Category Archives: super U

Monday 21st June 2021 – I’VE BEEN EXTREMELY …

… active today, and that has surprised me as mush as it has probably surprised you.

sanding down of hull yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact I’ve been down to the chantier navale this afternoon to have a look around the two boats that are in there.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there of course. It looks as if she is going to be having a new paint job. There’s a guy over there busy sanding down her bottom with one of these big industrial sanders and so I imagine that Rebelle is going to be in there for a good while yet.

But what is interesting about her is her port of registration. She’s registered in London so I’m curious to know what she’s actually doing here in Granville. It’s a very long way to come for a refit and a repaint.

gwenn ha ruz chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe fishing boat that we’ve seen for the last couple of weeks is actually called Gwenn Ha Ruz

And in case you are wondering what Gwenn Ha Ruz is, it’s actually Breton for “White and Red” and presumably relates to the colour of her hull and superstructure.

And whatever you do, you must not confuse it with Gwenn Ha Du, “Black and White”. These are of course the colours of Brittany and it is also the name of one of these organisations like the Free Wales Army or the irish Republican Army who led a very active life fighting for the liberation of Brittany and doing things like blow up statues and burning down Prefectures.

Although the Organisation was dissolved after World War II, it inspired the Talbenn Dieubiñ Breizh or “Liberation Front of Brittany”, a society that gained a lot of publicity in the 1960s and early 1970s during criminal trials against its leaders and led indirectly to a revival of the Breton culture and language.

But be that as it may, let’s start at the very beginning. Once again I was up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I cracked on with the radio programme that I was doing.

Despite stopping for a coffee and a little later for breakfast, I had it all finished and ready to go by 11:45, and I’ll go with that any time.

While I was listening to it and to the programme that will be broadcast this weekend (another live concert) I sorted out the music on the computer. There are piles of various albums and I hadn’t a clue who half of the artists were so I did some research and edited the file names of the songs to add in the artists.

Ad there’s another “various artists” album added to the collection now. I’d bought one in Canada a couple of years ago and hadn’t digitalised it yet. But I have now!

After lunch I spent a very pleasant hour or so editing photos of my trip to Wyoming in August 2019. I’m now in Wind River Canyon on my way back to Winnipeg, where I might arrive in a couple of days given a bit of luck, God’s help and a bobby.

But right now I have to go out to the shops.

patrol boat baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I don’t get very far before I’m side-tracked by some activity out at sea. In fact, probably not even 100 yards.

Just gently passing by the harbour entrance is what looks like one of the French Government’s patrol boats. There is one, called Les Epiettes, that loiters around here and we saw that in July 2020 when we were on the Spirit of Conrad out at the Ile de Chausey but of course I’m not able to tell you whether it’s the same boat.

Whoever she is, she’s towing some kind of boat behind her. That’s not her lifeboat of course – it’s rather too big for that so I wonder what that is all about. It might account for her coming up to the pleasure port – to drop it off at a pontoon.

trawlers waiting to enter inner harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on along the street I was brought to a shuddering halt again.

It looks as if I’ve arrived here just at the right moment. The harbour gates that control the mouth of the harbour are closed but judging by the gaggle of trawlers hanging around down there, the gates are about to open.

Once the gates are open the trawlers will swarm through into the inner harbour and go and unload round the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

Down the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I went and ended up at the chantier navale where I took the photos that you saw a little earlier.

From the chantier navale I headed off into town.

diver with aqualung port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hallmy little trek was interrupted by this strange sight at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the boats needs some work doing below the waterline because we have a diver complete with aqualung walking around on the pontoons. And so I said to him “don’t you start away, uneasy. You poor old sod, you see it’s only me”.

Down the road I went towards the town centre. At the Super U I bought a lettuce because that which I had brought home from Leuven was dead, and also some of that dried and candied fruit that I stick in my fruit bread. I’ve run out of Liz’s cake so I need to make some more fruit bread.

Over the road I went to the pharmacy where I stocked up on medication with the prescription from my GP. And it’s a good job that I didn’t collect that three months’ supply in Leuven because my GP has prescribed me three months’ worth of medication. Now I have enough to sink a ship and that’s exactly what I wanted.

While I was out there I kept on colliding with a couple who must have visited every shop in the town trying to find some “Eskimo” ice cream.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLoaded up now with more stuff than I intended to bring home, I climbed up the hill in the Rue Des Juifs on my way home.

Half-way up the hill where the viewpoint is overlooking the loading bay I had a look down there to see what was going on. The swimming pool is there so we can assume that Normandy Trader has yet to put her sooty foot in the harbour.

However there seems to be nothing else lined up on the quayside so maybe she isn’t going to be coming in for a few days yet.

While we’re on the subject, on a few occasions Thora used to come into port with a load of scrap iron – old lorries, tractors, all kinds of metal. But I’ve not seen any of that lined up on the quayside for quite a while. Perhaps the price of scrap has dropped.

demolition of unsafe staircase square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, there’s some kind of activity going on across the road in the Square Potel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in early summer 2020 the stairway that led down to the Square from up on the wall was closed off to the public as being unsafe. A while later, the spending plan of the town stated that restoration work on the stairs and the repointing of the wall would take place in 2020.

But looking at the little low wall around the Square, that’s been renovated and repointed, and the stairs have been brought down, presumably by that digger that’s there. So they are getting going with this earlier than planned, by the looks of things.

In a couple of weeks time it will be interesting to see how the square will look as the renovations proceed.

While we’re on the subject of proceeding, I proceeded on up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I arrived at my building I carried on across the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

There’s even less beach than there was yesterday but nevertheless there are some people down there on the rocks. They look as if they have been in the sea for a swim and they are braver people than me.

Back in my apartment I made myself a coffee and then went to listen to the dictaphone. There is stuff on there for the last four days which I transcribed and one of these days I’ll add in the detains to the previous three days whenever I can find a moment. I might actually have done it today but I … errr … had a little relax while I was riding the porcelain horse.

As for last night I was playing in a pop group last night, playing bass. I’d gone and bought myself a new cabinet, a 300-watt combo things. I was working out first of all how to make a cover for it out of plywood or something. Then I took it up onto the stage, took the cover off and took the plug out of my little amp and plugged it into the back of this big machine and started to play. The sound was so much better, as you might expect for the money but there was a flat spot where I played two notes but you could hear it waling down the street. Some guy had brought a …. I fell asleep here for 7.5 minutes … so where was I? Anyway, I had this bass cabinet and was playing it. Some Irish guy had this weird mouth harp thing but he was playing it but wasn’t getting any sound out of it. We were all joking about him getting more and more frustrated until suddenly he opened the top of it and found that he should be inserting a battery in there – a big PP9 battery from the 1950s.
But while I was asleep just now I was in Caliburn and I was in a seaside town looking up on a cliff. I was driving back to the town but I lost my way and ended up on a street full of semi-detached bungalows, obviously second holiday homes, all closed up and everything. Then I went back to the main road and back down the hill. There was a big chalk quarry with a couple of huge trees that had been blown down with the explosives and there were probably 1000 hunters there with guns. I had to thread my way through as I was on foot by this time. As I reached the other side I met two people – they might have been two people from work. I said to Lucien “I don’t fancy anyone’s chances here. As someone sees a squirrel there is 1000 people shooting at it. The skin is going to be no use for anything and the meat is going to be riddled with lead. But they were really lucky because they saw something moving and they were just about to shoot and it turned out to be a cat. Some little kids had to go and try to catch the cat or chase it away.

There was the hour on the guitar while I picked my way note by note through the bass lines of one of the tracks that I need to learn, and then for tea it was veggie balls with pasta and veg followed by apple turnover, which was delicious.

Now I’m going to prepare some dough for my fruit bread, and then I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow – the last of the Academic year – so I need to be on form.

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Saturday 27th March 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the most uneventful journey that I have ever had since I’ve been going back and to to Leuven.

It might have been all so different though. It’s a good job that I checked the telephone before I went to bed because I found that I had forgotten to set the alarms for this morning. And there would be very little chance of me awakening from the dead at 05:00.

So with the alarms switched on and me fully dressed and not having had one of these new knock-out pill things that they have prescribed for me, I went to bed and slept right through, just awakening once and not having had an attack of cramp either.

As for whether there is anything on the dictaphone, you’ll have to wait for another day to find out about that.

When the alarm went off at 05:00 I leapt out of bed with alacrity and by 05:30 I’d packed, made my sandwiches, washed up, tidied up, handed back my keys and was halfway down the road to the railway station.

multiple unit am96 automotrice 569 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallBang on 06:14 my train pulled into the station.

It’s one of the AM96 class of multiple units running the train to one of the smaller towns on the Belgian “Costa Stella”. We’ve travelled on quite a few of these and I happen to quite like them. They are quite clean, tidy and comfortable considering that they are over 20 years old now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and you’ll say it again” – ed … when two of these sets are coupled together, the two driving cabs that are next to each other can pivot out of the way so that passengers can walk from one set to the next

Despite having to go round by the airport, we pulled up in the Gare du Midi with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4523 gare du midi railway station brussels belgium Eric HallThe train for the next part of my journey – the trip to Lille Europe – was already in the station.

It’s one of the Reseau 38000 tri-volt units on which we’ve travelled quite regularly. The train is the 07:17 to Strasbourg that goes via Lille, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then cross country.

Although the doors were open, there was a sign saying “do not embark” but after waiting around for 10 minutes freezing we all had a minor revolt and boarded the train regardless. It set off on time and roared off down the line towards Lille Europe Railway station where it arrived on time.

Then I had my 10-minute walk across the city to the Lille Flandres railway station. My leg was still giving me cause for concern but it was certainly better than it was on the way out after my fall. I made it quite comfortably with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Reseau Duplex 218 gare de lille flandres France Eric HallAt Lille-Flandres, my train was already in at the platform. It’s another one of the TGV Reseau Duplex sets that work the route from Paris to Lille.

My seat is, as usual, upstairs on the top deck and, just like the previous train, there was plenty of room to spread out, due to the low numbers of passengers riding right now with the Covid restrictions.

On the way into Paris I ended up having a little doze and awoke with a start as we were creeping into the suburbs. Bang on time yet again. I headed off for the metro and just as I set foot on the platform a train pulled in so I didn’t have to wait at all for my TRAVERSEE DE PARIS, with or without Bourvil to carry my suitcase.

84574 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse I went up the stairs down which I had fallen the other day, and say a train that looked like mine sitting at the platform.

It wasn’t indicated though so we had to wait around for about an hour or so. That’s the annoying thing about Paris main-line railway stations though. They are huge, draughty and there is nowhere for anyone to sit. I had to stand up leaning against a notice board, watching the police interrogate foreigners and the like and check their papers.

With about 20 minutes to go before our train was due to depart, the platform number came up on the station display board and e could make our way to the train. And it was indeed the train that I had seen at the platform.

84561 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 12-car train made of two 6-car units and quite naturally I was in the second unit right down the far end.

Once we set off I spent some time working on the photos from my trip in 2019. I’m now on the Deadwood Trail in South Dakota, waiting for the Deadwood Stage to be heading on over the hills, where the Indian arrows are thicker than porcupine quills. I covered a darn sight more than 23 miles on that day.

To my surprise we pulled into Granville 2 minutes early. I gathered up my stuff and headed off down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs into town.

On the way past, I called into Super U to pick up some mushrooms for my pizza tomorrow and then headed for home where I collapsed into a chair.

The football came on later – Caernarfon Town v Cardiff Metro. Caernarfon aren’t a particularly skilful team but they are an efficient team. Cardiff Metro, technically pretty good as you might expect, lack the skill to go with it and are extremely lightweight up front.

The Met’s central defenders are skilful and brave but they are probably the slowest, most ponderous pair that I have ever seen. Caernarfon won the match 3-2, a score that flattered the Met, having taken advantage of the Met’s central defenders by catching them too far upfield on two occasions and beating them to a couple of long balls over the top.

Mind you, Noah Edwards’ long-ball pass for the first goal is about as good as you’ll ever get at this level of football. It was an absolutely inch-perfect curving long-ball pass with the outside of the right foot. Just look at AT ABOUT 25 MINUTES INTO THE VIDEO (ABOUT 11 MINUTES OF THE GAME) and you’ll see what I mean.

For a couple of hours I did some tidying up on the computer and then went for tea. A burger that I had brought back from Leuven with a couple of the mountain of potatoes that are were still waiting for me here.

Now that that’s done, I’m off to bed. No alarm in the morning so I’m hoping for a good lie-in. I reckon that I need it after my day. Not that I had a stressful journey back. There won’t be another one as calm as that.

Wednesday 6th January 2021 – I WON’T EVER SEE …

… my friendly neighbourhood ginger cat again.

Regular readers of this rubbish may recall that I mentioned a while ago that his mum, one of my neighbours, had been offered an apartment in sheltered accommodation due to her age and infirmity. This afternoon as I put my head outside the door of the building I saw a removal van outside the door to her block.

And when I went out later this evening, her apartment was totally empty and cleared out. There she was – she and her cat – gone, and never called me mother (next week, East Lynne).

As for me I was totally gone last night too. When I finally made it into bed, late as usual just recently, I was out like a light and didn’t move a muscle until the alarm went off. And while I didn’t actually beat the third alarm, I wasn’t many minutes behind it.

After the medication I had a few things to do and then I had to ring up the doctor’s and make an appointment. And you can tell that this isn’t the UK.
“Is it urgent?”
“no, not particularly”
“Is 9:30 tomorrow OK?”

Haven’t dealt with that I sat down to start to dictate the notes that I’d written but then almost immediately I was interrupted by a telephone call. Would I like to go for a coffee with the manager of the radio station?

So I managed to dictate all of the notes and then go and have a shower before I headed off across the car park to the Municipal offices at the back. Coffee was served and then we had a lengthy chat about Brexit and Scottish and Welsh independence.

Very little to do with the radio, and it seemed to me that I was being interrogated for something, although I don’t know what it might be. We shall see what transpires of this in due course, if anything.

There was no bass guitar practice tonight. Even though I seem to be a little better today, it’s not that much better and it took me an age to do what it would normally take a couple of hours to do. When it came to 18:00 and knocking-off time, I wasn’t far away from finishing so I pushed on and by 18:35 both of the outstanding radio programmes were now completed up and running.

Of course we had had a couple of interruptions. Lunch was taken of course and unfortunately the bread supplies are quite low. I need to look into this.

There was the afternoon walk and today this was a walk with a difference.

If I’m baking bread tomorrow morning, I may as well make a sourdough fruit loaf so having fed the sourdough and watched it rise like a lift, I headed off into town. I have no jellied fruit and I need to buy some. The Super U in the town is the place for that.

water tower chateau d'eau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside it was cold and cloudy but with the sun poking through the clouds here and there.

But just for a change, instead of the sun lighting up the sea or the Brittany cliffs or whatever, today the sun was streaming down onto the water tower up near the Shopping Centre. It was all particularly impressive.

The Super U came up trumps with the jellied fruit but my new bank card wouldn’t work. having tried a couple of times I paid in cash and went round to the Bank to try it there. Once again, it didn’t work so I went to chat to a cashier.

It seems that Brain of Britain has struck again. Somehow I must have taken the old card out of my wallet, signed the new card and then put the old card back in the wallet.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else much going on in the town I headed back for home.

By now, with the sun having moved around on its cycle and with the clouds having been blown around by the wind the sun was now shining in a different direction. It was rather later than usual so we were having a gorgeous orange glow in the sky which was reflecting off the water in the bay.

This is without doubt one of the best sunsets that we’ve seen so far, even though the photo was being photobombed by a seagull flying through the shot and I stayed out there for a while to watch it – the sunset that is, not the seagull.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there I had a look down to see what was going on at the chantier navale

There was nothing special going on there this afternoon. The yacht is still there on its blocks and there are a couple of cars parked around it. It’s not clear though whether they have anything to do with the yacht or its owners. There certainly doesn’t seem to have been much progress on the yacht, whatever they might be doing, over the past few months.

The trawler is still there too, parked up on blocks at the back near the portable boat lift. There’s a van parked right by it so it might well be that there has been some kind of work being undertaken.

But that’s been there for a while too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRather than go straight home I went to have a look out to sea from the North side of the headland to see if there was anything exciting going on.

Nothing much at all though this afternoon. No boats out to sea or anything else. There were a few people out walking on the beach, presumably looking for shellfish or something similar lying around on the beach. I’m not sure what they have found.

For a couple of minutes I watched them and then came on back into the apartment for a hot coffee and a slice of Christmas cake. Having digested that I cracked on with the radio work that I had been doing until I finished it.

And I might have finished it earlier too had I not crashed out a couple of times.

gymnasium jean galfione Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the practice with the 6-string guitar, I headed off out for my evening walk.

Seeing as I hadn’t been round the headland this afternoon I went that way this evening in the dark. The gymnasium of the College Malraux was all lit up and so there must have been something going in there. It’s actually called the Gymnase Jean Galfione.

And in case you are wondering who Jean Galfione was when he was at home, if he ever was, he is probably France’s most successful pole vaulter and won the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games as well as winning several other championship events.

woman with laptop pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s a shame that this photo hasn’t worked out as I wanted, but it was taken in quite a hurry.

You can’t actually see clearly in this photo but there’s a woman there with a large dog, and also a laptop computer. And what she’s doing working on a laptop with a dog outside in the middle of winter I really do not know.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few months ago we also saw a couple of other people working on a laptop outside in the cold on the city walls. So I’ve no idea what that is all about.

From there, I ran home – my first run for a week or 10 days. I really wasn’t up to it and I was in agony when I finished but I can’t let this thing pass me by.

Tea was pasta with veg and some veggie balls followed by defrosted apple crumble; And then I made my sourdough loaf – or, at least, the first mix of it so that it can do what it might do overnight. It’s crammed full of goodies like

  • a pile of whizzed up brazil nuts
  • several dessert spoons of desiccated coconut
  • ditto sunflower seeds
  • a couple of handfuls of raisins
  • ditto jellied fruits

and I can’t wait to see how it comes out.

And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m going to make some dough for my main loaf and let that rise overnight too. It both loaves have their second kneading first thing tomorrow morning, they’ll be ready to bake as soon a I come back from the shops and I can have fresh bread for lunch.

Sunday 16th August 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

… you’re wondering, I’m back home.

But there’s a slight problem, as Alison will understand because we talked about it. In all honesty for the last couple of weeks I’ve not been feeling myself … “quite right too – disgusting habit” – ed … and the feeling has slowly been getting worse until today when it finally erupted.

Today therefore I was up early and I pushed on home.

Not before I had a listen to the dictaphone though.

There was some kind of police incident last night with all of these really violent criminals and we were caught in the crossfire. These criminals had 12-bore shotguns sticking them inside our vehicle and pulling the trigger, everything like that. I couldn’t see how anyone could have survived in it. It was the most violent thing I’ve ever seen or been involved with. Eventually we were set free. it seemed that the police had overwhelmed these criminals which was the most surprising thing, and when we got out and checked ourselves over we found that we were totally unhurt. I couldn’t believe that for a minute. I was the last to be released from the car. I had a little chat with them. They were telling me all kinds of security precautions that I knew mainly vaguely. Then they took me off to a room. There was a bed in 1 little room, annexe type of place and there was someone in there. I asked him where all the others were. he said that they were in the next room so I went in there. One of the people was a boy whom I knew from school – what the hell is he doing? He was just finishing some tea and saying that he’s on the 16:00 bus the same as me. We started to have a little chat and I remember sayng that apparently I’m unharmed which really surprised me. We had a little chat about something or other involving this.

Later on there was something to do with nurses last night. One of them was talking to some people discussing a strike that had taken place. She said that there was only her and one or two other people and a patient from France who were still working at this particular local hospital. Somewhere in this I had a kind of plastic knife thing like a scraper that was used for cutting rope. I’d used it on a piece of rope but somehow the blade had come dislodged and I had to work out how I was going to get the blade back in because it had taken ages for it to be assembled and I wasn’t quite sure about it.

There was another thing about some kind of lorry. I thought that it was a Ford D-series artic tractor but it was in fact a very short wheelbase kind of lorry with high sides at the back for gravel, that kind of thing parked up at the side of the road. I had to park my van somewhere and work out where was the best way to take a photograph of it. I tried all kinds of places to get a good photograph but the person in this van was getting a bit fed up about it. I managed to get one photograph but it wasn’t very good. It turned out to be a Mercedes too. Then I walked to try to get a photo and ended up at a place where there were loads of people standing as if they were waiting to be picked up by people coming in cars. I had to walk back and clamber over the side of this verge to get a good photo but while I was doing it this lorry just drove away which annoyed me.

hotel st daniel Rue Bataille 16, 7600 Péruwelz, Belgium eric hallFirst thing to do was to go and rescue Caliburn. I wasn’t leaving him out in the street but there was a locked compound opposite (for an extra charge, of course) where he would be perfectly safe.

This gave me an opportunity to take a photograph of my extremely expensive hotel, with the sun streaming into the lens. And expensive it was too – with the receptionist going to check the contents of the fridge in the room before he would chack me out.

We also had something of an argument about a missing bottle of Schweppes until the housemaid butted in to confirm that she didn’t put one in.

The experience put me right off this hotel.

cyclists basilique notre dame de bon secours Place Absil B 7603 Bon Secours Belgium eric hallFinding my way out of town was quite an experience too, with a railway line blocking me at every turn.

However in the end I found what I was looking for. This is the Basilique Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours.

It started life as an oak tree, would you believe, in the Middle Ages. When it died they made a statue of Mary from the wood and it became a centre of pilgrimage for some unknown reason.

In 1637 a chapel was constructed to shelter the statue and then, like Topsy, “it just growed”, The current building dates from 1885-1892, and was awarded the title of “Basilica” by Pope Pius X in 1910.

Incidentally, where I am when I’m taking this photo is in France. Peruwelz is that close to the French border.

Leaving Peruwelz and entering France, there was something that I needed to do so I set course for Albert.

In the past I’d read countless books about the Battle of the Somme and I’d been interested in stories about how the top of the church spire was used as a watch tower by the British and how the Germans could clearly see its gilded top from their lines.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Brebières 20 Rue Anicet Godin, 80300 Albert France viewed from behind German lines eric hallThat was what I wanted to see for myself and due to a variety of different circumstances I didn’t have the opportunity to do that when I was here 18 months ago

So here I am, standing roughly where the Second Line of German trenches would have been prior to the British offensive of 1916 and you can indeed see the church spire quite clearly from here – and probably even clearer still when there is no early-morning mist about.

One of the locals was clearly upset by my stopping outside his house to take the photo. He came out to his front gate to have a look at me so I gave him a cheery toot and a wave as I departed.

ford ranger taking up four parking places super U 82 Avenue du Général Faidherbe, 80300 Albert france eric hallJust down the road is the town of Albert and there’s a supermarket there. That’s where I stopped to buy food for lunch as I don’t have very much in the van.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking takes up a lot of space on my pages, and here’s another one that is probably more pathetic than most.

Here on the car park at the Super U in Albert, this rather sad and sorry person has chosen to take up no fewer than four car parking spaces with his Ford Ranger. It surely isn’t possible to be any more selfish than this.

caliburn 200,000 kilometres france eric hallOn the way home, we reached a very important milestone in Caliburn’s life was reached.

Somewhere between Amiens and Neufchatel-en-Bray Caliburn’s tripmeter clocked up to 200,000 kilometres. Not bad for a boy who’s just celebrated his 13th birthday. He’s in line for a reward when we return home, whenever that might be.

As I mentioned earlier, for the last week or so I’ve not been feeling too good and I’ve gradually become worse and worse. The farther along the road I drove, the worse I became and I began to worry about reaching home.

It was my intention to call in on Liz and Terry and drop off Terry’s brushcutter but I was in no fit state to do that. I pushed on homewards thinking that the sooner I reach home the better

And just as well, for back here, it was a struggle for me to even climb up the stairs.

First thing that I did when I was up here was to call the boys on the great white telephone, after which I could peruse the finest details of what I’d eaten for the last few days.

Now I’m off to bed, with a handy bucket by my side, and normal service will be resumed as soon as the crisis passes.

Friday 6th December 2019 – I HAVE JUST SEEN …

… one of the strangest football matches that I have seen for quite some considerable time.

It’s the Welsh Cup this weekend and there are several banana skins lying aound. One of those is Carmarthen Town v Rhydaman, and this was shown on the live internet feed tonight.

Carmarthen are at the foot of the Welsh Premier League and struggling whereas Rhydaman, one division below them in the pyramid, are in 5th place and having a good run of form. Not the match that I would have picked – I’d have gone for Colwyn Bay v Airbus – but’s good enough. It’s the kind of game where you can smell that someone is in for a scalping.

And a scalping there certainly was. Rhydaman, playing away from home at Carmarthen, ran out winners. And not just by the odd goal either but they won 0-4.

You would have thought from the scoreline that this was a right spannering, but that was very far from the truth. Whilst Rhydaman were the better side, they weren’t all that better. The difference was that we were treated to 4 magic moments of Trundlemania

Yes, Lee Trundle. He must be 45 now if he’s a day but still proving that he can cut it with the best and while he’s slowed down considerably as you might expect, he still showed the kind of magic that made him a multi-million pound footballer in the days when multi-million pound footballers were still quite thin on the ground.

I mean – just HOW do you defend against something like this?

Despite a reasonably early night, I missed the alarms again. Not by much – only a few minutes in fact, but missed them nevertheless.

Not only that, although there was nothing on the dictaphone, I had a vague recollection that during the night I’d been on a voyage and found something that was way beyond exciting – the same feeling of elation that I had when I I came across that Santana concert after 42 years of searching.

But what it was, we shall never know now.

After the medication and breakfast, with no dictaphone notes to do, I attacked a couple of digital music files to break up into tracks.

One of them took me four hours to do, and for a variety of reasons too. It was an album of a live concert and with this digital sound analyser program that I have, I could see that it was a series of individual tracks that had been artificially joined together – and by a blind man by the looks of it too.

16 tracks altogether so it took me quite a while to edit all of the joints together properly so that it actually looks like a live concert as well as sounds like one too.

Then I had to break the file down into 16 individual tracks and save each one of those individually, but not before I’d copied about 15 decent applause tracks (some of which went on for half a minute and more) from the file, cut out any speech and unnecessary noise from them, boosted the volume in what are called “S-curves” in places to hide the difference in volume in the joins where I’ve cut things out, and then saved them to disk as 15 individual files.

Applause tracks are good and I love them because I can do all kinds of exciting things with them. But you need a good number of them from the same concert because if you “mix and match” applause tracks from different concerts, the applause doesn’t sound similar and it gives the appearance of being false. And if they are long applause tracks, you can cut them down and that gives you even more opportunity to make something different.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound about 12:45 I knocked off for lunch.

No bread here and no lettuce either so a walk into town was on the cards. And quite right too. Past the docks where the harbour gates were open sothe trawlers could come inside to unload.

And Charles-Marie is still over there with her winter wrap on.

trawler seagull photobomb port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe gates to the harbour can’t have been open all that long because there were several fishing boats on their way into port right now.

This one coming into port just here gave me a good opportunity for a photo-shoot but as I took a shot, my photo was once more bombed by a blasted seagull.

They get absolutely everywhere, these perishing things.

At the Super-U the lettuce was extortionate. €1:39 for a small one. That’ll teach me to forget one at LIDL, won’t it?

stage place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceAt La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and walked across to the Place general de gaulle to see what was going on.

Nothing right now as you can see, but clearly something will be going on in the very near future because we seem to have acquired a stage.

That’s going to upset a few of the marketeers tomorrow. It’ll quite take the shine off their sausages, now that they can begin to roast them again with charcoal following a recent Court decision.

badgers dry ski slope place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceBut what about our famous ski slope in the town?

No room for any humans on there because we seem to have been overrun by animals. I can understand why they might want to use animals as decoration, but why beavers … or … errr … Castors to the French people around here.

What does a beaver have to do with the festive season?

reindeer sleigh place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceThis is much more like the kind of thing you would expect to see at Christmas, isn’t it?

We have a sledge here and a reindeer pulling it. Presumably there will be a Father Christmas around somewhere to travel in it.

But I have a cunning plan and I shall be having a word with Strawberry Moose in early course and we will go for a little walk together late one night for a photo opportunity.

christmas decorations square potel rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceYesterday I mentioned and indeed showed you a photograph of the Christmas decorations that they were unloading at the Square Potel in the rue des Juifs, and I remember saying that I would go for a butcher’s today.

So here I am in the Square Potel with the decorations and I do have to say that I’m considerably underwhelmed by it all.

Mybe it’s just me I dunno, but I was expecting much more than this.

After lunch, I attacked the sound mixing desk for the vocals for the current project. It took me hours to figure out again how to record anything with it because I had forgotten what I did last time. And then I had to clean out all of the test files, set the volume levels and the like, and then clean out those test files too.

And then I could start.

The recording level is quite low using the built-in mike but my sound analyser program enhances that with no loss of quality. But there is a major problem with it, in that there’s no “pause” facility. So every time you stop for a think or to clear your throat, it restarts with a new track.

Trying to edit out about 40 of those into one coherent track and then split that down into tis segments is going to take me an age.

But I have made a startling discovery, and that is that the mikes that I bought for the mixing panel, using the adapter that came with them I can plug them into the dictaphone, which DOES have a pause facility. And also an output for headphones.

In view of this, I see a whole new world opening up for me here. For although the sound is somewhat tinny, it seems to be of a much higher quality.

storm at sea english channel pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne thing that I didn’t mention today is that the high winds are back. And with a vengeance too.

There was quite a storm raging out offshore and so even though the tide was on its way out, the waves were still rattling down on the rocks.

Not too many people out there today and that’s hardly a surprise given the conditions.

strange lighting conditions brittany coast granville manche normandy franceBut overcast and miserable and foggy it might be here, over across the bay on the Brittany coast they were having a different kind of weather.

Low cloud, yes, but on the periphery there was bright sunshine and it was creating a most unusual lighting effect over there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it could do the same thing around here on this side of the bay?

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGoing around the headland was taking my life in my hands with the wind that was sweeping around there.

narrowly avoiding being squidged on the pedestrian crossing, I went round the cliff to see what the waves were doing on the sea wall.

Not a lot, because the tide was going out rapidly. It must have bee quite impressive an hour or so ago.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceNothing changed at all in the chantier navale today, and Normandy Trader had sodded off too … “that was quick” – ed … so I stood and armired the waves for a little longer.

Every now and again there was a wave more powerful and deeper than the others, and that was providing me with some exciting entertainment.

But after a while I gave it up and headed for home and coffee.

bad parking boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking features quite regularly in these pages. Here’s another example.

I’d seen her pull up as I was on my way home with my lettuce and bread, and I thought to myself at the time “she’s not going to leave that car there, straddling two places and with 6 feet of room in front, is she?”

But yes she is. Gets right on my wick it does.

Back to the sound files and then a break for tea. I made a curry with the leftovers again and there were so many leftovers that there are some leftovers left over. That’ll be a tea for another night then, won’t it?

This evening it was raining when I went out so I didn’t hang around. I had my run though, right up to the top of the ramp and another 20 paces further on. It was feeling good today.

Then we had the football and now, considerably later than planned (like 01:45) I’m off to bed. I’m a busy boy tomorrow and another task has reared its ugly head as well.

Where will I find the time?

Tuesday 19th November 2019 – WHAT A WASTE …

… of a morning that was!

On Sunday night I had just a couple of hours sleep. And while it’s true to say that I dozed off quite a few times on the way home, that is nothing like what I would call a deep, meaningful sleep.

And so I’m totally lost and unable to understand why it was that I was still up and about working (talking to Mike on the internet about my Uummannaq speech) at 03:30.

It’s true to say that I was not anticipating an early start today. I’d disconnected the series that starts at 06:00 and replaced it with the series that starts at 08:00. Nevertheless, although I had heard them, it was about 10:00 when I stuck my head up from under the quilt.

It was … errr … somewhat later when my feet finally hit the floor and that was the morning effectively finished before it had begun.

But I’d managed to go off a-wandering during the night and it was all a bizarre couple of journeys too. The first one was about one of my sisters. I’d been somewhere and she was in another room with a few people. She was getting changed. I went off to do something, review my post figures for the week so I did a couple of hours overtime, something like that in the night to do it. As I was leaving it, all these young girls were going to leave it too, off to the shops for something. They were all wearing these white sheets and black sheets like witches and druids, whatever, and I couldn’t see my sister there. I had to go to the back office to check in. A woman was there, and that was where I’d last seen my sister. We started to talk about things that I had done and things in the road, roadworks and everything. All of a sudden it came to be 04:00 now and everyone else was milling around, and I thought “where’s my sister?” and I couldn’t see her anywhere. I was getting a bit concerned because obviously I wanted to see her but I couldn’t find her at all. The thing is that it wasn’t really my sister at all that I was talking about but Zero, who has accompanied me on my travels on many occasions in the past (although this is her first time for quite a while). She was there and her father was there as well and he figured in it right at the very start for some reason

Some time later, there was a group of us gone camping somewhere supposed to be out in the cold but although it seemed cold it wasn’t that cold to me. We were staying in some kind of weird buildings with open fronts. We had pitched our bedding in there should I say, the whole group of us and I was hanging out with a couple of girls actually and I’m not sure who they were. Everyone else, they were very early to bed and very early risers. (… I can do the latter but not the former…) so they had to keep on going to fetch me to go to bed. On one occasion they came down and got me. We were walking back up past where the kids were sleeping and I made a remark because the courtyard was totally empty but it was to me quite early. “They must be all in bed, the kids”. We walked back to where we were sleeping. Our beds were there and I could see that everyone else was in bed but one or two of them were looking disapprovingly of me coming back. I was getting ready for bed, taking my trousers off, but decided that I had to do something so I started hopping around the room like a kangaroo with my trousers around my ankles and hopped off outside presumably to go to the toilet or something. But ti was totally strange seeing everyone sleeping in woolly hats fully clothed, all this kind of thing. And when I had returned to my room with these girls there was some money on one of the beds. I said to the girl “is it your money or mine?” She replied “it’s your money because my money is down in my car down below. It must be your money” so she gave it to me.

There was the usual medication and breakfast and the first part of what was left of the morning was spent in dealing with the dictaphone entries of the last few days and then catching up with three out of the backlog.

But then I noticed the time. A quick shower and clean up and setting the washing machine on the go, and I went into town. My lettuce was somewhat sad so I needed a new one as well as some bananas and potatoes. A visit to Super U was thus on the cards.

While I was down there I picked up another one of those dejeunettes from the boulangerie. 170gms – that’s about 2/3rds of a baguette and €0:50 a throw. That’s plenty for me for lunch and I may as well take advantage of the bakery while I’m down there.

Back at the apartment, I noticed the time. 13:25 already. So I had my lunch and then a play on the guitar for half an hour.

This afternoon’s projects were many and varied.

  • Find the receipts for the medication that I had been prescribed in Belgium and scan them into the computer. I’m trying to do this straight away rather than letting a pile build up.
  • Carry on with the hunt for digital tracks for the albums that I own
  • Hanging up the washing (which I had forgotten when I returned).
  • Backing up the stuff off the travelling laptop onto the main computer and merging the data. And that wasn’t a two-minute job as I can’t find a European power pack for it so I had to make up a converter out of some stuff in Caliburn.
  • Most importantly, starting work on Project 003.

All of the music for that project is now done and I’m halfway through preparing the notes. I want to finish that off for the weekend and maybe even finish Project 004 by then too.

And I don’t know quite what happened, but I fell asleep at some point too. Only 10 minutes or so, but asleep all the same.

In between all of this, I managed to take myself off out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

gravestone missing pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut here’s a surprise. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ages ago we’d discovered something that looked like the headstone of a grave stuck in the ground close to one of the old bunkers of the Atlantic Wall

But when I got there this afternoon, I noticed that it seems to have been removed. There’s a hole in the ground where it used to be and that’s all closed off with bollards and tapes.

That’s a surprise because it’s something that seems to have been ignored for I don’t know quite how many years.

sailors memorial pointe du rock granville manche normandy franceAnd when I was out for my walk during the evening yesterday, I sensed that while I was round by the lifeboatmen’s memorial I was walking on something that didn’t feel quite right to me.

In the daylight today though, I could see what was the issue. It seems that they have planted flowers all around the memorial without telling me. And with not having seen them, I’d been trampling upon them.

Ahh well! Someone should have said something. I can hardly be blamed if they go cluttering up the footpath, can I?

aztec lady spirit of conrad chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd so my walk continued. Along the top of the cliff and past the chantier navale.

The two ships that were in there the other day – Aztec Lady and Spirit of Conrad – they are still in there today. Aztec Lady seems however to have grown a pair of masts since the last time that I looked.

There’s a new boat in there too. One of the little fishing boats is over there on ramps too, presumably having some work done upon her.

Back in the comfort, warmth and safety of my apartment I carried on with my work until tea time. There was a slice of vegan pasty left over from March so I heated it up in the oven with some potatoes and, seeing as I had the oven on, a large rice pudding for afters.

Peas and carrots and gravy with the pie and potatoes went down really well. And I’m running low on carrots too. I’ll have to make some more if there are any going cheap at LIDL on Thursday.

donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my evening walk around the walls.

There was some kind of searchlight shining over Donville-les-Bains so I went to take a photo of it. And just as I had finished setting up the equipment, they switched off the light.

That’s just typical, isn’t it? So I just took a photo of it normally in the dark instead.

avenue de la liberation granville manche normandy franceThere wasn’t a soul out there tonight, which was not a surprise because it was freezing cold out there and there was a high wind blowing.

For that reason I hadn’t taken the tripod with me, so I took a photo of the chicane in the Avenue de la Liberation by hand instead. It’s not come out too badly despite that.

And I was disappointed with my run. Very disappointed in fact. I could only manage about half of it and that’s no good if I intend to keep up this fitness regime. I have to take it seriously.

Just now I’ve had a mug of hot chocolate and now I intend to do a couple of web site amendments before going to bed. I must push on with this despite all of the other work and do a few each day just to whittle down the backlog.

No time like the present.

Saturday 2nd November 2019 – I REALLY MUST …

… get myself organised.

I know that I have been saying this for several weeks now, but I don’t seem to have made much of an effort to progress in the correct direction.

Listening to music again last night, it was well after 02:00 when I crawled off to bed and that’s no good at all.

What’s even worse (or better, depending upon your own point of view) is that I made a valiant, determined effort to beat the third alarm call out of bed.

And what’s more, I made it too … “will you make me one like it?” – ed … even though I felt like death.

So less than 4 hours sleep.

Not very much, you might think, but plenty of time to go off on my travels. Something was all closing down last night and people were having some kind of session where they were singing songs and reading poems about everything that they had been through. I did a little presentation but I hadn’t realised that it was closing so I hadn’t said anything about it so when I found out I wanted to go back and re-do it and do different stuff so but no-one was listening to me while I was saying all of this and no-one was really interested in listening to what I had to do or got to say or got to play on the subject.

It seems to me that during the last few days ago I’ve been making a habit of being ignored by other people. I really must change my deodorant.

Talking of deodorant … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a shower after breakfast. I weighed myself too and found that I had gained 100 grammes. Must do something about that, like go for a brisk walk.

First though, I put a couple of weeks’ worth of dirty clothes in the washing machine and set it do a lap around while I headed for a brisk walk.

storm in outer port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOutside, we were in the middle of a hurricane. I had heard of an “adverse weather report” for the area for today but I wasn’t expecting this at all.

You can see what the waves are doing here – and that’s in the harbour too inside the outer wall. I don’t think that I’ve ever in the past seen it as rough as this out there

Not the kind of weather that I would want to be going out for a sail on the high seas.

port de granville harbour gates closing manche normandy franceI was tempted to go for a walk across the path across the top of the harbour gates to have a closer look but they were closed.

However by the time I got down to ground level they were just on the point of closing them. I should have waited for another 5 minutes.

And even in the shelter of the inner harbour you can see that the water is churned up somewhat

My trip this morning took me to the indoor market hall for some fruit, carrots and mushrooms. But there was nothing there that interested me too much so I didn’t buy anything.

Neither did the Super-U but the Carrefour came up trumps with some reasonable mushrooms – many of which will go on my pizza tomorrow night. And they had some more of the cheap baguettes too.

Back here I pushed on with this project that I have to do. And with a short break for lunch (the rest of the carrot soup and some of the baguette) I managed to finish it in time for the afternoon walk.

It’s not as good as I would like it, but improving it is beyond my capabilities. I’m having to do it in French and with having to think about what I need to say, it’s robbing all of the spontaneity and that’s probably the most vital ingredient of what I’m trying to do.

And as a result it took me a lot longer than it might have done and there’s so much editing that needed doing to edit out the pauses, the “umms” and the “ahhs”.

But be that as it may, I do have to say that the editing and the sound mixing is excellent and I’m really pleased from that point of view.

storm in english channel beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThat was the cue to go out for my afternoon walk.

And there had been a change in the weather.

It was much worse.

So I struggled around the headland with the other brave souls out there – all of us wrapped up to brave the wintry weather. And that reminds me – all of my winter gear is in my blue jacket which even as we speak is somewhere between Calgary and Centreville in Canada. I shall have to make “other arrangements” this winter.

Back here I did a pile of website amendments to keep the momentum going, and attacked a few blog entries. I’ll do some more this evening too.

Tea was a slice of vegan pie (from last April and it was just as delicious) with potatoes, peas, carrots and gravy. Followed by rice pudding (seeing as I had the oven on).

And then a huge washing-up session, including the oven to clean off all of the milk that had overflowed from the aforementioned rice pudding.

The rain was falling when I went out for my evening walk. And the wind was so strong that it was falling horizontally.

For my run tonight I was about 50 yards short of my distance from the last time. I blame the strong wind but really it’s a disappointment. When I started back running in Brussels in 1994 I could push out the distance every night and I ought to be able to do something like that here.

It’s not as if I’m running 5 miles or 10 miles like I used to – here I’m measuring it in hundreds of metres and I should be able to do it, even though I am an old fogey long past my sell-by date.

Another thing is that for the past week or so I’ve been plagued by a fly that has been flying around my room, and I’ve been wondering how to dispose of it. I don’t need to worry about it now – although I do feel sorry for it. It should never have alighted on that sheet of paper on the floor when I was above it with a large book in my hand

So I’ll do some more work for a while and then go to bed. It’s Sunday so I can have a lie-in. I deserve it

Friday 1st November 2019 – I FOUND …

… the fitbit after all that. On the passenger seat in Caliburn where I must have left it when I was fitting the battery yesterday.

And I’d got up nice and early this morning specially to look. Even managed to beat the third alarm – and by a country mile too – and that’s not something that happens too often these days.

It was a reasonably late night too – mainly due to listening to some good music on the computer. And there’s nothing wrong in that as long as I’m working – which I was. In fact I updated some more of the web pages.

And so it was a short night too – but still plenty of time to go off on a ramble or two.

I started off back in the UK last night. I was in Cornwall walking around a headland and it was something (I don’t know what) to do but it was Marc Bolan and camping and he’d written the final verse of his song “Elemental Child” (… which I had been listening to just before going to bed …). They were broadcasting it over the radio and getting everyone to join in so anyone who was walking past or walking in the area they went and asked them if they would join in. This girl – she joined in too and did all of the song and to play it on the guitar or banjo or something. She asked about the lyrics so we pointed to where the lyrics were and she was brilliant. She had a really good go at it, this girl did. It really was a shame that I awoke.
A little later on, we were on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again last night and it was time to go home. There were a couple of coaches come to pick us up. They had already been and we’d packed but then we had to go off on a lecture or something so the buses were put back and were to turn at at 12:00. This lecture finished at about 11:55 and it was all about book-keeping, this kind of thing, and the guy who was giving the lesson afterwards went to print off some stuff and I went to help him but he didn’t need me. he was talking to some other guy and the other guy was saying that in Accountancy they were still using BBC Micros but they no longer dominate anything so they don’t actually see anything of what they do. The other guy said that he learnt his Accountancy on a BBC Micro. I said that I did my Finance First Part on pen and paper – but no-one took the slightest bit of notice of me whatsoever which seems to be normal procedure these days on board that ship. Then I had to get to my cabin and it was 11:55 and there was already a bus on board and people getting on so I had to fly throught the crowds and the ship like lightning to my cabin. Luckily I had packed before hand but there were still a few things out that needed putting away. I reached my cabin which was right at the back of my ship and the porthole was open so I could see the second coach pulling up and feel a nice cool breeze blowing through the porthole. The first thing I did was to grab a drink – some of my orange Vitamin B12 drink. There wasn’t much left but I took a swig of it and thought “Gid this is warm, this drink but it will do me until I get to wherever it is that I’m going and then I can think again”. At that moment the alarm went off.

10 minutes later I was up and about and tackling the notes from the night while I was waiting for the medication to work so that I could have breakfast.

Once it started to become light I went outside with the purpose of retracing my steps from my afternoon walk to see if the fitbit was anywhere about. But as I said, I didn’t get any farther than Caliburn.

Back in the apartment I attacked the 20-minute dictaphone entry from 30th July. And miles of it there was too, starting from when I left the motel in Lamoure all the way across North and South Dakota.

By now it was midday so I headed of for my morning walk. Down to the Super U for some garlic and a lettuce. The lettuce is exhausted and I have no garlic at all and I need to deal with that issue. And as I left the apartment and headed off down the street we were hit with a torrential rainstorm. Luckily I went in my rain jacket and so I managed to keep something-like dry. But there were plenty of others who weren’t so fortunate.

For lunch I had half of the carrot soup (which wasn’t so bad after all) and then attacked my little project. What I did the other day, I’ve undone it and started again because I could do better than that. And it’s all turning out rather nicely, although doing it in French is rather challenging.

crowds on beach peche a pied plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThere was an interruption in my activities when I went out for my afternoon walk. And I was not alone for even though the weather was miserable this afternoon there were still plenty of people on the beach.

It’s that time of year when we’e having the highest tidal range – the grand marée – and the lower beaches are uncovered.

These areas are beyond the limits that are leased out as commercial fisheries so anyone can go out there for the peche à pied – fishing on foot – to scavenge what molluscs they can.

rainbow arc en ciel granville manche normandy franceAnd I was right about the miserable weather too. Just look at the storm clouds.

But all of a sudden there was a hint of sun and we had the most magnificent rainbow. I managed to take a really good shot of it too.

It seems to be ending down in the town somewhere and I was tempted to back to my apartment to search for a spade.

There was an interruption after that. I received a text message “are you in?” to which I replied in the affirmative.

A few minutes later Terry and Liz turned up, with Darren, kate and the two kids. It was pouring with rain again so we went for a drink and a good chat. When the rain stopped (which it did for half an hour) we went for a good walk all the way around the walls and the headland and then they went home. I told Robyn to take good care of Strawberry Moose and she gave me a hug.

For tea I had two more taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from the other night. Not enough though so I added a small tin of lentils so there was too much. No good for me, seeing as I’m supposed to be cutting down.

Football tonight on the internet. Not been too many of those this season. Connah’s Quay Nomads v TNS in the pouring rain in the Welsh Premier League.

In the first half, the nomads were dreadful and I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times they made it into the TNS half. Meanwhile TNS were rampaging upfield at will and could have had a hatful. As it happens, one goal disallowed for offside and a good save from Lewis Brass the Nomads keeper was all that they had to show for it.

Connahs Quay made three substitutions early in the second half and after that we had much more of a match, with the Nomads taking the game much more to TNS.

And so it goes without saying that TNS finally scored with a breakaway goal after all of that.

We then had bizarre incident where the referee gave a penalty to TNS for a handball, spotted the ball, and just as Greg Draper was about to run up to take the kick, he changed his mind and gave a dropped ball which Brass smothered.

From that, the Nomads raced upfield and with Insall (who should have been on from the start) having a shot saved, Michael Wilde running in fastened onto the rebound and scored – his first shot on goal in the whole game.

So 1-1 it finished, and it leaves me shaking my head. I’ve seen many more much batter games than this one, and I’m totally bewildered by that weird first half.

So not having done too much I’m going to bed and I’ll start again tomorrow. I must get myself going.

rainbow arc en ciel granville manche normandy france
rainbow arc en ciel granville manche normandy france

Tuesday 22nd October 2019 – HATS OFF …

… to Caliburn. Stood outside on the car park for four months without turning a wheel while I was on my travels. So I gave his ignition key a turn this morning and admittedly after something of a struggle, his engine did fire up.

So I left him ticking over for 10 minutes to warm his engine up. I’m impressed.

The bad news though is that the garage can’t fit him in until the 5th of November and that’s filled me with dismay.

But hats off too to Grahame, one of the regular readers of this rubbish, who has just passed his citizenship test for Austria and is well on the way to having an Austrian passport.

So that’s Alison in Belgium, Jackie and Hanzi in Germany, Rhys in the USA, Rachel in Canada, and I of course have my permanent residency status for France and will be organising my French nationality once I get myself straight. Now we have Grahame in Austria.

What we are actually witnessing is a new 21st Century diaspora, an “involuntary mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories” as those of us from the UK who are capable of doing so are renouncing our heritage and moving forward to the Brave New World.

Usually, diasporas are associated with an unwanted element of the population, such as Scottish Highlanders, Acadians, Jews and the like being expelled from their home. But this new phenomenon consists of a different kind of person, something like the inverse where it’s the more mobile, more resourceful, more energetic person who is taking the initiative.

And these people are spreading out all over the world, as you can see from just my very small circle of friends. They are taking their considerable skills away from the UK, to the detriment of that country, and into their adopted country. The UK’s loss, the rest of the world’s gain.

And I couldn’t care less for the UK.

Yesterday I was going on … “and on and on” – ed … about my fourteen hours asleep yesterday. And so it goes without saying that I would be paying for it in early course.

Like last night.

I was in bed “something like” and dozed off for a short while but awoke pretty quickly. Lying in bed tossing and turning, this wasn’t doing me any good at all so round by 01:30 I gave it up as a bad job and hauled myself out of bed to carry on working.

It was a good idea too, because I was able to push on quite rapidly with the updating of the one of the websites that I had mentioned yesterday.

As well as that, I uploaded all of the photos – all 4,000 or so of them, up to the computer where I’ll begin to edit them in early course.

One of my friends was on line too, unable to sleep, so we had something of a chat.

Round about 06:30 I was overcome by fatigue so I took to my bed. I was out like a light and remained so until about 09:30.

Feeling like the Wreck of the Hesperus (although I have no idea where I might find it, except at Norman’s Woe of course) I staggered out of bed and it took me a while to organise myself.

Medication and then breakfast of course, followed by (at long last) a shower and a good tidy up of myself, for which I was extremely grateful because I needed it, and then I set the washing machine on the go with a load of clothes.

And I worked out that I spent FOUR MONTHS away from home with just

  • three tee-shirts
  • three sets of underwear
  • two pairs of trousers
  • two fleeces
  • one set of Arctic underlayers

Travellig light, you might say, except for Strawberry Moose, who took up far more space for himself and his affairs than I ever took for me.

As promised, I took my morning walk. Just down to the Super-U supermarket for some tomatoes, lettuce, fruit, onions and garlic. It was necessary because I didn’t have anything in the apartment, and it gave my morning walk some point.

It was a beautiful day today so I went and had lunch sitting on my wall overlooking the cliffs. The sunshine was delicious and there was a lizard out there enjoying itself.

This afternoon, I paid for my next year’s web hosting
which reminds me – if you enjoy what I write, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links aside. It costs you no extra but earns me a small commission that helps defray my webhosting expenses
and then ordered a new bracelet for my fitbit. And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either.

Another thing that I did was to contact three music shops about something that I need. And, once again, as yet there is no response from any of them. As I have said before, people complain about there being a recession and yet they don’t have too much interest in replying to genuine business enquiries.

All this money that I want to spend and no-one seems to want me to spend it with them.

The afternoon walk was beautiful. The weather was gorgeous and there were crowds of people milling around outside in the sun. Even a few kids running in and out of the sea, clearly having loads of fun. After all, we are in the school holidays.

Back here, I carried on upgrading the site that I’m working on, as well as negotiating with my web host about an upgrade to the server that he uses. It looks as if we might be moving into the 21st Century, something that will please me greatly too.

And in between all of that I’ve also spent an hour or so playing on the guitar – the bass of course but mainly the acoustic six-string. And I’m working on three numbers that I want to play competently on a six-string within a week or so.

But these are beautiful lyrics.
She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
It takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Sweet child o’ mine

She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I’d hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain

Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by

Sweet child o’ mine
I wonder if they remind anyone of anything in particular?

Tea was pasta and vegetables tossed in olive oil, garlic and black pepper (and I forgot the sea salt) and delicious it was indeed. Followed by a very lonely walk around the headland in the calm bright night.

Bedtime now, and I hope that I might be able to sleep for a while tonight. There is so much to do and there I was looking for a break after my exertions.

Wednesday 12th June 2019 – I WENT …

… out for a little walk this afternoon.

Down to town to the Super-U for some salt, seeing as I seem to have run out and forgot to buy some more at the weekend.

What encouraged me in this was that this morning while riding the porcelain horse, I felt an irritation in my knee. So I scratched it – and out of the little hole about which I was talking just recently came something very small, very black and very hard.

Just like a small piece of gravel in fact.

I’m not sure if that was what it was, but it certainly came from the knee. And that’s why I’m taking these salt baths – to draw out whatever might be in there. I remember doing this back in 1972 after my motorcycle accident when I broke both knees.

It soon sorted out the gravel rash and I hope that it will do the same for this.

Despite the early night, I had another night of tossing and turning but, once again, an early start before the final alarm went off.

The nurse came early for the blood test so I didn’t have to wait too long for breakfast. But it gave me an opportunity to do some tidying up.

And we had the same problem as we used to have in that she couldn’t find any veins. I told her that there was no blood left.

This morning I did some more searching on the internet for stuff that I need for my project. I can’t find everything that I want, but I’m sure that I’ve downloaded everything that I can, including a few extremely interesting and unexpected finds.

rendering new house construction rue du port granville manche normandy franceAfter lunch I headed into town. Very slowly and carefully, And for the first time in quite some considerable time, I had the camera out there with me.

There have bee quite a few changes outside since I last went for a good walk around. They are pushing on with the house renovation here in the rue du Port and it won’t be long before they will finish;

They are at the rendering-on-the-lift-shaft stage as well as the chasing-off-the-seagulls stage right now

repairing medieval city walls granville manche normandy franceThey are pushing on with the rebuilding of the city walls too.

They seem to have finished one of the bays and dismantled all of the apparatus that was propping it up. It all seems to be moved round to further down the hill.

But they are going to have to get their skates on. It’s all supposed to be finished by mid-June and that’s only a few days away. It looks as if we’ll be seeing yet another project over-run.

victor hugo police investigating harbour granville manche normandy franceWe had some excitement down at the docks too.

That boat in there by the Victor Hugo seems to be some kind of police launch and there were a couple of guys on a dinghy that seemed to have some kind of connection with the aforementioned. So I was wondering what was going on there.

There were a couple of buoys there in the harbour too, so maybe they had something to do with it all too. I was tempted to go down and enquire but they cleared off pretty qucikly.

roof garden rue du port granville manche normandy franceNow here’s something that I don’t recall ever having noticed before.

Someone in a house down on the rue du Port seems to have a roof garden or terrace up on his roof. That would seem to be an ideal spot to sit and enjoy the summer weather, if ever we are to have any this year, which I doubt very much.

Mind you, I think that the garden pool is rather optimistic. It’s not actually what I would call a swimming pool.

ile de chausey ferry baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceHowever, I was distracted from all of this by a siren going off in the outer port. One of the ferries for the Ile de Chausey seems to be setting off on a trip out to the island.

I’d seen it come in to dock a short while ago while I was on my way into town, but I couldn’t take a good photo of it. So I was quite pleased to catch it on its way out into the baie de Mont St Michel.

But the weather is looking quite ominous out there at the head of the bay. I’m glad that I’m not walking around down there in all of that.

A slow crawl back up the hill and then back here, and I ached rather more than somewhat. It’s a good job that I didn’t go too far, but I have quite a journey to make on Monday so I need to try things out.

And I unfortunately crashed out for about 15 minutes. Can’t be helped, I suppose. Not these days anyway;

Later on before tea, I had my hour in the bath with a pile of salt. And I don’t seem to be too affected by the walk today. And so I might even go for a little walk tomorrow – not as far as today though. I don’t want to push the boat out too far.

Tea was past and veg in tomato sauce with the last of those seitan burgers that I bought from NOZ a while back.

And now another early night. Having had a good walk, I hope that I can make the most of it.

rendering new house construction rue du port granville manche normandy france
rendering new house construction rue du port granville manche normandy france

repairing medieval city walls granville manche normandy france
repairing medieval city walls granville manche normandy france

Thursday 20th December 2018 – TOMORROW …

… I’m off to Leuven. So I’ve spent today packing (of a sort) and tidying up (of another sort).

I was out of bed surprisingly early this morning – but that’s what comes of being wide awake at 05:40. And it’s been a while since I was awake that early, hasn’t it?

And after breakfast, I had a little relax before getting myself going.

This time I’m taking the medium-sized suitcase, with a basic foodstuff supply in it. After all, I’m going to be gone for about 6 days and that’s a lot of shopping that I need to organise. As well as that, it’s Christmas and so I’m taking some specialty stuff with me too.

Talking of Christmas, I erected the little mini-Christmas tree that I had bought the other week at Noz for €3:99 – the tree with its electric lights and baubles. It’s not too bad either. i’m pleasantly surprised.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceLunch was as normal, and I had two walks today. one was, as usual, around the Pointe du Roc.

And in the harbour I saw Neptune manoeuvring her way out of the harbour. She must have come in on the early morning tide and loaded up pretty quickly because I didn’t see her arrive during the evening.

I’ve not seen her turn round as quickly as this. She must be in quite a hurry today

christmas lights general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceBut later on in the early evening when it was dark, I went into town.

To Super-U for some fruit seeing as I have run out, and to the boulangerie for one of the baguettes that I like, for my lunchtime butties.

While I was there, I took the opportunity to go around the Cours Jonville and photograph the Christmas decorations. They aren’t so good this year as I remember the and it’s rather disappointing.

Tea was a slice of my pie from the other week, with veg and mushroom gravy.

So now I’m going to have a shower and then go to bed. I’m having an early morning tomorrow, ready to hit the road. It’s a long way to go.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france
neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france

harbour pilot port de granville manche normandy france
harbour pilot port de granville manche normandy france

christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france
christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france

christmas lights general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle mairie granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

Tuesday 6th November 2018 – I’M NOT GOING …

… out for my evening walk tonight.

There’s a howling gale blowing outside right now – as strong as any that I’ve experienced since I’ve been living here. Had there been a high tide any time soon I would have gone to inspect the waves hopefully crashing down over the Plat Gousset. But it’s low tide right now so it’s not worth the effort for me to go out.

But never mind. I’ve already had a good couple of walks today.

And during the night too.

I was in the company of some nice young girl on a Saturday night. And taking the girl home she made some kind of remark about how she had to be at the railway station for 07:00 the following morning and how she didn’t know how she was going to do that bearing in mind that I usually refuse to leave my bed at any ungodly hour on a Sunday. I was just on the point of saying that she could stay with me for the night and then I could run her down there, when I realised that that kind of remark could easily be misconstrued. How I meant it was that I’d only have a 5-minute drive straight to the station instead of having to travel across town to pick her up and then back across town to the station, saving me half an hour that I could spend much better in bed. I certainly didn’t mean it in any other way (although I wouldn’t have found the idea unacceptable), but I had to think of a way to express it better so that she wouldn’t misunderstand.
A little later I was back in the Auvergne at Les Guis and I had to go down into St Eloy. The weather was fine up in the hills but down in the town it was snowing quite heavily. I ended up in some kind of meeting room on the first floor of a shop and amongst the people there was a girl who I knew really well. And it was either the Vanilla Queen or another certain girl of my acquaintance who bore a startling resemblance to the former – a startling coincidence of a resemblance about which I have commented to myself on many occasions. She was surprised to see me in view of the weather so I explained that up in the hills things were so much better. And we ended up having a good chat not about anything in particular but more in an effort for me to establish a certain position.

Just for a change just recently I managed to beat the third alarm out of bed and that made me feel a little better. Obviously going to bed at a more respectable (for me, anyway) time is a much better idea.

This morning I had a few things to do and once they were out of the way I had to sit down and fill in a form. I’ve collected most of the information that I need but I’ve no idea how I’m expected to fill in this form. I’ll just sign it, send it back with all of the assorted verifying paperwork to at least show a sign of goodwill and see what happens next.

When I was out at the shops on Saturday I forgot to buy a lettuce, so I nipped into town and the Super-U.

marite normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceI had a little distraction – or two – down at the harbour.

Marité has now returned to her berth just there, with another smaller sailing ship alongside.

In front of Marité we note the reappearance of Normandy Trader who obviously cam in on the high tide earlier in the morning. There’s a pile of stuff on the quayside and it’s quite probable that will be loaded on board for her homeward journey.

roadstone quarry port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat’s no all either. As I was looking at the ships, one of the lorries from the quarry turned up with a load of roadstone.

I waited for a while hoping that she would tip but the driver locked up the cab and walked away. It must be his lunchtime or something like that.

But it probably means that very shortly we’ll be having a visit from Neptune or Shetland Trader in early course.

At the Super-U they were rather sad, the lettuces in there I mean, not the people, but better than none. And I took advantage of the situation by buying a couple of packs of the mixed dried fruit that I add to the muesli.

While I was in town I picked up one of the baguette that I like.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy franceIt was not too warm today but not very windy either. And the sun was out so I took full advantage by going to eat my butties on the wall.

And this would be the kind of thing that I would find very funny, it it wasn’t so pathetic.

One of the themes that I feature quite often here, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is the sad state of parking round here.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy franceAnd as for this example of pathetic parking, here in the boulevard Vaufleury right by where I eat my butties, is about as bad as it gets.

I really don’t know what goes through the minds of some people that they can’t be bothered to even make an attempt at parking between the lines on the road.

I mean, it’s not even a BMW or a Volvo is it?

So having been dismayed by the parking, I didn’t stay out there for long. After all, it IS November.

This afternoon I attacked the High Arctic and I’ve made real progress on Day 2. It might even be finished by the weekend if I can keep it up. And then there’s only another 17 days to go. And these will be much more complicated than this one.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe afternoon’s walk was around the headland in the beautiful November sunshine.

But there were no ships to admire while I was out there. Only a pile of fishing boats coming in and out of the harbour on the afternoon tide.

Taking advantage of the ideal weather and sunlight conditions, I spent some time taking a pile of photos of the boats as they came in and went out.

omerta port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceThere were quite a few boats tied up at the quayside unloading too.

The name of this particular one took me by surprise. Omerta, which might mean “manhood” in Italian slang, is more generally associated with the name given to the Vow of Silence that is rigorously imposed, with quite often fatal results, on members of the Mafia.

Not the name that you might expect to see on a fishing boat in Granville

bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis particular one, which seems as if it belongs to someone on the Ile de Chausey, was unloading piles of crustaceans and the like onto the trailer attached to the rear of the tractor.

She has quite a massive catch on board. Business must be booming somewhere.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, which I’m sure that you are, a bouchot mussel is a mussel that has been grown from a string that is attached to a pole submerged in the water. By this method they are more grit-free and barnacle-free than one that has been grown on the sea bed.

Georges-René Le Peley de Pléville granville manche normandy franceAll of the work going on in the harbour was overlooked by our old friend Georges-René Le Peley de Pléville, or Pleville le Pelley.

He was a privateer who sailed initially on a ship, the Françoise du Lac (on which in one engagement he lost a leg), out of Granville, and later rose through the ranks of the French Navy until he became the French Government’s Minister of the Navy

He was appointed a Senator in 1799 and died in 1805 aged 79

Back here, there was a brief moment of repose and then it was tea time. Falafel fried with onions and garlic with pasta and vegetables, with salad dressing and herbs. It was totally delicious too.

With not going out this evening, I can do my outstanding work and then have an early night. If I can keep it up I’ll be in a much better position to keep up with my work.

But I do need to start to take it easy. There’s only so much that I can do.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Unloading bouchots de Chausey in the harbour at the Port of Granville


Friday 24th August 2018 – I’VE BEEN SEARCHING …

… through the fridge today looking for stuff that needs eating.

It’s something that I should have done a few days ago because there’s piles of stuff there that should have been cooked, but what with one thing and another I haven’t got round to it.

Two and a half peppers were probably the most important thing, and the garlic too. There were too many onions and potatoes. Some of them will be wasted unfortunately but I fetched some of them out.

There was also a roll of pastry and so I had an idea.

First thing was to put a load of lentils in the slow cooker for an hour. And when they were heated, to rinse them, add fresh water and a pile of potatoes – all that I could add to fill the pot.

After about an hour I fried a few of the onions with all of the garlic that was left. And while they were frying I added some cumin, turmeric, chili pepper and coriander.

Slicing up the peppers and a tomato, I added them to the wok and stirred them around. Finally I took the stuff out of the slow cooker, rinsed it all and added that to the pile.

After about 10 minutes of frying, a stock cube, a carton of soya cream and some water was added and it was all left to simmer.

home made pasty granville manche normandy franceI unrolled the pie wrap and cut it into quarters.

I added a couple of spoons of the stuff out of the wok into the quarters of pastry and made myself some pasties.

They went into a warm oven at 220°C for 40 minutes until they were done and they look absolutely delicious. They are going into the freezer tonight when they have cooled, ready for when I come back from my voyage.

As for the rest of the mixture, I ladled it all into individual containers and they will be in the freezer too for when I come back.

It’s a shame about the food that’s left but there isn’t much that I can do about this.

This morning I was asleep again until the alarm went off, and I was up fairly early too. And after the usual morning procedure, I started to sort out my clothes and to pack my suitcase.

Like I said, I don’t know what I need to take with me, so it’s a case of a lot of things just in case. The suitcase isn’t all that full though, even though Strawberry Moose takes up a lot of room. He’s coming this time too for a holiday.

He missed out in Africa.

exposition des voiliers granville manche normandy franceLater this morning I had to go into town for the fruit and so on.

There’s a kind of fair or exhibition going on at the harbour. It’s to celebrate the working sailing ships that worked out of here.

But first I had to stock up with the fruit of course and then while I was here, to buy a baguette.

house prices solicitors granville manche normandy franceOn the way back to the harbour I went past the solicitor’s office where they put in the window the details of the houses that they sell.

And they are at it again. Just look at the price of this house. Never mind being calculated to the nearest round thousand Euros, it’s calculated down to the nearest centime.

Just how tight can you be? It’s the kind of thing that leads the legal profession into disrepute, advertising prices like these.

exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy franceHaving done that, I went down to the harbour to have a good look around at the marquees.

There wasn’t much going on that interested me. Lots of shops selling stuff and exhibitions of photographs that didn’t take too long to see.

There were a few stalls selling paintings too, but most of them didn’t have prices exhibited. That’s the kind of thing that really gets my goat. If they are ashamed of their prices they shouldn’t be selling them.

exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy franceON the other hand, of course, it could be that, as in most of these kind of places, the price depends upon the moment and the prospective purchaser. And that’s just as bad.

But there were some people promoting an association of sailing ships. Some of them are small ones, but some are quite big and occasionally go on voyages across the Atlantic.

I shall have to make further enquiries about this, because a trip across the Atlantic on board a three-master would certainly do me good.

seagulls goelands granville manche normandy franceAt lunchtime I made my butties and went out on the wall with my book.

No lizards today though. And that’s not surprising because I was joined by a seagull which was taking her baby for a walk. The poor little thing was quite nervous and crying for much of the time, and mummy was teaching it to jump up and down on the wall.

But talking of nervous and crying, you can just about see some other people on the left-hand edge of the photo. They were Dutch and pulled up to park there. The little girl opened her door and the window hit the mirror of a van parked next door and shattered into a thousand pieces.

The poor girl was so frightened and let out a yell. It took quite a while for her to calm down.

This afternoon was spent cooking and doing some tidying and the rest will be done tomorrow. After tea – a burger and vegetables – I watched the football. Llanelli v Barry Town in the Welsh Premier League.

Llanelli scored a goal after just two minutes, and after that, Barry laid siege to the Llanelli goal. There were four or five shots that were kicked off the line.

When Barry had a player sent off it looked as if it was curtains but with the last kick of the game, Barry scored a header from a free kick.

It was a good match, but from what I’ve seen so far there’s quite a gulf between the top and the bottom of the table and these two clubs are not going to find it easy.

So tomorrow I’ll finish packing and do some tidying up ready to leave on Sunday morning.

And who knows where I’m going to end up.

exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france
exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france

exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france
exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france

exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france
exposition des voiliers du travail granville manche normandy france

Monday 30th July 2018 – WITH HAVING MISSED …

… my pizza last night through not being here, I made myself a pizza for tea tonight.

And having defrosted the mushrooms again before putting them on board, the pizza was done to a turn.

Well – not quite. Having forgotten to turn it round halfway through, it was underdone slightly on one side. But can’t be helped. It still tasted good.

Last night wasn’t as early as I would have liked, so I wasn’t quite “up with the cock” this morning. But I still managed to organise myself at some kind of reasonably-early time.

And then back to the European Photo Mountain. Tons of duplicates (and more than a few triplicates) have been discarded and the 4tb external drive that I bought myself for my birthday is now back down to being less than half-full.

So I could in theory have carried on with the 2tb drive had I been more organised. But space is everything.

On the wall at lunchtime with no lizards to keep me company (seems that they have forgotten me, or else the weather was too miserable). Instead, I had a frightful English family lunching close by out there. Frankly, I prefer the lizards.

Later on, I went into town. I forgot to buy any onions at the weekend and I used my last one for the whatsit yesterday. A kitchen without onions is unthinkable, especially with a pizza to make.

What with one thing and another, I was rather late going out for my evening walk. Consequently there were only a handful of us doing the rounds.

But now it’s an early night. I have a visitor at the weekend, hopefully, and now that I have my shelves I need to crack on and finish the bedroom.

Then finally I can tidy up.