d given evidence to which I replied “probably 70-odd”. They asked why I considered myself to be an expert so I replied that I didn’t but everyone else did. There was much more to it than this but I just can’t remember now.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021With it being a Sunday I had a very quiet morning, not doing very much at all except vegetating.

After all, the journey home yesterday takes a lot out of me I had to recover my strength after my exertions, although that new route that I tried wasn’t half as exerting as the regular route.

Later on though, I finally galvanised myself into action and paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow.

And while I’m on the subject, I need to have a look round and see what Christmas songs I have for my programme that will be broadcast on Christmas Day

After lunch I had a pile of photos to sort through from my trip to Leuven. These are all now edited and when I transcribe the piles of dictaphone notes that accumulated, I’ll go back and edit the relevant entries.

No sooner do I catch up one lot of outstanding stuff, I fall behind with another. What upset everything was of course my having to go to the hospital on Thursday morning.

When I went to take out some dough for this evening’s pizza, I discovered that there wasn’t any. I must have used up the last lot last Sunday. As a consequence I had to prepare another batch and it didn’t turn out too badly.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve been out for a walk around the headland, what with being off on my travels, so I was keen to be out there again.

There wasn’t very much beach out there this afternoon. The tide is well in right now, as I discovered as I peered over the wall.

There were plenty of people down there as well taking advantage of what beach there was, and even some of them brave enough to go out into the water up to their waists. Braver people than I am, I have to say. You wouldn’t catch me in there quite like that.

yachts baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It was a really nice afternoon out there, considering that it’s mid-October.

Quite sunny, not too much wind at all, the kind of weather that brings the people out in their hordes. And even out on the water too, as you have already seen. A couple of yachts, a couple of speedboats, a cabin cruiser or two. The bay was full of them.

And people over there on the beach by the airfield as well enjoying themselves in the sun, although I’m not sure about the tractors out there disturbing the peace.

film camera crew lorries place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the car park, the workmen’s compound that was there has long-gone but it seems that we now have other activity there.

Part of the car park has been cordoned off with a couple of rows of cones, and in that section, there are several lorries and trailers that are parked there.

There were the usual “no waiting” notices scattered about, and so I went for a closer look. Apparently that area is reserved for “film crews making a film”. It looks as if once again, the town is going to be the scene of another cinematographic epic.

It’s happening quite regularly these days.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Fighting my way through the masses this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

As well as all of the other boats that we have seen already, there was a zodiac a way out offshore with a group of people therein.

Enlarging the photo when I returned home, I could see that they were fishermen having a go at whatever they would catch which, while I was watching, wasn’t anything at all.

There was on aerial activity this afternoon. Not even one Birdman of Alcatraz, so I wandered off around the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path and across the car park, I came to the very end of the headland.

Down at the bench near the cabanon vauban there was quite a crowd and I thought to myself that if they all intend to sit on the bench, they must be very close friends. But the perch of the guy on the extreme right looked rather precarious to mr.

It was here that I was buttonholed by a passer-by who asked me if it is possible to see the Mont St Michel from here.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can see the hotels on the mainland from down by the bench, but not the Mont St Michel itself because the Pointe de Carolles is in the way.

yachts les epiettes chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good look in the chantier naval so I was keen to see how things were developing.

My trip down the path on the south side of the headland brought me to the viewpoint overlooking the yard where I was disappointed to see that there was no change in there from before I went away.

The big yacht is still in there, as is the little Government boat Les Epiettes. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen a couple of trawlers in there as well? I’m missing the overcrowding in the yard.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Not very much happening over at the ferry terminal this afternoon, but there was something happening over at the Fish Processing Plant.

Just pulling away from the wharf over there was La Grande Ancre with quite a load of shellfish boxes on board, so it looks as if she’s off to try her hand herself at bringing a pile of shellfish back home.

Talking of “back home”, I wasn’t going to hang about too long. I could do with going back home and having a nice, hot mug of coffee. It might be warm out here this afternoon, but a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Passing the inner harbour, I looked down to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

To my surprise, the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is no longer in there, and neither are the tubes that were floating about on the water. It’s all been happening while I’ve been away, hasn’t it?

Back here, I made myself a coffee and came in here to sit down for a few minutes. And later on I made a start at unpacking my suitcase from my trip. That was a good idea that was, taking the larger suitcase.

Later on, I went to assemble my pizza.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021No fresh mushrooms unfortunately so I had to make do with tinned ones. I’d drained them earlier and while the oven was heating up, I put them in the oven to dry out.

As for the pizza itself, it really was delicious. Not the best that I have ever made but it was certainly pretty good.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m going to have a quiet relax for a while and then go to bed. I’m up early in the morning because I have a radio programme to prepare and I need to be on form for that.

And I mustn’t forget – there’s shopping to do tomorrow when I finish or there will be nothing to go on my butties at lunchtime.

Monday 11th October 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… amusing exchange of family correspondence today.

Someone sent me a copy of a family tree and my attention was drawn to a name – Brian – in this family tree.

And so I sent a mail “Your “Brian” – is that the Denis Bryan Ashness-Wells who was born on 1 April 1915, father Francis George Ashness-Wells age 31 and mother, Alice Charlotte Frances Stuart “Elsie” Beavis, 38 who died in 1968, in Hillingdon, London, England, United Kingdom, at the age of 53?”.

The reply that I received was “That’s where you have me at a disadvantage. I find a document, show you the document then you ask me if it matches information you have that I’ve never seen. Not a game I want to play.”.

This reply is from someone who has complained to me in the past (like a couple of days ago) that I haven’t shared any information with him, despite the fact that he hasn’t spoken to me in over 20 years. So when, of course, when I do share some information with him, he goes totally berserk.

You really can’t make up nonsense like this, can you? And to think that I had to put up with behaviour like that for all these years until I became fed up, emigrated and left them all behind.

Some people need to go and lie down in a darkened room and double their dose. The rest of us had grown out of behaviour like this by the time we left Primary School.

But anyway, I digress.

Last night I was in bed rather later than I hoped and the night wasn’t a particularly good one, but I still managed to stagger out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication and having checked my mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme. And despite a pause for a coffee and another one for breakfast, the programme was all done and dusted and ready to go by 11:15.

Of course I had to listen to it and also the one that I’ll be sending off for broadcast this week. And this week, they both went off without any issues – not like last week of course.

While I was listening to them, I was carrying on with this slow project of checking the duplicates of images that I have on the computer, and another few GB have bitten the dust right now.

After lunch I had a shower and a general clean-up and dealt with some stuff for my other radio project while I waited for the nurse to come to give me my injection.

Eventually I found out that he had already been, while I was in the shower and I’d missed him. So he told me that he’ll be round this evening.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021That meant that I could finally go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off towards the wall at the end of the car park.

Being rather later than usual, the tide was much farther in than you would expect, and the little spit of sand down there was quite prominent. I’ve never seen it quite as clearly as this before.

And there was no-one on the beach down there this afternoon. It’s later than normal and not as warm as it was at the weekend, but still pleasant enough for anyone who wanted to go for a walk along the foreshore.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was looking down on the beach, a familiar noise up above attracted my attention.

As I watched, around the corner from behind the College Malraux came out own friend the red powered hang-glider that we have seen quite regularly over the past few days.

He came flying by and headed straight out across the bay in the direction of the airfield, presumably to go in to land.

Having watched it disappear out to sea, I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs.

men fishing from zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was looking out to sea, I happened to notice that there was something out at sea.

A closer look showed me that it was a zodiac, and in it were a couple of fishermen dangling their rods into the water in the hope of catching something for supper.

At this point I had another phone call to answer so I couldn’t see whether they actually managed to catch anything, but if the past is anything to go by, it was unlikely.

But once the ‘phone call ended, I carried off on my walk towards the lighthouse, fighting my way through the crowds of people who were on the path.

people on bench men fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At the lighthouse I walked down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

There was plenty of excitement down there this afternoon. Today, we have two couples sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

What they were looking at was difficult to say because there was nothing whatever going on out in the bay and across to Cancale this afternoon

There was also a couple of fishermen standing on the rocks down there with their rods and lines. But I didn’t wait here either to see if they actually managed to catch anything. I headed off down the path.

yacht les epiettes chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

The yacht is still there, but the trawler Pescadore has gone back into the water. She wasn’t in there for very long.

In her place we have the little boat that is painted in French Government colours. She’s called Les Epiettes and we had a very close encounter with her when we were on board the Spirit of Conrad last summer.

She’s been hanging around the bay for quite a while subsequently and has been in and out of the port a few time, although I haven’t actually found out yet what she does.

joly france belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was at the viewpoint overlooking the Chantier naval, I glanced over at the ferry terminal to see what was happening.

This afternoon we had a full house of Ile de Chausey ferries moored up over at the terminal. From left to right, we have the newer one of the Joly France boats with the smaller upper deck superstructure, and in the centre is the brand-new Belle France.

And then on the right is the older one of the two Joly France ferry with the windows in “landscape” format.

And they have finally collapsed the jib on the crane and folded it back up again after all of this time at full extension.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way back home I was overflown yet again.

This time there was another helicopter going by overhead, a red one this time, different from the one that we saw yesterday.

Back home again I made myself a coffee and then sat down to do some work but instead I had a phone call from Rosemary and we had another lengthy chat, putting the world to right.

After our call finished, I went to make a curry with all of the bits and pieces that were lying around but I was interrupted by the nurse, and this injection was painful for a change.

While I was at it, I told him that I’d been notified that I have the right to a booster injection 6 months after my second injection, so that means with effect from any time now.

The information told me that a nurse can do it, so I asked him f he could administer it when he comes in 2 weeks time. He’ll bring one with him, he told me.

The curry was delicious, as was the scoop of ice cream that I had afterwards as I’d run out of soya dessert.

Now that my notes are complete I’ll have a little relax and then go to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I need to be on form. And then I have some errands to run in town tomorrow.

Saturday 28th August 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… miserable day today. And much of that is my own fault too.

Despite having, for what has been just recently an early night – so early in fact that I was nowhere near finished yesterday’s journal entry – it was a real struggle to force myself out of bed this morning when the alarm went off.

It was a crawl into the bathroom and even after a cold-water wash I didn’t feel any different. I had the medication and then came back in here to start work.

After an hour or so and ot having done very much at all, I reckoned that I may as well go for a coffee.

A quick check of the time told me that it was in fact just 05:25 – it seemed that I had forgotten to switch off the alarm from last Saturday. No wonder I was feeling so dreadful.

What I did was to switch off all of the following alarms except that for 06:20 and then went back to bed.

When the alarm went off, I couldn’t move out of bed at all so I went back so sleep and the next thing that I remembered was rhat it was 08:40. That wasn’t the start of the day that I wanted.

Having organised myself I went out to the shops. First port of call was Lidl where I bought some stuff that I couldn’t carry home when I was there on Wednesday.

Next stop was at Centrakor where I wanted to see if they had anything to cover my fruit but that was a disappointment.

At Noz I spent half my time going around the shop buying a couple of things and the other half of the time dismantling Caliburn’s door handle and freeing it off so that it would work.

At LeClerc, that was a disappointment too. No decent keyboard and no decent printer either. Some other stuff that I needed, like food and so on, and then I came home.

Carrying the stuff up here (only some of it too) was quite a struggle and I was glad to sit down for a pause with a coffee. And while I was seated, I organised myself a new keyboard and printer. The keyboard can’t be here soon enough because this one is driving me berserk.

After lunch I came back in here to start work but unfortunately I fell asleep again – as if this morning hasn’t been enough. It meant that I was rather late for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless, out I went and as usual, my first port of call when I go out for my afternoon walk is to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what’s going on down there.

Despite the weather, which is quite windy today, there are a few people making the most of the last weekend of the summer season. No-one actually in the water this afternoon which is hardly a surprise because I imagine that it will be quite cold in there this afternoon.

By the looks of things the beaches further along the coast look as if there is no-one on them and that’s a surprise. They are less susceptible to the wind, the views are good and they are good for walking

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile one eye was roving around on the beach, the other eye was having a good look out to sea.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore but way out in the bay there was a zodiac travelling offshore at quite a rapid rate of knots. I’ve no idea from where it’s come and to where it’s going. There’s no evidence of anything out there that might be of interest.

But you can see how rough the sea is this afternoon. It’s due to the effect of the wind that is whipping up the waves. You can tell that from the whitecaps out there in the bay.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite everything else, the sky was quite clear this afternoon and the view was really good.

In the past regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Ile de Chausey but it’s been very rare that we’ve been able to see it quite as clearly as this.

The colours have been enhanced a little, of course, and we can see the houses along the shore quite clearly . And that’s the lighthouse on the left of the image on the hill, and on the hill on the right is the semaphore station.

lighthouse semaphore crowds on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that’s the lighthouse and semaphore station station on the Ile de Chausey. Here are the lighthouse and the semaphore station at the Pointe du Roc.

The semaphore is of course the smaller post on the far right. The taller post in the centre seems to be some kind of transmission aerial, maybe for the coastguard post right out on the end of the headland behind the building up there.

And is that one of the Joly France boats out there to the right?

Crowds of people taking a walk this afternoon around the headland too. The last weekend of the summer season and they’ll all be heading home tomorrow (I hope) and we can all return to some peace and tranquility far from the madding crowds.

fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, in other news, a little further on along the path we have the presence of a fisherman.

Not a very optimistic fisherman either because he doesn’t have a net with which to haul in his catch or a bucket in which to keep it, and that seems rather a strange idea to me.

In fact, I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that the fishing off the rocks is sport fishing, not subsistence fishing, and the aim isn’t actually to keep and eat any fish that they catch but to release it back into the water afterwards.

As a vegan I should be applauding this gesture but it’s still something of a mystery

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had our attention distracted by the sea and by the land, it’s now time to turn out attention to the air.

Even if the fisherman isn’t necessarily hunting for food, other people are, like the sparrowhawk whom we have seen on several occasions.

He’s out there again hunting for his food in the rough grass down the bank on the clifftop and he’s probably having better luck than the fisherman below him.

That’s my lot really. Nothing else of any other great excitement happening around here and nothing else going on out to sea, I headed off around the path and across the car park.

carolles plage Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust at that moment, as I was crossing the car park, a ray of sun fell onto the beach at Carolles-Plage and illuminated it as if with a spotlight on a stage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have walked the length of that beach on several occasions not long after I first came here, when I was staying at that cheap hotel in Jullouville while I was looking for an apartment.

It’s a beautiful beach and quite quiet too as much of it is not easily accessible. It peters out up against the Pointe de Carolles, under the watchful eye of the Cabanon Vauban that is out of shot to the right.

Around the end of the headland and along the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

marite les epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on there of any note so I carried on along to where I could see the boats in the inner harbour.

First of all, the small red white and blue boat that’s there in the loading bay – when I was down there yesterday I was able to have a good look at her and she is indeed Les Epiettes, the boat that we saw out at the Ile de Chausey when we were aboard Spirit of Conrad last year.

Marité of course needs no introduction at all. she’s quite happily sitting at her berth waiting for her next trip out.

But as for me, I was waiting for my trip back home.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that “bad parking” is a feature that used to figure quite often on these pages, but fear of boring you all to death has made me abandon it, except in certain clearly outrageous circumstances.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust like this one here in fact.

This is a van that is fitted out as a mobile home and because there is no room to park just here (obviously the public car park just up the road at the Boulevard Vaufleury is too far to travel, they have decided to park just here.

Two wheels up on the kerb on the grass verge and the rest of the vehicle parked in the street, on a bus route and right opposite a relatively busy road junction.

But of course, who cares about the day-to-day life of the residents here? Being a tourist is much more important and who cares if it inconveniences the locals? Tough luck!

It’s no wonder that many people are glad to see the backs of the tourists when the holiday season is finally over.

By the way, it was one of those little concrete bollards just there that I tripped over on my nocturnal excursion the other evening.

Back here later there was the dictaphone that needed attention. And despite the rather short night, there had been plenty of time to go off for a mega-ramble or three.

There was another ship very like a Spanish galleon. I was on it and someone said to me “you won’t be going back on board the ship for a while because it had been raided by the local police. I was still out there trying to make a living by getting her food by carving on fish paste sandwiches and making sure that she does actually want to do it herself. I’ve no idea at all what was going on here, but once again I awoke covered in sweat from this.

And who is “she”? The cat’s mother?

Later on I was watching a football match and the opposition goalkeeper had been sent off just like someone yesterday. Someone else had to go in goal. His team won a corner so he went up to the penalty area for it. The corner came in but the other team’s keeper caught it quite cleanly but the other guy bundled him straight into the net, ball and all, and did a lap of honour around the goal at the back. Of course, the referee, talking to his linesman, ruled it out. That caused all kinds of problems but I could certainly see why it had been ruled out and wasn’t going to argue about it. It seemed a fair decision to me

And somewhere along the line I had another one of these work dreams where everything that I was doing was in total chaos yet again, and when I was on the point of retiring and could have just walked out.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Connah’s Quay Nomads. An exciting, free-flowing end-to-end game but most of it went to naught because the final touch was just not good enough.

The score finished 1-1 which was a surprise because there was a point in the game when I was thinking that they could be playing until next weekend and the score would still be 0-0. The central defensive pairing of Penybont was one of the best that I have ever seen.

But up front, both teams will have to be doing much better than this.

Just as I was about to go for a late meal, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for … errr … 2 hours and 37 minutes. Hence I’ve had no food, and I’m too tired to write this out properly.

It’s just not my day, is it?

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… walking out of the front door of your building and being confronted with this!

What with one thing and another, my peregrinations today totalled 98% of my daily effort and so I wasn’t going to give up at that particular point – so I decided to just nip out for a quick lap around the block to take the total over the 100%

With it starting to go dark, I debated whether or not to take the NIKON D500 with me, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured a really decent sunset.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some more photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you about my day starting at the beginning.

As you might expect these days, I didn’t have my early night last night. Just as I was on the point of switching off the computer, Jethro Tull came round on the playlist. And so I was treated to an earful of –
A PASSION PLAY
BENEFIT and
STAND UP
three of the finest rock albums that have ever been recorded

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I did go to bed before
AQUALUNG and
THICK AS A BRICK
came around, just in case …

What surprised me more than anything was that I was up and about at 06:00 just as usual despite the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed. And I can’t keep on going like this.

It took me a while to clear my head, as I’m sure you can imagine, and after the medication I had a few things to do.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe early part of the morning was spent alternating between

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

But the tidying up was because I was expecting visitors. Liz and Terry wanted to see me.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some close-up photos of the Galeon Andalucia, I was going through the apartment like a dose of salts.

By the time that they arrived, the apartment (well, the parts that you could see) was actually looking quite nice and that must have come as quite a shock to my visitors. It’s been a while since they have been to visit me and they aren’t used to this.

Terry had brought his laptop with him. A few months ago I had fixed Liz’s computer and made it work much better, and now Terry was wondering if I could do the same for his. So that’s a job for some time next week.

But that wasn’t the main reason for their visit. They really wanted to tell me that I have to say “goodbye” to an old friend

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just a short while before I was taken ill, I’d bought a small mini-tractor for the farm – a Kubota B1220. And I’d done just 13 hours on it, mostly as a generator powering the cement mixer, before I fell ill

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had been left down on the farm when I was taken ill and a neighbour had contacted me to tell me that someone had been “playing” with it so Terry and I went to rescue it.

It’s been in the bottom of Terry’s barn ever since.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … one of their acquaintances had seen it, had a good look at it, and then made them an offer. As a result, they came round this morning with a bundle of folding stuff.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s like the story of the digger. I was sorry to see that go last summer but I’m in no state to do anything with them and it’s just a couple of things fewer to worry about.

As a reward I took Liz and Terry out for a coffee at La Rafale where we had a good chinwag and a good laugh at the antics of a cat sitting outside o a third-floor window ledge and an eighteen month-old toddler.

We discussed a few plans for the future and then decided to go for a walk down to the harbour and look at the Galeon Andalucia and whatever else was down there this morning.

black pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that we noticed was that there was a small fuel tanker down on the quayside. The driver was busy coiling up his hose as if he’d finished his work.

Where has was parked was right by where Black Pearl and her younger sister Le Pearl who sailed into the port for the first time last autumn were moored.

As we watched, Black Pearl cast off her mooring and set out from the quayside. The harbour gates were open and so it looked as if, having been refuelled, she was setting off to work. And I imagined that Le Pearl would be following her as soon as she’s ready.

philcathane galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut really it was the Galeon Andalucia that we had come to see, just like everyone else in Granville I reckon.

To her left though is the trawler Philcathane, with the Channel Island ferry Granville immediately behind her. To the right of Granville is her colleague Victor Hugo.

My plan was for us all to go aboard for a good look around but Liz and Terry had other things to do so we just loitered around taking a few photos. Then, in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, we “made our excuses and left”.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, the Galeon Andalucia wasn’t the only game in town this afternoon.

While we had been looking at the galleon, we’d see some rather distinctive sail-tops go past behind the harbour wall, so distinctive that there were no prizes for guessing to whom they belonged.

One look at the familiar “G90” number on the sails will tell us that it is indeed La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a ship-load of passengers on board.

She’s someone else towing behind her an inflatable dinghy that will have room for probably about a quarter of the people currently on board.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz and Terry don’t come to Granville all that often and so they aren’t aware of the new boats that have been coming into the port recently.

One of them, whom they haven’t seen before, is the little freighter Chausiaise that takes the supplies and the luggage over to the Ile de Chausey.

This is the last weekend of the main holiday season so she’s going to be busy bringing back all of the luggage of the people who have spent the summer out there, and of the holidaymakers whose two weeks in what has laughingly been described this year as “the sun” has come to an end.

commodore voyager english channel France Eric HallBy now, back at the apartment Liz and Terry made ready to leave, but before they did so, I had a quick glance out to sea from the car park.

A big white blob right out there on the horizon indicates that something large has not long ago set out from the port of St Helier heading for the UK. I took a speculative snap of it to see if I could identify it back at the apartment.

It looked very much like one of the Condor high-speed ferries, and I noticed that Condor Voyager had set sail from the port at 10:32. She would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Back in the building I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had quite a chat. And I’ve been invited to go for coffee with one of them on Sunday afternoon.

There wasn’t much time left before lunch to do very much, and the first thing that I did after lunch was to have a shower. I have the therapist so I need to look clean and tidy. And I switched on the washing machine too afterwards

marite philcathane galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I was ready, i hit the streets.

Down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I paid a call at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. As well as the Galeaon Andalucia, Marité was in port as well and the two of them made a very nice photo, together like that.

Peering through the rigging of Marité we can see the little trawler Philcathane moored up where the gravel boats used to moor when they came here. To the left of Marité is the little red, white and blue boat that we have seen quite regularly just recently.

And I can confirm that she is indeed Les Epiettes, the one that we saw last year out at the Ile de Chausey. She was down there this morning and I noticed her name as we went past, but I forgot to say..

Having taken the photo, I pushed off through the town and up the hill for my appointent with destiny.

emergency ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came out of the physiotherapist just in time to see an emergency ambulance, all bells and flashing lights, go roaring past me.

It stopped a few hundred metres down the road and the guys within leapt out and went into a building just there. By the time that I caught up with them, they were still inside so I have no idea what was happening.

As it was quite a nice afternoon I decided that I’d go down to the harbour and have a good look around at what was happening there. We’d seen Galeon Andalucia and Les Epiettes earlier this morning, but there was plenty of other stuff that I wanted to see but had been unable to do so

It’s not easy gratuitously wandering around when you’re in company.

While I was down there, I noticed that the harbour gates were closed so I could go back that way home. Spirit of Conrad was in port and Pierre, her skipper, was there so we had quite a chat for a while about this and that.

His trips to the Channel islands have restarted and ordinarily I might be interested but I have another cunning plan for that.

repainting charlevy charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a trawler that we should all recognise, because we’ve seen it often enough just recently.

She’s the trawler Charlevy who spent a considerable amount of time just recently undergoing a repaint at the chantier naval.

And by the looks of things, the paintwork wasn’t completely finished there either. The workman standing on the roof of the bridge is armed with a paintbrush, a roller and a large tub of thick black paint and he’s giving the “ancillaries” a good covering.

And she’ll need it too once she’s out at sea this autumn and winter.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I was watching the work going on aboard Charlevy an old familiar noise roused me from my slumbers.

Rattling by overhead went yet another familiar face, the yellow autogyro that we see quite often flying by as we are out and about on our travels.

But right now I’m going out and about over the harbour gates to the other side, stopping on the way to exchange pleasantries with a fisherman who actually has a bucket with a couple of crabs in it that he has caught.

So that’s a first for me.

briscard pierre de jade catherine philippe chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I went down to the chantier naval to have a look at the fishing boats that were in here, and to see if I can identify them.

Two of the three here were pretty easy to identify because I could see their names displayed. On the left, the smaller white and blue one is called Briscard and on the right, the red, blue and white one is called Catherine Philippe.

The middle one was not so easy, but as I was pondering over it, someone came down the ladder on the far side, so I asked him. “She’s the Pierre de Jade he replied.

So now I know.

peccavi unknown saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the other three here, I didn’t have the same luck.

Once again, two of them were easy to recognise. On the left, we have Peccavi and on the right under the tarpaulin is Saint Andrews – a rather unusual name for a French fishing boat. Why didn’t they call her Saint-André?

But then, if they can call a French trawler Trafalgar, they can call one almost anything.

The black and blue one in the middle remains a mystery. No name was visible and there was no-one around to ask.

retimbering hull peccavi chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was having a prowl around, I noticed this rather unusual work going on with Peccavi.

It looks as if they are sheathing her hull in tongue-and-grooving and I have never seen that done before on a sea-going boat. I wonder what the reason is for this.

But i’m not going to find out right now because there isn’t anyone to ask. Anyway, it’s time for me to be going home and it’s a long haul back up the hill from here. And by the time that I reached the top, I was pretty exhausted too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go in though, I ought to have a look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there this afternoon

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. It’s not exactly the height of summer, as I realise, but it was still nice enough for people to be out on the beach enjoying one of the last days before the holidays are over.

That was about the sum total of my trip out this afternoon. I came back for my smoothie and to sit down and relax – and to fall asleep as well.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, as I noticed later. I was on board a ship last night. Something had happened and my right leg had been injured. They were saying that they were going to have to amputate it. Of course I was totally opposed to that idea. Nevertheless they doped me up with local anaesthetic and operated away. I was trying to stagger round this common room trying to make myself comfortable. I was just so awful about this. I sat down and there was some news on the TV about 4 marathons that were being run at the same time when there was total confusion about who was in which one and where, as well as on one occasion where on a studio leg someone had tripped over an apparatus and fallen into the athletics’ 100-yard sprint track, demolished all of the hurdles just as all the runners were running up to it so they were all entangled as well. That was so real, that dream having my leg cut off and that was one nocturnal voyage that made me very relieved when it was over.

After tea I went out for my little stroll as I mentioned earlier, and now it’s time for bed. I have shopping in the morning and hence an early start. I think that I’ve done enough for today.

Wednesday 25th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

… see the rapist this afternoon.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I have to say about it all is that there’s traffic flowing again down the Rue Cambernon again.

It looks as if the braderie was only a one-day thing because everything seems to have been cleared away, all of the streets are now open and the cars are driving along them.

It’s a shame really because for that one day it was quite interesting and quite quiet too. It reminded me of the “car-free Sunday” that we had once a year when I lived in Brussels. All of the public transport was free, all of the parks and museums were open and you could wander everywhere without any interruption at all.

And, at the end of the day, the normal haze that hung over the city had gone and the sky was really clear.

Just for one day.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that really gets my goat around here is the pathetic parking.

bad parking rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ve seen so much of it that I’ve been trying to avoid showing it, in order not to bore you to death, but sometimes there is something so extreme that I have to feature it. Something like this, for example.

The white car, with a registration number from out of the département so clearly a tourist, has stopped – with a couple of wheels on a zebra crossing, and let his wife out to go and buy a baguette from the bakery here.

And then he sits and waits for her.

This is a bus route for the large service buses that ply up and down the coast, and he’s blocking the road so that this bus can’t go past.

And does he move? Of course he doesn’t. He’s a tourist. The town belongs to him. Who cares about the locals?

But anyway, let’s start at the very beginning.

Despite having a good deal less than 5 hours sleep last night, I was up and about at 06:00 and went to take my medicine.

Back in here again I checked my messages – well, I didn’t – just about half of them. I didn’t actually go to sleep – I was wide awake – but in something like a zombie-like trance for a couple of hours, unable to function at all.

When I finally gathered my wits – which takes far longer these days than it ought, seeing how few wits I have left these days, I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my gorgeous fruit bread – which really is gorgeous by the way – and then came back in here to finish off checking my messages.

Next task was to prepare a music playlist for the week. It’s the turn of the music in the “BB” folder to be selected and it will be any 11 tracks from about 15 of the 50 artists and groups in the folder.

The playlist will now be running continuously until Sunday night (as long as the computer is switched on) and I’ll be listening to all of the relevant albums, choosing tracks that might be interesting, noting down their running times and the albums from which they come, and whether they are good or faulty.

And whether they are needing editing too. Chopping exciting bits out of “Tubular Bells” or “Thick as a Brick” – stuff like that. Much as I like the complete albums, my listeners would fall asleep if I played all of them non-stop.

There was the dictaphone to check of course and eventually I managed to get around to it. Last night I was living on some kind of island. There was a huge explosion that had destroyed part of the buildings. Everyone had to evacuate this island and move onto another one that was already occupied. Everyone immediately thought that it was me who had blown up this island or whatever it was, so no-one was really my friend and gave me all cold stares when I’d tried to talk to them about anything.

And doesn’t that remind me of an event about two years ago?

Later on, I’d been on a bike and apparently I’d started off walking. It was medieval times. I was loaded up and on my way somewhere or other. The priest of this area was standing there looking over the harbour and everything. As I walked past he made the sign of the cross to me so I made the sign of the cross to him. He said “good evening” and I thought “it’s morning, isn’t it?”. I carried on walking and then I was on a bike cycling down a hill near Lyon. A group of 5 people walked off the pavement straight in front of me. I gave them a tinkle of the bell. They moved slowly out of the way so I swore at them and cursed them in French. They were making all kinds of gestures and insults but I carried on. In the end someone invited me to appear on television. I thought “if they had heard that lot just now they wouldn’t have allowed me on at all.

After that, I know that I did something else, but don’t ask me what it was because I can’t remember.

After lunch I went and had a shower and a general clean and tidy up, and then went off on my travels to see the rapist.

transhipment porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and on many previous occasions too” – ed … living intra muros in the old walled city does have its drawbacks Like the height of the gateway into the old walled city.

If you are having anything big delivered, you need to have some kind of trans-shipment system in place because the chances are that the delivery lorry might not be able to fit through the arch. We’ve seen all kinds of Heath-Robinson arrangements since I’ve been living here.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, a little farther on along the road I come out to one of the viewpoints on the outer walls – the one that overlooks the fish processing plant.

The first thing that I noticed was that all of the “charter hire” yachts like Aztec Lady, Spirit of Conrad and so on are conspicuous by their absence.

Not that it is a real surprise because I heard on the grapevine that the Channel Islands are relaxing their strict anti-Covid controls on visitors from France, and so everyone who is anyone has headed off in a northward direction.

And had I not had my series of appointments starting this week, I would have been tempted to have joined them as well.

Les Epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEvery now and again we’ve been seeing a small red, white and blue boat running around in the bay or just outside the harbour.

It might be this one here. I know that we encountered one, called Les Epiettes once when we were on Spirit of Conrad out at the Ile de Chausey, but unfortunately we can’t see her name from here.

When I was back in the apartment later I checked the port call register and there was no trace of a boat that resembled her so she probably has her AIS switched off.

But I did discover something else and I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I’m sure that we all recognise this trawler. It’s been the subject of quite a few photos just recently.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, she’s our old friend Charlevy, anchored at the loading bay with one of the cranes working on her.

What I suspect is that while she’s been in the chantier naval she’s had all of her nets taken out and presumably overhauled and repaired on the quayside as we’ve seen them do before.

Today, it looks as if the crane is reassembling all of her fishing gear, ready for her to go back out to sea.

From there I pushed on through the streets and up the hill to the therapist. And the climb up there was a little better than on Monday.

He had me walking up and down a step, doing some stretching exercises and then standing on some kind of tilting, vibrating plate that reminded me on being on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in a hurricane.

There was a kind of ski-walking machine there but that wasn’t a success. Not because I couldn’t work it but I didn’t have the breath to keep it going.

After half an hour he threw me out and I walked home, feeling actually a little more sprightly in my right leg than I have done for a while. I wonder what it will be like at the end of the sessions.

Passing the shenanigans outside the bakers I carried on towards home and my ice-cold strawberry smoothie. And the climb up the hill in the Rue des Juifs went rather better than the other day.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out, I thought that I’d go and see how things were down on the beach. It’s much more like my usual time of afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on or course because the tide is well on its way out now. You could see quite a difference to how it was 90 minutes ago when i set off for my appointment.

But the holiday season is definitely coming to an end. Three days now on the run I’ve made the point that there have been fewer and fewer people down on the beach , and once again I couldn’t see anyone in the water either. It’s a sad end to a rather depressing summer season here.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I was having a good look out to sea.

The NIKON D3000 was my main camera between the demise of the Nikon D5000 and the purchase of the NIKON D500 and while I was happy with it at the time, I’ve had to do a lot of post-work to pull out a photo of the Ile de Chausey from the haze out at sea.

None of the Joly France ferries in sight – they must all be sheltering in the gap between the two islands. Just the odd yacht or two out there this afternoon. Nothing much to be excite myself today. I did see a brown smudge on the horizon which at first I thought was Marité but it turned out to be a mark on the computer screen.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGoing back to the apartment, there was a view of the beach down at the Plat Gousset – a view that I don’t usually see because I’m going the other way.

Quite a few people going for a paddle around in the water retained by the medieval fish trap, and a few folk on the beach down there too. But seeing as that area is the most popular part of the beach, I was expecting it to be much busier than that.

A few people down on the beach at Donville les Bains though. I can just about make them out in the distance.

So back into the apartment I came and had my strawberry smoothie – and the next thing that I remembered was thatt it was 18:30. I’d been stark out for 90 minutes. The walk out and back had taken it all out of me.

There were carrots that needed peeling and blanching ready for freezing and then it was time for tea. I had the rest of the mushrooms which were going to start to do something rather peculiar if I didn’t do anything with them so I threw in a small tin of lentils and a few other bits and pieces and made a quick curry.

big wheel at night place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in here I came to write up my notes but while I was checking the radar to see whether it really was Les Epiettes coming into the port, I noticed a rather large boat coming into the port, larger than any that have been in here recently.

Immediately I grabbed the camera and dashed outside to see what it might be, falling over a concrete bollard in the street in the darkness.

Firstly though, the big wheel was working, even though it was quite late. People must be staying up until all hours, being still in the holiday mood even if they don’t want to go down to the beach during the daytime.

big wheel at night place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the attractions of the big wheel, especially for the spectator, is that it changes colour as it goes round.

As I watched, it went through all of the colours of the rainbow and made quite an exciting spectacle.

But only for a few more days. It usually closes down round about the end of August so maybe next week will be the last that we shall see of it.

And the tourists too. While I’m always pleased to see them leave, I do feel sorry for them for the miserable summer that they have had.

medical emergency at galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably noticed in the two photos of the big wheel a set of lights coming down the hill in the Rue Couraye. What you won’t have heard of course is the sound of the sirens that came with the lights.

There’s something rather large and top-heavy down there and it’s certainly not a gravel boat as I was originally thinking.

And why it’s put into the harbour is presumably due to some kind of medical emergency that needs to be dealt with

medical emergency at galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime I can tell you something about her, because she has her AIS beacon switched on.

Believe it or not, she’s a Spanish galleon. Not a original one, I haste to add, and wouldn’t that be something if it were, but a faithful replica of a Spanish galleon of the 17th Century and at an overall length of almost 48 metres, she’s the largest ship of any description to come in here for quite a while.

How long she’ll be staying is something else, so I’ll be out there first thing in the morning to see her in daylight, because the harbour gates open early.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’m out, I’m not going to bed quite yet. I may as well make the most of things

With the harbour gates being open, one of the trawlers here is taking the opportunity to slip out to sea. She doesn’t have her AIS beacon switched on so I can’t tell you who she is. It’s just a purple lozenge on my radar screen with no name attached.

Anyway, that’s enough excitement for this evening. I’m going back to the apartment to carry on with my journal entry for today before I forget any more.

Now, much later than intended, I’m off to bed. A whole day at home with no interruptions. I bet that I’ll fall asleep and miss most of it.

Saturday 17th October 2020 – WE CALLED IT …

… a draw this morning. I’d just thrown off the bedclothes and was on the point of sitting upright ready to crawl out of bed when the third alarm went off. Just one second earlier would have been a glorious victory.

And seeing that I was in bed by 22:30 last night I ought to have done better too.

And during the night I’d been on my travels as well. I was with Nerina and we were in Gainsborough Road. I don’t remember too much about this but we’d been doing a lot of sorting out. I’d been to see a lock-up garage somewhere near Manchester which would be ideal for me to use as a store to store a lot of stuff that was lying around that I didn’t need but didn’t want to dispose of. Then we were back at the house and I don’t remember a great deal but I seem to remember that I’d bought a house in Winsford – it might have been Plantagenet Close – years ago and I was wondering what on earth I was still doing with it. I couldn’t find the keys so I wondered if the estate agent still had them, or if Nerina had them – I’d given them to her to look after, or her mother, something like that. In the end I went to ask her but each time I started to ask, she interrupted me and said something else. We ended up in the Post Office in Crewe. I was going to go to Winsford the next afternoon but it was a Saturday afternoon and the Post Office wouldn’t be open. The aim was to ask someone in the Post Office about delivering letters – where do they go to, who had a key? All of that kind of thing. I got myself into a queue by a counter but there was no-one there at the time, just a customer but no member of staff so I was idly loitering around. One member of staff came and started to deal with it. When she had dealth with this person, a young guy and his father walked up in front of me straight to the counter. Nerina said “those two guys have pushed in front of you. I said “yes, they haven haven’t they?”. The younger of the two turned round and made a smart remark to me – in Dutch. I turned round to Nerina and said “yes, Ne’erlandssprekers” so this guy made another comment and strolled away. Then I got to the window and the cashier, and that was that..

But it seems that dreaming about a new house elsewhere that I own is becoming another recurring feature of my nocturnal rambles. So what’s going on here?

For an hour or so this morning I tracked down some more photos of my trip around Central Europe at the beginning of August. And one or two of those took some tracking too. German road signs are not the clearest, especially when viewed on my low-resolution dash-cam through a bug-infested windscreen but in the end I managed to do some good with them and they are all properly labelled.

One or two in Munich were likewise difficult but reference to Hans, my friend there, soon resolved that issue.

After a shower and a clean-up (and a weigh -in, and I’ve lost another couple of hundred grammes) I went off to the shops. NOZ came up with one or two things, but nothing to get excited about, and it was the same at LeClerc.

No figs though, but luckily the Fruit and Veg shop, la Halle Gourmande, had a few. The lady there told me that they are seasonal, so I’m going to have to think of a substitute for my kefir.

Back here, I put some of the stuff away and then sat down to continue the photos but ended up falling asleep on the chair after my exertions. A whole hour or so I was out, and that’s good for neither man nor beast, especially when it means a very late lunch.

orange flavoured kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I attended to the kefir that had been fermenting away for the last few days.

Four juice-oranges were whizzed up, strained and filtered and put in a large jug. Then most of the kefir liquid was strained and filtered (always leave an inch or two in the bottom of your jar to cover the grains that you are making) into the orange juice.

The whole lot was then mixed together and then poured through a filter into a few stoppered glass bottles, and I hope that this batch is going to be as good as my lime-flavoured kefir from last time, which was excellent.

Finally, I set another lot of kefir en route for later in the week.

By now it was time to go for my afternoon walk

Peche à Pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I mentioned the Peche à Pied – the local pastime of scavenging amongst the rocks and the beach during the very low tides when the public areas below the commercial concessions are exposed

It seems that I may well have been right when I mentioned that it looked as if we are having another very low tide – a Grand Marée – this weekend because, sure enough, the crowds were out on the beach with their buckets and rakes, and whatever else they bring with them.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the Peche à Pied at the Grand Marée in April was forbidden due to the virus, so two of us from THE RADIO broadcast a “virtual Grand Marée instead.

Light Aeroplane Airport Donville les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland there weren’t just crowds of people on the beach either.

There were the veritable hordes swarming around in the sunshine too, but also plenty going on in the air. As I watched, I saw a couple of light aeroplanes take off from the airport at Donville-les-Bains. One of them obligingly headed my way but before I could take a decent photo of it head-on, it veered off out to sea.

While we’re on the subject of the airport at Donville les Bains … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s some talk about allowing international flights to land there again, mainly from the Channel Islands. This will mean that a permanent Police and Customs presence will be required.

All of this can only be a good thing.

Back here, a few more photos, and that leaves just 75 to do. But at the rate that I’m doing them, they are going to take forever to finish off.

Then it was time for the football. An early evening kick-off on the Internet for Barry Town v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

It was a game that finished 0-0 which is hardly a surprise because Connah’s Quay are still missing four of their star players – Danny Holmes, George Horan, and their two star attackers Jamie Insall and Mike Wilde. Chris Curran who normally plays on the wing, had a really good game up front for them but he was never likely to score.

Barry Town had a solid central defence for a change after their debacle the other week, but they too were missing their star attacker Kayne McLaggon and they still haven’t recovered from losing Momodou Touray at the end of last season so they were never really likely to trouble Connah’s Quay’s makeshift defence without Horan and Holmes.

The match though turned on a decision made after just two minutes. A Barry Town attacker burst through the defence and broke clear, only to be fouled by a Nomads defender. Certainly a foul, no doubt about that, but a red card for “denying a player a goalscoring opportunity”? The ball was only just beyond the centre-circle in the Nomads area, about 50 yards from goal with another two defenders bearing down on him and with the ball about 10 yards in front of him that the keeper might even have reached first? To call that a “goalscoring opportunity” is rather stretching things a bit in my opinion. I didn’t agree with that at all.

In fact the referee seemed to have a pop-up toaster in his top pocket because it seemed to me that there was always a yellow card popping up. I think that I counted 8 all told, many of which I wouldn’t have given myself. And the red card given to Barry’s David Cotterill, the former Welsh International, in the dying seconds of injury time for “kicking an opponent” was likewise somewhat exaggerated.

So Connah’s Quay played for 88 minutes with just 10 men and you wouldn’t have noticed because Barry never really had a serious shot on goal. A powerful header right into the arms of keeper Lewis Brass is all that I could think of.

Tea was out of a tin at half-time, and after the final whistle it was time for my evening walk

lighthouse pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change I went around the headland tonight and over some of the runs that I used to do.

The first leg was along the Rue du Roc for some of the way – not as far as I used to go, and then a second leg across the lawn down the side of the hedge to the clifftop where the lighthouse was busy sending out its beam.

Something that not many people know is that each lighthouse has its own individual sequence of lights, to distinguish it from another lighthouse somewhere in the vicinity. Here at Granville it’s four short pulses of light followed by a long pause.

There’s a rotating shield inside the light with bits cut out for the light to shine through which is responsible for that.

coastguard station pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were a few people out there tonight so I wasn’t as alone as I might otherwise have been.

There was even someone inside the Coastguard Station because there was a light on outside and when he saw me about to take a photo he switched it off just to confuse the issue and I had to take the photo again.

At least everyone had cleared off by now so I could run my third leg, along the clifftop. And that wasn’t as good as it might have been because the car park has now become the centre of assembly for all of the adolescents in the town with their motorbikes and music.

But who am I to complain? At their age I was doing just the same. And probably getting into more mischief too while I was at it.

Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back from the shops this morning I went past the chantier navale and I could see that it really is Les Epiettes in there.

There was also a new arrival, to make the total now three in there, so while I was catching my breath in the viewpoint at the top of the cliffs I could take a photo of it for the record.

And from there I ran on home – two extra legs of my fitness regime runs to make up five.

Back at the apartment I encountered one of my neighbours coming back home so we had a lengthy chat about putting the world to rights. And then I came up here to write my notes.

Having done that, I’m off to bed. Sunday tomorrow and a lie-in, but I also have pizza bases to make as well as some kind of dessert. It’s been a while since I’ve made an apple pie so I might have a go at that – either that or a crumble.

It might be a case of waiting until tomorrow to see how I feel.

Friday 9th October 2010 – I’M GLAD …

… that I took Liz’s advice to vent my kefir in the bath.

That’s because it went up like the traditional four-bob rocket when I released the caps, and actually blew the caps and wires out of their sockets. So this will be a good batch. I hope.

Yes, for all my vicissitudes, I’m now back chez moi at the seaside and apparently I’ve brought the bad weather back with me. It was quite nice this morning, so I was told, but about an hour after I came back, it had clouded over.

This morning though, in Leuven, there was a heavy, damp, humid mist of the kind of which I’m so familiar, as anyone who has ever been in Belgium in the autumn will remember. I was up and about bang on the dot of the first alarm at 05:30 – just to prove that I can do it when I really try – and after finishing the packing and making my sandwiches, I headed out for the station.

SNCB 1906 Class 19 Siemens Electric Locomotive Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallAt the station I had to wait 10 minutes for my train – the 06:21 to Blankenberge from Genk.

Being a shorter train than the usual Welkenraedt – Oostende train that I catch, it pulled up short of where I was standing. I had to run a hundred yards or two down the platform to the train. It was pulled by a Type 19 electric locomotive – basically the same as a Type 18 that we had on the way out to Leuven, but fitted with an automatic coupling system.

It was pretty busy too, even right down at the front where I usually sit. That’s quite a surprise at that time of the morning.

Thalys PBKA 4302 Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallMy train to Paris-Nord was already in at the platform when I arrived – 40 minutes before departure, but we couldn’t board right now because while the passengers were there, the crew wasn’t.

This morning we’re going to Paris on one of the Thalys PBKA units – the ones specially-built for the Paris – Brussels – Cologne – Amsterdam service. They differ from the usual PBA units in that they are equipped to work on the German electric railway network.

They are getting on for 25 years old now and surprisingly, are still in quite good and comfortable condition. I’m quite happy to travel on one of these any time. But not so many other people were. Admittedly the 07:35 is the first service to Paris of the morning, and also the cheapest, but there were very few people on board today and we could spread out.

Our train hurtled off from Brussels bang on time and we made such good time that we had to sit outside Paris Gare du Nord for 10 minutes for our slot for the final half-mile.

It was rush-hour of course in Paris – 09:13 when we arrived – and while the Metro was busy, it wasn’t crowded as you might expect. As I said on the way out, it seems that the business life of Paris has changed somewhat with the Corona Virus and that might explain the lack of custom on the TGV.

At the Gare Montparnasse our train was in the station already even though it wasn’t advertised yet. It’s because it’s the only one that has “NORMANDIE” written all down the side of it. No point in trying to board because it will be all locked up, so I took a seat on a bench and read my book.

84559 GEC Alstom Regiolis Gare de Granville Railway Station Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter waiting around for 35 minutes, the train to Granville was announced we were all allowed on board.

The train set is one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis units. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we travel on one of these each time we go back and forth to Paris. There are 361 of these and they started to come into service in 2013. They were so successful that they allowed a whole raft of old equipment from the 70s and 80s to be swept away, and they are all that you ever see now on much of the French railway network, including the Paris-Granville service. I’ve never done the route in anything else.

And I was lucky in my neighbour today on the way back. She can sit beside me any time she like.

The voyage was pretty uneventful so I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was back running the taxis again and I had a yellow Mk IV but was completely yellow, a tidy little car. There was a driver driving for me who lived next door to a Hackney driver but didn’t get on particularly with him. He was quite good at his job. When he came round to start work one morning I was in the middle of changing windscreen wipers over. I’d got them off an old car that we’d had, the wipers and arms, and I was busy switching them over to then new one, getting it ready to go out, the yellow one. This guy was going through the sheets writing out his list of jobs. There were a couple of jobs, long ones and he wondered why he hadn’t been given them. I didn’t know so I told him that it might be something to do with the fact that they didn’t think that the car would be ready by then. Then someone else from another taxi company turned up from Northampton. While I was busy changing the wipers the other driver started chatting to them asking their advice – should he put these jobs down on his sheet or not. I had all the wires – dunno why there were wires on this – tangled up and I was trying to untangle them, everything like that. The more I tried to untangle them, the more tangled they became.

Having done that, I merged a few more composite files and than quietly ate my butties.

Our arrival in Granville was a couple of minutes early. I’m not used to this. It was a pleasant if not tiring walk back home from the station, and the first thing that I did was to spray the bathroom with orange-flavoured kefir.

Most of the stuff that I bought was then unpacked (I forgot some) and then I swapped the files over from the portable computer onto the big office machine. I didn’t do as much as I wanted to do because, what with the early start, I … errr … had a little relax.

That’s possibly because I had the heating on in here. It seems that the cold has arrived.

Tea was taco rolls – there was some stuffing left over from Monday followed by a slice of Blackberry pie out of the freezer.

Later on in the evening I went out for a walk around the headland in the dark. And first thing that I noticed is that the old Opel estate that had been been abandoned on the car park for the last however many months has now been removed.

Les Epiettes Cap Lihou Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a strong wind, but nothing like as strong as it has been. Even so, I didn’t want to hang about. Instead I had a wander around and ended up at the Chantier Navale to see what was happening in there.

We’re down to just two boats now. Les Epiettes, the boat from the Département des Ponts et Cnaussées is still in there on the right, and the trawler on the left which is Cap Lihou is still in there. She’s been there for quite a while and probably now a permanent fixture.

My runs tonight were pretty disappointing. I only managed two and the second one of those was a little shorter than it has been of late. I need to work myself back into it again. Instead of going for my third run, I headed slowly for home. I’ve still managed 114% of my daily activity.

Having written my notes, I’m now off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow and I need a few things to replenish the stocks. And there’s football tomorrow night too so I’ll be busy.

And what is left of my kefir is delicious.

Monday 5th October 2020 – IT’S AN ILL-WIND …

Kite Surfing Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall…. that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so they say.

And that certainly seems to be the case even with Storm Alex. You can see the waves and the whitecaps that have been caught by the wind, and there are a couple of kite-surfers making the most of the horrendous weather, and a very interested seagull intent on watching them at it.

It must have been the same ill wind that blew me out of bed this morning, because I was up and about this morning before the third alarm. “Up”, anyway. I’m not quite sure about the “about” though.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while you admire the photos of the waves crashing down on the Plat Gousset in the aftermath of Storm Alex, I’ll tell you all about it.

Yes there was definitely something going on during the night but I picked up the dictaphone and promptly forgot it again. No idea what it was. But after a minute it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed. It was vaguely something to do with being at work. Someone whom I knew from school was there and someone else and we’d been spending a lot of time chatting. I wasn’t doing any work because I was retired officially. I was just keeping on going as long as they would let me so I was spending most of my time talking or reading books. One or two people had been to see me so we’d talked and then I’d been reading a book hidden in the corridors between the library shelves. It came to coffee time so I went to get my coffee.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d met someone there and we’d had a chat, talkng about football and the football pitch down below. I said that I’d seen the Belgian Prime Minister playing there. This brought a howl of incredulity for he was a big guy, the Belgian Prime Minister. I said that it was only for a couple of seconds and he was substituted. But there were a couple of other people there having some kind of fitness thing. There were 2 guys there streets ahead of everyone else with their fitness so I asked if they should be signed up to a club. He said “no, they aren’t interested in football although they coach some team for their children, something like that”. Then I was on my own and carried on doing a load of stuff, messing around in this canteen. I thought that I’d better get back to my desk anyway so I picked up my breakfast and gently ran through the offices. That schoolfriend was there and he looked at me with a bit of surprise so I waved at him and carried on running to get back to my desk in a hurry and I couldn’t remember what happened next.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhat later there was an old couple and they had a job working for someone. because they had very long arms, or the husband had, long arms and very thin hands he was often asked to do some tasks. On one particular occasion he had to put his hand through a wheel or something to reach the other side to play about with something on the vehicle. He was doing this and suddenly the vehicle rolled back. Of course he had his arms through the spokes and that broke his arm.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever at some point during the night I was trying to close the rear doors like Caliburn’s on a van. For some reason, when I pulled the handle down the pegs weren’t coming down far enough to fit into the bodywork to hold the door closed. I was with, I think, the same schoolfriend as before and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get these pegs to come out far enough. I thought that I could conceivably get in and close the door from inside and climb back out through the window because there was no glass in the aperture in the back (I was confusing myself by now with MY RED CORTINA ESTATE . Then I noticed that the doors were rotten and I thought that maybe I could get some more doors for it but for some reason I just couldn’t get this door to shut.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe same ill-wind that was blowing us all into next week blew me into a frenzy this morning. Just for a change, I had a bad attack of motivation and I was able, to my own surprise and probably to yours as well, to sit down and in one swell foop I completed a radio programme from start to absolute finish.

It’s all totally completed, one hour’s worth of it, and been listened to and checked.

We had the usual break for lunch and afterwards, I had a little task to perform because Saturday’s Kefir mix is now good and ready.

Kefir Mix Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI took three juice-oranges and whizzed them into oblivion, and then strained the juice out through a conical sieve into a large 2-litre jug. Then I gently and slowly poured out the kefir mix through a mesh coffee filter into the jug with the juice, taking care that the grains of Kefir remained covered with liquid. There should be a couple of inches of liquid left in the jar.

Finally, I strained the combined liquid back through the coffee filter (which I had placed in a large funnel) into a couple of bottles and capped them.

Having done that, I added 40 grams of sugar to the liquid that remained, three slices of lemon and two halves of a fig, and then a litre and a half of water. That’s now brewing in the jar and will be good and ready by the time that I return from Leuven.

That was about 90 minutes out of my day all told but nevertheless, by as early as 15:30 it was completed and ready to be heard. That was the moment for me to go out for the afternoon walk.

Fog in English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an old headline in an English Newspaper about 100 or so years ago – “Fog In The Channel – Continent Cut Off”.

At the moment, it’s not the Continent that has been cut off by the fog but the Ile de Chausey. You can’t see a thing out there today, despite the howling gale that’s blowing around today. There is in fact a fishing boat that’s out here someone – I’ve seen a photo of it leaving port this morning in the storm – but there’s no possibility of knowing where it is in this kind of weather.

As well as that, I’ve no idea where anyone else is either. Probably at home, I reckon, because there was no-one at all out there this afternoon and I don’t blame them for one moment.

Waves Breaking Over Le Loup Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWending my weary way around the headland I was met by an enormous blast of wind that almost bowled me over.

The wind was raging into the Baie de Mont St Michel and even though the tide was quite well out, the waves were being blown in with an impressive amount of force and the poor little Le Loup, the marker light that marks the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was taking the brunt of it.

The yacht school was not out there in the bay today either and that’s hardly any surprise at all. And that reminds me that I still have to go and talk to them about lessons. I should be seizing opportunities like this.

Les Epiettes Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo chance of running along the top of the wall in this wicked wind so I strolled gently along to the viewpoint overlooking the Chantier Navale.

We are now back up to four boats because we now have a nouvelle arrivante in there this afternoon. I couldn’t see a name on her but she looks as if the might be Les Epiettes, the boat that belongs to the French Département de Ponts et Chaussées – the Ministry of Roads and Bridges.

She’s certainly carrying the same official Government colours and so it’s an official boat, and Les Epiettes has been the one that has been around here in the area. We saw it over at the Ile de Chausey when we were there with Spirit of Conrad in July

Chausiais La Grande Ancre Coelacanthe Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe know that there’s a fishing boat that’s gone out to sea this morning, but it seems that it’s the only one that is.

There are plenty of other boats moored in the harbour that haven’t put to sea today. From left to right we have Chausiais, the freighter that takes supplies and equipment out to the Ile de Chausey, la Grande Ancre, a small freighter that seems to undertake a variety of tasks from transporting tractors out to the mussel farm on the Ile de Chausey to going out to catch a load of shellfish herself.

On the right is Coelacanthe, the sister ship to Le Tiberiade that we have just seen in the Chantier Navale. She’s one of the biggest trawlers in the port so if she’s not out at sea then things must be nad out there.

Traffic Lights Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the streets of the old Medieval City within the walls are very narrow.

Just recently there has been a great deal of work done on the streets in there and it looks as if there is more going on there today. We have another set of traffic lights at the Porte St Jean so presumably they are working on the road in the one-way system somewhere in there. What I’ll have to do, if the weather allows me to go out this evening, is to go and find out where they are. I don’t recall seeing any notices about there.

By this time I was totally fed up of the wet weather so I turned for home and came in. There was a pool of water at the foot of the stairs, presumably blown underneath the door by the wind.

While I listened the radio programme that I had prepared, I went through the photos that I’d taken and edited them. And there was a distraction as I had to hunt down an image file that was lost in the depths of my computer.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter my hour on the guitar, tea was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a pepper remaining, followed by the last of the strawberry tart with coconut soya dessert, following which I went out for my evening stroll.

The wind had dropped somewhat by now but still quite blustery, and there were a few squalls of rain swirling around. Nevertheless there was still the heavy fog and it was difficult to see anything out at sea. There was no-one about at all which is no surprise so I ended up having quite a comfortable run all the way along the footpath under the walls in the wind and rain.

Once I’d recovered my breath, I carried on walking and eventually ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t difficult to gather what was going on due to the noise. You could hear it from half-way around the walls.

The tide is now about an hour and a half from high but nevertheless the waves are really intense in the storm and are crashing down with a considerable amount of force on the promenade at the Plat Gousset. Just imagine what it’s going to be like at high tide if it keeps up like this.

The weather being a little calmer tonight than it was on Saturday, so I could hang around for a little longer tonight. The photos are a little better too because of that but I’d love to be able to improve my technique. Don’t forget that I’m working on the edge of the technology that I have.

Road Works Rue Cambernon Rue Notre Dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving watched the storm for a few minutes I turned round and ran off down the full length of the Square Maurice Marland.

Having recovered my breath I walked through the alleyway and down the Rue Notre Dame towards home. My eye was open for whatever it was that the traffic lights at the Porte St Jean were controlling, and here at the corner of the Rue Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame I discovered the issue.

It was far too dark to look into the hole to see what was happening, but I could certainly hear the noise of running water. It sounds as if there’s a burst water main down there. The fact that parking is now forbidden on the way up to the church seems to indicate that they’ll be digging up there tomorroz.

Trawler Unloading At Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was used to the weather so I went for a wander around the walls.

The other night we saw a fishing boat unloading at the fish processing plant but tonight there seems to be three of them currently unloading. There’s another one in the darkness just there too, and a few more over on the other side of the harbour looking as if they are making ready to leave for the open sea.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my hat comes off to all of those heading out to sea in weather like this. I stood there and watched them too, and then turned on my heel and ran on back to the apartment.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. I’m off on the train tomorrow to my appointment with Destiny so I need to be on form. I need to do some tidying up before I go and I must also remember to feed my sourdough before I set off.

It’s all go in here, isn’t it?