Tag Archives: bill badger

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.

Sunday 6th March 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

… this rubbish will recall that over the last God-knows-how-many months, they have been repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It’s been a while since I’ve been round that way to see how they have been doing and so I reckoned that I’d go that way this afternoon for a closer look

The big hole that was there in the wall has now been filled and it’s been quite an effort to do it. Mid you, I can’t say that I’m impressed with the lintel made of old stone blocks that they have fitted. It’s not really in keeping with the rest of the wall.

And there’s still plenty to do just there as well. There are plenty of gaps where either stone or mortar has fallen out as you can see and it all needs to be replaced. That will take them quite some time to do it properly.

parvis notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022What is interesting in this photo of the Parvis Notre Dame is what ISN’T there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last two and a half years there has been a small American car with American number-plates parked just there.

But it’s not there now. The ground’s all flat. It looks as if the Council has lost patience and has towed it away.

It was an interesting curiosity though. There must have been a good story behind the car being parked there and I would have loved to have known what it was.

Talking of good stories … “well, one of us is” – ed … there were plenty of good stories on the dictaphone from last night, as I found out when I listened to them this afternoon.

When I awoke the first time in the morning I was having some kind of wrestling match with that Jacqueline “cuddly doll” thing that I have on my friends list whatever, you know what I mean. And if you really do know what I mean, please tell me for I don’t have a faintest idea.

And then there was something about a Siamese cat but I can’t remember what that was.

There was also something about being in Shavington. There was the parish newspaper advertising things. The latest thing was about two new businesses in Wistaston and two in Shavington wo we decided that we’d go to Wistaston to see them. When we reached Wistaston there was something going on about a poacher on someone’s land. This led to the owner of the petrol station literally dragging in a boy about 9 or 10 and accusing him of poaching. Of course the young lad denied it but the garage proprietor took a sawn-off shotgun and stuck the barrels under his chin and told him to confess or else he’d regret it. This led to a struggle just as a girl of a similar age was walking in. She got both barrels in the face and of course she was dead. The garage proprietor was trying to argue that the shotgun was nothing to do with him and that the others had brought it. This was extremely distressing.

There was a King of England in medieval times who had 2 daughters. One was a healthy, normal child and the other one was weak and sickly. They had tried several things to build up this weak, sickly child into a normal one but nothing had worked. In the end they marginalised her at court. she was somehow involved in a torture chamber. She wasn’t the one being tortured but was kept there. They had to think of things to do with her that could bring about her death without actually bringing it about. Suddenly she had this idea that maybe she ought to eat butter. Of course she pretended that she didn’t like it and that it was going to kill her so they brought it to her but it actually built up her strength. The other daughter and one of her friends were playing around and the other had somehow come to join them in the garden and was playing around too, running around and looking quite healthy etc. When the Queen came out she knighted or whatever the girl and her friend and seeing the other girl who had been sick she knighted her as well because she was so pleased to see her running around. When she became 14 they found her a husband in France and packed her off over there. everyone knew including the girl herself that because of her illness, her body was riddled with illness she wouldn’t live very long but she put a brave face on it and went to live away from her family for the rest of her life, which would be very short.

There was a King and Queen. The King reminded me very much of my niece’s husband. They had had a huge, blazing row and the Queen was leaving. My Opel Senator was in the garage and she insisted that we leave on that. The King had wandered off somewhere so I had to put the car back together again. I could only find one of the spark plugs and I knew that not only did I have another handful of new ones there was a load of old ones in the boot. I emptied the boot out to try to find these missing spark plugs but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Someone wondered whether the king had taken them away to stop his wife leaving. I carried on searching in all kinds of nooks and crannies. Just then an old merceded van pulled up. It was someone from down the road and he asked what was going on. I explained that I wanted to have this car runnign but I’d lost a load of parts. he was someone who actually worked for the RAC or AA on call-out. He said that he was bound to have all of the bits so he would call back after he’d finished this breakdown he was on and come and do the job for us. That seemed like the best alternative but in the meantime I carried on searching. Someone said something about the King had filed away the threads on a couple of plug holes so you had to put the plugs in anti-clockwise. Another car pulled up. i was a couple of people who lived in the neighbourhood who asked if we had a problem so I explained. I forgot to say that the guy had looked in the car at the luggage and said “you’re going a long way, aren’t you?”. Anyway these people in the other car stopped and were chatting away, all of them, and someone called me over so I went to see. She asked “do we have such-and-such a track?”. I replied “no” so she said “you ought to listen to it because it’s all about cars”.

I was also with Nerina last night, and Roxanne who was our daughter. We’d gone to Montréal but it wasn’t any particular Montréal that I knew. We were wandering around and were due to come home so we’d hired a car to go for a drive around and to collect all of our luggage etc. We’d stopped off at this little street café to have breakfast and we went inside. The woman was very friendly and kept on plying us with different foods to try. In the end she gave us a huge bag of Québecaois hot-cross buns. She asked Roxanne a few questions and she replied in Flemish which confused the woman so I told Roxanne that the woman doesn’t speak Flemish but French. The woman was surprised at all of the languages we were speaking. While I was finishing my breakfast Nerina had to go to buy something to do with putting air in the tyres. She asked the lady and again there was some confusion about the language so Nerina turned to me and asked me to translate. She was speaking Welsh so I translated into English and Nerina was able to have some directions about where to go while I finished my coffee and hot cross buns. We’d planned our final meal. Nerina was wondering where we’d go to eat so I suggested that little Indian restaurant at the Côtes des Neige … “he means “Côte Vertu” – ed …, that tiny place. She said “that would be a wonderful idea”. I’d told her that it was a tiny place and how good it was and I’d been there before in Montréal.

Finally I was at home and wanted to go out for some lunch so my brother asked why not go round to his place for some satsumas but not tell anyone. Round I went but he was serving a customer so he introduced me. I picked up a few things and went outside. I had BILL BADGERr, my old A60 van there so I got into him and started to drive home. At one point I had to turn round but the road was very busy so I had to go down into a side street, turn round at the bottom and come back up. I was reflecting about although Bill Badger was driving slowly which he always did it was a very good reliable van and how I ought to think about using it more as a regular runabout seeing as I’d owned it for over 30 years (actually, if I’d still had it today I would have owned it for 45 years and the only reason that I sold it when I did was that a rear spring broke and they were no longer available). I was talking about it must be kept MoT’d and insured otherwise the police would repossess it etc.

It was 11:10 when I awoke this morning and once I’d finished with my medication I attacked the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off. And some of the joins are excellent. My technique seems to be improving.

After lunch I transcribed the dictaphone notes and as you can tell, it took quite a while for me to do that. And several voyages last night were extremely realistic and very hard to distinguish from a real life adventure, not that I have too many of them these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As I intimated earlier, just for a change I went for a walk around the medieval city walls to see what was going on. That’s why the view of the beach at the Rue du Nord is from a different perspective today.

Despite the high wind, it was a really nice day so it was no surprise that there were crowds of people wandering around there on the sand. Not quite sunbathing, but not far off.

And that reminds me that several years ago when I was living in the Auvergne it was actually snowing quite heavily on this day.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little earlier we also saw some of the repair work being undertaken on the medieval city walls.

Dodging the crowds that were coming up and down the steps between the Rue du Nord and the beach I went half-way down to the little garden place to have a closer look at what was happening.

The covering to the scaffolding means that we can’t actually see what they have been up to but one thing is sure and that is that they have plenty of work still to do before they have finished.

Back up the steps, I carried on along the path underneath the walls

people on plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I took a photo of all of the people down there.

It’s relatively sheltered from the wind down there and in the sunlight it must have been quite an agreeable walk.

It would be nice for me one of these days to go down there for a walk, but the way that I am these days I would struggle to come back. Especially today. I was having a rather bad time this afternoon.

In the upper left of the photo is what looks like a gate with a stone wall around it. It is actually the entrance to the garden of the Museum Christian Dior and there is a set of steps that lead up to there from the Plat Gousset.

roadworks rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing was the lorry with its trailer parked up a few days ago at the Porte st Jean.

I had a good wander around the old town but I couldn’t find out where the crew might have been working. However, the electricity installations that we have seen them doing in the Rue Cambernon are STILL going on – and on – and on.

And I suppose that one day when they have finally finished the work, someone else will come along and dig them up again.

Walking around the walls back towards home, I passed the spot where the American car used to be parked, and I couldn’t find the energy to climb up over the top of the walls to the viewpoint there.

Instead I staggered home for a coffee and then edited a few photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on I kneaded it and rolled it out and then put it on the pizza tray to proof. And then later on when it had risen I assembled it and bunged it into the oven.

When it was cooked I sat down and ate it and it was one of the most delicious that I have made. Slightly overcooked, otherwise it would have been perfect.

So now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 alarm tomorrow seeing as I have a radio programme to prepare so I need to be on form. I have the physiotherapist too, the nurse coming to inject me with the Aranesp to kickstart me for my trip to Leuven, and I also must ring up to book an X-ray on my knee. I can’t leave that too long.

It’s going to be a long day.

Monday 6th September 2021 – HERE THIS AFTERNOON …

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… in the port we have Marité, back again after her outing at the weekend and tied up at her usual spec in the corner at the end of the harbour.

And today, it’s Monday, so everyone is back at work or at school and Marité thus has nothing to do and nowhere to go.

So as you might expect, we are having one of the most beautiful, warm and sunny days of the summer so far (even though it’s September).

It’s a very sharp contrast indeed to yesterday when she was out and about with the Sunday day-trippers in one of the thickest fogs that I have ever encountered since I’ve been here when the tourists couldn’t see a thing.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was down there at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a good look around to see how the Galeon Andalucia was doing.

And there she was! Gone! And never called me mother! Apparently she slipped out of port on the morning tide earlier today and is now heading off back down the coast on her way home. I shall have to catch up with her later.

Right now though, I have to say that I had a rather miserable night last night, tossing and turning in bed for ages with a very disturbed sleep.

There is some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were going north to Scotland, 4 of us. One of them was CPO Pertwee. I can’t remember what it was that we were planning to do but to climb a mountain was not exactly some part of it but we thought that that might have been a possibility that we could have reached the top. There was a tremendous overhang at some point and it wasn’t a very easy climb at all. Pertwee asked “what do you think would be in the papers if we actually climbed it?” and he replied that it would be first of all the leader and the fourth person would have climbed up, secondly followed by Pertwee and me, with me carrying all of the equipment of course. Then we turned round and went back and ended up that night on this camp site just outside somewhere in the Scottish lowlands. Who should be bump into but a girl who worked in Crewe. A young girl. I was following the other 3 around all alongside the river but I ended up talking to this girl. We had a bit of a chat but she didn’t seem to be very interested in having a longer chat or anything like that. In the end I drifted away but I couldn’t find the other 3. The bottom end of this path was crowded with people partying. There were lights and everything but I couldn’t find the other 3 and thought “had I know, I would have brought this girl down with me regardless of what she wanted to do and we could have joined the party.

later on we’d all been out at the weekend to go somewhere. There was talk that we might all go out there again the coming weekend. In the meantime we were all thinking about tidying up the house. I was ill and was at home so my mother had me help her tidy up the house which was not my plan at all. She asked me to vacuum off a few surfaces but she had all kinds of rubbish on them including half of a dead plant that she had broken off branches and had leaves everywhere. The vacuum cleaner started to suck up the leaves and jammed so I had to start to pick up all these leaves and branches by hand and move them outside. Then she came down and hardly took a bit of notice about what I was doing and chatting away about this plan of the question of going away again for the day came up. I thought that I’d like to invite this girl who I’d met. I suddenly realised that that meant that there would be 6 of us in the car and it would be overcrowded. I thought that I could take her in BILL BADGER but he was hardly the kind of vehicle for taking girls out on dates. I had several old Cortinas dotted around (again!) the garden and the place wasn’t looking very tidy at all. There was a beige MkIII saloon there that was quite rotten. I was wondering if I set to work and did the bodywork on it this week and get it to be presentable. There was a nagging feeling in my mind that there was a time limit that I had to do something – a legal time limit but I couldn’t remember what it was. I knew that if I didn’t do it there would be complications but I couldn’t remember when or where it was that I had to do this.

Despite how I was feeling, I did manage to crawl out of the arms of Morpheus and into the kitchen to take my medication, and then back into here to check my mails and messages.

Once all of that was dealt with I could crack on with the radio programme that I need to deal with today.

Up until about 10:40 I was doing really well and all that remained was to choose the last track. And then the wheels came off because I was interrupted by a telephone call.

A few days ago I had an idea about a series of radio programme for later on in the year and i’d sent a mail to the co-ordinator. He called me back at about 10:40 and we had a very lengthy chat.

As a result it wasn’t until about 12:05 that I finished the programme, about an hour after I had intended to, and then I had to draft a lengthy report as well as to send out a few feelers here and there to potential interviewees.

After lunch I had a shower and then went to see the co-ordinator where we chatted for well over an hour, batting ideas backwards and forward about how I intend to do it. So now, not only do I have a plan drawn up, I have an awful lot of work before me until Christmas

By the time that I had come back, it was time to go back out again for my afternoon walk, so I grabbed the big NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Naturally, the first port of call is going to be the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down upon the beach and see what is happening.

And despite it being a work day or a school day, there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Not only that, there were plenty of people down there in the water too. No surprise there, given the beautiful day. You can tell that just by looking at the colour of the water down there.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2109/21090044.html”>people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now that I can actually see something out there this afternoon, I had a look further down the beach to see what was going on there too.

Down at the bottom of the steps, bottom right in the photo, we have someone armed with his surfboard or paddleboard or whatever on the point of heading out to the water.

Further down, there were plenty of people out there at the water’s edge at the Plat Gousset. That’s the most popular beach around here and is always where you’ll find the crowds, if there are any about. Access to the beach is much easier there.

fisherman in kayak pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was sounding out the beach down there, I was also looking around out at sea to see what was going on there.

This afternoon we have a fisherman down there in a kayak. He certainly has a couple of fishing rods with him but I imagine that trying to cast a line from a kayak is not a very easy proposition.

What has also caught my eye is whatever it is that he has at the back of his kayak. It looks rather like a set of wheels to me, so maybe it’s something that he can use to pull his boat in and out of the water from the beach.

frogmen scuba divers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His wasn’t the only aquatic activity that was being undertaken out there this afternoon.

Out there just offshore we have a couple more frogmen – or frogpersons as I suppose that we have to call them these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen them a while ago out there in more or less the same spot and I couldn’t understand what they were doing then. It’s probably something to do with training although I don’t know why they would want to do it just there.

red microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was watching the water sports down there I was overflown once more.

It was the little red microlight that we have seen on several occasions. He’s up there with a passenger, by the looks of things, and they were doing a couple of laps around the end of the headland.

Once he disappeared finally out of view, I wandered off across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on out at sea which was a surprise given how nice the day was today.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was wandering out that way, something else came flying past overhead.

One look at the machine told me who it might be, without even seeing her registration number. She’s F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we’ve seen a few times. You can tell that by her elongated nose.

She doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan for this journey so I’m not able to say where she’s going, although it can’t have been far because later on this evening she took off again for Melun, near Paris.

Airbus A321-271NX G-WUKN pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This aeroplane is much more easy to identify because even at 20,000 feet we can see her livery.

She’s G-WUKN, an Airbus A321-271NX and she’s flying flight W65122 on behalf of Wizz Air between Fuerteventura and Luton Airport at a speed of 347 knots. She was built in Germany, where she is currently registered, and her first commercial flight was as recently as March this year.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good view of a full-size aeroplane flying overhead, and we were lucky to have this view because as you can see, she’s being overtaken by a load of cloud and we are on the point of losing sight of her.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the end of the headland I could see out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There is one of the smaller fishing boats heading back towards port although I don’t know why because the harbour gates won’t be open for a while.

At first, I thought she might be La Grande Ancre but gazing full-on into the sun, it’s very difficult to make out anything.

There were no fishermen down there on the rocks and no-one at the Cabanon Vauban either, so I carried on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval we can see that a change in occupancy this afternoon.

We stall have seven boats, the same number that we have had for the last couple of weeks, but the green, white and black trawler La Soupape that has been up there on the blocks for several weeks has now gone back into the water.

In her place is another trawler, the Yann Frederic. This is the first time that we’ve taken notice of her since we’ve been living here but I don’t suppose that it will be the last, judging by the length of tile that they spend on the blocks over there.

Mind you, they already seem to have made a good start on her, and there is someone working on one of her aerials.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But whatever is happening here, I really have no idea.

One of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the smaller superstructure and deeper windows, is over there moored at the ferry terminal.

Chausiaise is over there too, and I can’t think what she’s doing because it looks as if she’s moored right across the ferry terminal preventing any other boat from going in there to tie up.

The other two ferries, the older Joly France boat and the very new Belle France are nowhere about so Chausiaise had better move herself by the time that they come back.

Having looked at the inner harbour, I came on back home for my banana smoothie and to carry on with some work such as transcribing the dictaphone notes from the night, but instead I fell asleep. Not the way that I wanted to end my working day.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And since I’ve been on this kind-of diet and having my physiotherapy I’ve lost 1.6 kilos. Still another 10 kilos to go but that’s probably going to take more effort than I have in the tank.

Now I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lessons start again tomorrow and I have a lot of work to do to bring myself up to date.

Monday 26th July 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

Pennec Gaz'Aile 2 aeroplane F-PSBJ pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of those days when there has been non-stop activity in the air and I could hardly move without being overflown by something or other when I went out for my afternoon walk.

There were several aeroplanes that I was able to photograph and probably many more that I wasn’t able to photograph for one reason or another

Several that we have seen before and a few that are quite new to us, just like this one here that appeared on the scene this afternoon.

And luckily, having blown up the photograph and enhanced it when I returned home I can even tell you something about it.

Pennec Gaz'Aile 2 aeroplane F-PSBJ pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHer registration number is F-PSBJ, as I found out when I did the necessary, and that tells me that this is something quite unusual.

It’s a Pennec Gaz’Aile 2 and it is a home-built aeroplane designed by someone called Serge Pennec from Finisterre in France. Quite surprisingly, the recommended engine for this is a Peugeot 106 diesel engine. It’s not the first time that he has designed an aeroplane fitted with a diesel engine. He’s previously fitted Opel diesels in some of his aeroplanes.

The empty weight despite the diesel engine is just under 600 pounds and has a wingspan of just over 23 feet, and so qualifies as a microlight aeroplane..

This aeroplane is not one that you see every day, that’s for sure, and it was really interesting for me to pick one up in a photograph.

45ahb Albatros AE 209 80CV pusher aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand this is one that we have seen a couple of times and despite it having a clearly-identified serial number, I have been unable to identify it up until today.

But a chance observation on a “for sale” site this afternoon came up with the goods, to my surprise.

The registration number she is carrying is 45AHB and that now tells me that she is a Albatros AE 209 80CV chassis number 111 and originally built in Fréjus in the south of France but now in Poland.

Interestingly, the wings on these aeroplanes fold up for ease of storage.

But anyway, let’s leave the question of aeroplanes for the moment and turn our attention to what’s important.

Last night was another bad night as far as sleep went, but nevertheless I did manage to go off on a couple of travels during the night.

A former girlfriend of mine from school was around last night being her usual bombastic self. Anyway my father wanted to know about whether I would be interested in going to Llanymynech to pick up some stuff for him. I said “yes, of course I would” but I wanted to know what stuff it was to make sure that there was room in the van. I didn’t have Caliburn at that time but BILL BADGER and I was wondering how I was going to get on driving it all that way and back again without any road tax. Obviously father wasn’t going to be suaded by any of this. This girl said that she needed something from the shop as well so I thought that she could come with me and I could pick it up on the way. I started doing a few things, time was slipping by and breakfast was rapidly disappearing, getting on towards midday and I thought that I’d better get a move on. I looked at the shop that she wanted to go to and it was only just down the road so maybe we should go and do that first and do we keep her stuff in the van as well while we go and fetch my father’s or else where else could we keep it. It was becoming one of these really complicated things as well. I know that there was certainly one thing about football in it and certainly something about me being in charge of a club as well.

Later on there was some kind of experiment going on between two Army officers about controlling their food and calories intakes and watching to see whether if one of them was on a diet, the other one who was a control would diet too. While this was going on I was wondering around and noticed some guy on a step sweating. He was short, about 5’1 or 5’2 weighing 79 pounds he said, and trying to get weight off. No matter what he did he was putting it on and he wondered if we knew what the secret was. I replied that as far as I was concerned the secret was exercise and it wasn’t working well enough for him and he wasn’t working hard enough … and then I mumbled …. One of these guys suddenly died and it was the fish soup that had killed him. They had invited his former wife because he’d killed someone but had been found not guilty and a newspaper or something had arranged for him to be in the same hotel that she was in so that they would see each other every day and deliberately to film or write a story about this confrontation. But somehow he had ended up poisoned and they reckoned that it was by his wife but I’ll ell some more of a different dream later, whatever that was supposed to mean.

After the medication I sat down and rattled off another radio programme. By 12:15 it was all done and dusted and it would have been done much, much sooner than that had the store file on the dictating machine that I use not corrupted it self and needed unravelling, and had the selection for the last track not been so difficult.

And I have to slow down or something with these programmes because I’ve no overrun the lead that I’ve built up, meaning that I can’t find a final track without causing myself some complications. I’m going to have to think about a cunning plan for all of this.

After lunch I started to put a few things back on the shelves in the kitchen and then telephoned the doctor to arrange an appointment for Friday morning at … gulp 08:30. I need my injection and I have to sort out this issue about Covid certificates.

Most importantly though, I want to talk to him about my knee. After this weekend’s adventures I might be feeling much better as far as my knee goes, but it’ll only give up again when I’m least expecting it and at a most inconvenient time as well.

Then I sat down to work on my Spirit of Conrad notes and I would have done much more than I did had I not … errr … relaxed somewhat.

As a result it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call, as you might expect these days, is the beach to see what was happening down there.

Consequently I wandered off over the car park, through the crowds of maskless people and looked down on the wall.

Plenty of people down there right now, and they have plenty of beach to be going at too this afternoon. But from what I understand, some of the beaches are closed and access to some others is limited due to a peak in pollution levels.

They take their beaches quite seriously here, because of the shellfish of course. They don’t want anything to compromise that and damage the livelihood of the town.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the beach and the people thereupon, a dark shadow fell upon me.

Not a Nazgul of course, although it might have been, but one of the hang-gliders. I’ve no idea what he was doing out here this afternoon because there wasn’t all that much wind.

He was certainly the only hang-glider that I saw throughout the afternoon which, given the amount of other aerial traffic, was somewhat surprising.

They should all have been out there yesterday when there was more than enough wind to keep as many of them going as they might like.

hang glider at pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHe didn’t come back either, which I thought was quite unusual, so I was interested to see what had become of him.

And here he is, sitting on the grass here by the old bunker at the Pointe du Roc, with his parachute or whatever it was that you call it, wrapped up by the side of him.

It looks as if there wasn’t enough wind to take him back to the cemetery on top of the cliffs (in more senses than one) so I wouldn’t be surprised if he had telephoned a friend to come and rescue him.

He’s the second one that we have seen gone to earth down here but the one that we saw a few weeks ago managed to get back into the air. It looks as if this guy is going to go home in more dignified circumstances.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way round the footpath on top of the cliffs, the first of the aeroplanes that buzzed me went by overhead.

This is one of the aeroplanes that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931, registration number F-GIKI.

She’s owned by the Granville Aero club and is used as a training aeroplane for pilots and navigation. This afternoon, she’s just been nipping out of the airfield and back again without doing very much exciting while she was at it.

She carried on doing that long after I’d gone back in for my afternoon drink, so presumably it’s pilot training that she’s been doing.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother aeroplane that took off minutes later was this one.

She was much farther out over the bay but her shape was quite a distinctive tricycle undercarriage and from what I would read of her registration number told be that she’s F-GVJC.

She’s the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we saw the other day taking off from the airfield. She spent almost 6 hours flying around a whole series of figures-of-eight down the coast and out to sea centred on the airfield.

But I’m surprised that she could stay in the air for that long, and surprised that she should be doing this when I have no earlier record of her being here. I was assuming that she was just a visitor.

men fishing from zodiac peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that while all of this was going on up in the air, there would bound to be some fishermen out there.

In fact two different lots of fishermen. One of them was patrolling along the foreshore as if he was looking for a place to go and do a bit of peche à pied.

The others were in a zodiac passing by just offshore and with their rods in the upright position and the reaxed posture of some of the people on board, they don’t look as if they are all that interested in having a go.

So really, that’s about everything that was going on out there today. There weren’t any boats or ships or yachts out there this afternoon. Maybe with the tide being right out, that might account for it.

men searching in rock pools peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing some movement out on the rocks out from the Pointe du Roc I decided to head that way.

Through the crowds on the path by the war memorial with cars parked all over the grass and through the car park I went across the car park there and went down to the end of the Pointe du Roc.

Two men were down there on the rocks, and that’s what I had seem from a distance. I’ve no idea what they were doing although my money would be on them looking in the rock pools for stranded seafood like crabs or lobsters.

But it’s nothing to do with me whatever they were doing down there so I wandered off along the path.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFighting my way through the crowds on the path I came down to where the seafarers’ memorial was.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour at Granville is looking quite splendid this afternoon, but in the distance over at Kairon-Plage, there’s tons of beach uncovered by the tide and there are what looks like several people out there taking advantage of it.

In the background the water tower on the top of the hills is standing out quite proudly but it’s a shame that the weather isn’t so clear in the distance. There’s far too much haze this afternoon to make the image really clear.

And so I pushed on along the footpath at the top of the cliff towards the port to see what was going on down there.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we are in luck today because there have been some major changes in the occupants in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there of course, and so is the trawler that we went to see yesterday. But today they now have company.

Two more trawlers have come into the yard yesterday. One of them, we can’t identify unfortunately because of the way that she’s chocked up, but we can see the name of the other one quite clearly and you’ll see what I mean about the names on the wind deflector above the windscreen

She’s called Charlevy and I’m sure that we’ve seen her before and photographed her on a couple of occasions. So I wonder how long she and the other new arrival will be in there.

With nothing else going on I came back into the apartment and had my guitar practice.

Tea was a bit of a disaster because my stuffed pepper fell apart in the microwave. But the jam roly-poly was delicious yet again.

Now I’m off to bed. No Welsh tomorrow so I’ll do some more tidying up.

Tuesday 20th July 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed never to do – but needs must when the devil drives as we all know.

What I did was to change the times of the alarms from 06:00 etc to 08:00 etc and try for a decent lie-in to make sure that i’d be fighting fit for my course today.

The lie-in bit worked, I suppose, but the fighting fit bit didn’t – by the time that the lesson ended I was feeling rather groggy.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I might not have been fighting fit today, something else was.

Having a good sail around the Baie de Mont St Michel with a load of passengers on board was none other than Marité. She seemed to be coping quite well and she’s 30-odd years older than me.

In case you are wondering, she’s the last of the Newfoundland Grand Banks wooden fishing trawlers built in 1921 if I remember correctly. When her service was over she was sold a couple of times and finally rescued by an Association here.

She’s been fully restored and is licensed to carry passengers for hire, and that’s how she makes her living.

But I’m not going to be able to make a living the way I’m going on with this fatigue that’s getting me right down.

It might have helped had I had a continuous 8-hour sleep, but I noticed that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night.

I had to go to work down in London so I had to leave my old office so I went into there and thanked them all, particularly one group wit whom I worked. Then Nerina and I got into the car and headed off. I was telling Nerina a little about my house but not too much as I wanted to surprise her about the house that I had down in the south that was about 10 minutes from Croydon on the train. We drove down there and ended up at my house which was a 3-bedroom semi just like Gainsborough Road except that it was in the middle of a row. It had a garage and I showed her around the garden and took her indoors and had a look round. She came back and said “it’s better than I thought it would be, judging by the way you were telling me”. She started talking about how she would want a job. I replied “with 10 minutes on the train to Croydon you can find any kind of job you like”. So we started to open the post, there was some post there. One was a bill and then a reminder saying that they were going to cut my electricity all for £60:00 for three months that I’d been living there but hadn’t had a bill or anything so Nerina wanted a job and I said that we could find one for her quite easily.
Something else that occurred in this dream and I don’t know if I mentioned it … “you didn’t” – ed … but in the back garden of this house I had BILL BADGER up on ramps and the back wheels off while I was checking the brakes but it looked as if I’d backed him up into next door’s garden partly so Nerina and I put the wheels on with the aim of dropping it on the ground and pushing it forward away from next door’s garden. Somewhere in there Rosemary appeared as well. She’d been a taxi driver and had picked up a fare at Crewe Station to go to Battersea so she had taken the opportunity to go to her house which was in Main Road Shavington near the Elephant and Castle to pick up some paperwork that she needed to take to London so she had gone that way to Battersea. I met her when she was back. She had one of these Dacia – the vans, there’s an estate car version of the Dacia van and she had one of those.

What’s interesting about all of this is, as I have probably said before, that I haven’t seen Nerina for well over 25 years but she’s quite a regular passenger with me on my nocturnal rambles. Since those days, a variety of people have come and gone from my life and have also come and gone from my nocturnal rambles too, but Nerina still persists.

Whatever happened to TOTGA, Castor and Pollux, Zero, the Girl From The Auvergne and countless others who blazed a trail through my nocturnal rambles at one time or other, hung around for a while and then disappeared just as rapidly as they came?

It’s probably something to do with lives being so entwined, I supposed, that it’s impossible to untangle then. Mind you, some of these other relationships, well, maybe not “relationships” in the way that you might think of them, were pretty intense too.

One day, when I can find the right words to express it, I’ll fill in those missing three days of my journal from the end of August 2019 about one of the most intense experiences that I have ever had.

To quote Agatha Christie, I was “embarking on a hazardous journey in troubled waters facing who knows what currents of misfortune” but “one must follow one’s star wherever it leads, even unto hell itself”.
But then, to quote Agatha Christie yet again, “Beware of the day when your dreams come true”.

But that’s enough of me being all maudlin. That’s not helping anyone at all.

After the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes and updated yesterday’s entry with the details of the night’s journey, did some organising and by then it was time for my Welsh course.

Armed with my hot chocolate and fruit bread I took my seat in front of the computer and we were off. Another hectic place with 52 pages of documents that needed to be downloaded from the internet.

In the lunch pause I had a shower and then I was back at my place for round two. And we belted along all the way until the end.

Coincidentally, the subject of Welsh Bibles came up and I was proud to be able to show the class my grandmother’s Welsh Bible. When she died, my father threw it away with the rest of her possessions and I had to hunt it down to rescue it.

When the lesson finished I found Liz on line so we had a chat and made plans for a date next week

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was long-past the time for my afternoon walk and peer over the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

So off I set across the car park and had a peer. And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on, that didn’t bother most people.

They were deep in the water and having a really good splash around this afternoon. But to my surprise there were very few kids down there in the water.

Usually it’s the first thing that kids do – go charging down the beach and straight into the water without even bothering to change into their swimwear, as we have seen on several occasions.

frogmen rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe even had a few frogmen, or were they frogwomen down there as well joining in the fun.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves this afternoon but I’ve no idea what they were finding to do there. If they have lost something, they can just wait until the tide goes out.

But it was no surprise to see so many people because it really was lovely. One of my neighbours came over for a chat, carrying his towel. He’d just been for a dip.
“Why don’t you go in?” he asked. “It’s lovely”.

So I made my excuse about my catheter port that I had used on several previous occasions, including once with Castor. But in all reality, if anyone thinks that I’m going to be putting my sooty foot into any water that is less than 37°C they are sadly mistaken.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach and close in to shore that there were loads of people. There were plenty of others much further offshore.

This was just one photograph of any number that I could have taken of any water craft out there this afternoon.

The reason why I chose the yacht was because it was just so majestic out there in the Baie de Granville. She was riding at anchor a couple of miles off the shore

There were some people on board but I couldn’t see how many or what they were doing, so I cleared off along the path round the headland for my walk..

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a very familiar sight to the many regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall having seen it on endless occasions.

From this distance there was no change of reading her name, because she was about 10 miles out but her rigging gives us a clue.

She can only be one of two boats, and the fact that she is white and not brown tells us that she is La Granvillaise, even if we can’t see the tell-tale number G90 on one of her sails.

She plies for hire around the harbour too and it looks as if she has a full load this afternoon. I’ve no idea where she’s going but wherever it was, I have to admit to being quite envious

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we haven’t seen very much of just recently is fishermen..

It’s always usually very popular and we’ve had week after week in the past of fishermen perched on every rock within a radius of 20 miles, but I haven’t seen any for a while.

But never mind, there’s one out there this afternoon on a rock at the Pointe du Roc, not looking as if he’s going to catch anything. He has no net to haul them in and no basket in which to keep them.

However that won’t matter because regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve never ever yet seen a fisherman haul anything out of the water – not even a bicycle wheel or an old boot.

powered hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the fisherman at the Pointe du Roc, I was overflown yet again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few days ago that we saw a pair of powered hang gliders or whatever they are flying over our heads while we walked around the path. Well, here they are again, flying past my knapper as I’m busy doing some thing else.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of these days I’ll have to go for a drive out to the airfield and see what’s happening there because there must be tons of exciting stuff and I’m missing it all.

light aircraft 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat includes machines like this one too, that overflew me a few minutes later.

Its registration number is 50SA and that’s not a number that’s on any national database so I’m not able to search it. We’ve seen plenty of this type of number and this type of aircraft and the number must be on some kind of register somewhere that will tell me more about the aeroplane.

And the only way to find out is, I suppose, to go to beard the lion in his den and receive the information first-hand.

But not today. I have far too much to do right now so I’d better push off and get a move on or it won’t be done.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, it looks as if Marité has caught me up.

She was sailing round to the harbour so I reckoned that she was going to put into port. But instead she continued on her way past, doing a circuit of the bay by the looks of things.

One of these days I’ll have to go out for a sail on her too, even if I don’t think much of the people who are in charge of her.

While I was here I had a glance into the chantier naval but there was no change of occupant in there today so I pushed on elsewhere.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLike to the viewpoint where I could see into the inner harbour.

And look who’s in here today! It’s Thora, one of the two little Channel Islands freighters that run between here and the Channel Islands. They don’t come in here as much since Brexit, having to go instead to St Malo where there are proper Customs facilities.

Back at the apartment it was already 17:45 so there wasn’t all that much time left before it was guitar practice so I couldn’t do too much in the time available.

For tea I had steamed veg with veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce and it really was delicious. The apple turnover that I’d made on Sunday for dessert was also delicious – cooked to perfection.

So anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’ve kept the alarm set at 08:00 because there’s no point in getting up early and then falling asleep again. I promised myself that I’d never surrender to this illness but having fallen asleep in a Welsh lesson recently, it’s not fair on the teacher and I need to show some respect, no matter how dismal it is..

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.

Saturday 9th June 2018 – THIS IS TURNING INTO A DISASTER

And I’m not quite sure about where to start either.

I could, I suppose, make a start by telling you all about last night’s nocturnal ramble. And that was such a confused, jumbled, rambling voyage too and I’ve probably forgotten most of it.

But I do remember leading a party of other motorists to Granville but it was nothing like the Granville as we know it, and the road to there was even more different. Doing it in the semi-dark was another thing too, especially as there were no signposts. However I had been there once before and I could remember the way – at least everything looked familiar like the roundabout near the yacht harbour where we had to turn left. At a certain moment we left the main road and were driving along a farm track where there was suddenly a terrific drop. I remembered a drop, but nothing as terrific as this one but it had to be here because there was no other way that resembled this. Everyone else looked in a panic but I pressed on down the slope and it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.
At some other time during the night I ended up in Bill Badger, my old BMC half-ton van from the 1970s. I’d put it back on the road after more than 20 years and it was running fine. I’d done some work on the engine too and that had me thinking about “why don’t I find a BMC 1622 diesel engine and fit that in the vehicle?”
From there I drifted into YLO, my first Cortina mkIV and I was going round to visit some sportsman. Much to my surprise he was living in very modest circumstances, the only sign of affluence being a small sailing boat in his garden that he was restoring. There was a notice on the gate to the effect that “no matter what, the boat isn’t for sale so don’t waste my time and yours enquiring”. He explained to me that his wife had just given birth and people always though that when you were there with new family commitments that took up much of your time, your hobbies would be the first to go, and go quickly and cheap too. I sympathised, explaining that I had a Transit van and another vehicle up on ramps in my garden right now.
Somewhere in all of this my mother put in an appearance. I’m not sure why. She was being assailed by a couple of women and even though I had no time for her at all, I couldn’t help feeling some sympathy for what she was suffering.

So there I was, at 05:20 sitting on the edge of the bed typing out all of this before I forgot it, despite the fact that with a long and exhausting day ahead of me, I needed all the sleep that I could get.

So an early breakfast etc, and organising myself, packing and the like. Ant at 08:30 I was at the supermarket buying a bottle of drink and a baguette.

Having made my butties I went off to hand in my keys and book the room for my next session, giving a big stroke to the cat on my way past.

It was here that today all started to go wrong, if you don’t consider awakening at 05:20 to be wrong.

My next visit here coincides with the big Werchter Rock festival in mid-Belgium, so there is no room at the inn. Not at any other inn in the region so I have been told. And I can’t change my appointment at Castle Anthrax because it fits in nicely with my other arrangements. And I can’t book a hotel in Brussels because I’m in Caliburn and there’s nowhere reasonable to leave him.

But there’s always a Plan B. It’s been years since I’ve been to Liège and I hardly know the city so I might book a hotel there and that will give me an opportunity to go for a wander around the city. I might even at last get to visit Welkenraedt – something that I’ve been trying to do for 45 years since I first saw it as a train destination at Oostende in the early 70s

Not only that, it’s easy to escape from too – avoids the necessity to struggle through the traffic on the edge of Brussels. There’s a motorway that goes from there to France via Charleroi instead.

But it’s still annoying.

sncb gare de leuven railway station belgium june juin 2018At the station I didn’t have to wait too long for a train. It was another Oostende train and so it was heaving with holidaymakers. I ended up being crammed into a corner with about 20 young German kids, several crates of beer and a music centre playing “oompah” music.

That was certainly not what I wanted at that time of the morning, but at least I had a seat. So I can’t complain too much. Especially as one of the boys actually offered me a beer (which I of course declined).

At the Gare du Midi I didn’t have to wait too long for the TGV to be called and to my surprise it was already in the station so we could take our seats and settle down in comfort.

But that was to no avail because the train didn’t move. After a while we were told to dismount. We were apparently having a “technical problem”. They called for a new trainset and they coupled that up to the next TGV so we were half an hour late leaving Bruxelles-Midi.

I went in search of the train manager and made a fuss about my connection to Granville. We had a lengthy discussion and in the end she endorsed my ticket to Granville to the effect that I would miss my train due to their fault and not mine.

We pulled into Gare du Nord 35 minutes late, not 30 minutes late – and that extra 5 minutes proved to be crucial as we shall see.

There’s an RER “express” that does part of the route of Metro Line 4 missing out several stations, so I gambled on that as far as Les Halles. It was indeed much quicker but whatever time I saved was lost by having a long walk between platforms so it wasn’t any quicker really. But I have timed the journey in the past going on Line 5 and then Line 4 and I know full well that I didn’t have enough time today so it was a gamble to nothing.

At Montparnasse I rushed as quickly as I could but it’s a long way, and I reached my platform just in time to see my train departing. For the first time since 1992 I wished that I was back in the UK where the trains run when they feel like it and only pretend that there’s a timetable.

This meant a trip all the way back to the ticket office. It’s possible to travel to Granville on the TGV to Rennes and then the Caen and Cherbourg train from there, alighting at Folligny where there’s a bus that connects with the train. But that goes at 14:14 and by the time I’d walked all the way back to the ticket office and queued to see a counter clerk, that train had long-gone.

The clerk wasn’t all that helpful and I was in no mood for her light-hearted attempts at laughter. She refused to consider finding me an alternative route (far too much effort of course) and so there was no alternative but to wait three hours for the next train.

Another marathon walk back to my platform where I ate my butties and read my book. And listened to the desperate news that “the train arriving from Granville” … which will be the one that will be taking me back … “has been delayed by 40 minutes due to a signal failure”.

sncf gare de granville railway station manche normandy franceBut to give them their due, as soon as it arrived and the passengers alighted and the crew had checked it for lost property, we were immediately waved on board. They hadn’t had time to clean it so it was something of a mess, but I didn’t want to wait around for another half an hour. 10 minutes late was quite enough.

During the whole route back I was in something of a daze. That 05:20 start had done me no favours whatsoever and the marathon dash and consequent stress had made things even worse. I wasn’t in much of a state to pay much attention to what was going on.

To make things worse, in view of everything that had happened today I was going to treat myself to a bus back home. But the last bus goes at 20:00 and we arrived back at 20:10 so that was that i had to walk.

And to make things even worse, the only bakery open in the town at that time of night had sold out of bread and buns for tomorrow.

It was a very long drag up the hill and I was stopped by a couple of tourists who needed directions.

So back here after all of that and I’m not up to much at all. I couldn’t even face making any tea. I’m going to go to bed and sleep until I awake. After all, tomorrow is another day.

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 ….

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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!