Category Archives: biocoop

Tuesday 24th January 2023 – I’VE BEEN, GORN …

… and dunnet now. And there’s no backing out from this.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having some severe mobility issues right now and that I can’t go on like this much longer.

Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall, going back to the days when I moved from Belgium, that I sold my old apartment and had some money left over after everything was paid off.

When I moved here in 2017 I rented this apartment with the reasoning that I could look around the area and find somewhere nice to buy, but I love this apartment, this building and this little corner perched up here on the rock in the middle of these old Army barracks on the clifftop that I didn’t want to move anywhere else.

However, back at the end of November an apartment on the ground floor went up for sale and I made an offer on it. After much horse-trading we agreed on a price and this morning I went to the solicitor’s and signed the formal binding offer, having paid the deposit at the bank on Friday.

The story hasn’t quite ended yet. Everyone knows that Byzantine nature of French Civil Service and so I’m not expecting the formal exchange of contracts to be any time soon

Secondly, there is a problem in that the property is tenanted right now. But here I have a slight advantage over any other purchaser in that I’m a tenant here too and can negotiate with my own landlord for the tenant to take over this apartment in exchange if necessary.

And so when the alarm went off at 07:00 this morning I fell out of bed fairly quickly. Having had a good shower last night (and I can climb into the bath a little easier now as well) I didn’t need to hang about very much. On the way out of the building I put the wheeled shopping trolley in the back of Caliburn and then walked over to catch the bus.

The bus dropped me off at the terminus at the other end of the line and then I had a long walk down the hill to the LeClerc Hypermarket (why they can’t run the bus to what is the obvious terminus of this line instead of a roundabout 400 metres away completely beats me).

That walk took me long enough with my crutches and I was glad to reach the car hire offices at the back of the building.

After having gone through all of the paperwork I left the Hypermarket in a little Fiat 500. After having driven Caliburn and all other kinds of big vehicles, it was like being in charge of a roller skate but what did I care? Having made brief enquiries about the cost of a taxi to where I wanted to go, hiring a tiny car was a much better option.

First stop was Noz where I had a look round and ended up with some vegan chocolate and a bag of crisps. Next stop was the Biocoop where I bought some vegan sausages. But even though they have moved into larger premises, there is still no vegan cheese.

It was time now to head out into the sticks and the small town of La Haye-Pesnel. There’s a railway line here, the railway between Granville and Rennes, but the station closed a long time ago which was a shame.

Our appointment was for 10.30 but it was more like 11.00 when we were called in. And there was so much to read (and correct because some it it was incorrect) that it was about 13:00 when we left. And now I’m legally committed to purchase the apartment downstairs. No more steps to climb and, when I’ve installed a walk-in shower, no more bath to climb into.

And a much better kitchen too, which will be even better still when I’ve finished.

On the way home I stopped off at LeClerc and went berserk, spending just about €100:00. There was that much stuff that I needed that I didn’t have in stock, as well as the fact that there was a lot of stuff on special offer. I was in there for 90 minutes and the car was overloaded when I left.

Back here I put most of the stuff in the trolley and the bags in the back of Caliburn (I didn’t have to carry them far but it was a struggle all the same) and staggered up the stairs with the frozen food to put in the freezer.

And then back downstairs into the car and back to the Hypermarket to drop it off. I had travelled 48 kilometres, put in 3 litres of fuel to fill up the car, and paid would you believe €15:00 for the car hire. So €20:00 or so for 48 kilometres and a delivery of a huge load of shopping. You wouldn’t have had that with a taxi.

Mind you, how I’m going to get all of this stuff upstairs is another question entirely.

It was another cold walk back up the hill to the bus stop and I was exhausted – going uphill on crutches is not easy, I’ll tell you that. And then the bus to bring me home was late and I only just managed to beat the physiotherapist into the apartment.

He gave my muscles some manipulation … “PERSONipulation” – ed … and after he left I came in here and promptly crashed right out. It was a struggle to haul myself out of my chair to make some food. And now that I had a pepper, I stuffed it.

Liz and Rachel were both on line later so I had a really long chat with each of them and then I can sit down and write out my notes from the day.

And my journeys from the night too. I was busy working on and freezing a pile of carrots when the phone rang. It was the people whom I was going to see this morning ringing up to cancel the meeting as they had a cold. Of course, after all the arrangements that I’d undertaken to prepare I wasn’t in the least bit happy with the idea. I insisted that the meeting go ahead. It was such a shock that it awoke me.

Later on I was standing in the dining room with half a baguette in my hand. I wanted to speak to one of the big football managers who was in there. I had to wait a few minutes. Eventually he became free. I asked him pointing to this half-baguette “do you know whose this is?”. He mentioned a name, almost as if I should know immediately who that person was but it didn’t click with me. I thought “thanks” and wandered back to my seat. He said “he’s here, you know” and brought me back, pointing to the desk where this guy was sitting. I asked “do you mind if I eat your baguette because I’ve forgotten to bring mine”. He replied “go ahead and we can revise a page of our French together because this is our last week and our last lesson is on Friday”.

Well, now it looks very much like I’m going to be a householder again and I can’t say that I’m sorry about it. Caliburn will have to keep on running a little longer because there’s now going to be an enormous hole in my finances but that can’t be helped.

However a decent kitchen, a walk-in shower and no steps to climb will change my life dramatically and is worth far more to me than any value anyone else can place on it. I just hope that I can last out until I can finally take possession of the premises.

Friday 24th December 2021 – MERRY CHRISTMAS …

… to all of my readers.

It’ll be Christmas Day probably by the time that you read this, and I’ll refrain from posting anything about the Public Conveniences on Crewe Bus Station because, regrettably, the whole Queensway Shopping Centre and Bus Station complex has been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It just about managed 60 years of life before it was declared surplus to requirements and that tells you everything you need to know about modern construction.

But anyway, I digress … “once more” – ed.

After yet another turbulent night, I was once more wide awake at some ridiculous hour waiting for the alarm to go off although when it did, it still took me a good few minutes to force myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a cooking session. I’ve made a load of potato cakes.

There are some vegan sausages left from Leuven and a couple of tins of baked beans, so I’m going to have fried potato cakes, beans and sausage as a brunch over the festive period, with toast and mushroom paté. What’s the point of having Christmas if you can’t pig out?

After all, I haven’t bought any presents for myself this year so I’ll make up for it with food.

And then I had a cleaning session which was, as usual, 10 minutes cleaning followed by 20 minutes recovering, all the way up to lunchtime.

During the night I’d racked up yet another impressive amount of miles. I was in an apartment that I was renting somewhere and there was a problem with the water supply. It turned out that the cold water tank needed replacing. But to replace it was an exceedingly complicated procedure. It had to come out through the cellar wall into the public area down in the cellar and then lifted up which meant that you had to demolish the wall, which meant you had to fence it off to stop people coming through and helping themselves to other people’s possessions. Of course they were all blaming me in the first place for having done something to damage it. Someone described the action like something to do with eating a banana but this was going to be an extremely complicated procedure to take this water tank out and replace it with another more modern one that wasn’t broken.

Nerina and I were in Brussels visiting somewhere in the centre, looking up by the European Community. We were looking for a place to park the car. I found a corner to park on but a policeman came along to ask me to move so I went to move the car but couldn’t find a place and ended up back. The policeman was still there boxed in by someone else and he was giving them a lecture to move. In the end, with no place to park, Nerina gave me a pound and told me to park the car at a meter. Of course there were plenty of meters in the area so I went to look at them. It was something like £1:00 for 17 minutes and I thought that we would be here for at least an hour so I carried on until I came to the multi-storey car park at the European Commission. I went inside the building and asked where the entrance was. One person pointed across the road but that was like a little slot down which you posted your books so I asked someone else. He replied “yes, post your books down there and the guy at the bottom will deal with them”. I asked how you would receive them back and he had to think for a minute. After a while he admitted that he didn’t know. Incidentally he had a couple of motorbikes under tarpaulins on trailers there that were interesting me. I suddenly realised that we were only going to be there for an hour and I’d been away for half an hour already trying to find this place to park. This was getting rather ridiculous. I couldn’t find the entrance to this multi-storey car park no matter how hard I looked.

A little later I stepped back into that dream about trying to find a place to park the car. I was in the European Communities by now. I had this bag and I wanted to leave it somewhere where I could go off and look at a few things. But they wanted £5:00 to leave a bag so I replied “no, I’ll take it with me”. Anyway I went off to look at what I wanted to see and then ended up at a metro station that was called “metro” on a big, wide dual carriageway, an enormous place. One of the group told me off, told me that Michelle, whoever she was, was not feeling too well. I spoke to her on the phone and asked her if she was going home, was there anything I can do?. She replied that she wasn’t going to go home straight away but sit and relax. I said “I’ll come down and see you. Where are you?”. She replied “we’re in Brussels”. “Yes, but whereabouts?”. “I don’t know” she answered. “Can you see the European Community buildings?”. “I don’t know”. I said “well go outside and find something that looks significant and come back and tell me what it is so I’ll know where you are and where we can meet”. It took quite a while to persuade her what to do before she agreed to do it. That was one thing about this dream, that I hadn’t left my bag with these people because of this fiver issue but I realised that I didn’t have my camera with me to take any photos of what I was looking at.

During the rest periods I sent a Christmas greeting to all of the regular readers who have declared themselves to me over the last year or so. I don’t know why some of you are so shy as to not introduce yourselves, but I can’t send you my individual greetings, but rest assured that I am grateful for your support and I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

No lunch at lunchtime – instead, I hit the streets.

First port of call was at the Railway Station. My Old Fogey’s railcard expires imminently so that needed renewing. And with the odd money-off voucher for compensation for delayed trains, it wasn’t as expensive as it might have been.

Next stop was Aldi for a can of energy drink. It used to be once every few weeks a while back but these days it’s almost every time that I go out that I need an energy refuel.

Third stop was the Biocoop. They have nice vegan sesame-seed biscuits so I grabbed 150 grammes for my lunch. Biscuits and energy drink for lunch sitting on a bench in the street is somehow quite relaxing.

Finally I arrived at Espace Auto to rescue Caliburn. And here I hit a snag because he wasn’t ready. They had delivered the wrong parts.

No courtesy car available so I had them reassemble Caliburn and I drove him home – to take him back on Monday.

A quick tidying up and then Laurent came round. he had a listen to what I wanted him to do and then he dictated a pile of “supplementary questions” to edit into the monologues that we have been recording.

There were five interviews to do but we only managed 2. We’ll attack the others tomorrow.

Very kindly, Laurent invited me round to his house where he cooked a meal. I took the drink, the dessert (some of my delicious Christmas cake) and a vegan burger.

We had a good chat and he showed me a video of his trip up the Amazon from a few years ago, which was extremely interesting.

Back here now, I’m off to bed. Christmas Day in the morning so I’m having a nice lie-in, I hope. No alarm at all.

So if you are up before me, I hope that you have lots of nice gifts to unwrap.

Thanks for your support.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Saturday 12th January 2019 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for more than 25 years.

And that is …. to buy some batteries.

I don’t mean rechargeable batteries. I buy quite a few of those here and there and of course I buy batteries for Caliburn and for solar energy systems. But I wouldn’t ever buy a throwaway battery – until today.

There are two pieces of equipment round here – the pre-amp in the Ibanez acoustic guitar and the tuner foot-pedal – which take PP3-size batteries and both are flat. I have some rechargeable ones, but I left them in the Auvergne and I didn’t bring the PP3 recharger with me either. So when I saw a couple on sale in NOZ at €0:99, I set my scruples aside for the moment.

After the problems of yesterday, I ended up not being able to sleep, and doesn’t that always happen? But I did go off to sleep at one point and even managed to go off on my travels. My phone had been cut off and I had to telephone the supplier. We ended up having quite an argument and my French started to break up. The person on the other end made a remark so I asked him what he expected when I had just awoken at 06:00. I asked for an appointment so he replied that he would fix one for me – one and that was all and I had better be there. I replied that it wasn’t much good ringing about it and telling me the time and expecting me to be there if the phone had been disconnected so I wouldn’t receive the call. he told me that that was my problem – I’d get one, and one only.

At this point the alarm went off and I awoke.

It was a struggle to leave the bed and having a good shower didn’t make me feel much better. Nevertheless, I headed off to the shops regardless.

No-one produced anything special, although the bill at LeClerc was more than it might have been due to the necessity of buying a load of coffee. And I forgot which coffee it was that I am currently drinking that is really nice. I bet I have the wrong one.

Just for a change I also called in at the Biocoop because I forgot to buy some vegan sausages at the Loving Hut in Leuven and I fancy some for tea some time.

Back here, I didn’t have the strength to put away the shopping. I just had a coffee and sat down.

After lunch, I tried to sit down and do some work but in the end I gave up and went to bed. And there I stayed for a good two hours too.

football stade louis dior us granvillaise granville manche normandy franceNevertheless, I struggled up to the Stade Louis Dior (and it was a struggle too) to watch US Granville play FC Nantes.

And if you think that the score 5-2 to FC Nantes reflects a one-sided game, you might be right. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have been criticising Granville’s defence on a regular basis for its somewhat casual approach to defending. Today they were up against a really clinical team that made them pay for it.

2 goals flattered Granville. Unless there was something that I missed, the player who scored Granville’s second goal looked about a mile offside to me.

Back here, there was more football. Y Bala v Caernarfon in the Welsh Premier League. I have never seen so many misses from so close to the goal in one match as I have in this game. And Alex Ramsey, who didn’t impress me all that much when he played for Rhyl a few years ago, had a blinder in the Caernarfon goal and rightly won the man-of-the-match.

Bala, and in particular Henry Jones, ran all over Caernarfon in the first half and could have had half a dozen. And they will look long and hard at that period too and wonder how they went in for their cuppa at 1-1.

But in the last 15 minutes a couple of inspired Caernarfon substitutions transformed the game. They clamped right down on Henry Jones and scored two late goals to win 3-1.

Tea was out of a tin at half-time, so now I’m ready for bed. But whether I go to sleep is another matter.

Saturday 10th November 2018 – THE BIG PROBLEM …

… with going to bed early is that there is quite often a tendency to awake early too. Early is one thing, but 04:48 is a bit ridiculous.

And even worse, I didn’t go back to sleep either I just lay there and vegetated until the alarm went off.

An early breakfast meant that I had plenty of time left. So I finished off the entry for the third day of my High Arctic voyage and put it on line where you can see it in all of its glory, with a couple of dozen of the … gulp … 127 photos that I took that day.

Once that was done I had a shower and then headed off for the shops.

LIDL came up with nothing at all special, and NOZ wasn’t much better. Leclerc didn’t come up with much either. All in all, it was a very light shopping bill today. And that includes the gram flour from the Biocoop.

But I nearly spent a lot more than that.

Having a look around in the Second-Hand Shop they had a beautiful Ibanez 5-string bass guitar and I had a good play around on it for about 15 minutes. Then I had to tear myself away before I spent a lot of money.

But the printer!

According to the Leclerc website, they have an Epson printer on special offer – €15:00 cheaper than the equivalent on Amazon.

I like Epsons, for the simple reasons that firstly the ink is cheap and secondly the colour cartridges are separate so you don’t need to replace the whole lot when just one colour runs out.

The advert said that the printers were available on order from the shop so off I went. And the usual inept Je m’enfoutiste who couldn’t be bothered to look for it on the on-line catalogue went off to chat to a colleague, and came back to tell me that “they’ve all gone”.

Back here, I had a look on-line, and there were plenty left. So I ordered one on-line instead and it will be in the drive-in in a couple of days.

But I’m getting sick and tired of this modern trend of je m’enfoutisme where shopkeepers and shop assistants are kicking people out of their shops because it’s too much like hard work to try to sell them something.

And anyone who has read Alvin Tofler’s The Third Wave will recall that he foretold all of this nearly 40 years ago.

People argue long and hard in favour of “shop local” instead of shopping on-line, but at least the computer and the warehouse robots are keen and eager to fulfil your demand.

While I was finishing off my lunch this afternoon there was a ring on the doorbell. Liz and Terry turned up to say hello, have a coffee and to give me some shopping that they had brought back from the UK for me. Stuff for Christmas such as mince pies, mincemeat and Christmas pudding, seeing as the English Shop in Everburg let me down.

We had a good walk around the headland and the walls in the wind and rain, followed by a coffee in the cafe in the old town.

Later on, I started to work on the web pages for Day Three but ended up by falling asleep on my comfortable chair.

On awakening, I noticed that US Granville’s 2nd XI was playing against LC Bretteville Sur Odon, and kick-off was in 40 minutes time.

football stade louis dior us granville lc bretteville sur odon manche normandy franceNot wishing to hang around, I sailed off at a rapid rate of knots and was actually there 10 minutes before kick-off. I didn’t know that I could move so fast these days.

US Granville took the lead after just one and a half minutes. From their first attack they won a corner. The LC Bretteville Sur Odon keeper punched it out and a Granville player picked up the loose ball and drove it back into the crowded penalty area where it shot through a ruck of players straight into the net without touching anyone.

They had the ball in the net after 13 minutes too, but it was ruled out for a push on a defender.

LC Bretteville Sur Odon woke up after about 35 minutes and began to get on top. They almost equalised but a shot was kicked off the line by a defender.

The second half carried on with LC Bretteville Sur Odon clearly on top but a few unsavoury incidents which ended up with an LC Bretteville Sur Odon in the dressing room disrupted the game.

Three substitutes all at the same time refreshed the Granville team and, against the run of play, scored a dramatic second goal. A breakaway through the centre saw the ball blocked on the line not once but twice, but the third attempt on goal found the back of the net.

So a rather fortunate 2-0 win for Granville.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceBy now the rain had stopped so I had a good walk back home.

I’d taken the Nikon 1 with me and so I decided that I would have some fun with it in the dark.

As you know, I’ve not been able to get it to work as well as I would have liked in poor lighting, and the drawbridge into the old walled town here gave me ideas.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceI took several photos of the pont lévis, using different shutter, aperture and ISO settings, to correspond and compare with the earlier one which was taken on fully automatic settings.

Most of them were filed under CS, but this one turned out quite well.

1/13 shutter speed, f3.75 and ISO6400, and darkened slightly.

drawbridge pont levis old town walled city granville manche normandy franceBack home, while I was working on the photos, I noticed a couple of people nicely framed in the archway of the drawbridge.

I cropped out that part of the image and blew it up a little to see what it would give me, and it’s produced a nice effect.

However, it’s ended up being rather pixelated and that’s a disappointment. I don’t seem to be able to produce the quality for which I am looking.

Back home, I made myself a plate of mushrooms in tomato sauce with pasta for tea.

I’m ready now for an early night, especially having done 147% of my daily total, and I hope that I’ll be able finally to have a good sleep.

I need it.

Thursday 26th July 2018 – IT RAINED!

First time for at least 6 weeks I reckoned. On the way back here from Roncey we had a brief downpour for about five minutes. It was quickly here and quickly gone, but it rained just the same and that is something to note.

Last night was rather a mixed night. In bed early, I awoke at some time during the night, although I’ve no idea when, but I was quickly back asleep, where I stayed until the alarm went off. And then, to my own surprise, I was out of bed quite quickly.

The laptop had stalled during the night and so the transferring of the dashcam files had stalled to. And so I restarted it with the broken laptop as I suggested last night. And to my surprise, it was all done in a couple of hours, never mind a couple of days.

In the meantime I’d had my medication, had breakfast and even had a shower and a good clean-up.

Once everything was organised, I went out.

michel patrick granville manche normandy franceFirst stop was the harbour to check out the yacht that I saw yesterday.

She was still moored where I saw her, and so I made a note of her name. She’s called the Michel Patrick otherwise known as Milpat.

And having said that, I’m still none the wiser. I’ve not been able to find out anything else about her and she’s not in any database that I can locate.

So I headed off and and tried the remaining DiY shops, but again, no black melamine. So I fuelled up Caliburn and headed out with Strawberry Moose to take him on his holidays with Liz and Terry. Their grandchildren are arriving tomorrow and so he intends to have plenty of fun with them as usual.

Liz and I had a good chat and then some lunch, following which we went to Countances. Liz bought the contents of the LeClerc supermarket and then we went to the Biocoop for some stuff, where I found some gluten-free cornflakes.

Bricomarche, my last hope, let me down for the black melamine, and that was that. It simply cannot exist. I shall have to think of a Plan B.

Back at Roncey, Terry cut the worktop just how I wanted it for my home, while Liz produced something out of the freezer for tea. And I’ve no idea what it was and, strangely enough, neither does she. But whatever it was, it was very nice.

We sat and watched the clouds close in, and then the lightning in the distance. And I told you about the rainstorm on the way back.

So a productive day meeting friends and shopping, even if I wasn’t able to find my melamine. But at least I can press on with my kitchen tomorrow.

Saturday 18th November 2017 – I WAS WELL …

… away last night.

Although it took a while for me to go off to sleep, once I’d gone I was well-and-truly gone and I remember nothing until the alarm went off.

That’s not quite true though. I’d been on my travels last night too. I started off in a businessand the local workhouse was parcelling off the orphan children into apprenticeships (I’ll have to stop reading these Old Bailey cases from the 1750s). I was allocated a young girl and I wasn’t sure of how I could best employ her to make the most of her apprenticeship.
From here I was with someone – who might even have been Nerina, and we were n an aeroplane. But the pilot, for some reason, lost control and the aeroplane crashed, right on the main road that rus from Brussels out to the Airport. Everyone survived the crash and managed to escape, but even though there was aviation fiel all over the place I had to go back into the aeroplane to rescue Strawberry Moose.

After the usual breakfast and a little relax, I went and had a good shower, a shave and a change of clothes too. And my little halogen heater works quite nicely in the bathroom too. And deciding to make the fullest opportunity of a nice clean me, I changed the bedding too and I’ll have a nice comfortable bed to sleep in tonight. And just as well too, because it’s Sunday and a lie-in.

Once I’d gathered my wits (which doesn’t take long these days) Caliburn and I went to the shops.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just recently I’ve been walking up to LIDL and back, and so I decided to drive up the way that I came back on foot the other day. And much to my surprise, I was there in half the time without any queues and hold-ups at all. I’ll have to try this way again.

I didn’t spend anything special in there, but I made up for that later.

I called in at GIFI on the way out. It’s winter and with no pie huts at the football matches I’m freezing to death. And so I bought myself a thermos flask so that I could have some coffee to warm me up. And I bought a few other things too – but nothing exciting.

At the biocoop I bought some more vegan sausages and some sunflower seeds for the muesli, And next stop was NOZ. A few bits and pieces there too, including some sea salt. Not necessarily for the salt, but for the jars. They were those nice hexagonal ones that I like.

In the Auchan I didn’t spend anything special yet for some reason that I don’t understand my bill there came to almost €25:00 I’m not sure what I spent it on.

pisse dru beaujolais nouveau auchan granville manche normandy franceBut I did have a laugh as I was leaving. the Beaujolais Nouveau is now arriving in the supermarkets. The story behind the race to the market is that one year the crop was so awful that it didn’t last more than a couple of weeks so there was a rush to gt it to market and sell it before it spoiled on the shelves.

Here at Auchan my favourite beaujolais Nouveau was on offer and I consider its name to be extremely apt.

I couldn’t have called it anything better myself.

By the time I returned home it was 13:30, and by the time I’d unpacked, it was lunchtime.

After lunch I crashed out for a while – I’m clearly not doing very well these days, and then at 16:00 I hit the streets again – but on foot this time.

It took me ages to climb the hill up ast the railway station and I had to stop a couple of times to get my breath. Nevetheless, it was a mere 16:35 wwhenI arrived at the Stade Louis Dior.

stade louis dior us granville agneaux fc manche  normandy franceGranville’s 2nd XI, in blac, were taking on Agneaux FC, two places above them in Regional Lzague 2.

This was one of the most exciting matches that I have seen for quite some considerable time.

Granville took the lead after just 3 minutes. A ball upfield, the keeper shouting “leave it” and he ran out of his goal to kick it … right into the back of one of his own players

The ball bounced clear, right onto the path of an attacking Granville forward and with the keeper stranded, the attacker had the simplest of chances.

And then the match went in pells. We would have 10 minutes of Granville pressure followed by 10 minutes of Agneaux pressure, and then it would swing round again. Three good (if lucky) saves by the Granville keeper, Granville thumped the Agneaux woodwork twice, but the score didn’t increase.

We did have a minor interruption when there was a major car acident in the street outside.

The two clubs have changed position in the table after this result and that’s good news.

cite des sports us granville co sourdeval manche normandy franceAt the final whistle, a brisk walk took me round the corner and down the street to the Sports Centre, where US Granville’s 3rd XI was taling on CO Sourdeval. Granville are third bottom and Co Sourdeval are second from top, so I wasn’t expecting much.

The final result was 3-2 to Sourdeval and the only mystery about this match was how Sourdeval scored only three. Because Granville were pretty poor, clueless and totally disorganised.

Granville’s two goals were a free kick that confused everyone at the back post and a solo run from the halfway line by the centre-forward. But apart from that, they didn’t offer bery much.

I walked back here via the fritkot for a bag of chips, and then went straight to bed. I think that today has taken an awful lot out of me. At least my new flask played dividends.

Tuesday 31st October 2017 – I DECIDED …

CARREFOUR CITY CLOSED STOCKTAKING granville manche normandy france… to go for a walk down into town this afternoon to do a little shopping.

And so; as you can see, I was having my usual luck when it comes to opening hours and the like. I wasn’t in any rush this afternoon, and that proved to be my undoing.

It always happens to me, doesn’t it?

This morning, I didn’t quite manage to crawl out of bed prior to the second alarm going off. That was something of a disappointment as I’m trying to organise myself a little better.

And it was cold in here too. 12°C in fact. Had I been in the Auvergne I would have had the heating on as 13.4°C is the optimal temperature down there, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But that wouldn’t happen inside the attic until mid-November so it shows just how effective the insulation is that I put in the walls and roof.

But with 12°C in here, it still doesn’t feel as cold as 13.4°C does in the Auvergne. So I’ve made it into November anyway with no heat – except for the casual heat in the bathroom when I’m having a shower, and that doesn’t count.

There was plenty to do on the laptop this morning, and to make matters worse I crashed out for an hour or so sometime during thr proceedings.

Lunch was defrosted bread, and that worked quite well. I shall have to do more of that.

Having continued with some work this afternoon, it was about 15:45 when I went down into the town.

grima loading port de commerce granville manche normandy franceMy luck was in down at the docks, and it wasn’t only my luck that was in because my ship had come in too.

I’d told you the other day that the stuff was piling up in the corner of the dock where Grima ties up and so I was expecting her arrival any day.

And sure enough, she had arrived on the lunchtime tide, unloaded a pile of scrap, and was busy taking on board the stuff on the quayside.

grima loading port de commerce granville manche normandy franceI’d not seen her load up before so I spent some time watching them piling the stuff on board.

With a skilled crew on board and skilled dockside handlers they were sticking an enormous quantity of stuff on board. Grima might only be a small ship but she has an extraordinary capacity for freight.

And it didn’t make any difference about the time that I had passed on the quayside because the Carrefour would have been closed anyway

The Coccinelle didn’t have any Tahini so I prowled around all of the fine food shops in the town to look for it. Having opened a jar of chick peas and with some left over from the curry last night, I want to make some hummus. Apparenty it can be frozen, which is good news.

My journey took me up past the railway station with no luck, so seeing as I was halfway there, I walked on all the way out to the Bio-Coop. They had some (at a price of course) and I bought some sausages and vegan sandwich spread too.

On the way back I stopped at the LIDL and to my dismay they had sold out of bread. But I bought some onions and potatoes seeing as I was running low.

The 100% of the day’s efforts came up on the fitbit when I was walking back into town (with still a good way to go) so I could exempt myself from going for a walk tonight. It was late too – 18:45 when I returned home. A coffee was on the cards after all of that.

Tea was mashed potato, carrots, frozen peas, frozen sprouts, frozen broccoli and a vegan burger. And very nice it all was too.

And now I am off to bed. I’ve done enougb today, I reckon.

Monday 16th October 2017 – I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO LAUGH.

There has been the most astonishing weather here today. In fact, pretty much the same as in the rest of Western Europe. Devastating high winds, pitch-black at 14:00, the sun a mere orangey thing somewhere behind a dark black cloud.

Loads of people have passed comment on it today, but it was all killed off by one poster who said “Everyone banging on about weird light and a strange orange glow in the sky clearly didn’t spend the 1970s in Teesside”.

It’s this Storm Ophelia that is doing it, a storm named after Ophelia, the daughter of that Labour politician Ed Balls, and I’ll bet that it will take you a minute or two to think about that.

He was famous for writing a speech for Gordon Clown, the-then Prime Minister, which prompted William Hague, leader of the Tory Party in Opposition, to rise from his seat and say “that sppech – typical Labour, it’s all Balls”.

The storm isn’t though. Half of BUT was closed off while they were dealing with something big and heavy that had come crashing down through the roof into the shop during the night.

During my night though, I went on my travels again. But I don’t remember where and it wasn’t for long because it was almost 02:00 before I ended up in bed. Jet-lag strikes again, I reckon.

The alarm went off at 06:00 but I was … errr … somewhat tardy in leaving my stinking pit.

LIDL was the first port of call for me today. And here I did the usual shopping, but plenty of it seeing as I’d let the stocks run down somewhat. It was the same story in Auchan.

In bewteen the two, I went to BUT, negotiating the debris in the store. The stuff in there was better quality and better price than in the Auchan and I was almost ready to sign on the dotted line.


I asked if they had a delivery service and installation service and if they took away the old appliances, which they did. But it’s not free.

“It’s €30:00” siad the guy in the shop.
“Per delivery?”
“No, per appliance”. And they are bringing in three and taking out two.

So “sodomisez ça pour un jeu de soldats” as they say around here. We need a Plan B.

But Plan B won’t be the Auchan as their stuff is rubbish.

And here’s a thing.

After months of hassling, the Bio-Coop is now starting to sell Vegan cheese. It’s not the best by any means, but it’s a start and it goes to show you the power of persuasion. You’ll remember that I did the same at Amaranthe in Montlucon.

So I bought some, and some sausages. And that also meant pizza for tea seeing as how I’d missed out on Sunday.

I half-unloaded Caliburn and then I had to go for a sit-down for … errr … a while. That meant a very late lunch. And a bit of desultory tidying up – not very much of that.

Right now I’m feeling the strain so it may well be an early night for me. I’ll be like this for a week or so until I find my rhythm.

Friday 2nd June 2017 – HAVING A RIDE …

sand sculpture crocodile montmartin sur mer manche normandy france… on Rosie the Crocodile – and just look at those big scary teeth!

While I was out doing my shopping his morning I had a phone call from Liz. “We’re all going down to the beach at Montmartin sur Mer this afternoon after lunch. Would you like to come with us?”

Do bears go for picnics in the woods?

Last night was a really bad night for me. I was still wide awake at 04:35 and wasn’t sure that I would ever go off to sleep. But I must have done, and crawling out of bed at 07:00 wasn’t very easy either as you might expect.

A shower brought me round somewhat, and then I noticed a little calamity – something along the lines of the fact that I seem to have run out of clothes again. I had a good rummage around and managed to find a few clean things but I really shall have to go to the launderette next week. I have actually found one in the town by the harbour.

Once I’d organised myself I headed off to the shops. Going on a Saturday morning, is, as we know, a waste of time. I went to the Bio shop for some vegan sausages (I fancy sausages, beans and chips), to Mr Bricolage for some fittings for the curtain rail in the bedroom, and to LeClerc for the groceries and some diesel.

But I’m going to have to think again about the bio shop. The stuff in there is quite expensive, the choice isn’t up to much and the staff is quite surly in there. I shall have to see what I can find in the way of mail-order outlets once my bank account is FINALLY organised.

And we weren’t alone on the streets either. By one of the roundabouts was a police motorcycle patrol who was interested in vehicles entering the town. Not quite sure why, but he took a note of Caliburn’s registration number.

After lunch I headed for the beach at Montmartin sur Mer.

french army aeroplane montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I was on my way up the coast I was overflown by a flight of four aeroplanes. Big four-engines French Army transport planes of some description – I’ve no idea at all what they might be.

But when I was walking down onto the beach after parking up Caliburn they flew back again, directly overhead. This gave me a good opportunity to take a close-up photograph of them as they roared by. They were certainly impressive – and noisy. Just imagine what 500 Avro Lancasters going by overhead must have sounded like. No wonder you needed an intercom

french army aeroplane montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceAt the end of the beach, away in the distance, they performed a U-turn and flew back off at a tangent somewhere inland. They were clearly up to something, that’s for sure.

As an aside, it was explained to me later that there’s to be a drop of parachutists over the Invasion Beaches to commemmorate D-Day in a couple of days time. I reckon that these would be just the type of aircraft to carry paratroopers and so maybe they are having a quiet rehearsal of low-flying over the beach.

lighthouse pointe d'agon montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I had the camera out – do you see that lighthouse across there? That’s the lighthouse on the Pointe d’Agon where we were the other day. We’re actually at the mouth of the River Sienne (not the Seine) and the currents offshore are gradually shifting the mouth southwards by that huge sand bar over there.

Built in 1856 on the site of an old fortress washed away in 1776 by an exceptionally high tide, the lighthouse is now a good kilometre from the mouth of the river today.

We had fun building Rosie the Crocodile and then the lack of sleep last night took hold. I can’t think of any finer way to spend a sunny afternoon out at the beach than by having a good crash-out for a couple of hours. I was well away. And everyone was laughing because I’d put my cap on my face to protect my face from the sun, and as I was breathing in and out, my cap was going up and down like in one of these cartoon films.

Liz and Terry very kindly invited me back for tea and we all had a really good chat, as Kate, Darren and the kids are going home tomorrow. And then , I came home.

It had been a long day and so it wasn’t any longer that I hung about before going to bed. I have no plans for tomorrow so we’ll see what that day brings.