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Sunday 18th September 2022 – THERE’S A NEW …

br905622 cotes de la manche port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022 … kid in town today. Or new boat in the harbour, something like that. Someone whom we haven’t see before.

Her registration number begins with “BR” so that tells me that she comes from Brest down in Finisterre and that’s a long way away from here. Her name is Cotes De La Manche and was launched in 1997. she arrived in port from Antifer at lunchtime today.

She’s not a fishing vessel but an Oceanic Research Ship and travels out and about into the inner ocean monitoring the environment and has been recently involved in research into the effects of the cable that will connect the proposed offshore wind farm near Paimpol to the mainland.

What I was doing during the night was researching into the effects of a rather strange sleep and I’m still not sure about what happened.

It was rather a late night because having done everything that I intended to do, I watched a few films and the like on the internet until about 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed.

What was strange about that was at 08:38 I awoke. and it wasn’t just a brief roll-over or something like that, I was actually wide-awake. There was even a time when I was debating whether or not to raise myself from the dead.

Nevertheless, wiser counsels prevailed and I stayed put. Eventually I went back to sleep and leaving the bed at 11:25 is a much more valid proposition as far as I’m concerned on a Sunday.

After the medication there wasn’t all that much time do do anything until lunchtime. Porridge, cheese on toast and plenty of coffee went down really well. And there’s still some cheese left for tomorrow too

Back in here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to fins out where I’d been during the night. I was back on board a yacht again last night. I had a certain time during which I could be out by I kept on over-running it and being late. Sam said that they reminded her of a pop group whom she’d seen where they had gone on to warm up for the main act when they’d been asked but they stayed on for so long that the main act only had time for 4 numbers. I recalled seeing a group like that as well. I wondered whether she and I had actually been at the same concert.

And then I’d just been in the filthiest office you could imagine. There was oil everywhere and I do mean everywhere. I don’t know how the women working in it could possibly have managed without running away. It was awful. A whole group of us had gone there. I’d met up with Danny Jackson (a taxi proprietor in Crewe whom I used to know). Someone had repaired a hydraulic jack for him and were proudly showing it off. I thought to myself that this jack isn’t going to work. There’s no pressure in the seals for a start. He was outside doing something on a car so I took this jack outside to try to jack up my van. I had BILL BADGER at the time. It started to lift it up and the seals gave out and slid back down again. When I started to jack it up I noticed that one of the rear wheels of the van was in an awful slanting position. I hoped that it was just an effect of it being off the spring rather than something broken or warped, something like that. There were some stuffed animals there as well. I know that he had one so I brought it out to him. He wasn’t paying any attention to it so by the time that I finished I took it back inside. Then he was asking for it and someone said “Eric had one”. I replied “no, that was yours. I brought it out to you but you didn’t want it so I took it back”. He gave me a little lecture about moving his possessions so I thought that it was good that I hadn’t told him about the jack. I was hoping that this animal thing wasn’t going to be covered in oil. It was at that point that we all started to drift home again. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy to leave.

Later on I’d alighted from a bus or train or something and was walking up a hill to some kind of place. There were some people coming up the hill behind me whom I recognised. When I went round the corner and higher up there was a queue of people. I remembered that I’d been on holiday with them once before. They were all ready waiting to sign in at this place and so was I. I could hear them talking. One of them was asking “who shall we invite to come with us?”. They suggested a few names. If they suggested my name, which was unlikely, I’d refuse and tell them “well you’re all far too noisy for me. I’ve come here for the quiet life”.

At some point even later on there was something going on with a sailing ship. Many people including me were of the opinion that all of her rigging and tackle should be replaced because it’s over a certain number of years old. It doesn’t last for ever but the company was exhibiting the ship regardless. Of course people were climbing about in the tackle and if the tackle broke this would cost everyone a lot of money so we couldn’t understand why they weren’t doing it.

That took me up until it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And I didn’t even go beyond the threshold of the building before I had to grab hold of the camera.

The cold hand of doom that fell upon me as I left the building was another Nazgul that went flying by. A two-seater Nazgul too, the pilot having picked up a passenger back at the blast-off point in the field by the cemetery.

In fact there were probably a dozen or so Nazguls out there this afternoon having a flutter around. The wind had died down a little from the last couple of days and so it was much safer for them to be up in the air today than it might have been when the gale was blowing.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And before I even made it right across to the wall, there was a zodiac that I noticed out in the bay.

At first I thought that they might be fishermen but when I enlarged the photo back here later I could see that they were just sitting there, having a concentrated contemplation of the activities that might or might not be going on onshore.

Even more bizarrely, after about 10 minutes they moved off several hundred yards along the coast and stopped again for another contemplation.

No idea what they were up to but it smelt rather fishy to me. However, when you live just a few hundred yards from a Fish Processing Plant, everything seems to smell rather fishy around here.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And eventually I did actually make it over to the wall where I could look down onto the beach.

Quite few people down there this afternoon, although given how nice the weather was this afternoon I was expecting to see many more down there than I actually did.

Of those who were actually down there, some of them were having a little paddle about in the water and some had even gone for a swim in the sea.

This is presumably the swansong of summer, until everyone dresses up as penguins and goes for a run into the sea on Boxing Day.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else was moving around just off the Ile de Chausey and I’d been keeping an eye on it.

It was large and white and after a couple of minutes of reflection I realised that it was heading my way so I took a photograph of it.

No prozes for guessing who it was. When had a closer look at it I could see that it was in fact Belle France, the newest of the Ile de Chausey ferries, surrounded by all other kinds of water craft.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d go for a walk around the medieval city walls today to see what was happening there, so I set off through the crowds of people. It seemed that everyone was up here on the path today instead of down there on the beach.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One of the things that I have been saying rather a lot just recently is that with one thing and another, Summer seems to be coming to an end.

Nothing underlines that so much as this photo here. You’ll see that the crown of the diving platform has now been removed from its concrete pillar and the changing cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away too.

It’s no surprise that the cabins go into store once the crowds go home and they are no longer required. We’ve seen some terrific storms coming in there in the past and the cabins wouldn’t last long. You’d come back next Summer and find nothing but a pile of matchwood

Nothing else much going on this afternoon down at that end so I pushed on through the wilderness that used to be the Square Maurice Marland on my way home.

philcathane rusa dumper freight quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There’s a lovely pile of freight down on the quayside this afternoon.

A load of dumpers and other stuff presumably destined for a dealer in the Channel Islands are lined up by the fence waiting to be taken away.

Judging by the colours I first thought that they might have been “Kubota” equipment but they seem to be carrying the name of “Rusa”, which as far as I know, is an Indian control equipment company so that doesn’t sound as if it’s correct.

And this was where I suspected that there was something different in the port because I didn’t recognise the array of antennae just to the right.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After everything that we had seen yesterday flying around, up to this point we hadn’t seen a single aeroplane here in the vicinity, except for something miles out in the Baie de Granville.

However as I wandered away through the Square we heard the familiar droning of one of our old friends. The red powered hang-glider had been having a run out this afternoon and was now on her way home.

From down here it looked as if there was only one person aboard, so presumably it as simply a training flight or a flight to clock up the hours rather than a run out to see the sights.

refrigerated vans port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were however some strange sights to be seen elsewhere around the port.

These two refrigerated vans were parked with their rear doors opened back-to-back with each other as if they were exchanging loads. But with the driver of one of them sitting quietly in his cab, I was obviously missing something.

The last time that we saw a van parked on there with some rather bizarre goings-on around it, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it ended up in the water. Mind you, it had been there much longer than these two.

Several months longer, in fact.

armoury medieval city walls Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way back home I went a new way, across the lawn behind the church.

Previously I’d seen this little gate and room in a bank of earth built right up to the base of the medieval city walls. This is exactly where I would expect the town’s armoury to be built, where there would be no chance of a stray cannonball striking it.

The construction of the walls began by the English in 1440 during the Hundred Years War, and extended and modified considerably over the next couple of centuries, so I can’t say when this room was constructed.

However by the late 14th Century the use of explosives in artillery was well-established. It wasn’t long afterwards that explosive shells of some primitive description took to the air so some protection to the entry to ensure that a shell didn’t hit it, such as might be provided by the church behind me, would be required.

After lunch I took the last lump of dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting for a few hours.

later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I kneaded it out and rolled it. They I put it in the pizza tray to proof.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When it was ready I assembled it, remembering the olives this week, and put it in the oven to cook

It turned out quite nice again, and with not putting quite so many onions on it this week, seemed to taste better too. It goes quite well with fresh tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and olives.

So now that that’s out of the way and I’ve written my notes I’m going to bed. I have a radio programme to do so I need to be up and about early.

It’ll probably take another long, exhausting session to complete it. Sometime between 4-5 hours seems to be par for the course but I wish that it could be done quicker.

And sometime as well I’ll have to think about doing 2 per week as my stock is slowly exhausting itself as I take a week off here and there.

But that’s not this week. I’ll have to make plans for that another time.

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – GUESS WHO …

… has a broken kneecap? And for a fourth time too.

The first time was when I went head-over-handlebars on a motorbike when I was 16. The second time was when I slid a motorbike on a greasy road when I was 19 and the weight of two people and the bike itself (a 350cc Triumph) fell on it. The third time was skiing in Scotland when I was in my 20s – and I drove BILL BADGER, my old A60 van, home again.

As for when I did it in the fourth time, all that I can think of is that it was when I had that fall and broke my hand just before I went off on my transatlantic trip across to the High Arctic on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the summer of 2019.

But taking a couple of years to manifest itself (it collapsed last spring, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall) is some going.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I had a lie-in this morning. Not that I intended to but at 07:30 – and at 08:00 – I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to leave my stinking pit. 09:25 was much more like it.

Having had my medication, sorted out the mails and messages and organised this week’s musical playlist on the computer, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was tons of stuff on there too. I’d had a busy night. No wonder I was in no hurry to leave my stinking pit.

The night started off with a huge long rambling dream about refugees. Again I had them with me and I arrived at a railway station. There were rooms above so we took a room above there. We had to carry all of their possessions up into the room above. That meant 4 or 5 trips in the lift to do it. There were all kinds of things happening – there was some objects still stuck in a lift from someone, I kept on bumping into all kinds of old schoolfriends while I was doing it, there was interaction with authority, one of those things that just went on and on and on while we were trying to move these refugees into this room. I’ve missed out most of it I think but the interesting part was of course all these people from school who kept appearing every time the lift either went up or went down and the doors opened. There would always be someone whom I knew waiting there. One person in particular was there once and also other people

So I had these refugees trying to get them into the upstairs room at this station passing by loads of people whom we knew. Some wanted arguments, some wanted help. I had papers from the Red Cross and had to show them. We were going up and down in this lift moving their stuff into this little room. The dream went on like this for ages. We met so many kinds of people and friends and one or two other people who helped us on our way but the farther we could get away from Vienna or Germany or wherever it was the better

My brother had bought a car, a Ford Cortina estate over the internet. A Mark IV model but he said that it was grey so we imagined that it would be the colour of my father’s old one. He was sitting down trying to work out how to get out and get it because his timetable was so full, he was going here and going there, he was having to work something else. In the end it was going to be several weeks before he could get it so I said that I would go for it. It turned out that it was near Foinavon that’s not the name but it’s on the railway line over Slochd Summit so that rules out Forsinard so of course the Inverness train is the place to go. I checked on the timetables, found the correct train and set off. I had to change at a big station to catch one of the stopping trains that went up the Highland line. The train pulled in and I checked with the guard that there was a local service coming up behind. All the doors closed and I thought that I’d missed the opportunity to leave the train but the door was opened from outside so I had to fight my way out. I found myself on some kind of temporary wooden platform which was just framework and no flats. There were people balancing awkwardly on there trying to enter the train and I was trying to alight. Other people who had already alighted were trying to work out how to go down to the main platform. I had to point them the way. This was a scene of total chaos as everyone who alighted from this train onto this wooden framework or whatever was trying to fight their way down to where everyone else was down on the main platform. I was thinking about all the things that needed doing, that I hoped that the car had enough fuel as it was getting late and I imagined that most places for fuel would be closed round here. I’d have to go to Inverness or Stirling or somewhere to fuel up and I hoped that everything else would be OK. I could imagine 1001 things that could go wrong between me picking up the car and brining it back home again.

I don’t know how this one started but I was working in the American embassy doing something, running errands. There was some kind of issue with the Russian desk in this large building and the Russians suddenly started firing loaves of bread over to the Americans. I caught a few and stored them up but they were coming over more and more and more. Eventually there was a pause so I walked across the hall to the Russian desk, found their senior officer, thanked him very much for sending all the bread to me but I told him that I now had enough fresh bread that I needed so if he wanted to send me any more could he make sure that it was frozen so that I could keep it in store. This was greeted by stunned silence throughout the building. After I had said my little piece I walked back to where the American desk was. I was beckoned over to the desk of the Ambassador’s personal secretary. She said “don’t you ever do anything like that ever again” but she was laughing and so was everyone else. I imagined that although i’d been told off, that everyone else was really quite sympathetic and really quite pleased that I’d gone out there and confronted them over it.

We were a big group of teenagers last night wandering around the streets of Crewe. I can’t remember how this worked out but we ended up at the house of a girl to do something. Her mother came to the door and in the end she fetched this girl. We were all around the back having something of a laugh etc. This girl was being quite chatty and quite friendly. Then it became time for us to leave so I asked her for her ‘phone number. She was possibly playing a game and in the end ended up trying to give me her father’s ‘phone number. She said that she could always remember it because it was 8 over 6, the 6 numbers at the end. Of course I immediately told them what it was, which was 675000 (which of course it isn’t). She gradually warmed a bit and in the end asked me for my ‘phone number. I didn’t have a card on me so I had to borrow a card off someone else, try to write my number but we didn’t have a pen that worked. In the end she decided that she would ‘phone me so that I’d have her ‘phone number and she’d have mine. That was what she did. But all of this took ages and there was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now. It was another one of these dreams that slowly developed into something extremely warm and pleasant and the type that I would want to carry on for ever. I awoke in a night sweat, which I haven’t had for a good few months. “I wish that this could have gone on for ever, this particular dream” I said into the dictaphone, so being able to talk like that while I’m asleep shows you exactly what kind of effect it had on me.

But low-flying loaves of bread as well? As I have said before… “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day these days.

To take me up to shower time I had a play with a few more photos of the High Arctic 2019 and I wish I could remember the name of the hill on which the flagpole is erected at Dundas Harbour on Devon Island. All that I can think of, and I know that it’s not correct, is the painter Samuel Gurney Cresswell who sailed to the High Arctic as Lieutenant with James Clark Ross and then with Robert McClure.

If I had to pick one of my favourite Arctic explorers he would be up there somewhere, not the least for his quote “a voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”. Well, it didn’t work for me, as the events of the last few days of my 2019 trip bear witness.

After a shower and a weigh-in (and I’ve lost 600g) I had lunch and then cleared off with Caliburn to the physiotherapist. It’s my last session with her today as she moves on to pastures new. She’s fixed me up with a colleague, but I bet that the new girl won’t be anything like as nice as Sonia. She can massage my clavicles any time she likes.

The trip to Avranches was complicated today because of all the roadworks and road closures. I ended up having to meander through the countryside and then it took me a while to find the centre. And when I found the centre, to find the building where I needed to be.

The scanning machine was made by General Electric, one of my former employers, so I knew that it would be good. And eventually they shoved me through it.

The doctor came to see me afterwards and told me about my kneecap, and also the fact there’s some cartiledge damage too. She’ll send a report to my GP who I’ll have to go to see in due course, but I have to be aware that surgery is not ruled out

There was an Intermarché next to the clinic so seeing as it’s been a few years since I’ve had a good look around inside one, I popped in. But there wasn’t anything there much that interested me. I bought one or two bits and pieces and some frozen peas and beans, and that was my lot.

Then I had to fight my way back through the roadworks. And it was good to give Caliburn a decent run-out this afternoon.

Tea was a taco roll (seeing as I had bought some this afternoon) with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, with rice and veg and it really was nice. But I have plenty of mushrooms left so it looks as if it will be a potato and mushroom curry for tea tomorrow.

So a broken kneecap now. Whatever next? At the rate that bits are dropping off me these days I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

In fact I haven’t felt so nervous since I was standing in a toilet next to Shakin’ Stevens but that’s another story for another time.

Tuesday 22nd September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but I’ve felt better and accomplished more today than I have done for quite some considerable time.

And it wasn’t the coffee at midday that fired me up either because I was well on my way long before then.

In fact, I was once more up and – well, not exactly about but up nevertheless – before the third alarm.

Last night I had my cars dotted around in 3 or 4 lock-ups or buildings in this old factory place. I was waiting there because we were all about to go off with Adventure Canada again. People suddenly started leaving, swarming off to the reception area so I followed them. i was chatting to a load of people about the Arctic, saying how much I liked it, listing all the times that I’d been. People were really impressed that I’d been so often. When I got towards the meeting point I could see Jerry there. I asked “what number am I, Jerry? I don’t know and I can’t find a list and I can’t think”. He had a look and replied “Eric, you’re n°71 – you have a long time to wait yet”. I went back to my unit and was sorting through some wheels. There was one that matched THE A60 VAN THAT I HAD YEARS AGO so I went to put that back in the back of the vehicle. There I was thinking that I was short of wellingtons but there were about 5 pairs and various other pairs of shoes, loads of other stuff like that in the back of the van. It was all looking pretty good in there with all the stuff. Then the thought occurred to me that when I’m called I’m going to have to take a Ford Anglia with me – a 100E model but I would never ever get it through the personnel door. It would be absolutely impossible to get it out through the vehicle door because there was so much stuff in the way. How was I going to do that? Would I have to get the vehicle out sideways on its side and slide it through the personnel door? Would it fit? I was busy thinking about all of this and I awoke in a fever.
There was another voyage last night too, this one involving an old sailing ship, something like Marité. I knew that there would be some kids on it but that’s pretty much everything that I can remember now. I can’t remember anything else.

And having done that, I actually excelled myself by dealing with another batch of the arrears and we are now down to single figures.

Having dealt with that I did a little (only a little) tidying up and then had a good look over my Welsh notes ready for my lesson.

There were just three of us at class today so it was pretty intense and fast-paced. And to my surprise, not only did I manage to keep up with it, I found that I could remember much more than I thought that I did.

This afternoon I cracked on with the radio programme and that’s actually finished now. I missed out on one of my guitar sessions but I would rather finish the programme and worry about the guitar rather than the other way round.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break mid-afternoon for my walk around the headland.

There were quite a few people out there enjoying the walk, and the brats were there orienteering too. There’s also a big change in the chantier navale too. The Ten Green Bottles that were hanging on the wall in there have now reduced themselves to Five.

But strangely, while that was the situation in there, there was nothing much else going on involving boats. The fog of yesterday had lifted somewhat, so at least I could see that there was nothing out there at all.

renault van mobile home looking for companion granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago I posted a photo of a strange van that has been transformed into a mobile home, with an advert on the side seeking a (female) companion to accompany the owner on his travels.

The van is now back and the adverts (slightly differently-worded than before) are still on the side and the rear door. Here’s clearly not had much luck in his quest.

Back here I finished off the radio programme and then had half an hour on the guitar before tea.

Tonight I made falafel with steamed vegetables and vegan cheese sauce followed by some more of the apple crumble. That’s almost all gone now. Tomorrow will see it off and as I’ll be baking more bread on Thursday I’ll make a rice pudding for a couple of days.

This evening I went out for a walk and my usual runs, and ran slap bang into a young-adult orienteering competition, followed by a group of people having a late-night conducted tour of the walls.

All of this rather cramped my style and while I managed my three runs, the photos that I took didn’t come out well enough. The ones that I wanted to take, I couldn’t as there were too many people in the shot.

It’s rather early now and I’ve already finished what I wanted to do. i’ve not had a day like this for quite a while. I know that there will be a downside to all of this but I hope that it won’t be for a while.

There’s a lot of catching up that I need to do.

Wednesday 27th February 2019 – DESPITE MY …

… early night I took ages to go off to sleep. And when I did, being wide-awake at 04:45 was not what I actually had in mind.

I did manage to go off again to sleep at some point but much to my, yours, and everyone else’s surprise, I was up and about before the final alarm went off.

There had been time to go off on a voyage too. I’d been out driving in one of my own vans – that might even have been Bill Badger, my old A60 half-ton van. There was something about extracting digital images off kerbstones so I had a little electrical kit that could do that and I was driving up and down the streets doing it. At one point, there on the street corner was a girl called Carolyn (it’s amazing who appears in my travels) whom I knew probably about 35 years ago and who I encountered quite by chance under strange circumstances 10 years later. She was much younger than she was when I knew her, and dressed in a fashion that would have been inappropriate for the house, never mind standing on a street corner. I was having difficulty extracting these images, to which she replied that the electricity was usually turned off at midnight. I explained that it wasn’t midnight as yet and carried on, but with no result. In the end I decided to move on, but I told Carolyn that I’ll drop by later to see if she was still there.
A little later I was in my room – or, rather, not my room in Davenport Avenue. I was wrestling with a couple of different computers (as usual these days) trying to make sure that all of my confidential files and open web pages were just on one computer being run off just one web browser so that I could close down all of my searches and research in a hurry if some unauthorised person came too close.

crowds assembling at the foyer des jeunes travailleurs granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual morning procedure of course, followed by a some what later breakfast – a bowl of porridge and some orange juice.

Interrupted by the sound of crowds assembling on the car park of the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. No idea what’s happening there.

And while we’re on the subject of breakfast, that reminds me – apart from a coffee at the football on Saturday night I haven’t had a coffee now since the Tuesday morning that I was in Leuven.

Once I’d done what needed doing, I settled down to work. And haven’t I been a busy boy today?

I’ve amended all of the blog entries all the way back from 13th December 2018 to the 1st November 2018.

Not only that, I’m a long way down the text database for November 2018 too.

When I have finished that, whenever it might be, I’ll be starting on October. So you can see – I’ve hardly been idle.

trawlers unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy franceFor lunch, it was yet another beautiful day so I went to sit on my wall.

I was going to say “with my butties” but I forgot to defrost some bread from the freezer.

So in the end I took the little bread left over from the weekend and a packet of crisps that needed eating, and watched the fishing boats unloading at the quayside.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all of the action down there either.

Down there at the bottom end of the commercial harbour is our old friend Thora. She must have come in on the morning tide from Jersey.

Loads of merchandise all around the crane, presumably awaiting loading. But I couldn’t see any of the crew around there at all. Presumably they have all gone off for lunch too.

mobile homes caravans place d'armes granville manche normandy franceOver the past week or so I’ve been telling you all that it’s soon to be Carnaval, and I’m going to be locked in up here for the weekend.

But I shan’t be alone.

The public car park outside our premises is being transformed into a mobile home park full of caravanettes as all of the grockels turn up to come and pollute the atmosphere again.

But why should I complain? It’s activities like this out-of-season that keeps the town ticking over for the rest of the year.

And that’s why I’m here.

sea coast rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThere was the usual mid-afternoon walk too.

The day really was beautiful and the sea was gorgeous and a nice deep blue colour.

It was one of those days here when it really was a pleasure to be out and about – me in just a sweater (and trousers too of course) in late February.

drainaige assainissage lighthouse cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceMy little walk took me around the headland of the Pointe du Roc.

At the bungalow round by the lighthouse and the coastguard station, there was a lorry there. This brings back many happy memories of my time in the Auvergne.

No mains drainage there of course, nor here, apparently. The tanker is here busily pumping out the contents of the septic tank.

Presumably to treat its 75mm gun with Dettol.

waves harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe air was very calm and still, but there must have been a long rolling sea coming in right across the Atlantic with some terrific force.

You can tell that by the power of the waves as they break on the angle of the sea wall down there.

It’s quite surprising really, comparing the wind speed with the force of the water.

ferry ile de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was watching the waves, we had another one of our residents returning to the fold.

There must have been a ferry trip out to the Ile de Chausey today, because she turned up back here on the end of her round-trip while I was out there.

I was feeling rather envious, because this would have been a marvellous day to have gone out for a sale, and I suppose that with Carnaval, the tourist season is starting up.

astron chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd I missed out the chantier navale today too, didn’t I?

It’s quite busy in there today. We have the yacht in there of course, and Armor halfway through its respray down there.

The modern little fishing boat is interesting too, by my attention is drawn to the big wooden boat of some description in the centre of the photo.

I wonder what that is and what they are doing to it. I shall have to go for an investigation.

reroofing loading lorry foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy franceWe saw yesterday the workers repairing the flashing around the roof windows of the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

It looks as if they might now be finished. They were busy loading up a lorry with all of the left-over building stuff.

Presumably the container and the machine will be leaping aboard too and disappearing off into the sunset some time soon.

I’ll probably find out tomorrow.

When I returned, I got on the ‘phone again.

I tried another tack with the bank, going in through the soft-underbelly. Not for nothing do I have friends. And about 15 minutes later, they discovered a way that might help me out and which will really upset the Worst Bank In The World.

Back to work with the text database, and then a stop for tea.

While I was finding my crisps, I found a pack of tortilla wraps, so I made myself a pile of stuffing with kidney beans and had a couple with some pasta.

I was stuffed too. No pudding or anything, so I’m doing my best to cut down my appetite. It will probably help if I keep on drinking as much liquid as I am right now.

But then I’ll have my water retention issues.

minette rue notre dame granville manche normandy franceOn my evening walk around the walls, I almost flattened a pedestrian skulking in a dark corner with an obviously secret cigarette.

But apart from that, not a soul. No matter how nice and pleasant it was out there.

Well, not quite alone. Minette was sitting on a car bonnet taking the air and enjoying herself. So I gave her a good stroke and came home.

I’m off for an early night now. Although it’s Thursday, I’m going to be doing a good shopping round.

No sense in going out on Saturday. The town will be heaving with tourists, the streets will be blocked and I probably won’t be able to get out at all.

Do it first before it’s too late.

fishing boat coming in to unload port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing boat coming in to unload port de granville harbour manche normandy france

yacht speedboat granville manche normandy france
yacht speedboat granville manche normandy france

waves harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france

waves harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Sunday 23rd September 2018 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that I have given endless amounts of grief to all kinds of Border Patrol, immigration and security services in the past, and on occasions too numerous to enumerate.

And so I take my hat off to Officer Allen of the US Immigration Service who saw me today at Bridgewater, Maine today. If every Immigration Officer were as friendly, courteous and helpful as he, travelling from one country to the next would be an absolute pleasure.

Yes, I’ve been out and about on my travels today. But it was touch and go at one point.

What didn’t help was that, despite it being Sunday, I forgot to switch off the alarm and so that’s guaranteed to get me off on the wrong foot.

I was in the middle of the High Arctic too, doing a guided tour in, of all things, Bill Badger, the old A60 van that I had in the 1970s. When the tour was over, two people – a couple – came over to offer me their services and while I took down their details I knew that I wouldn’t ever be using them, for the least of the reasons being that there are only two seats in the front of the van.

With it being early, I loitered around for a while and then when others started to move around I joined in, had my medication (I’ve found it now) and a coffee.

We all poured out of the house where Amber’s boyfriend was waiting for us, and we shot off down the road to the border. I need a Green Card to cross over, and so I had my pleasant encounter, and then off to Presque Ile in Maine.

It’s my custom when I’m here to treat everyone to Sunday lunch so the Oriental Pearl Chinese buffet was the place to visit. They all tucked into the buffet while the chef made me a vegetable stir-fry with rice.

Next stop was Marden’s.

That’s like Noz only bigger and with more stuff, and many of the tools in Strider have come from there in the past. But today, I bought nothing. Strider and I won’t be going far so I don’t need much.

Back here I hit the wall again and I was gone. Three hours this time, and isn’t this becoming ridiculous? I dunno where I’ll be going with all of this and if I don’t sort myself out soon I won’t make my bus back to Montreal on Friday night.

But later on I came round and surprisingly, had a new lease of life. I could even manage a sandwich. George was back from Winnipeg so he came round and we all had a chat.

But now I’m off to bed. I need to be on the road tomorrow and I have a lot of things to do.

But first I need a good night’s sleep.

Monday 14th September 2015 – WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT

campsite greenville maine usaNo sooner had I settled down than we had a rainstorm. And while it might not have been as intense as the other night, a rainstorm it most certainly was. And it went on and on and on until I never thought that it would end. Certainly, for four hours it kept it up because I remember looking at the time when I went out in the middle of the night to check that the stream right by my tent wasn’t going to burst its banks and sweep me away.

And that’s a shame too because for once I was comfortable in here. Now that I’ve rearranged the inside of Strider I can actually reach the bed and I pinched the mattress off it and that made quite a difference. And I must have dozed off during the proceedings because I was on my travels again. We needed to obtain some information from a certain guy and the best way to do this was to find someone to impersonate his secretary. She was a small blond who did her hair in a special way with a long pony tail, so we found a girl who resembled her from a distance and who, with a hairpiece, could pass close enough to fool the security cameras. So when this other girl went to lunch we infiltrated our girl into the building, but while she was in the ladies room checking her hair, the real secretary came in and was astonished to see her doppelganger. Our girl solved the problem by knocking the real secretary into next week with a frying pan and that was that.
But later, I was on the move again in my old van (it might even have been Bill Badger, the Austin A60 van that I had for years) with, of all people, my brother. He needed coal and there was just one place to go in Crewe for bagged coal, so off we went. When we arrived there, I was absolutely whacked and so I sent him in while I had a sleep, but anyway he came out to say that there was no coal (I’d heard this conversation anyway). I asked him if he’d asked if there was anywhere else where he could get it but he said that he hadn’t. But he knew where we could go, so I told him that I wasn’t going to mess up my van by putting loose coal into it. He’d also needed to post a letter (price £0:09) but they only had a stamp for £0:08 in there so the sales lady there sold him that stamp and told him to go to the post office and tell them that he’ll post anther letter with a stamp for £0:01 in it, and the’ll accept that. Such weird things as that happen when I’m on a nocturnal ramble, but even in that kind of state I knew enough that it seemed simpler to me to simply stick the stamp for £0:01 on the outside of the letter with the stamp for £0:08 and save the discussion.

free camp site greenville maine usaAnd so while you admire the very basic, very primitive and very very free camp site on the outskirts of Greenville, I woke up to an inch of water inside the tent in the bottom corner, which was rather disconcerting but not surprising given the amount of rain that we had had during the night.

Water will always leak in around the zip and so you always pitch your tent with the entrance pointing downhill and you sleep in the uphill bit and even if it does rain in a little you can stay relatively dry. But I’ll go to Walmart, buy some more of these super-duper heavy duty tent pegs that I bought the other day, and stick the big tarpaulin that Rachel gave me over the top next time that the weather looks threatening.

A quick coffee and I was off down the road into Greenville

seaplane moosehead lake greenville maine usaParked up here in the town centre, I had a very nice piece of entertainment.

It had been seaplane fly-in weekend at the weekend here on Moosehead Lake, and there were still two left tied up at the quayside. And as I left Strider in order to admire the view, one of them started up, left his berth, and came right across to where I was standing, right by the paddle-steamer Kathadin, which you all saw in 2013 when I was here because, in the famous words of the legendary Jimmy Ruffin, “I’ve passed this way before”.

seaplane taking off moosehead lake greenville maine usaAnd so he (the seaplane, not Jimmy Ruffin) did a few laps of the bay in order to warm up his engine to operating speed, and then shot off down the lake.

After a run of about a quarter of a mile he heaved himself into the air and off he went.

And off I went too, to see about this log cabin.

And I was disappointed too. It seems that prices have increased considerably since I was here and what I want has priced itself out of the market. Not only that, many of the items that were included in the price back then are now optional extras and so what looked two years ago like $20,000 on the site all in and delivered is going to end up being twice that, and twice as much work too.

In fact, I can go as far as to say that my journey for the first month of my stay in North America this year has been a period of 30 disappointments. “But smile!” they say. “Things could be worse!” And so I”m smiling – and you know what that means.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Over the road was a hardware store and they are agents for log cabins. Nothing like as de-luxe as what was available back where I’d just been, but then neither was the price, and this looks much more “like it” from that point of view. I’m going to have to give this some further consideration.

main highway greenville millinocket maine usaAbly assisted by The Lady Who Lives In The SatNav, I left Greenville by the main highway that goes south-east to Millinocket and you can see what a beautiful road this highway is. Very reminiscent of the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Strider, as befits any good ranger, took it in his stride … "ohhh, very good" – ed … and I can see the benefits of having a solid truck with decent all-weather off-road tyres. The Dodges that I used to have wouldn’t have lasted five minutes down here

rapind on river upper maine usaI had to stop for a minute or two for a gypsy’s, and found myself right by the rapids on the river just here.

This river goes down eventually past Millinocket, and while you’ll see hundreds of timber lorries down the roads here, even as late as the 1930s it’s suggested that they were still floating logs down here to the huge lumber mill down there, even past rapids like this.

If you were with me in 2013, you’ll remember our discovery of the grave of a flotteur de bois that we discovered at the foot of another series of rapids not too far from here.

At Millinocket, I nipped onto the Interstate for half an hour and then took the old road up to Presque Ile

highway sherman presque ile maine usaThis is another one of those roads that can be classed as one of the most beautiful roads in North America. It’s all up hill and down dale and shows Upper Maine at its beautiful best.

It’s another one of those roads that can only be driven properly on a big old single-cylinder long-stroke motorcycle and a beautiful 600cc side-valve Panther solo would be a pleasure to drive up here. And I deeply regret the one that I missed out on a few years ago.

heavy storm cloud presque ile maine usaBut that’s not looking too optimistic, is it? That’s right over Presque Ile where I’m going. I don’t fancy camping in that.

And at Presque Ile I had a little success. Walmart did indeed have one of the slimline air beds that I need for the bed that I’m going to need for Strider, and they also had (at just $8:00) a little wooden fold-flat table, the size that you’d have by your chair for your coffee and cake. This is a good size for Strider, to cook on, eat off and use as a desk.

And at the Super Save shop, that has a good vegan range of food, I treated myself to a pot of carrot-flavoured vegan hummus.

It was pitch-black by now, even though it was only 17:00 and suddenly the storm broke. And how it broke too! I wasn’t going to camp in this – not under any circumstances.

And as I left Presque-Ile, the “Budget Traveller” motel appeared in the gloom. $59:95 including breakfast, and I was entitled to a discount on that rate too. I’d had a free night last night and so I wasn’t going to miss out on any of that.

There was a microwave in the room too and so I treated myself to a vegan pizza (I have plenty of my vegan sliced cheese) and that was gorgeous;

But now it’s 20:28 – I’m watching film, but my bad night last night has caught up with me and any second now I’m going to drop ….


Saturday 28th March 2015 – I’VE BEEN CARRYING ON …

… the moving round of everything today, despite it being a Saturday.

I’m annoyed though that it’s taking me 10 times longer than I anticipated. I’m nowhere near anything like finished and that’s depressing. Mind you, I did find €2:12 in loose change mixed up in the pile of dust so I can’t say that it wasn’t rewarding. It works out at about €0.25 per hour and you can’t say fairer than that.

Anyway, the two wardrobes up here are emptied and dismantled, and all of the spare bedding has gone downstairs into the wardrobe in the bedroom along with the clothes that were hanging up.

I’ve swept up all of the dust where the wardrobes used to be and moved the desk into that space. That means that the alcove is almost empty and the water tanks can go in there whenever I’m ready to start the plumbing.

There’s tons more stuff to be moved out to the bedroom, and not only that, rearranging things has created piles more rubbish all of its own and all of this will need to be sorted out too.

This is going to take forever.

In between times I went to St Eloy for some shopping. Not to the Intermarche at Pionsat, you’ll notice. And there’s a reason for this. That is that I’ve been noticing a gradual increase in prices there. The fruit and veg are no longer affordable and the quality is going downhill rapidly. I don’t mind cutting down on quality if I’m cutting down on price, or paying more out for better quality, but this is starting not to work. I reckon that ocompared with the prices at the Pionsat Intermarche, I’ve saved about €4:00 on the weekly shopping bill.

At the footy tonight, Pionsat lost 2-0 to Montel Villosanges. No complaints about the result – the Chimps were easily the better side and Pionsat offered very little. The defence was quite rocky, with Matthieu in goal performing heroics to keep the score down, and the midfield and the attack were pretty ineffective. It’s all looking quite depressing.

I was on my travels again during the night. I was with the two guys with whom I played bass in a rock group in the 1970s. We were going somewhere in Bill Badger, the A60 van that I had in those days, and we had a pile of scaffolding to move so we were loading it up on the roof of the van. Ohh happy days!