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Thursday 30th September 2021 – FISH AND SHIPS, ANYONE?

ile de chausey trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A couple of trawlers were setting out for the fishing grounds this afternoon as I was walking around the headland.

As I watched, this one skirted the marker lights on the rocks lying off the Ile de Chausey and set sail into the sunset.

This one, and the one that you’ll see in a moment, are a couple of the lucky ones. Today is the day that Jersey is supposed to issue the permits for French fishing boats to continue to exercise their rights under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville to continue to share the waters and the fishing grounds.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A total of 217 boats applied for licences to fish.

47 have already been granted, 64 were granted last night, and another 31 have been issued with a provisional licence valid for three months while their appeal against rejection is being considered.

That leaves 75, about a third of the French fleet in the bay, who have been refused permission to fish, with no hope of appeal.

Will this mean that there will be losses and redundancies, or will there be some kind of industrial action? How this is going to pan out now is going to be very interesting.

What was very interesting from my point of view was that even though the night wasn’t as early as I would have liked, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning throughout the night and it seemed as if I hadn’t had any sleep at all.

Mind you, I must have done because at one point I was back at school. Miss Howlett the history mistress had noticed that my brother had skipped a history lesson. He’d been up to no good for a while an this was probably the final straw. She sent him out of the back of school where there was actually a beach and sea to wait there until she sent for him. Then she spoke to me and told me that basically he can either be expelled or take a severe detention. The choice is up to him. I called him over and explained the situation to him, made him aware of what the situation was. She called him over and started to admonish him. We were onn a boat at one time and he’d been singing in a concert. It turned out that it was right up on the highest deck where he’d been singing. He was looking with astonishment at the arrangement of the boat, where he’d been. This teacher was telling him as well about how good he was, whatever, and he had a good career ahead of him if only he would behave. They were talking about hippos and rhinoceros and everything. When we’d all been out in the zodiacs earlier, one zodiac had been followed by a hippo and another one by a rhinoceros, everything like that.

Later on there was something going on in South Cheshire last night and I can’t remember what it was. We ended up being in a house. There was a girl there learning to type. She was having to use some kind of strange printer that built up ink squares that showed the letter. It took ages to type out one letter because of the way the ink built up. We were chatting about something and she was being ever so frustrated. She kept on telling us to be quiet while she concentrated. We quietened for a while and then the conversation carried on, and she started again. As this was going on it was taking hours for her to type out just one letter on this strange printer.

Today, I have spent almost every minute of normal office hours on the telephone. Yesterday I received a rather strange letter to say that my vehicle insurance had expired on 20th March 2020 and there was a substantial fine to pay.

What I was interested in knowing was “if that’s the case, what’s this letter right here in front of doing, saying that my insurance was renewed on 23rd May 2020?”, “why is there an identical letter saying that my insurance was renewed again on 26th May 2021?” and “why there are two sums of money debited from my account that correspond with the amounts demanded for vehicle assurance?”.

Have you any idea just HOW difficult it is to receive a straight answer from anyone on this question? And I had the phone cut off from underneath me four times while I was at it.

One thing that I did manage to do though was to make some bread dough. And then having made it, I was so carried away with all of these phone calls that I forgot to put it in the oven until far too late

Lunch was late because I was on the telephone at lunchtime, and the same thing happened at walkies-time. Believe me – I wss heartily sick of it all.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual, first thing was to go for a wander down across the car park to have a look at the beach.

There wasn’t really all that much beach this afternoon but a couple of people were down there taking full advantage. Trousers rolled up to their knees like day trippers on the beach at Blackpool, they were paddling around between the rocks.

That was really all that was going on down there. And apart from the two trawlers that we saw earlier, there wasn’t anything else going on out at sea this afternoon. It was all rather boring from that point of view.

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was something else exciting happening on the car park though.

It looks as if we are going to ba having some work done somewhere in the vicinity in early course because right in the middle they have erected a workmen’s compound.

They have already dropped off a load of stuff into there so what I’ll do tomorrow on my way back from the physiotherapist (if I remember) is to go and have a closer look.

That should tell me much more about what they plan to do with it all. I hope that it’s to repair the crumbling wall over there because that’s been out of bounds for quite a while now.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route along the path was pretty untroubled this afternoon. There weren’t too many people about at all.

No aeroplanes about either to overfly me this afternoon, and no Birdmen of Alcatraz either, but one of our local sparrowhawks was hovering around the edge of the cliff, trying to find himself a tasty snack.

It’s really quite impressive watching them. There’s a howling gale that comes over the headland but they are there hovering completely stationary despite the wind waiting for an opportunity to swoop down after their prey.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t very much going on at the end of the headland either this afternoon which was no surprise given the wind.

But today we did strike it lucky with as many as four people down there admiring the view of nothing at all. One couple sitting on the bench in front of the cabanon vauban and the second couple looking as if they have just arrived.

And winter drawers on as well, by the looks of things. Overcoats seems to be the order of the day, especially by those sitting on the bench. It must have been quite uncomfortable out there taking the full blast of the wind so it’s no surprise.

There were moments when I too was hanging on to my hat.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This general air of nothingness seems to have extended just about everywhere this last couple of days.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been keeping some kind of desultory eye on a rather large yacht that was down there being painted.

The last time that I saw her, she was in primer and masking paper but they must have put on a really impressive spurt, finished her off and packed her back out to sea. Either that or else she’s shrunk when they went to hose her down

But to be serious … “for once” – ed … I wonder what they will be doing with that little fishing boat that’s down there in its place.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other day on the way back from town we say a large mobile crane messing around with some machiner, and I said that the first chance that I would get, I’d go to see what was going on.

This is obviously what was going on – they’ve been assembling some kind of dredger down there. She’s almost certainly a dredger because you can see the grab on the front and the discharge pipe at the back

No what are they going to be doing with that? I didn’t see anything in the local paper to give me a clue. This is going to be quite interesting too.

Things are definitely livening up in here right now.

Back home, I had a coffee and then sorted out my paperwork. Laurent had offered to take me to the radio meeting which was very nice. I put my proposition to the assembled multitudes and it met with favour, so Yours Truly now has his work cut out until Christmas.

As if I don’t already have enough work to do – but I mustn’t stagnate and get myself bogged down in self-pity.

Maryline who lives round the corner from me brought me back home. We had a nice chat on the way too, I like Maryline.

Back home I made tea – pasta and veg with an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit. And much to everyone’s surprise, including mine, I didn’t finish my plate. I think that my appetite might be going, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

But never mind, a baked potato, a few falafel and the left-overs from tonight will make a nice meal. And quick too, which is just as well as there is football on the internet tomorrow evening – Y Fflint v Y Bala.

So you might be getting a “plceholder alert” tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m off to bed to catch up on the beauty sleep that I never had. I have a lot to do tomorrow, including writing to Father Christmas and also to my favourite Inuit

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 26th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

… a calamity!

This morning I dropped a full mug of coffee onto my keyboard.

It goes without saying that that has now been filed under “CS” and the rest of the morning was spent hunting down the spare one that I have here.

After a good search I came across two, a very flaky old Belgian one and a more recent French one with “NumLok” stick permanently in the “On” Position. (And it could have been worse – it could have been stuck in the “off position”).

When I had finished lunch I tried to work out why the new keyboard was totally misbehaving and doing all kinds of strange things. That turned out to be a stuck “CTRL” button which I freed off.

All I need to do now is to find out why the “N” doesn’t work, and I’ll be in business. I’m using a keyboard shortcut for now so if you find any missing “N”, then you know why.

Thinking about it later, it would probably have been quicker to have driven to LeClerc and bought a new one instead of all of this messing about.

Strangely enough, the flooded keyboard had a fault with the “N” too. There was a delay in the “N” appearing when I touched it so I found myself often ending up with “GN” instead of “NG” if I wasn’t careful.

But I digress … “again” – ed

Despite yet another late night, I was out of bed as the first alarm rang and the went off for my medication.

After that I came in here to read my messages and as soon as it was light I dashed outside with the NIKON D500

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd without falling over a bollard this morning I headed off to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

And it seems that I should have bee here 30 seconds earlier because they had been loading Chausiaise. I’d seen the crane swinging around as I was coming down the street but as I made ready to photograph it, they closed it up.

Parked behind Chausiaise is one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. the older one of the two, I think, with the rectangular windows in landscape format.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the pride of the harbour for the moment.

When I first saw her name I misread it. She’s actually called the Galeon Andalucia and is a replica of a 17th Century Spanish Galleon. She was built in Punta Umbría as a typical “Galeón de Manila” at a cost of about €450,000.

She was launched in 2010 and went out to represent Spain at the Universal Exposition in Shanghai. Since then she’s been visiting various ports around the world, including a couple of weeks in early July in St Malo, and I wonder if that coincides with that mystery sailing ship that we saw.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing as I was up quite early, the sun was quite low to the east so we were having all kinds of unusual views that we don’t often see.

The chantier naval was nicely illuminated this morning by the low rays of the sun. You can see quite clearly all of the seven boats that are in there, and they all look pretty much like the seven that were in there yesterday.

Away in the distance on the horizon we can see the town of Cancale quite clearly. I’ve made no effort to enhance this photo so even at this range today, the views were pretty good.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t the best of it either.

There’s a high hill away in the distance somewhere a little way into the interior of Brittany and I can’t recall having seen that more than once or twice. Today though, it was probably about the clearest that I have ever seen it.

The coastline was pretty clear too this morning. And I’m not sure if it’s a trick of the light but that looks like an enormous flotilla of yachts out there in the distance over by the coast.

fishing boat calean leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMuch closer to home there were other things going on.

The harbour gates were now open (I’d only just made it down to the port in time) and already half of the local fleet (that bit that isn’t in the chantier naval) had headed off into the sunrise. One of the last to go out was this little shellfish boat, Calean.

You can the shellfish boats by the covered awning over the open hold. That’s to stop the seagulls diving down and pinching the catch on the way back from the beds.

fishing boat bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the port, I wandered over to the other side of the headland to have a butcher’s at the Baie de Granville to see what was going on over there.

And out at sea many of the fishing boats had taken up their positions and were starting work, like this blue and white one here.

One thing that I had always wondered is “how do they decide which boat fishes where?”. They can’t all surge out en masse and fight for a spec in a glorious free-for-all. There must be some kind of organisation.

Do they draw lots? Or do they take turns on a rota for different specs?

Normandy Trader approaching port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing.

While I was looking out at sea at the trawlers I noticed something else heading my way, and as it approached me, I reckoned that the silhouette was quite familiar so I photographed it for a closer look when I returned home.

Back here I had a close look at the photo and had something of a play around with it. Sure enough, it’s Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, on her way into port. I wonder what she and her crew will make of a Spanish galleon here in port.

Having done that, I edited the rest of the morning’s photographs and also the ones from last night. Then I began to update the journal to add the details of last night’s meanderings.

Round about 10:45 I knocked off for breakfast – coffee and my fruit bread. The bread was fine but it was round about then that I had my calamity.

Accordingly, the rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent messing around with the computer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNone of the foregoing stopped me from having my afternoon walk of course.

You will have seen the glorious morning that we had earlier today, but by now there had been a dramatic change in the weather. It was cloudy, overcast and cold, just like any late October day.

It was no surprise therefore to see that the beach was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there that I could see. The weather had finished off the holiday season in a way that no-one will ever forget in a hurry.

There’s even a rainstorm by the looks of things a few miles out to sea to put the tin hat on it.

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that there wasn’t anyone out on the beach, that’s not strictly accurate.

Away in the distance out at Donville les Bains the bouchot harvesters are hard at work. They have all of the tractors and trailers out there this afternoon bringing in the shellfish from the beds that are to the right of this image.

And in the background there are a few people walking around on the beach. Probably tenants of the holiday park just along there. They will be walking along the beach because, to be frank, there isn’t anywhere else for them to walk around there.

crowds footpath pointe du roc lighthouse semaphore Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I’m sure that you are now wondering where all of the holidaymakers have gone if they aren’t on the beach.

The answer to that is that they are all on the path that leads down to the semaphore and the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc. Hordes and hordes of them too.

And they weren’t all holidaymakers either. While I was walking around on top of the cliff overlooking the sea, I fell in with one of my neighbours and we had a really good chat.

While we were chatting, we were overflown by a helicopter, our friend F-GBAI and also the sparrowhawk but you can’t be rude and interrupt a conversation by taking a photo.

Just my luck, isn’t it?

ulm microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t have long to wait before someone else flew by overhead.

The familiar rattle in the distance gave me a clue as to who it might be and it wasn’t long before the red microlight who we have se so often came fluttering by.

Interestingly, it just went a mile or so out to sea, turned round and headed for home.


Nothing else flew by so I carried on to the end of the path and across the car park, which was crowded yet again.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I asked the question “what do you do if you head back to port and find the port gates closed with the tide.

Almost on cue, we saw a yacht riding at anchor about half a mile outside the harbour. And here today we have another one. And I wonder if he has also missed today’s window of harbour gate openings.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone on deck so maybe they are riding at anchor an gone below for a cuppa. However, they are supposed to display a signal – a black ball – if they have their anchor out but I can’t see anything of that nature hanging from the mast.

people on beach port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further around the headland there was a group of people out on the beach and rocks underneath the harbour wall.

My first thought was that they were doing a bit of peche à pied but a closer look failed to convince me. And apart from the fact that there’s no sun right now, that’s no place to go sunbathing.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval there was no change in occupancy since this morning. Everything was the same as yesterday except for an infernal racket from down there as if someone was doing some heavy-duty sand-blasting.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader had already left. That was a quick turn-round.

Galeon Andalucia on the other hand was still down there with a huge crowd of admirers around her.

And well there might be too, for she’s a gorgeous machine. She’s 38 metres above the water (and 3 metres below it) and her three masts carry almost 2,000 square metres of sail.

Altogether, there are 6 decks which amount to 315 square metres of usable floor space. She looks as if she could launch a broadside of 14 guns

Sadly, she also has an auxiliary engine.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s notes and then went for tea. Aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with pasta.

Finally, I managed to find time to listen to the dictaphone. I was in Villedieu les Poeles last waiting to catch a ferry to go somewhere and there was a talk about how this town was one of the most important in the area as a fishing port, which considering that it’s 20 miles inland, is pretty good going (and I fell asleep here). It was a story on the radio about how important it was and how it was about the 4th most important bridge in France. I thought that it was the first and I was looking for a few reasons out of UP POMPEII to substantiate it. Then I was going through people’s different houses (and I fell asleep again). There was more to it than this but I can’t really remember now which is a shame

later on we were on the top of the cliffs looking down onto the village at Villedieu and the ferry and there was a bridge there as well (yes, I’ve stepped right back in where I left off, haven’t I?). We had to go down to the bottom and somehow fight our way across on rubber boats or something to the other side. We all charged and it was quite a bloodthirsty do with fighting everywhere. Eventually I managed to reach across to the other side of the river, cheered and pushed on. A few of us overwhelmed everything and we were all extremely happy that we had done this and survived and conquered this town.

Now that I’ve finished today’s notes I’m off to bed. I’ve been having too many late nights just recently. I have to put a stop to that.

Thursday 12th August 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the place out here being a hive of activity at the morning tide while I’m still plucking up the courage to drink a mug of coffee

This morning started off with a couple of blasts on the siren from one of the Joly France ferries , the older one of the two as she reverses out of the ferry terminal with a load of passengers on board.

They all do that when they reverse out, because they never know what is coming around the corner behind them, and I imagine that the sounding of the siren is the result of bitter experience.

belle france arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s just as well that she did because she had company right behind.

The very newest Chausey ferry, Belle France looks as if she’s been an early bird this morning.

She’s on her way back into harbour having presumably already dropped one load of passengers off at the island, and coming back for more, bringing with her, I imagine, holidaymakers who want to return to Paris on the midday train.

And so it looks as if it’s going to be a busy day for them out there today with them starting early like this.

chausiaise arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – never two without a third, as I said yesterday.

And in behind all of them, somewhat later and at a much more leisurely rate, comes Chausiaise, the little freighter that they use for running the supplies and the luggage out there

All we need now is the other Joly France boat, wherever she may be, and the Loch Ness monster and we’ll have a full house today.

trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that that was all of the excitement this morning you are very much mistaken.

One of the big issues about living in a medieval walled city is that deliveries are somewhat complicated. The heights and widths of the gates weren’t made for modern lorries.

Anyone who has anything delivered here in a lorry like this will need to have some kind of trans-shipment facility for their purchases if they expect their goods to arrive at their front door.

normandy trader loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ran … errr … harbour we have another visitor in here this morning.

The Normandy Trader seems to have come into port with the evening tide yesterday and by the time that I got round to see her she was busy being loaded up with a pile of building material that must also have arrived quite early.

According to her skipper, she’d already been over to St Malo on her way out from St Helier so they are keeping her busy.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was at it, I went to have a look on the north side of the headland when I came back from the shops.

And here, sailing around the bay was Marité

We had seen her at her mooring earlier when we saw Normandy Trader but by the time that I came back both of them had cleared off into the sunset.

Normandy Trader had long-since disappeared into the distance but Marité kept me entertained for quite a while.

condor voyager english channel Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we had another surprising sight right out to sea just leaving the harbour at St Helier and the camera did really well to pick this up.

A quick check of the fleet radar told me that just about 20 minutes before I took this photo, Condor Voyager, the big superfast ferry whom we had seen the other day, had set out from St Helier on her way back to Poole in Dorset, where she arrived at 14:43.

She was the only ship out there who fitted the description and the size of what I was seeing so I reckon that it’s she.

Yes, I’ll go out again when the tide is right.

But anyway, I’m getting well ahead of myself.

And after last night’s adventures, all that I can say is that there’s no point whatever in killing myself to go to bed at a reasonably early time if I spend most of the night tossing and turning and not being able to sleep properly It was a rather dismal night in fact.

Nevertheless, I did manage to go off on several travels and it’s these that are probably wearing me out the most. Last night I was living at the top end of Crewe in Victoria Street and I had a little ginger kitten. One day I let it out and it shot off at a right pace. I was calling it and running after it praying that it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a car or something as it had never been out at all in the past. Eventually I caught it playing around by the railings that led up the steps to one of the shops on Hightown. I picked it up and thought “I’m on the way to the hospital but i’m going to have to carry the cat because I can’t just put it down and let it run around like this. It will drive me mad and be ever so stressful

Later on I’d arranged to meet one of my Canadian friends to go to the cinema but somehow I’d forgotten. I’d ended up going to bed. But the phone rang to ask me where I was “God! I’ve forgotten!” She replied “we’re just going in now”. She’s met someone and they were going to be on the balcony in the cinema. I dressed quickly and dashed into town, went up into the cinema and had a look round. Eventually I found them and went to sit next to them. There she was, then this guy then me then another woman. This was a B-feature and the lead film was a film abour economic analysis and everything. Of course I was fascinated by this and sat and listened to it. This woman started to talk about something that she had planned for her thesis to do with making glucoses on plants and transposing them to trees. I said “you should speak to my friend’s friend because he’s into genetics”. That sparked off a lively incident. This film then started to talk about someone who had developed some babysitting rings in South London with a couple of friends, about how they had started this but were doing it while studying and hadn’t let on. Their friends were starting to shun them because of the implications about what would happen to their studies if they found out that they were working.

Some time later a couple of us were hemmed in on a car park by a car and a lorry on a car park in Granville. We had to go to pick someone up from the seafront a little later and the gale was howling. It was really strong. I was trying to eat something but it was all falling apart. In the end I turned to whoever it was I was with and said something like “shall we go?”. I swept all of the ruins of whatever it was I was eating into a bag and I saw the cheese sandwich and said “God! Sorry!” to whoever it was we were meeting. We set off to go to see the storm.

A little while earlier at some point I’d been on a bike and I’d come to some roadworks and I’d had to wait while we were ushered through. The ushers were dealing with some kind of incident involving a lorry so we were there for hours. The we were let through and I had to cycle behind the girl on the bike who was leading everyone through. I’d switched my lights off and I couldn’t get them to work again. In the end I cycled off and by now I’d transformed myself into a car. I was heading back home to my place in Virlet. Although I’d come a different way I suddenly found myself back on the road that I knew so I was able to put my foot down and go that way. In the night with the lights and everything we could see all of these ancient buildings with all old dates carved into these buildings, hundreds of dates, all reflected in the shadows of the car’s headlights. It was the first time that I had ever seen them so clearly.

It’s no wonder that I’m totally exhausted with all of this going on, is it?

Having organised that I went and had a shower and went one better than Graham Nash – I actually DID cut my hair, although my not feeling up to par is not because I had the flu for Christmas – it’s something else completely.

Then I hit the streets – not that I feel much like it but on Tuesday I have to go for the train and so I may as well see how I feel.

You’ve already seen some photos and I’ll show you a few more quite soon once I’ve disentangled myself from the chat with the itinerant who hangs around the town.

unloading goods at empty shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a clothes shop for kids in the Rue Couraye but it moved to different premises not so long ago.

Just recently the windows have been covered over to stop people peeking inside, and today they’ve had a delivery of stock.

Hachette is wholesale book distributor and it’s their name on the packaging, so are we going to be seeing a bookshop open in the town?

Watch this space.

On the way up the hill my knee gave out again and that reminded me that as I was going past the new physiotherapists’ clinic I should pop in there and make an appointment. I have a doctor’s prescription for a course of physiotherapy.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much at all today – it was the exercise that I went for more than the shopping, so I was soon heading back.

crane rue victor hugo rue saint paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we watched them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They erected a crane shortly afterwards and I said that they would get a move on now because hiring a crane is expensive. So since then they haven’t done a tap of work.

Of course it’s August and everyone is on holiday right now, but in that case why bring the crane in and not wait for September when everyone is back at work? It seems rather strange to me, but there again many things around here do.

public notice square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt LIDL I’d bought some energy drink to fuel the climb up the hill to home, so I stopped to drink it right by the Square Potel.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, late last year they demolished the staircase and closed it all off to the public, and today I noticed that a notice had been erected at the site.

Basically, work is going to start here next autumn, so they say, and so it’s not worth anyone’s while making the place look presentable at the moment, only to have to rip it all out in early course.

So at least we know when things might be starting. When they might be finishing is something else completely.

Outside the building was a neighbour so we had a chat, then I came in to put away my frozen peas and then … errr … hit the chair for a while. And no surprise there.

As a result there was a rather late lunch and I wasn’t in the mood for doing all that much afterwards for a while. Eventually I did some more Greenland photos to keep things ticking over.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was time for my afternoon walk, somewhat later than usual, I wandered as is my custom these days down to the end of the car park to have a look at the beach.

And we’re right at the turn of the tide by the looks of things judging by the beach, and there are quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it.

Plenty of sunbathers and and even quite a few people taking to the water. It was certainly one of the nicer afternoons that we’ve had for a while.

A few yachts out there in the distance too and beyond them are the bouchot beds that we saw yesterday. They aren’t as clear today as they were.

yachts ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the subject of things being clearer, the air is certainly much clearer than it was yesterday.

The difference between the view of the Ile de Chausey today and the view YESTERDAY WHEN WE SAW MARITÉ is quite considerable.

Unfortunately she’s not out there now, she’s gone somewhere else out of my view. However there are quite a few other yachts over there in the distance, one of them being Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the coast last year.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of going down the Brittany coast … “well, one of us is” – ed … the view down the Brittany coast was quite good today.

Right out there on its headland we can vaguely see today the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres from where I’m standing. Not the best view that we have had – we’ve had days when we’ve seen it with the naked eye – but pretty good all the same.

And I haven’t forgotten that I have a few close-ups on the lighthouse to show you one of these days when I find enough creative spirit to write something up about my journey down there.

st helier jersey channel islands Eric HallIf the view out down the Brittany coast is good, there’s a fair chance that the view out to sea might be good too (although quite often it isn’t).

Out there today, we have a really good view of the island of Jersey and the port of St Helier, even down to being able to see plenty of the buildings around the town. It’s very rare indeed that we cans ee them as clearly as this.

The big white building with the round dome on top is as far as I can tell, the Fort Regent Leisure Centre but I can’t really identify the others. One of these days I’ll have to go for a sail out there, but I bet that it will be raining and foggy and I won’t be able to see a thing.

seagulls baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial duo.

The white one on top was, presumably, mummy seagull and she seemed to be taking one of her babies, the browny-grey one underneath, for its maiden flight around the clifftops.

And judging by the noise that baby was making, she was not one very happy seagull at all. The younger ones have this very distinctive squeaky call that sounds like an unhappy toddler.

And by the way, if ever you come to Granville, bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

yellow microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I’m on the subject of being overflown, it’s getting to be more and more like Play School here.

Today we aren’t going to be deciding which window to be looking out of, we’re going to be deciging which one of the microlight aircraft will be oveflying us.

Last time, it was the red one, so today then obviously it has to be the turn of the yellow one to come and pay me a visit, rattling its way past overhead.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the yellow autogyro so maybe that’s his turn tomorrow.

Surprisingly, that was the only aircraft today that went anywhere like close enough to be able to take a worthwhile photo. There were a couple of others but they were either too far out or too high.

fishermen speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dispensed with all of the activity out on the north side of the headland I went to see what was going on round the corner because i’d seen some things moving out there.

Across the car park went I, down to the end of the headland and just as I did so, a speedboat went right past in front of me.

We’ve had everything else today so why not a boat full of fishermen? Not doing very much fishing because they are travelling at some speed, from where I don’t know because all of the slipways are out of the water right now.

They are going to be having quite a long wait until the tide comes in far enough for them to go ashore.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said just now that things were moving out there, I was only speaking figuratively because here’s someone who clearly isn’t.

This is the best way to spend a quite sunny afternoon – anchored off the coast (you can see his anchor chain extended off the port bow) taking in the rays and waiting patiently for the tide to come in.

It doesn’t even look as if he is doing any fishing, and that is surely heresy around here right now.

There’s a few other things to see around the corner so i’ll wander off that way.

trawler in portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty of excitement yet again in the chantier naval this afternoon.

The portable boat lift has been pressed into operation today and it has a small trawler-type fishing boat in its evil clutches. And there’s a guy standing behind it with a pressure washer presumably removing the barnacles from her hull

And I suppose that you’re wondering why she’s still in the boat lift despite the tide being well out right now, and not dropped down onto a set of chocks as they usually do as soon as they take them out of the water.

Well, read on.

7 trawlers in chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s your answer. There simply isn’t anywhere to put her.

It’s been a really busy morning down at the chantier naval by the looks of things and we have no fewer that seven boats in there. There’s Charlevy of course across the other side, and Trafalgar nearest the street, and then four in a line with the seventh in the portable boat lift.

This is probably a record number of boats for me in there and I don’t see how they could hope to fit any more in their place.

And the excitement will begin when they need to use the portable boat lift to drop a boat back in the water, with nowhere to drop the one that’s in the lift while they do it.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw Chausiaise coming back into the harbour after her run out this morning, but she’s now back where she was moored yesterday.

Maybe that’s her work finished for the day, unless she has to go over and bring back some luggage tonight.

And in the background there’s another class taking place in the pool over there by the beach at the Grève de Hérel. It looks as if it might be kayaks this afternoon.

But I came back for a cold drink and to stir some papers around. Despite having felt a little better, I’ve still not been able to concentrate at all.

For tea I made a huge pile of aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit, with no pudding as I wasn’t all that hungry. I had no breakfast either so my appetite seems to have gone.

But now I’m off to bed, rather late, and hoping for a better, more productive day tomorrow. High time that I extricated my digit.

Thursday 5th August 2021 – HAVING BEEN FEELING …

… a little better over the last couple of days, I’m afraid that the inevitable happened today. I ended up having the worst morning that I’ve had for a considerable period of time. While I should have been out at Lidl doing my shopping, I was curled up in the foetal position on my chair in the office, and that’s no good for anyone.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut be that as it may, I consoled myself with the thought that I was probably feeling a little better than any landlubber who might have found himself on the deck of Normandy Trader as she set out from the port this afternoon.

Right into the teeth of a raging nor’wester that hit her full bow-on the moment that she left the shelter of the harbour wall. And with having a blunt end at the bow, I bet that she would have felt every wave that came smashing into her.

This was not the weather for the faint-hearted to be out at sea this afternoon.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are wondering what has brought this on, well here’s your answer.

As you can see, we were hit this afternoon by one of these rolling storms that soaked absolutely everything that was in its path, including me

It was relatively moderate, if windy weather when I set out for my walk but the wind soon whipped it onto the shore and we suddenly got the lot. Where there were once several dozen people idly strolling along the path, the next minute it was panic-stricken flight and the path cleared in a matter of seconds.

normandy trader in storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf I had had any sense I would have cleared off with them as well, but I had things that needed my attention.

Normandy Trader left the harbour while I was on that side of the headland and I wanted to see if I could catch a glimpse of her out at sea and see how she was doing, battling against the storm.

However, you couldn’t see a thing out there in all of this. Eventually I was able to make out some kind of trace of a wake so I took a photo with the aim of digitally enhancing it when I returned to the apartment. And this is the best that I can do.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m getting ahead of myself here. While you admire another photo of Normandy Trader fighting her way out of the harbour, I was busy fighting my way out of bed.

After the medication I came back in here for a listen to the dictaphone to see where i’d been during the night.

There were all kinds of things going on last night like I’d started to make a radio programme. It was all about little bits of music or speech in French and it was all over the place. It took some tidying up and someone’s speech overran by miles, all kinds of things. I can’t really remember all that much about it now except having to combine all these speeches together to make my programme.

A little later on we were talking about postal charges and how I had to spend a lot of money getting a jacket back from Canada once but only £5:99 to get a camera back. There were some jokes about “what was my jacket doing in the meantime? Who was wearing it?” And all that sort of thing – had she stripped it off and was no longer interested. The question came round to postage and Airfix kits where it was all just die-cast plastic – you’d cast a few off, put them into envelopes and post them away, and why was postage “always to be advised” when you were buying something on line. It turned round to me singing on board the ship. I’d just started to sing a song when the alarm went off.

Until breakfast time I occupied myself in doing some more tidying up of the new computer drives. Then after breakfast I had some things that needed my attention but that was when I hit the wall and so I remined curled up on my chair for a couple of hours.

For two pins I would have climbed into bed and gone to sleep properly but that’s defeatism. If I were to do that I’d be in bed for the rest of my life and that wouldn’t be very long. I have to stay up and slug it out.

When I finally recovered my wits, such as they are these days, I did some tidying up in here and threw away a pile of stuff.

After lunch I set about trying to print out a label for the return of my NIKON 1 J5 and its faulty lens but it seems that the printer has failed definitively.

At the moment it’s printing just blue ink and not very much of that, despite all four cartridges being full of ink. I’ll buy some genuine ink cartridges at the weekend and see if it will work with those, and if not, it will be a new printer. I never have much luck with printers

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop of course is the beach. Well, not actually on the beach, but to look down upon it to see what was happening.

And with the tide being well in, there wasn’t all that much beach for things to be happening upon. But there were still a few hardy souls sticking it out down there.

There were even one or two people in the water, and had they realised what was heading their way, they probably would have been well-advised to stay in it because it was bound to be drier than what they were about to receive.

And I would have loved to have been there to have witnessed the panic-stricken flight up the steps to the Rue du Nord when the going got tough.

yacht in storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are wondering what I meant by “what was heading their way” then take a look at this.

As usual, I had one eye on the beach and one eye out at sea, and I caught a glimpse of this yacht being battered by the storm as the giant dark cloud was catching it up.

The waves and the whitecaps should be enough of a clue about the weather. And it’s no surprise that I ended up being as soaked as I was. One glance at this made me think that I had better get a move on otherwise I would be regretting it.

So I didn’t hang around. Down the path, across the car park and round the corner like a ferret up a trouser leg

le loup normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen a few photos of Normandy Trader already on her way out of the harbour, and here’s another one.

She’s still not cleared Le Loup – the marker light at the mouth of the harbour, so she’s no more than a couple of hundred yards out at sea and still theoretically in the shelter of the headland, although you wouldn’t have thought so judging by the waves and the spray that are beating over her bow

You can imagine what that is going to be like when she’s 30 kilometres out in the bay.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle going back into the water chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while all of this is going on with Normandy Trader we must not allow ourselves to be distracted from anything else that might be going on down there.

And we’re having a change of occupancy down in the chantier naval. The trawler Charlevy is still there but at long last, the yacht Rebelle is going back into the water.

A good few weeks after the crew that was repairing her told me that it would be “shortly”, which I suppose it is, geologically-speaking. I wonder who is going to be coming into the chantier naval to take her place.

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point my reverie was interrupted by a loud blast from a siren nearby.

It’s actually one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two, reversing out of the ferry terminal on her way to the Ile de Chausey.

Plenty of people standing around watching (the rain hadn’t hit over there yet) but there didn’t seem to be too many people on board, and that was probably just as well because, although she has a pointed bow of course, she still has a pile of waves that are going to hit her as she heads out to sea.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re at it, let’s have a look at Chausiaise.

She’s still where she was yesterday, moored up against the wall by the harbour gates, and still with her freight hatches open. So she can’t have been on the point of unloading or loading up yesterday as I thought.

And I hope that she has some decent bilge pumps to pump out the water. Leaving the hatches open in a rainstorm that is going to arrive any minute is not a good idea.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle going back into the water chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut diverting my attention back to the chantier naval once more, I notice that there’s another change that I have missed.

The yacht Rebelle is on her way out of the place of course, but if we look closely, we see that the little inshore shell-fisher that was in between the two trawlers seems to have preceded her into the water today.

And in a storm like this that’s boiling up nicely, it will be a good test of workmanship in the chantier naval to send them right out of the repairer’s into the open sea. We’ll soo n see how good the work was.

So having done that I scurried off in the teeth of the gale and right into the storm head-on in order to catch a final glimpse of Normandy Trader as she disappeared off into the sunset.

joly france in storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as she went off out of sight, around the headland came Joly France.

This photo needed to be digitally enhanced too in order to pick her out of the raincloud which was by now drenching everyone and everything. And you can see that she’s making really heavy weather of the crossing, and she’s only about a mile out.

This is not ordinarily the weather for her to be going out, but there must be a good crowd of day trippers on the island who would otherwise be stranded there, and there’s almos nothing in the way of shelter on the island

But no matter what the circumstances, I bet that they aren’t looking forward all that much to the return journey.

By the time that I returned home I was dripping wet, and I mean that too. A hot coffee went down really well while I dried out.

The rest of the evening was spent dealing with photos from Greenland 2019 (I have to justify my day somehow), playing guitar and then making tea. The last of the aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit from a few months ago so I had better make some more next week

Now I’m off to bed. It’s been a harrowing day for me and a good sleep might do me some good. At least it can’t be any worse than today.

Friday 15th January 2021 – LET’S NOT TALK …

… about this morning. It wasn’t 05:45 when I left my stinking pit – and neither was it 06:45, or 07:45, or 08:45, and while I might have been awake at 09:45, it wasn’t then that I left my bed either.

So that was the whole morning ruined.

It’s my own fault though. It was already a late night when I was planning on going to bed, but just as I was about to retire, onto the playlist came LA GAZZA LADRA, and if I ever have to make a list of the 10 best live rock albums of all time, this one would be well in there.

And so I need not continue.

Much to my surprise I’d been off on my travels during the night – or rather, the morning. We had a French exchange student staying with us – it was actually one of my little nieces – who was very uncomfortable as she had a different approach to life than some of the other kids so she didn’t socialise easily but she fitted in well where I was living with my friends from on the Wirral as the mum and dad. I don’t know what i was doing there but anyway it was now time for me to leave. The father, who has now turned into my niece’s husband was working on the car that would take me back into town to pick up my bus and he had to get the car out and give me time to be washed and ready but the time went so quickly that the mother had to call me. As I was going downstairs she said “do you want to go back upstairs? There’s some suntan oil in my bathroom cupboard. I replied “there’s no need for any of that”. She explained to our exchange student, who really WAS our exchange student from Summer 2019 by now, that in between living in the Wirral and where we were living today she’d lived in the USA for a while. Then we started to get the car ready for me and I thought “well, I’m being rushed a bit here and they are running me out of the house a bit”. This was making me a bit wary about what was happening and I don’t know why.

And at some point in all of this, Castor appeared in this dream – playing cards or doing a jigsaw with someone in a room upstairs, something that filled me with dismay and has more of a significance than any casual reader might realise.

So another exciting night and having had a shortage of pleasant nocturnal companions for quite some considerable time, I end up with a plethora thereof, all at once. I wish that my real life was this exciting.

What was exciting was that I actually managed to finish the magnum opus that is my account of the history of Chateau Gaillard. Well, it’s not finished – it’s merely the rough first draft and although it’s on line it’s going to be edited quite considerably before I publish it.

tractor trailer fish processing plant trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk around the headland. And in the beautiful weather too because although it was cold, the wind had dropped and we actually had a bright sunshine.

What surprised me about that was that many of the fishing boats were tied up in port this afternoon. Having seen the weather through which many of them had struggled over the past few days, I would have expected them to have made the most of the good weather today and been out there in droves.

But there must be someone out at sea because the tractor and trailer that hauls the shellfish around the local area is parked on the ramp, implying that they are waiting for someone to arrive.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in the chantier navale either – the same four boats.

And over at the ferry terminal, there was nothing happening either. Chausiais and one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey are still there, moored up and aground with the low tide.

But no Channel Islands ferries. They are moored in the inner harbour where they have been since services were suspended with the virus. And it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing them up and running, because I’ve heard a story that unless the Channel Islanders dip their hands in their pockets to subsidise the service, something that they have so far failed to do, then the ferry service won’t be restarting.

Back here I had a hot coffee and, fighting off the waves of sleep that were somehow overwhelming me despite the long lie-in that I had had, I finished off the Chateau Gaillard and then had a very depressing hour on the guitars. I wasn’t there with it at all.

crescent moon rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was then the evening run of course after I’d finished the guitars.

Here’s a view that we’ve seen on several occasions, but not quite like this. This is the Rue du Nord looking back towards the Place d’Armes in the background over to the right. But tonight we had a beautiful sliver of crescent moon to light up our path a little.

From there I disappeared down through the gate and along the path underneath the walls, part running and part walking. There was no storm tonight whipping up the waves down at the Plat Gousset so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed.

replacing gas main rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me at a run across the Square Maurice Marland on the way home.

having seen everything that was going on with the machinery yesterday I reckoned that I would go and investigate the Rue St Michel to see how they were doing. And they haven’t been hanging around either. They’ve dug quite a trench already so they won’t be long in doing this.

Unfortunately the alleyway was closed off at the other end so in order to make it to the walls I had to turn round and go the long way around.

la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was all quiet at the fish processing plant this evening. But I was lucky enough to catch La Grande Ancre (for it is indeed she) moving away as if she has just unloaded her catch.

Once she’d moved away I moved away and ran for home and for tea.

Tonight I took a frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from the freezer and ate that with pasta and frozen vegetables, followed by more of my jam pie. That was a really good invention, that was. I’m pleased with how that turned out.

Although it’s not early, it’s earlier than it has been just recently so I’m off to bed. I really must try to do better than I have because this is all beginning (well, not beginning – well-advanced, actually) to bring me down and the last thing that I need to do is to bog myself down in a depression with all of this going on.

Look for the positives! And who knows? I might even find one one day.

Wednesday 25th November 2020 – THIS IS NO …

… good at all.

Never mind the three alarms this morning. I didn’t wake up until about 10:00.

This is a really sad situation to be in. But then, it’s probably my own fault. I was distracted after finishing off my notes and didn’t go to bed until 01:30. And so I was thinking that I would be lucky to be up at 06:15. Even so, I didn’t think that it would be this late and waste half a day.

Plenty of time to go on a walkabout during the night too.

By now things were advancing with TOTGA and we were definitely a couple. She was definitely living in Gainsborough Road with me. She had brought her animals with her, a couple of cats and a couple of dogs. The cats were very stand-offish as far as I was concerned. One night she went to bed and I had a few things to do so I stayed up. I was wondering about going to bed, and I thought “no, I have a few things to do and I can make the most of it doing them while it’s quiet”. We’d done a furniture removal and we could have removed all of the stuff out of my house with this van but it didn’t quite work out like that with people not being able to keep to a timetable and likely to run off or something like that. I ended up having to take the van back without moving my stuff but I’d removed the other person’s. It was 01:00 or 02:00 and I didn’t feel particularly like going to sleep so I’d done some some more stuff. But I’d made a mistake. I went to press the button on something but ended up pressing the doorbell and thought “God, I’ve awoken everyone in the apartment building now”. I carried on doing what I was doing. For some unknown reason a heavy lorry started up and drove away. I thought “I’m glad that’s not me waking the neighbourhood even more”. Then TOTGA came down and asked “are you going to come to bed or what?”. I had a little laugh and smile to myself and off I went upstairs. She’d changed all of the bedding in the bedroom so I made a remark about it. There was no room for me in the bed because of all these dogs and cats fighting their way around. Suddenly the alarm went off. I looked and it was only 05:00 instead of 07:00. I couldn’t remember how to switch off the alarm. In the end she had to come and do it for me and it was all. That was all very well – I’d lived in this place and she’d only been here half an hour, something like that. I went to get into bed and some of her cats were all curled up with my cats and it all looked like one big happy family until I got into bed when hers started to move. I thought “that’s just typical, isn’t it? It’ll take them a while to get used to me”.

So it wasn’t all bad then during the night. Not ‘arf it wasn’t.

First thing this morning (or what was left of the morning, should I say) was to make the booking for my trip to Leuven. And that’s not going to happen now either. All of the train across the border are cancelled and there’s just the repatriation trains. The one out is on Sunday and costs €155, which costs more than I usually pay for a return ticket. The one back is on Friday but I didn’t even check that.

In theory I suppose that I could drive there in Caliburn but it’s a long way and a lot of organisation so in the end I decided not to go.

They weren’t impressed when I rang them up to tell them but the way I see it, it was fine for them to annul my 4-weekly appointments for 9 months when it suited them so there’s no reason why I can’t annul a 4-weekly appointment for 4 weeks.

Time for hot chocolate and chocolate cake and then I could press on with work. And I’ve been doing another load of stuff of the arrears for my trip to Central Europe in the summer.

There were the usual interruptions during the day. Firstly of course there was lunch. And I do like my sourdough bread. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out although the shape leaves something to be desired. I need it to be taller and not as wide. But it’s no big worry – it’s all about learning as you go along and I’m doing plenty of that.

bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also the pause this afternoon to go for my walk around the headland

It’s Wednesday of course so no brats out playing or orienteering this afternoon on the field at the back of the sports ground of the school. I can therefore take a photograph of the lawn and also of one of the bunkers of the old Atlantic Wall that are dotted about here.

That’s the one that they opened up about 18 months ago and about which there is some talk of transforming into a museum of the Atlantic Wall and, presumably, of the Resistance Fighters here.

Whether it will ever be a project that gets off the ground remains to be seen of course

ceres 2 new boat arriving in chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of very great importance going on I walked on around the headland and then ran all the way down the path (seeing as there was no-one about) to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

And it looks as if there is going to be a change of occupant in the chantier navale today. We have one of the little inshore seafood harvesting boats being winched up out of the sea by the portable boat lift.

You can see that it’s only just come up out of the sea, with all of the water that’s dripping off it. And yet there’s a van parked by it and workmen who look as if they are inspecting something on the port side. So maybe it’s been in a collision with a rock or a mermaid or something.

And that reminds me. A short while ago I asked one of the local fishermen if he knew the ideal vital statistics of a mermaid. He replied “36 – 24 – €9:99 per kilo”

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement going on down there this afternoon either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned the other day that there was a pile of equipment down on the quayside in the loading bay for the Channel Island freighters and so I expected one of them to be putting in an appearance some time soon.

And so it looks as if today is the day because Thora is down there this afternoon and by the looks of things she’s not long come into port. And I’m glad that I got to see her because with the rapid turnover that we’ve been having just recently I might otherwise have missed her.

And then you lot would be moaning on at me to improve my aim.

trawler cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking at Thora into port came another one of our old favourites.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the trawler Cap Lihou was up on blocks i the chantier navale for what seemed like eternity this summer. But here she is today, just having unloaded at the fish processing plant and now heading into the inner harbour.

But I headed off back home for a hot coffee and to carry on with some work. But my friend with Covid (or who had Covid, should I say) was on line so we had quite a chat again.

Anything to keep up her morale. It’s very important that she keeps a positive outlook. And in any case, I happen to like her.

My hour on the guitar was another one that was very enjoyable – playing along on the bass and singing to a few Hendrix numbers that I used to play in a group in which I played all those years ago, and then later playing lead guitar solos to “Riding The Waves” and “Whisky In The Jar”. I’m still rubbish at bar chords though.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by more raspberry and custard tart. And this worked so well that it’s going to be added tot the menu for future reference.

Just as I was about to go out for my evening runs Rosemary rang up and we ended up chatting for 2 hours and more yet again. By now it was far too late to go out, what with the curfew and all of that, so I’ll have to write that off tonight. I can’t rely on the coppers turning a blind eye too often.

So I’l lgo to bed, still later than I intended. Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list so I need to make an early start. But late as it is, I’m not relying on a 6:15 start. I really need to do better than this.

Tuesday 10th November 2020 – WHAT A …

… bad day this was today.

But I could console myself (although it isn’t appropriate to do so) in the fact my day was nothing like as bad as that of some people.

And therein lies the root of it all. Just as I was going to bed last night, one of my dearest friends came on line for a chat and to tell me the news that she has contracted Covid, and is in isolation in a separate room in her own home away from her family.

We ended up talking to each other until about 03:00 about this and that until she decided that she needed to go to sleep. And so no chance of my waking up at 06:00. 09:20 was a bit more like it, and then I would have stayed in bed until later had I had the choice.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I don’t have too many friends – I go for quality, not quantity – but that’s now two of them, in widely separated parts of the World who are suffering. These are probably going to be the first of many. This virus is coming too close for comfort and I’m not sure how the rest of us are going to escape.

And as I write this, I discover that another two friends of mine suffered from it too, but right at the beginning of the outbreak and so they didn’t really publicise it like people would subsequently.

Anyway, with my running late, I had to prepare for my Welsh class, which took longer than it ought, and when the computer, when I switched it on to connect to the Zoom site decided to perform an upgrade. I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days.

Our teacher didn’t help much either. She took us all the way through the course, all 2.5 hours of it, without a single break and my head had turned to jelly a long time before the end of the class.

After lunch, and more of my delicious bread, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

During the night we had been watching some kind of report on the economy in north-east France, an industrial town, about the father of a family who worked on a railway siding that served a couple of factories and how things had already been difficult when they had closed the line for a while to replace everything but now they were talking about the factories closing down with people changing habits by buying from abroad etc. They were saying what a hard time people like this father were going to have, yet there he was. He had 8 children and living in some sort of primitive conditions with a tin bath. he was saying that by the time the 8th child got into the bathwater it was pretty black. It would be even worse by the time all of this work had been going on with the dust and everything that it was creating. My friends and I appeared to have very little sympathy for him because he seemed to be one of these people who was stuck in a routine and had a total lack of imagination. All he could do in his spare time was to just breed children

With one or two other things that needed some attention, it was soon time to go out for my afternoon walk

cloud formation cotentin peninsula Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking out across the bay I saw what can only be described as a “mariner’s delight”. And any ancient mariner – and, indeed, a few modern ones too – will tell you about these.

A clear but moisture-laden air is blown across the sea by the wind and then hits the coastline. To cross the coastline the air has to rise up and the change in temperature and pressure causes the moisture to condense.

It’s a sure sign of land ahead and mariners throughout the centuries will have their eyes glued to the horizon looking for these cloud banks as they cross vast expanses of water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that WE SAW A BEAUTIFUL ONE when we were in Labrador in 2010.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was peering out to sea I saw movement on the water over by the Ile de Chausey and it was heading my way.

And so I carried on walking, knowing that it was drawing even closer to me as I advanced along the footpath. Of course I had a really good idea of who it might be but nevertheless I took a photo of it for closer examination

Sure enough, I was perfectly correct, not that there was ever any doubt. Our old friend Joly France is on her way back from the islands accompanied by a squadron of birds of some description.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the point at the headland and I had a look out to sea westwards towards the Brittany coast.

The weather is completely different here as you can see. It’s almost completely overcast. There are a few obvious gaps in the cloud cover and the bright sunlight is coming streaming through them onto the surface of the water.

This is the kind of thing that is well-worth a photo. It has produced quite a surreal effect over there and that kind of view would be almost impossible to reproduce artificially. Nevertheless it would have been nice to catch a trawler or something in the sunlight.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy this time, Joly France had caught up with me and had come around the headland into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s the older one of the two Ile de Chausey ferries. You can tell that bu the fact that the upper deck superstructure is larger than on the other one and the windows on the main deck are more square than deep-rectangular.

But even with confinement it seems that the ferries are still working. As yet I’m unconvinced of the wisdom of that decision as it will merely entice second-home owners and tourists out to the island, taking the virus with them.

With this virus, which has a shelf-life of two days, the only hope of beating it is for a complete lockdown for a couple of weeks. Half-hearted measures aren’t going to be of any use whatsoever.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving Joly France aside for the moment, I wandered off along the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

And we have a visitor in port today. Normandy Trader is here on one of her runs from Jersey and back again. But she’s not moored in the usual place for loading and unloading. She should be underneath the crane that’s round to the left out of shot.

All that I can think of is that maybe Thora was in port too and had needed the crane for loading and unloading but I must have missed her. It can’t be because of Chausiais as she was moored up at the ferry terminal.

Back here there were still a few things to do and so I never did get round to doing what I had planned to do today. But I had a good and enjoyable session on the guitars his evening – more Bowie stuff again on the bass followed by some Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then another 30-minute concert with the acoustic 6-string.

And my singing is improving too. But before anyone gets excited about it, just let me say that it couldn’t get any worse.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer, followed by pineapple and vegan vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. There’s actually some room in the freezer now too, which is a surprise.

Just as I was about to go out for my walk, the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted a “quick chat”. And we excelled ourselves tonight with a ‘phone call that ran on for a grant total of 2 hours and 50 minutes. That must be a new record, especially as during the chat I was also conducting two discussions, one with Liz and the other one with TOTGA, on the internet at the same time.

Not that that’s a problem, because no-one ever knows what I’m talking about so it doesn’t ever make any difference however many people I’m talking to.

But having sorted everyone out, no matter how late it is, I’m off to bed. But I can’t go to bed without mentioning one final thing.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the question of Brexit has affected many of us who left the UK to seek our fortunes in the Real World. It’s caused all kinds of distress and dismay and we are all having to cope with it as best we can, jumping through all kinds of hoops to ensure that we can keep our homes and our livelihoods here.

Between us all, some of my friends and I have been obliged to apply for (and be granted) Permanent Residency in France. Others of my acquaintance from the UK have now obtained Canadian, Irish, Belgian and German nationality, and probably a few other nationalities too.

And so today it’s “hats off” to Grahame, a regular reader of this rubbish who has proudly told me that he is now an official Austrian citizen. Well done you.

When I think of the talent that the UK is losing, just among my own circle of friends, by this stupid, reckless decision no wonder the country is in such a mess.

And that reminds me – if you want to say tell me something, exchange points of view or simply say “hello”, there’s a contact button on the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Send me a message and let me know that you are here.

Wednesday 14th October 2020 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

Boats Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the fishing season is now back with a bang.

While you admire the piles of fishing boats queueing to get into harbour and unload, I’ll mention my day and we can talk about fishing boats later.

For a start, just by way of a change, I was up and about well before the third alarm yet again, which is something that is surprising me as much as it’s probably surprising you too. I can’t keep this up, surely?

And so first task this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I had been anywhere during the night.

And I had too!

Boats Queueing Up To Unload Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt started off last night with a scandal when a bowls team was disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in a tournament. Once his identity had been discovered they awarded all of the remaining points to the opponents. However the organisers took no further action because his arrival at the club had been well-documented in the Press previously.

And just WHAT am I doing dreaming about bowls? It’s a game with which I have absolutely no empathy whatsoever. I’ve only ever played bowls once in my life and then not very well.

Unloading Bouchots De Chausey Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while they are unloading the bouchots about which we talked the other day, there was something going on during the night about car parking. I wanted to park a vehicle on some waste land between some buildings. I parked the building but left a note for the people who owned it. They telephoned me back and passed me on to someone. We ended up having quite a chat about it. They wanted money for it so in the end I decided not to do that. In the meantime they told me that if I would be passing the representative’s place which was at n°230 such-and-such a street in Shavington. So I went there and knocked on the door but no-one came, no-one answered, so I thought “never mind. I’ll drive on”. Then all of the family were going for a meal and this meant picking up a few other people. I had to go to pick up someone at 230 again – a street in Nantwich, near The Leopard. When I pulled up at that house, it looked exactly like the description of the property that I’d been given over the phone (… by the previous guy…). When the guy came out he said “ohh yes, you’re Eric” and started to chat to me. The discussion came round about welding. I’d just been given back my MIG welder so I said “yes I can do MIG welding now. I’m going to practise when I get home”. We ended up with Liz and Terry in a big field somewhere to go sunbathing. There were quite a few people there already and it was fairly busy and there weren’t all that many places to go. Terry had a word with the owner of the field. He said “if you want to eat, you’d better go and eat now as the restaurant is really busy. There might be a table free now at 18:30 but later on there might not. One of the women with us suggested that it might be an idea to at least go down and find out about “should we eat now while we would or see if we could book a table for later. We ought at least to make sure that there would be a table later”.

Fishing Pointe du Roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire the fishermen on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc, I carried on with a project that I’d started back in May and which had ground to a halt on 24th June.

My web pages are becoming unwieldy, especially the earlier ones. As more and more stuff has been added to them they have done a pretty good imitation of Topsy and “just growed”. So I’ve started redrafting them and cutting them up differently to make them into smaller, bite-sized pages for the truncated attention span of the MTV generation.

The ones for MY 1999 TRIP TO NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY were done ages ago when I first started this project. Then there were a few miscellaneous ones, but then I ran aground with my trip to Canada and New England over the period of New Year 2001-2002.

But finally today, that one is finished and ALL OF THEM ARE NOW ONLINE TOO.

And that knotty web-coding problem that I had? After a good night’s sleep I resolved it in 5 minutes this morning. However it didn’t give me the result that I wanted so in the end I abandoned it for something else.

There was the usual break for lunch with more of my delicious bread and then there was work to do.

There were four extremely ripe kiwis here so I peeled them and whizzed them up to turn them into a nice runny liquidy mess. That was them filtered through my stack of filters to remove as much solid matter as I could, leaving just a kind of juice. I threw in the last of the grapes too for good measure.

Then I strained the kefir that I had brewing and put the resultant liquid in with the kiwi juice and mixed it around, leaving an inch or two in the bottle as my mother solution.

This was then strained through a fine mesh filter into two cleaned and disinfected glass bottles with stoppers where it will brew for the next 48 hours.

Kiwi Kefir Coffee Dessert With Apricots Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLast night I’d finished the blackberry pie so for a change I opened a tin of apricots and found a packet of coffee-flavoured dessert that you make with milk and it sets like a blancmange. That all went in together into four Sundae glasses and will do me until my next cookery session on Sunday.

And here is one that I made earlier, children.

No – seriously, these are the finished products. The bottles are now brewing in a dark corner of the kitchen at the side of the fridge, and the dessert is in the fridge cooling. For tea tonight I tried one of the desserts and even though I say it myself, it was delicious.

Erecting Scaffolding College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack out for my afternoon walk of course, and straight into the action across the car park.

Our scaffolders are now back at work. The scaffolding has grown considerably since we last saw it and they have even no started to put stairs into it. This is going to be a serious job, I reckon.

And the compound has been repaired too. There’s now a shipping container in there, which is presumably going to be used as a store, and there are also a few pallets of bits and pieces. No slates yet though. I imagine that they will take a day or two to arrive, presumably after the scaffolding is finished.

Beach Seafront St Martin De Brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust for a change, the sun was out today, and that made a pleasant change from just recently.

It wasn’t particularly bright over here where I was, but across the bay on the promenade at St Martin de Bréhal it was really lighting up the area and making it all look so beautiful. I bet that it must have been really nice to have been out there in all of this.

In that direction you could see for miles too. The big wind turbine on the way out to Cerences is clearly visible on the range of hills on the horizon. It’s not every day that you see that too.

Zodiac Fishing English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen all of the fishermen in the harbour and those fishermen on the rocks, and the fishermen in the small boats seem to be back out again now that the weather has calmed down.

In the usual place amongst the rocks on the northern side of the Pointe du Roc we have three fishermen in a zodiac casting their rods into the water after, I presume, the sea-bass that is said to swim around here in these waters. I say that carefully, because in all the time we’ve been watching the fishermen, we’ve yet to actually see anyone catch anything.

There were quite a few pedestrians around here and I became embroiled in a lively chat with a very pleasant young lady who was aged about 4, I reckon. She had quite a lot to say for herself.

Yacht Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that surprised me was that there was nothing much going on right out at sea today. No trawlers or freighters or anything like that – after all, the trawler men were queueing up to get into port right now.

But the good weather had certainly brought out the pleasure-boat men in their dozens today. There were yachts everywhere, including this rather beautiful one scudding along in the wind and going around the headland.

The purple sail was making a beautiful reflection in the water and it was a shame that the water wasn’t calmer.

Still the two usual suspects in the chantier navale so I ignored them and carried on home to finish off the web site work that I’d been doing.

Just as I was completing everything, Rosemary rang for a chat so we were on the ‘phone for an hour or so putting the world to rights. And then the hour on the guitar.

It was quite depressing mainly because I could not summon up the enthusiasm yet again. But I perked up a little towards the end when I tried to work out the chords to Steve Harley’s beautiful RIDING THE WAVES.

And it’s not as easy as you might think either, especially as in order to be able to sing it, I have to go down to a different key and then I lose my place.

For tea, I made an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit. I’ve run out in the freezer, as I discovered when I did an inventory the other day. And my pudding as I mentioned.

Air Sea Rescue Helicopter English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was some excitement tonight out there as well.

This photo might not look much but it is in fact the air-sea rescue helicopter that we’ve seen on several occasions carrying out an air-sea search with its floodlight. I’ve no idea why but doubtless I’ll find out tomorrow in the newspaper, if it’s anything serious.

So four runs tonight. No wonder I was exhausted when I returned home to write out my notes.

Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list too. I don’t know how I’m going to carry it all home so I’d better be on top form. A good shower will probably do me some good.

Nevertheless it’s a long walk there, and an even longer one back when I’m loaded up.

Friday 12th June 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Yes, guess who put a load of washing in the washing machine on Thursday morning before going to the shops – and then forgot all about it?

It’s out airing on the clothes airer right now, but when I go to the shops tomorrow I have a feeling that I shall have to buy some nice perfumed fabric conditioner or something similar and put them through again.

As for my part, much to my own (and everyone else’s) surprise I actually beat the third alarm call to my feet this morning. I was in the kitchen organising my medication when it went off.

Back here afterwards (still no breakfast!) to look at the dictaphone – and … phew!

Last night I put in an appearance in an office where I used to work and went into one of the rooms which was room D and it was absolutely heaving with people. I’d been for a while in another room and getting a few things organised in there watching a couple of videos that kind of thing but I didn’t really want anyone else to know what I was doing so I was hunched up in a corner where no-one could overlook me. In this room it was crowded with people, hundreds of them. There was one little girl about 5 or 6 and a pile of these white fish fillet squares that she had got down all over the floor. There were a couple of guys in charge and they didn’t seem to be paying the slightest bit of attention. Before i’d gone in there I’d had a look out of the window and I’d seen someone disappearing off in a car towing a trailer pulling a petrol pump so I wondered if that had been something that had come off the beach around the corner so I went there to find out. I was told “yes” but the person didn’t seem to want to elaborate on it.
Later on during the night something had happened about something or other in Aberystwyth. It meant that I had to go home and fetch something and come back again. I was in an old mark V Cortina so I put my foot down i Aberystwyth and drove all the way back to Crewe where I got what I wanted . The journey back should have taken me about 45 minutes (well, yes!) but by the time that I had everything ready it was now exactly 1 hour 05 after I had left so I was going to have to do something about catching up this time. So I put my foot down. I hadn’t gone more than a couple of hundred yards before I ran straight into one of these processions. Even though it was something like 01:00 – 01:30 in the morning there were all these processions like a Miners’ Parade or something. And of course as I set to move off a group of motorcycle policemen came round pushing their bikes following this parade. Of course I had no seat belt on and the car wasnt in any particularly good condition so the captain of the motorcyclists came over and asked me a couple of questions about the car. I’d only had it a couple of days so I couldn’t really answer him so he asked to see my documents. I gave him my driving licence which was stuck inside my purse and took ages to put out. he invited me to come in to his office. Of course I didn’t have time to do all of this but he interrogated me a bit and he got on his radio and radioed my licence number through. I asked “am I clear to go?”. he replied “you’re clear to go. Some guy said “that will be £50:00. I thought “£50:00? What the hell is this for?” He replied “it’s just for having your hair cut”. “But I don’t want my hair cut”. However a girl came round and threw a towel over my shoulders and sat me in the seat. I asked “what the hell is this all about?”. “It’s just something that he likes to do when he’s caught someone and letting them go. It’s a way of raesing funds”. I thought “yes, I bet it is”. And all the time I was supposed to be going to Aberystwyth. I was already running late, I had these things, these people would probably be long gone by the time that I get there and that will be a wasted journey. There I was being trapped in this seat having my hair cut for £50:00
When I went back to sleep I stepped right back into this dream where I’d been before and set off again. I was once more waylaid on the route but I don’t remember anything about it now. I do remember though thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous and I’m never going to get to Aberystwyth at this rate.

A little later still I was on my way to South Wales. I pulled in at Knutsford Services and there I had to hire a car for the weekend and get some food to eat on the journey, get some fuel and sort out some gearbox oil for my car. I’ve no idea why I wanted a hire car but I went into the office and started to make all of the arrangements. They said that they had a Crusader so I said that that was fine by me. They said “hang on, we’ll see what else we’ve got” but I said “no, a Crusader is fine”. They wandered away and I was talking about which guy it was who knew which car they were. They said “it’s the girl over there – the one who’s big enough to be a girl guide”. I thought “what the heck has this got to do with me renting a vehicle”. I thought that i’d better drive my vehicle somewhere, come back, pick up this hire car, go off and I have to be back before Monday. So I told them to make the booking until Monday. Then of course I could work out about what I needed and what I had to get.

After all of that, it was quite a surprise that I was out of bed so sprightly.

Today has been spent working on my music course. And by the time I reached the end of the afternoon I’d done a whole week’s work. And now I can play the blues on the piano in the Key of F, Fmin and F7 with the left hand playing 7/10ths and 7/13ths.

Or, at least, I could if I were any good at it. But you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

At lunch I had some more of my bread. And it’s still tasting quite good. This was, I reckon, something of a success although, as I have said … “on many occasions” – ed … there is still plenty of room for improvement.

What I might do, when I run out of cake, is to make a smaller loaf but crush some banana in it, or else add a pile of sultanas, and make a kind of snack bread. Apricots in it might be good too of course.

After lunch I took some time off work and made myself some orange and ginger cordial. The honey that I’m using isn’t very good though, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll be back in Belgium where I can find some more Manuka honey.

jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had been pouring down for most of the morning but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk, the rain had stopped.

There’s a strange kind of light when it’s just stopped raining in the summer. And with the air being cleaner these days, the views are generally better. Once more, Jersey is standing out really well and you can see the houses at St Helier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few weeks ago I mentioned something about the lockdown helping to clean up the air.

joly france ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe ile de Chausey was standing out really well today too.

The houses over there were quite clear to see too, and we could even see Joly France setting out of the harbour there on its way back to Granville.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that I’ve never taken a photo as clear as this of the Ile de Chausey from the mainland. We could do with a few more days like this.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe photo that I took, I split it into two parts. The previous photo that you saw was the left-hand half, and this one is the right-hand half.

You can see the houses in the little village at the northern end of the island and if you look just to the left of them you might just be able to make out the church. It’s said that there’s a bit of a Liberator bomber in there – one that was shot down over the bay just after D-Day.

The building on the eminence in the middle, that’s the chateau I reckon, a converted fort that was at one time owned by the Renault family.


crowds lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe fine weather that we were having now that the rain had stopped had certainly brought out the crowds.

As you can see, the path around the cliff and up by the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall were heaving with people this afternoon all catching what sun here was.

The lighthouse is looking good today , and the four flags are still flying up by the war memorial – the British one hasn’t yet made good its bid for freedom

pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on the lawn by the lighthouse that there were the crowds either.

The steps down the path round the end were pretty busy, and there were people here down by the old watch cabin enjoying the view and the sunshine. And who can blame them?

You’ll notice that the cabin still has its roof and it’s pretty watertight. It’s just one of half a dozen places where our itinerant could seek shelter from the rain if he so chooses.

speedboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo despite the crowds, I headed off on my walk down the other side of the headland.

Nothing much going on down there this afternoon – still the same three boats in the chantier navale and nothing else of interest. But there was this speedboat roaring past with le feux dans ses fesses – a fire up his … errr … posterior – as they say around here.

It’s quite stimulating being out on the sea at that kind of speed, but it’s not so good for the wildlife and the Noise Abatement Society would have something to say about it too.

heavy equipùent being unloaded rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing all kinds of heavy plant parked up at the side of the Rue du Port.

Today there are a couple more things that have arrived. In fact the lorry that dropped them off is just pulling away as you can see. We seem to have acquired a kind of cherry picker and a fork lift elevator.

But I’ve no idea what they are doing with them. We see all kinds of weird things arriving or parked up there and after a day or so they just disappear.

traffic lights place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday we saw the installation of a set of traffic lights to control the traffic in the old town while the roadworks are taking place.

It was my intention to go round to see where the other end was, and sure enough, it’s here at the edge of the Place du Parvis Notre Dame – not where I was thinking it would be at all.

So traffic at this end of the rue Notre Dame can come out of here the wrong way dow the one-way system and the lights are there to stop any unfortunate encounter.

les ilots cafe restaurant hotel rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallIn for a penny, in for a pound. I decided that I would go off and see how the roadworks were doing.

But down the rue St Jean I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before. In the good old days, it was the fashion in France to have huge advertising notices painted on the side of the buildings and it’s always been my regret that the practice has ceased. Here’s an old one advertising “Les Ilots” – café restaurant, with furnished rooms.

That’s going back a few years, isn’t it? Another lifetime ago, I reckon.

cobbles rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallBut at least there’s some good news at the roadworks.

Everything seems to be done and dusted now and the cobbles have been recemented into position. It looks now as if they are just waiting for the cement to dry and the road will probably be open tomorrow or Monday.

So in that case I’m glad that I came and photographed it today.

Back here I carried on with my coursework and by about 17:15 I was finished. I even managed to find the time to do a few photos from July 2019

Only a few though. Most of the time was spent hunting down the name of a church that I had photographed from The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. And it took some doing too.

Nothing is straightforward with me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

My half an hour on the bass was spent playing along to Arthur King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” – which is how it feels sometimes. And the half-hour on the six-string was spent playing along to Springsteens “No Surrender” and also Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are A’Changin'”

A couple of lines of the lyrics leapt out at me from the latter.
“Come writers and critics”
“Who prophesize with your pen”
“And keep your eyes wide”
“The chance won’t come again”

Yes – “the chance won’t come again”. I’m back on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again aren’t I – one night at the beginning of September in the North-West Passage of Canada. All I need now is Kris Kristofferson and “I’ll give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”

And do you know what? I would as well!

For a change, I had tea tonight. The last aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from April. I’ll have to buy another one and make some more. But I have peppers and potatoes that need using up so it looks like a pepper, potato and spinach curry is on the menu next week.

no parking place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’d had a tremendous thunderstorm earlier on in the afternoon, followed by a really heavy rainfall. But when I went out for my evening walk, it had stopped and the weather was reasonably bright.

But my eye had been caught by a few notices like that dotted around outside. It looks as if something exciting is going to be happening here on 15th June – maybe roadworks or something.

Anyway, anyone who has a car parked there has been instructed to move it and no-one else can leave their vehicles there.

“That’s something to look forward too” I mused as I ran off up the road.

storm at sea english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThings were a little (just a little) easier tonight as I made it up to the top of the hill, I felt that I had a little left to spare in the tank.

But I recovered my breath and ran on down past the itinerant to the clifftop. The storm that had battered us earlier is still there – just out to see and round by Bréhal-Plage and Montmartin sur Mer.

It looks as if it’s having a right old hammering over there and I’m glad that I wasn’t out there earlier in that. And it beats me why the itinerant is sticking it out.

yacht baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallhaing recovered my breath again I walked on around the corner.

Where we saw the speedboat earlier, we now have a yacht strutting his stuff just offshore. But apart from the boat itself, I was intrigued by the colours now that the rain has washed out the sky.

The whole coast round from Kairon-Plage through Jullouville round to the Pointe de Carolles is really brightly lit this evening. And the white hotel buildings down by Mont St Michel are really clear too.

It really was nice.

chausiais victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next couple of legs of my run took me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner – and once more I overran my mark by a good 20 metres. And I could have done more too I reckon.

But I walked back to have a look down at the harbour and see what was happening. And once more, nothing much. Chausiais is there moored up against the harbour wall so she won’t be going very far very soon.

And Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries, they are still there too. I’ve not had a latest update as to when the service will start again, but I’m going to try to hitch a lift on Thora or Normandy Trader one of these days.

beach bolwing plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

There didn’t seem to be the crowds of picnickers down there tonight – I did look – but instead we have a young couple who are playing beach bowls down there. You can see the guy tossing the “ball” at the pins.

It looks as if they have been having a party too. I can see a bottle of wine down there and with no cork in it, I’ll fathom a guess that it’s empty.

ile de chausey sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t a decent sunset tonight – not even an impressive cloud formation.

But that’s no surprise either. Not with the weather that we’ve just had. And as I said yesterday … “and on many other occasions too” – ed … we’ve had some beautiful ones recently, and we can’t win a coconut every time.

Back to the apartment I ran but seeing that I was up to 90% on the day’s activity, I went for an extended walk to clock up the 100%

Hence the reason that I’m rather late tonight.

But I had an interuption this evening. Someone from the radio contacted me – someone not actually in my list of top 10 contacts. Would I like to go for a drink with him before our big meeting on Thursday night?

So what’s that all about, I wonder. Why would he want to see me before the meeting? I smell a rat, and I’m not talking about the contents of baldrick’s apple crumble.

Tomorrow it’s shopping. And I don’t need that much stuff either. A good start, I hope, and then a relax as we have football on the internet tomorrow afternoon.

High time we had some live football too. I’m missing my football fix.

Thursday 21st May 2020 – I HAVE EMULATED …

… my namesake the mathematician today and done three-fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

And quite right too, because it’s a Bank Holiday today here in France and I missed the two previous ones, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

trawlers fishing boats sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire yet another sunset, I shall explain to you my day. Or, rather, half a day, because it was about 10:00 this morning when I finally showed a leg, what with no alarm.

During the night I had been driving a bus into Audlem last night and it was down the road one house to the left a little further down than the Post Office. I had to drive down there and when I drove down there Nerina was already there. She was there with her aeroplane. She was working for this aeroplane company and they had given her this really old wrecked aeroplane like an 80-seater thing but with no seats in it. All the kids just played around in there while the flight was taking place. There was no way to dim the lights or brighten the cockpit lights and the sun was streaming in – there was no sun blind or anything. She was telling me about all her difficulties and i was coming up with all kinds of ways and suggestions to make things work, all that sort of thing. In the end I got to the stage where I said “do you want Terry and me to come and wire in some lights, that kind of thing?”. She said no, she’d manage. I looked in and I could see one of my curtains being used across the front of the ‘plane. I said “you have one of my curtains in there, haven’t you?” to which she gave a little embarrassed smile. Not that I’d been to Audlem Road Garage before – I dunno.

And if you want to know what any of that means, you’re out of luck I’m afraid because I don’t have a clue either.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I was with my father and we’d gone to Hightown to where Chatfield’s garage was, but it was across the road from Chatfield’s. I had my yellow Cortina Mark III, VBH, in there having some work done on it and we’d gone to pick it up. The guy there was quite friendly and I used him a lot. I asked him if it was ready and he said “yes, round the back” – which was actually across the road down Samuel Street. I’d also mentioned something about tyres – I’d asked him about getting tyres for the van – winter tyres. I paid him and it came to driving the car away. he asked me about the black Escort that I was thinking of selling. I said “yes but at the moment it’s in having some electrical work done”. I thought “God, it’s been in that garage having the work done for over a month now and they must have thought that I’d forgotten all about it or something”. So i went with my father and there was the Cortina. I was in the Transit so I said to him “do you want to drive the Cortina home?” Father said yes but he didn’t really want to drive the Cortina so I let him drive the Transit. By this time the Cortina had mutated into a Triumph motor bike so I had to kick-start it to get it going but I couldn’t kick-start it. I noticed that there was a bright yellow new Triumph motorbike right by and and I was looking at this bright brand new Triumph motor bike and how nice it was. Then realisation suddenly hit me that I was going to have the Transit, about three Cortinas, I was going to have this Escort and this motorbike and they were all going to be back home and not a single one had any road tax on it and what was I going to do about that? I thought that when I get back I’d better get organised. There will be massive queues at the Post Office so I thought that I’d better investigate some idea of getting the road tax paid on line.

At some point during the night I had the distinct impression thaT Cecile was there too but I’ve no idea why or how.

With the late start, everything else was running really late and I spent much of the day chilling out and talking to people.

For lunch, I tried the new loaf of bread. It’s still not light enough but it’s a vast, dramatic improvement on what has gone before and I have a feeling that I’m slowly getting there. I shall hit the supermarket tomorrow and see if they have any fresh yeast because mine’s getting to be a little old in the tooth.

sea fog plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs is customary these days now that detention à domicile is over I went out for my afternoon walk.

There wasn’t really very much point, especially if sightseeing was what I had in mind, because there weren’t very many sights to see in this kind of claggy weather.

We’ve been hit by one of these rolling sea fogs that makes its way in every now and again. And on a Bank Holiday too. Still, the police won’t be able tos ee who is socially distancing and who isn’t.

tarpaulin roof place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I continued my walk around the walls to go and have a look over at the house repairs in the Place Marechal Foch – assuming that I could see that far.

It’s Bank Holiday today as I have said before … “many times” – ed … and so the workmen aren’t there. But they have put a cover over where they have ripped off the slates and battened it down so that the wind won’t lift it off.

But will they be back tomorrow to carry on? It’s the unofficial custom here in France chen the Bank Holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday to faire le pont – “Make the bridge” – and take the day nearest the weekend as an additional day off.

equipment floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFurther on around the headland and down the other side of the walls into the Square Maurice Marland.

What I was doing here was looking for any signs of movement on the new floating pontoons. And while there was no-one moving around down there, I noticed that a pile of equipment of some sort has been dumped down there at the end.

This looks interesting. I wonder what they are going to be doing with it. I suppose that we’ll all know i due course so I’ll keep my eyes peeled fpr any action.

abandoned personal possessions square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBut this was interesting.

At the top of the ramp out of the Square Maurice Marland, it looks as if someone has abandoned their personal possessions. There was no-one at all about in the vicinity – I had a good look.

So whatever it was all about, I wouldn’t know. I hope that whoever they belong to managed to recover them quickly enough. Just imagine doing this in the UK – leaving your stuff lying around like this.

zodiac fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was in the Square Maurice Marland I’d seen a few things further on down the road that made me prolong my walk to go along and investigate.

This was one of them. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the bright yellow zodiac that’s been going round the harbour and the bay over the last few days.

Here it is again, skilfully negotiating a fishing boat that is on its way out of port. I still haven’t worked out who they are or what they are doing aboard her. There’s been nothing in the newspaper.

grounded fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis was interesting too.

Every so often we’ve seen the big fishing boats tied to the quayside wall so that they ground out when the tide goes out and the owners can inspect them. There’s another one here today, although I couldn’t see anyone around her working.

So on that note I came back home.

A day without doing anything is pretty difficult so I decided to show willing and attack a web page. The one that I started is half-completed, simply because there was a whole pile of stuff that needed doing to it.

As I remember it, I merely dashed it off in a few minutes simply to get it on line and it had a subsequent amendment, again in a hurry, in 2013. But I want to do it properly this time

There was the usual hour on the guitar of course, and then tea. An aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by the last slice of redfruit pie. A good decision, that.

Tomorrow I can start on the apple crumble. I should also mention that my lemon and ginger cordial is excellent too.

crowds on lawn lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some unknown reason, my run tnoight seemed to go a lot easier than just recently. I don’t know what I’m doing differently.

Having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop to witness the crowds of people gathered there partying and picknicking. The sea fog had cleared a long time ago.

No thought of social distancing of course, and I suppose that with just 251 new infections and 83 new deaths today, people are becoming complacent. I note these figures because I’ll check back on them every now and again and see what the curve is doing.

The USA and the UK are still posting horrendous figures and I’m really glad that I don’t live there. How are 96,000 deaths and 36,000 deaths anything to be proud of?

trawlers yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates here in the port mush have just opened because there was a very long line of fishing boats slowly chugging out into the English Channel.

There was a yacht coming back over from the Ile de Chausey so I waited for a while until I had the pose that I wanted. The sun off to the right of the photo silhouetting the ships against the surface of the sea gave the image some kind of supernatural, eerie effect.

And these ships weren’t alone either. You probably noticed in one of the sunset pics the crowds of boats of one kind or another out there this evening.

trawler fishing baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were still more fishing boats on their way out of harbour too.

Why this one caught my eye more than any othe others is because if you look closely at the image you’ll see a line running out from the boat off astern.

That looks to me very much as if it has its fishing tackle out, but it seems to me that the boat is going rather too fast for that.

The design of these boats is very interesting. We’ve seen plenty of them in the chantier navale. Short and squat but wiht a very deep hold for the catch.

kids picnicking on concrete roof atlantic wall granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen plenty of groups of people out partying in the evening just recently, but these girls brought on a smile.

They are sitting on one of the old concrete bunkers for the Atlantic Wall right on the end of the Pointe du Roc where they’ll have an excellent view of the sunset. I was thinking that one of these days that would be an ideal place for me to set up my tripod and camera.

But not today though. I carried on with my run.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw Normandy Trader in port.

Today it’s the turn of Thora to be here. She’s the other small freighter that runs the shuttle service to the Channel Islands and was formerly a Shetland Islands car ferry.

But will she be here tomorrow? We’ve seen some pretty rapid turnrounds of these ships just recently coming in as the gates opened and leaving before they close again. I wonder if Thora

fishermen speedboat yacht granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was musing over this, another boat hove into view.

This was the yacht that we had seen coming over from the Ile de Chausey. It had caught me up while I was perambulating around. There was a speedboat going past too and when I enlarged the image for a look, I could see that he was loaded up with fishing gear.

As usual these days I completed all of my six runs. The young people weren’t picnicking where they had been for the last few days – the tide isn’t all that far out as yet. And so I ran on home

Back to work tomorrow, I have a blood test, and I need to go shopping at some point too. It’s all go here. So i’m going to have an early night.

Tuesday 5th May 2020 – I THOUGHT SO!

puddle boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some reason or other, I had it in my mind during the night that we were having a rainstorm.

It’s one of those things that I’m not quite sure why and when day dawend, although it was a miserable morning it certainly wasn’t raining. But on my run around the walls in the evening I pass by a spot that always floods when there’s heavy rain. It’s been dry for a few weeks yet this evening we have a puddle on the path.

And so there you are. Yet you would never have said anything because once the day got under way it was quite pleasant.

And for a change, I had quite a pleasant night too. In bed relatively early and I actually managed to beat the third alarm, which is always a good sign of progress.

After the medication I went and had a listen to the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been on my travels again.

First of all, Castor put in an appearance again. Or did she? Because on the dictaphone I definitely use the name on several occasions but even in my sleep I made a note that it wasn’t her. So do I count her as Castor or as an unknown?

No idea myself. It’s the kind of thing that’s really confusing me.

But anyway we were at a party that I was helping supervise. But when it was getting towards the end she said “could you go and fetch me some paper because I need some paper”. I said “there’s some here in the printer” so I went to get some out of the printer but there wasn’t any. I had to go downstairs for it. She came downstairs with me and she started to talk about this game. She’s got to do this – this game has to be done right now – it can’t wait any later as it all has to be finished by midnight and we were getting very close to the time. So we got a piece of paper out. There was a third person down there but we ignored that person. It was a case of asking the questions alternately and doing the actions but the 1st question had been cut out. She was a bit mad at that because some other people taking part in the game had cut it out to spite her and she was not at all impressed.
At some other point during the night I was making sandwiches. I had four people with me doing different things and I had to make sandwiches. I had to buy a pile of strange stuff and the kind of pastry stuff that I had to use as a base had all gone off and gone manky so I ended up having to get some bread and making some sandwiches, but I was just getting completely and utterly confused. It took me ages to do something so straightforward as I was so confused about this. When it came to packing everything up ready to take down to the people I couldn’t find any plastic bags to put them in. It was now 13:30 and I guessed they would be wondering what on earth had happened to lunch. I saw a post on Facebook – one of my people had bought lunch and donated money to LIDL for his lunch and I thought to myself it’s going to be an awful row when I get these sandwiches downstairs. But I had a bit of food everywhere that I couldn’t get organised as to what went on where, anything like that. It was all really confusing and it was taking place on the playing field at Nantwich Grammar School as well.
There was more to it all than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now I’ll spare you the details. But the interesting thing was that there was some kind of mix of circumstance – the usual confusion and indecision was there of course, but also for once (and which doesn’t happen very often) something was going right for me until, once again, someone comes along in the night and spikes it. That happens far too often – in real life as well as on a nocturnal voyage. The whole story of my life is that people can’t bear to see me being happy and do whatever they can to spike it.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

After breakfast (which was late due to the amount of stuff I had to type) I carried on with the radio project and that was done well before lunchtime.

Next task was to sort out the music. All of the irrelevant music (from the radio point of view) was moved into a separate directory so that they are excluded from selection for the radio programme.

The reason for this is that with the 6 directories that I have (AA-FF) next week it’s the turn of music from directory CC to be selected for the radio so I have all of that (50-odd artists with however many albums) going round on a continuous random loop for the next week and I’ll be making a note of likely possibilities.

There’s so much music these days in my collection that it’s easy to lose track of what I have and some really good stuff will slip though my fingers if it doesn’t spring to mind.

So moving the irrelevant stuff out of the way means that I don’t waste my time with it popping up on the playlist.

Another task that I have set myself concerns the updating of the web pages.

That’s a task that I started ages ago and which fell by the wayside as I started back to work on the radio. But now that I have the radio work under control (for the moment) I can return to the programme.

When I started MY WEBSITE it was in 1997 as part of a project for my technology degree. It was completely hand-coded from scratch and pretty basic but over the years it slowly evolved.

The last major upgrade that it had was back in 2007 and I’ve learnt a lot since then. The menus were all handcoded *.css, individually for each page and when the number of pages passed 50, I realised that this would present a problem if ever I had to update anything on the menus.

So while I was laid up in Canada recovering from my exertions in the High Arctic, I taught myself some basic javascript, designed a few javascript menus and some iframe procedure and set about changing the menus over from individual *.css stuff to one common set of menus that can be inserted as a javascript script.

Today, after lunch, I carried on with the project and amended 20-odd pages. I’ll do some more tomorrow too. As an aside, I was impressed with my bread. It’s a much better attempt than the last one.

That still left an hour or so , thus I attacked the photos from July 2019. I managed about 20 of them, spending more time wrestling with a recalcitrant mouse than anything else.

And despite that, I’m still in an inflatable rubber boat in a lagoon amongst the icebergs at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in eastern iceland

After an hour on the guitars, I went to make tea. I had an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with vegetables, all out of the freezer, with pasta. And having taken stuff out of the freezer, there’s still not enough room for the half of the pie that’s waiting in the fridge for a space.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I mentioned earlier, it was another pleasant evening.

The wind had died down somewhat and there was a beautiful sky and sunset out there tonight. I went to take a photo of it and then ran off up the road to my marker at the end of the hedge.

Having gathered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past an extremely concerned pedestrian who gave me a weird look. I suppose that I really am a sight, running around the place at my age.

Walking around on the bumpy bit past the demolished bunker of the Atlantic Wall, I startled a woman having a relax in the bushes watching the sunset. Yes, I would give everything that I owned, and more besides, to be able to sing.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOut in the Baie de Mont St Michel it was really busy tonight.

A brief perusal of the bay showed no fewer than four (and maybe more) fishing boats out there over towards the Brittany coast, and this one on its way out there to join0 them.

And that will come as a surprise to someone who posted this morning another one of these “news stories” about how the small fisherman is banned from fishing while the big industrial concerns are free to come and go as they like.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen enough evidence to know that that is total nonsense.

trawler ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallCarefully avoiding the big puddle I carried on with my run along the tp of the walls.

No change in the chantier navale today, but there is something bizarre going on in the ferry terminal. It seems that a fishing boat – one of the trawler-types – has decided to tie up there.

And I’ve no idea why that might happen either. I didn’t think that they were supposed to be over there, and for all kinds of reasons too. The pontoon to which it is tied is for foot passengers for the ferries.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff on my long run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner to my marker, and then I walked back to see what was happening in the port.

There’s been quite a lot going on today by the looks of things. We actually have some of the new floating pontoons in place attached to the pillars that they have spent weeks piledriving into the ground.

And across on the other side, they’ve fitted a few new anchorage mounts on the wall. I’ve no idea what they will be anchoring to them, but we’ll probably find out over the course of the next few days.

But it’s all exciting stuff.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom a standing start I ran off up the hill and round the corner to the viewpoint in the rue du Port.

No-one else was there but me but that’s no surprise because the low cloud on the horizon prevented me witnessing the sun sinking below the horizon.

Instead I had to content myself to watching in pass through a gap in the clouds.

My final run was back to the apartment where one of my neighbours was disinfecting the stairs. They are a friendly, sociable bunch of people here, not like anywhere else where i’ve lived, that’s for sure.

It’s late now. There was some good stuff on the playlist. So not much of a sleep tonight but we’ll see how the day unfolds. It’s a bank Holiday on friday so at least I can catch up with my beauty sleep then.

Monday 27th April 2020 – FOR ONLY THE SECOND …

… time (if my memory serves me well, as Julie Driscoll once sang) since this detention à domicile began, we’ve had proper rain today

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I should know because I was out in it this evening, attired in yellow rain jacket and black cap to keep the water off me.

And although there were only two or three other people walking about out there, there was plenty of other movement too. It doesn’t look like very much but deep in the rainstorm out to sea is one of our fishing boats and it’s looking as if it’s heading into harbour.

So they are still out there working.

But talking of movement, there wasn’t much movement in here this morning. I ended up last night doing some things on the computer and it was past 02:00 when I ended up going to bed.

Consequently, even though I heard the three alarms go off I paid no attention to them whatever and it was after 08:00 when I finally arose from the dead.

No-one I knew had come with me on my travels last night which was a disappointment. But I’d been out. There was a row of terraced houses somewhere like Edleston Road in Crewe round about where the old Christian Science church was, a row of terraced houses set well back from the road. They had been derelict for years and there was some scandal about money this sort of thing and I couldn’t quite understand what it was. Tere the protesters protesting about the waste of money being spent on renovating them, whether fraud had been committed in renovating them, something like that or whether the council was goign to charge an awful lot of money to let them out but they were in a dreadful condition. This whole group of protesters had got together and got hold of the front of the building through the window frames and were shaking the building about. In the end they pulled the whole front off it. This demonstration was being policed by the Navy of all people and of course the Navy charged in and arrested dozens and dozens of these protesters and dragged them off. All of the others went streaming home carrying their banners. The banners were all written in German so I couldn’t really understand what they were saying.

A late breakfast and then I attacked the digitalising of my record collection.

Another two albums bit the dust – 40 or so tracks in all and that was a marathon. Some of the tracks were extremely difficult to find and, much to my dismay, one of my more reliable sources had some of the old stuff for which I was looking, but in *.mkv format, which is black-listed on my computer.

Eventually though I managed to track down everything, and in the amount of time that it took I was able to edit over 50 photos from July 2019. I’m now at the Skálanes nature reserve, still in Iceland and STILL on the 11th July. Will the 12th never come?

The bread was something of a disappointment. One of the main problems was that the tray in the oven was too low so while the top is slightly overcooked, the bottom was almost burnt and had it stayed in there much longer, I would have needed an axe to cut through it.

But it was edible and tasted quite nice too, so i’m certainly not discouraged. It’s all part of a learning process and what I have learnt is

  1. put the shelf two rungs higher up
  2. turn the oven down a little so that the cooking is more even

A couple more efforts and I might get there yet.

This afternoon I sat down and chose the music for the next radio project. That was all done (except for the last track of course) and the tracks were joined together in pairs as usual.

And then the hour on the guitars. And I do have to say that I can’t think that I have ever felt less like it. Whatever is the matter with me just now?

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the fridge with pasta and vegetables. And that reminds me that tomorrow I have to freeze all of the carrots that I bought on Saturday. I should have done that at the weekend but one thing leads to another and once you start you’ve no idea how many other things there are.

Pudding was the apple turnover and because they had no soya coconut whatsit, I had to buy the almond stuff.

trawler english channel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I stuck my nose out of the building, saw the rain and then went back for my rain gear.

Despite the weather I ran all the way up to the top of the hill and then down to the clifftop. We’ve already seen one fishing boat just now, but he wasn’t alone. There were several more out there, like this one here.

And that one has certainly been working and is coming home to unload its catch. You can tell that by the flock of seagulls that is flying around it. There’s at least 30 birds, and maybe more.

baie de mont st michel leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath and walked for a little way I could run on along the clifftop on the other side of the headland.

And it’s certainly busy in port tonight. There are a couple of fishing boats coming in, to be sure, but there are also others going out, like this one.

That report that I read about French fishermen being prevented from fishing – I’ve no idea about where that came from because it’s manifestly untrue, as we have been seeing

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as if to underline the point, there’s a full complementof fishing vessels unloading at the fish processing plant.

Fishing vessels of all sizes too, small, medium and large. And with a few others on their way in, the fish processing plant seems to be just as busy as it was before the crisis.

And quite rightly so too, because people still have to eat. Not me though – you won’t catch me eating shellfish. And not just because I’m a vegan too. I couldn’t stand the things even when I did eat meat.

large crane rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut hang on a minute! There’s a change going on here in the port right now.

That big crane there on the slipway is the big bluey-green crane that’s been living on top of the floating pontoon for the last few months while they have been busy putting in the new supporting pillars for the floating pontoons.

Does this mean that they have finished all of that now? The next few weeks should be interesting over there.

large crane fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNothing new in the chantier navale just now, still the same three boats, so when I had gathered my breath I ran on down on run n°4, the longest one of the batch.

Having run past and up the hill, I went for a walk back fown to see how things where in the harbour. There was no visible change down there that I could see, although the big stationary crane is certainly on dry land and no longer on the floating pontoon.

So how are they going to lower the new floating pontoon walkways into the water then? That’s an interesting question.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut in the meantime we can turn our attention to the floating pontoon.

Ther eit is, completely dismantled. Nothing on it now and I imagine that the mobile crane is there to lift it out of the water. That will be the next step I suppose.

We’ll doubtless find out tomorrow.

So I continued with my little extra run from a standing start right up the hill.

jcb pallet lifter place du marche du chevaux rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallRound to the rue du Nord. Just one or two people out there but I was more interested in the machine that I’d seen in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

My stroll took me down there to inspect the beast. It’s a JCB pallet lifter but as for what it’s going I really have no idea because there was nothing evident.

And so I ran back home to the apartment.

No matter what happens, I’m going to bed as soon as I’ve done this. I don’t want another morning like this morning. There’s so much to do and not much time left to do it.

One of these days, things will catch up with me. But not any time soon, I hope.

Thursday 16th April 2020 – I COULDN’T KEEP IT UP …

… this morning, which id something of a shame.

Having done so well this last couple of days, I couldn’t beat the third alarm today. I missed it by about 10 minutes.

Mind you, I didn’t have the early night that I was hoping for last night. I was listening to music again and so enjoying myself, I split up a Louis de Funes soundtrack to extract some more soundbites for my radio shows.

Definitely my favourite French comedian, Louis de Funes, and he deserves to be my co-star on the radio.

So where did I get to during the night, After the medication I could go along and find out.

I was going some kind of post-dated ad for the end of the month – the old men wanted it for some project or other. I’d get them to sign in and anyone who sends me any connections will have a reward because of it. But I was with Nerina for some part of the time.
Later on, a group of us was going skiing. We were all sitting around waiting for the bus to come and pick us up. I had all of the stuff to hand out to everyone for them to take their possessions. But some of the stuff, some of the people couldn’t carry. My brother was lucky – he just had a suitcase there and a guitar. I said “there’s no guy ropes or anything with this”. he said “yes that’s fine, not a problem. It turned out that all the stuff like that was in my suitcase and I’d got tons and tons of stuff like this. Mine was just really really heavy. There was someone who might have been Nerina but I’ve no idea who it was who didn’t have very much either, and someone else who might have been one of my sisters who didn’t have plenty. We were all there with all of these things and there was tons of it all told. I was wondering how on earth we would manage to get all of this onto a bus or a train, however we were going. Each person was responsible for his own but that’s not going to be right with all of the stuff we have. It’s just escalating all of the time out of hand like this
Later still I was just about to go off on a trip with Stuart Graham, the Honda motorcycling racing specialist and tuning guy who lived near Nantwich but just as I was getting ready to go off the alarm rang and put an end to that.

There was much more than this going on too but as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare you all the gory details.

After breakfast it was digitalising the cassette collection time. Another four albums have bitten the dust this morning but, once again, they are four albums that I won’t beusing in the radio projects, for a variety of reasons.

And it made me realise that there are a pile of albums that I no longer have and I don’t understand that at all. And bearing in mind what they are, I have an idea where they might be. But I’ll never have them back now. Ahhh well!

But the splitting was reasonably comfortable and reasonably rapid, but somehow I’ve ended up with two *.mkv files, which is what I’ve been trying to avoid.

A shower and general clean-up was next. And I weighed myself too. And after all of this running and so forth I’ve … errr … GAINED 800 grammes. It looks as if my scales are as reliable as the blood machine in Castle Anthrax.

manoeuvring flaoting pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA shooping trip to LIDL was called for next.

And I was right about something else too. Starting on Tuesday earlier this week I’d been hearing strange noises coming from the port and I’d been thinking to myself that it sounds as if they have restarted work on the pontoons.

And that certainly seems to be the case. The big crane on the floating pontoon has one of the large supporting pillars in its evil clutches over there.

installing floating pontoong support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd when I came back from the shops later on, they were hard at work on the pontoon.

You can see the piledriver up there, supported from the big crane, pounding away at the pontoon support and driving it firmly into the bed of the harbour.

And just think how much easier it would have been to have done this work two years or so ago when the harbour was drained and they were reinstalling the new harbour gates. What an effort they would have avoided had they done it then.

marite cargo on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut in the meantime, my attention was distracted by the excitement going on down at the bottom end of the harbour.

You can see Marité there of course, but you’ll also see a pile of large bags of building material. That would seem to indicate that either Thora or Normandy Trader is on her way to port.

We haven’t seen either of them for a few days, but that’s not to say that they haven’t been here. With us in detention à domicile like this and only being allowed out briefly, and with the rapid turnover that the ships seem to be enjoying these days, it’s not impossible that I’ve missed them.

disinfecting streets rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOnwards towards LIDL and in the rue Couraye I came across something interesting.

There have been reports from all over the world about the disinfecting of the streets that receive heavy use. Here in Granville most of the banks and important local shops are situated in the rue Couraye and here they are out spraying the street.

It’s quite possible that the speech by the President the other day has galvanised them into action.

There’s also a story that the town council has ordered 20,000 masks from a local clothing manufacturer to distribute to the population. This ending of the detention à domicile on 11th May might actually be a possibility.

At LIDL tomatoes were in very short supply and those that they had were expensive. In fact I spent a lot of money there, but much of this was on new cooking supplies. They had some new tart cases and stuff like that today.

On the way back, I discovered that La Mie Caline had reopened, so I bought a dejeunette. Things really are slowly returning to normal, bit by bit.

fishing boats entering leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was an article in the local paper this morning that the amount of fish products landed here during the month of march had fallen by 30% or so.

That’s certainly some kind of clear evidence that fishing is continuing despite the crisis, albeit in reduced numbers. And as I walked up the hill in the rue des Juifs there was a delightful nautical danse macabre in the harbour.

One fishing boat was on its way in and another was on its way out, and they were having a nice little waltz around each other.

After lunch I started on the remains of the two radio projects that I hadn’t finished. I’d chosen the final tracks and edited them last night so it was just a case of writing the text, dictating it, editing it, merging it into place with the final track and then editing it all down to one hour for each project.

That took me up to about 16:15 to do them both, and I could have done it quicker too except that I … errr … relaxed for a while.

And then, until 18:00 I had some “me time”. I deserve some. And one of the things that I did was to order a new computer hi-fi system.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the one here has its problems and seeing as I spend so much time these days listening to and editing music and so on here, I ought to have some decent stuff.

And so I ended up in discussion with a musical equipment wholesaler and we’ve worked out a package. There won’t be much change out of €300 for what I’ve ordered, but I’ve had this hi-fi here for at least 18 years and it’s due for a change.

After the hour or so on the guitars, I made tea. Now that I had bought an aubergine I made myself an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit – and forgot to use the mushrooms that were left. I had some of that for tea and there are four helpings left for the freezer. I need to build up the supplies again.

The apple pie was delicious too, with the last of the coconut soya cream. But there’s that lovely banana sorbet for the next couple of days to take my mind off things.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went out for my evening activity.

There was a really beautiful red sky in the distance and by the time that i’d run up to the top of the hill (and that had me in agony) it was lookign even better, with the sun just peeking through the sky over the Ile de Chausey

It looked absolutely wonderful with the cloud just there like that, in exactly the right place.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I carried on with my perambulations while I recovered my breath.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have recently been discussing fishing activity deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. There’s another fishing boat out there this evening – not the one to the left of the photo which seems to be heading into port, but the one to the right.

That one is farther out, deeper into the bay and has its workign lights switched on, so it would seem to be actively working out there.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut by the time that I’d gone round to the other side of the Pointe du Roc, the sun had sunk below the horizon.

And here I’m presented with one of the most extraordinary sights that I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad that I had the big NIKON D500 with me to photograph it. The way that the sun is reflecting on the cloud above it behind the Ile de Chausey is just like the light of a theatrical backdrop and I’ve never ever seen this effect in real life.

It was totally spell-binding.

spectator enjoying sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t the only one out here tonight enjoying the sunset either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned on previous occasions that we are seeing more and more people flouting the regulations about staying in and so on. We had a fair crowd out in the streets today, and here’s someone who has passed the security barrier to go down to the little cove there to watch the sunset.

Still, I suppose that the sight was well worth it.

support plllar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith my usual two stops for a breather, I ran all the way home from here.

But in one of the breaks I had a little diversion to look at what they had been doing in the harbour today. And they have indeed stuck another pontoon support pillar into the ground.

Not all the way down, so presumably they’ll be back to finish it tomorrow and to install the rest. Obviously the local council isn’t worried too much about this virus.

So I’m off to bed, later than I intended. Tomorrow, with no radio stuff to deal with for the first time since I don’t know when, I can make a start of a few of the arrears that have been building up.

And aren’t I looking forward to that?

Thursday 9th April 2020 – TODAY WAS A …

… better day than some that I’ve had just recently. Mind you, that’s not to say that it was a good day. Just better.

It didn’t have the makings of a good day though. I’ve no idea what happened to the evening at all or where it went, but when I looked at the clock thinking that I ought to be going to bed soon, I noticed that the time was 00:40.

Obviously, leaving the bed at 06:00 or thereabouts was going to be rather difficult. But once again I slept through the alarms and it was 06:50 when I finally arose from the Dead.

After the medication, I looked at the dictaphone as usual. I had a new little girlfriend last night and she was ever so sweet. She was younger than me and I was a teenager. It was basically all about that and trying to make progress with a relationship. She lived a long way away from where I was staying so I had to travel quite a distance. I eventually found her house. I had seen something in the papers about a film in the cinema in a nearby town and I wasn’t sure if she wanted to go there but this way my plan. It was my plan for every week too – once a week take her to the cinema and just see how things developed. It all seemed really nice and lovely and warm and calm and relaxed and sweet and it was a dreadful shame that I had to spoil it all by waking up.

It wasn’t quite on a par with the “Worleston” dream that I had a few years ago and that I won’t forget in a hurry, but it was in that kind of ballpark area.

The digital file-splitting was straightforward this morning, although there were a couple of interruptions. Breakfast was one, and a phone call was another and I can’t remember now with whom it was that I was chatting.

The file-converting took up a good deal of time, and I was able to edit about 40 or so photos from Iceland in July 2019 while all of this was going on. I’m now up to photo 482 – just coming up to dock at Siglufjördur. And that’s day 8 of 31 and there’s a long way to go yet.

One task that I had been meaning to do for a while is to review the freezer and see what’s in there. The answer to that conundrum, having emptied out one of the shelves and given it a really good clean, is “not a lot”. The stocks have been going down nicely and the curry that I made yesterday is the only bulk-type of food in there now. It must therefore be time to make another aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit.

After lunch (more taco rolls of course) I carried on with the radio projects. And by the time that I knocked off at 18:00 I’d finished all of the text, dictated it and saved it to the computer. I could have done much more too except that I had a major crash-out at some point in the proceedings.

And that shouldn’t have been any surprise to anyone after last night’s late night.

And it means that I’ll have to carry on for longer than I intended, which means that this next project of mine will be delayed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my apartment are two desktop computers, 5 laptops, about a dozen different external hard drives, a pile of memory sticks and an even bigger pile of memory cards.

What I’ve done is to buy a big 4TB external drive, and absolutely EVERYTHING from every data storage device in the house will be transferred onto it. I’ll then go through and weed it down so that there’s just one major back-up copy with everything and then retire a whole load of obsolete stuff.

Having different loads of data scattered all about the place is proving to be a distraction that I can well do without so I want to tackle that task as soon as possible.

After the customary hour on the guitars, spent mainly working out Al Stewart’s “Valentina Way” and Joni Mitchell’s “Carey”, I went for tea.

Spoilt for choice, I didn’t know what to make so I ended up with pasta and vegetables with tomato sauce and the left-over stuffing with a couple of handfuls of peanuts thrown in for good measure.

atlantic wall trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d had the rice pudding and done the washing-up, I went for my evening runs.

Moving a lot easier today, I covered a bit more ground than usual which is always nice. I was at the end of the headland in no time and out there in the Baie De Mont St Michel, nicely framed between the bits of Atlantic Wall, was something moving out to sea

That bit of the wall is interesting though. When the war was over, they tried to move one of the bunkers. The put enough dynamite inside to shatter every single window withn a radius of 50 kilometres, yet moved two lumps of concrete about 20 feet.

They gave up after that.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on round the other side, I was able to take a much better photo of it.

It’s actually one of these trawler-type of fishing boats, and what that’s doing down there I really don’t know because we don’t normally see them fishing so far down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But what it probably means that with there being such a high tide right now, there’s much more to go at that hasn’t been got at any time in the past.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFurther on round the headland I was able to see over the wall down into the chantier navale to see what was happening there tonight.

There’s been a continual shange of occupant down there just recently and last night, there were four ships in there. But they’ve obviously been doing some sort of work there today, because one of the ships has disappeared and they are now down to three again.

It’s just like a game of “Ten Green Bottles” in the chantier navale.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo carrying on with my run down to the other end of the wall, there was a lovely view across the outer harbour tonight.

And there’s been some excitement in there tonight, and quite a lot of it too.

The first thing that you will notice is that Chausiais and Joly France have changed position. In fact I had noticed that yesterday but I had forgotten to mention it.

What this presumably means is that Joly France has gone out on a mission – presumably to the Ile de Chausey. Let’s hope so anyway.

trawler customs launch port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut even more interesting is what is actually leaving the harbour.

There’s a fishing boat on its way out, but that’s not really much of a surprise, but there’s also a Customs launch going out behind it.

“Going ou” implies of course that it has “come in”, right enough, but why would it want to come in here anyway? There’s no-one in the harbour who doesn’t belong there and no-one apart from the fishing boats has been anywhere just recently.

So that’s an interesting one. And on that note I came back to the apartment. Another 5 runs, and I’m working up a sweat now. That’s a good sign.

It’s extremely late now – and that’s because when I came in, Rosemary rang me up and we had a chat for an absolute age. But it doesn’t matter because toMorrow is Good Friday. And in accordance with usual practice there’s no alarm.

In theory I can sleep as late as I like. But you just watch someone come along and spoil it.