Tag Archives: bouchot

Saturday 5th February 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… hive of activity out here today, with tons of stuff going on throughout the day and I’ve no idea why.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m walking to the shops in the town, so it’s no surprise that I stumbled across the helicopter on my way out this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will certainly remember what happened last time I walked into town on a Saturday morning and had a close encounter with the aforementioned. That’s something that I won’t forget in a hurry, and I’m sure that you won’t either.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just the helicopter either.

There was a group of people, some of whom in military dress uniform and carrying flags, congregating by a wall just here.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I actually live in an old military barracks so seeing soldiers and ex-soldiers loitering around is something to which I’m accustomed.

But anyway, I digress. let’s go back to the very beginning and see if I can last out until the end.

Now here’s a surprise.

When I awoke this morning, it was 07:26 – 4 minutes before the alarm. And so in something of a wild fit of bravado, I hauled myself out of bed just before the alarm went off. And that’s not something that happens every day, is it?

Actually, it was too good an opportunity to miss and it will give me something to crow about until I hit the next disaster.

After the medication I checked the messages etc and then listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was an army disputing the succession to the French throne or something. Someone who governed the centre had taken the initiative but had ended up being invaded by an army from somewhere else, a Duke, and they had had a airly inconclusive confrontation somewhere already at the south of Paris but now they were shaping up for a really important fight that would decide the future of the country, with an invasion or whatever it was. On eof the guys was facing them anyway. They were all organising their armies for this conclusive battle in order to square up and have a proper one this time.

A little later last night I was with TOTGA. The two of us were planning on going on holiday. There was a big meeting taking place about various trips going so we went along to listen to them. They asked if there were any questions. Someone asked “how do you go from Manchester to the airport?” – basic questions like that that people either know the answer to or they look on Google or something. In the end these questions were becoming rather simple. It suddenly came out that the guy was travelling from Stoke-on-Trent. I asked him if he lived there to which he replied “yes” so I told him to give me his ‘phone number and I’d ring him and he could ask me what he liked etc and I’d be able to tell him perhaps a lot better than he’d hear it in the middle of this meeting where he was getting on everyone’s nerves. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And later again I was with Keith Emerson and Brian Davison of The Nice. I can’t remember very much about this except that Keith Emerson was knocked off his motorbike by a lorry at a roundabout. I can’t even remember whether he was hurt or not.

I did finally end up on board a ship last night. There were quite a few of us, but no-one we knew. It started off watched a TV programme about these boats that go down to the Antarctic with people on but there was no cabin accommodation or anything – you slept on deck so when there was a storm it was quite problematic. I remember thinking that I’ll tell Rosemary all about this and see if she wants to go. It wasn’t before long that I was on board one heading south. First, it started off that we were in London somewhere and had gone for a meal. There wasn’t a big choice of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The one that we found was passable, I thought, nothing particular to write home about. A couple of other people were extremely disappointed about it and made something of a fuss to the waitress about what they considered to be the poor food and quality. She came over to me afterwards and asked if I wanted anything else. I was nice about the situation so she said that she would bring me a bowl of chips. By this time I was on the deck of this ship and after waiting many, many, many minutes a bowl of chips appeared so I ate them then went for a wander off around. I ended up below deck where a guy appeared with a bowl of chips. He said “I’ve been looking for you. Here are your chips” so I wondered whose chips they were that I’d eaten just now. He asked if they were OK. They were cold but I wasn’t really all that bothered so I ended up with a second bowl of cold salty chips while I was on board this ship heading south to the Antarctic in all kinds of weather.

To finish off I had to go to the Post Office to post a package. It was a lump of dough and by the time I reached the Post Office it was all soggy and wet. I was sure that the clerk was going to refuse it but she put it in a plastic bag for me. The address label was all manky and wet but she said “I’ll manage”. I went back off to work on board a ship. Someone asked if I had my work with me – my University stuff so I replied “no” thinking that they would just give me a course book to read. Instead, they gave me the entire unit stuff, videos, everything. They asked if that was OK and I replied “well basically it’s OK but I don’t know how on earth I’ll manage to carry all this back afterwards.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d finished typing out all of that I was ready to go into town.

There had been a racket going on outside for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, but as soon as I walked out of the front door of this building I was immediately confronted by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

He was hovering around down behind the College Malraux so I decided to head that way into town to see what was going on. You never know …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the first things that I did once outside, and I’ve no idea why, was to go and have a look at the beach.

However, I may as well have saved the energy. The tide is all the way in right now so there was no beach for anyone to be on right now.

You can though see what I mean about people being down there when the tide is on its way in. It comes in quite quickly and goes all the way to the foot of the cliffs. That means that there is no-where for anyone to shelter.

Being cut off from the foot of the steps can cause all kinds of problems.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I’m also having a look around out to sea, one of the reasons being that occasionally we catch a glimpse of one of the massive super-ferries leaving St Malo for the UK.

Today though we couldn’t see one, but we did see a ferry of another type.

On her way out to the Ile de Chausey this morning was one of the Joly France ferries, taking advantage of the nice weather. And we can tell that it’s the older one of the two even at this distance because there is no “step” in the stern.

You can see how nice the weather is this morning too. We can see all of the colours on the island and the while houses stand out quite clearly against the rocks.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 emergency services pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … Pointe du Roc, the helicopter is still perched on the big bunker here.

Not only is it surrounded by aircrew and rescue personnel, there’s an ambulance and several police cars in attendance. It looks as if there’s something serious going on.

Everyone seemed to be quite busy so I didn’t go over to interrupt them to find out what was going on. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see what’s in the newspaper, or else wait for Sue Grey to finish her report.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So leaving them to their own devices I wandered off down the steps to the path below.

There wasn’t anyone else down here at the cabanon vauban, but if there had been, they would have seen this yacht heading out to sea from the port de plaisance.

He, and the couple of others who were following him out, were having a nice day for it. There was plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to push them along nicely, although not too much to make it unpleasant.

My walk down into town was quite lonely. I went practically all the way without seeing another soul. I’ve no idea where everyone was.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022They certainly weren’t all out at sea because apart from the one Joly France boat that we saw, everyone else was here at the suayside.

From left to right of course we have Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, to the Channel Islands as we saw the other day. And then the two other ferries.

In the middle is the very new Belle France that first showed her face in the port last year to help out with the summer traffic, and then to her right the newer of the two Joly France boats.

The other Joly France boat is of course on her way out to the Ile de Chausey.

concrete reinforcement matting double glazed windows port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a look at the freight waiting on the quayside.

As well as those red plastic objects that we saw from a distance, we have some concrete reinforcement matting and a pile of double-glazed windows. They’ll need to be tied down correctly on their way across to Jersey just in case the wind gets up.

At Carrefour I bought my mushrooms, some specialty bread and a few other bits and pieces, and then had a wander back through the town centre on my way home. There wasn’t anything going on down there that caught my attention. In fact, I must have been in something or a daze.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Earlier on I posted a photo of an assembly of people here in the Place d’Armes in the courtyard of one of the other buildings.

Back here I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photo and to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

From what I could gather, it was something to do with a handful of soldiers from one of the regiments based here who somewhere in North Africa held of an attack of several hundred “Arabs” (that was the phrase that the presenter used) over a period of several days.

It was in my mind to go out later this afternoon and see if the plaque on the wall behind him made any reference to the incident but I forgot. I’m not much good as a reporter, am I?

And while we’re on the subject, two things have occurred today in this respect.

  1. A journalist in the Grauniad this morning made a huge deal about going to SEE THE “DISAPPEARING HIGHWAY” IN NORTH CAROLINA. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have done that trip, THE FIRST IN 2005 and THE SECOND IN 2017 to compare the differences so we beat this “scoop by the Grauniad by four and a half years.
  2. A French railway magazine of some description is to feature a series of articles highlighting the destruction, if not devastation, of the railway network in the Auvergne and their editorial team has found an article THAT I WROTE BACK IN 2008 that is relevant to their series, and has asked if they may include it in their magazine. It goes without saying … shameless self-publicist that I am.

Anyway, back here I had a coffee and something to eat to take me up to lunch while I sorted out a few things that needed doing – like preparing news articles for publication and that kind of thing.

After lunch I came here to carry on work but, regrettably, I couldn’t keep going. It wasn’t the same kind of crashing-out that it has been here and there just recently, but for all the good that I did, it may as well have been.

What’s even more depressing is reading back through all of the stuff that I wrote al those years ago and wishing that somehow, somewhere I could summon up the enthusiasm and energy to do it all again with the tons of stuff that’s built up over the years that hasn’t been touched.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was even difficult to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go out for my afternoon walk. and I’m not sure why I wanted to go, having been out this morning for a good walk around.

Having been over to the beach this morning, only to find that there was no beach to go over to, I went again this afternoon at my usual time to see the lie of the land.

Plenty of beach down there right now of course, and plenty of people down there making the most of it. Several dozen at least.

And that’s not a surprise because it was actually such a nice afternoon. Not much wind, a nice blue sky. What more could any man require?

Except maybe TOTGA, Castor and Zero to share it with me of course. And then I wouldn’t know which way to turn, although I’m sure that I’d soon figure it out.

people on beach bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just down on the beach at the Rue du Nord where there were crowds either.

Out at Donville les bains they seemed to be just as busy. The bouchot stakes were exposed with the tide being so low so n the distance we could see the harvesting teams out there.

They would have to be careful too as there were crowds of people milling around on the beach, getting under the wheels of the tractors and the like.

For the benefit of our new readers, a serendipitous discovery made years and years ago was that shellfish were found growing on some anchor ropes. When they were sampled they were found to have an excellent taste with none of the grittiness that you associate with shellfish grown in the sand.

And so a business has sprung up here in the bay in various locations where stakes are planted in the sea with ropes slung between them for these shellfish, called bouchots to grow.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022For a change, this afternoon I decided to go for a walk around the walls seeing as it’s been a few weeks since I went that way.

From somewhere I summoned up the energy to go down the steps to look at the hole in the wall to see what they had done with that. And by the looks of things, they are well on their way to finishing it.

It’s taken an enormous pile of stones, that don’t seem to match the rest of the stonework and that’s rather sad. I don’t think much of the concrete lintel either. When I was fitting concrete lintels in stone walls I’d set them back a few inches and find some nice flat stone to face them with to make it all look more traditional.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Up on top it’s looking something of a mess too.

They actually took that wall down to ground level and rebuilt it but at the moment it doesn’t look anything like it ought to do. Maybe when they repoint it, it’ll look much better but you can’t really see it very well with the scaffolding and the fencing in the way.

From there I followed the crowds (because crowds there were a-plenty) along the path underneath the walls. One of my neighbours was there too so we had a chat for five minutes and put the world to rights.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2202/22020044.html”>red autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was there, I was overflown by another light aeroplane from the airfield.

Today it’s the red powered hang-glider that’s going past. And he has a passenger too by the looks of things. Been for a spin around thr bay to take a few photos probably, and one of these days I’ll have to get out and do the same.

But not right now as I have too much to do. I carried on with my walk around the walls, far too close to the madding crowd for my comfort.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On place that I wanted to visit was the Rue St Michel to eat some humble … “you?” – ed … pie.

Having complained bitterly about the state in which they left the surface, they came back a couple of weeks later and put the stone setts down to make it look much more like medieval.

They don’t have the curves sorted though. Medieval stone paving has nice symmetriical curves in it that looks really beautiful but they haven’t been able to recapture that here. It’s probably another one of these medieval skills that’s long-been lost, or else they won’t spend the money and the time in doing it correctly.

red autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Walking back along the walls, the red powered hang-glider went past again.

By the looks of things, while I’ve been out he’s been back home, swapped passengers and come back out again. He must be keeping busy and that has to be good for business.

Having forgotten to look at the plaque as I said that I would, I came back home for my coffee and to attack another sound file to select the broadcastable bits. And it’s not easy, for various reasons.

But anyway, there’s just one sound file to select and then I can get off and assemble things for broadcasting.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a rather sad-looking pepper left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Having had TOTGA visit me last night, I wonder who’ll pull the short straw tonight. I ought to promote a lottery, oughtn’t I?

Tuesday 9th November 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… aerial afternoon this afternoon, just for a change.

Not a nazgul or any bird-men of Alcatraz but actually an aeroplane flyng by overhead out in the bay on its way hame to the airfield just outside Donville Les Bains.

Its an aeroplane that we have seen before – F-HGSM, a Robin DR400/160 aeroplane that’s owned by the Aero Club of Greaves of Mont Saint Michel just down the road from here – coming out for a quick lap around towards the end of the afternoon.

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen her before, and a few minutes later we saw her again, this time flying the other way.

In fact she’s spent much of the afternoon flying up and down the coast between Avranches and Granville. The first this that she was picked up on radar today was at 14:41.

Unfortunately, many of her flights weren’t picked up on radar. Certainly, these two weren’t. The aeroplane doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan either so I can’t say much more about what she’s been up to.

65px light aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Jamais deux sans trois – “never just two without a third” as they say around here.

Sure enough, no sooner had F-HGSM disappeared off down the coast then around the corner came another aeroplane from the direction of the airfield. But as this one approached me it did a dramatic U-turn and headed back the way from which he came.

Unfortunately I can only tell you even less about this particular one because it’s another one with one of these short registration numbers – 65PX -that isn’t on any database to which I have access. So I let it go off on its way.

This morning, I had a great deal of difficulty going off on my way. Despite a reasonably early night I had an extreme amount of difficulty leaving my bed. But as I promised no to talk about my bad nights I won’t say any more.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then knuckled down to revise my Welsh from last week and to prepare for my lesson this morning.

There was a slight interruption though because the NIKON 1 J5 came back. I shall have a play with that in due course.

The Welsh lesson passed quite quickly and quite well too. An I need to remember now is “Fish Fingers, Baked Beans, More Beans, MMMMM”

After lunch I updated a few more days of the journal from late October, transcribed a few more entries for due course and then set about dealing with last night’s issues. I’d been back at my old school last night but I didn’t recognise anything of it. All of the House names had been changed to reflect the current way of thinking. I couldn’t see a timetable or a room list, a teacher list or anything like that. I was just wandering around aimlessly checking rooms to see if there was anyone I recognised, which I ddn’t. The teachers all looked strange, young and modern to me. Each class had a Social Media page that was pretty open and even the teachers were writing down their innermost thoughts on this. I went to have a look at the roll-call for students who had started this year. There were some from Pontypool, some from Galashiels, even some from Centreville in Canada. This has all changed from how it used to be with just local recruitment. I wondered where they were all staying because there’s nowhere for groups of kids to stay in Nantwich

Then about 85 minutes later, the problem with the school was that they were recruiting from all over the place, Galashiels, down south, even Cetreville in Canada. There didn’t seem to be anyone local at all. All the classes had Social Media accounts. Even teachers were writing their innermost thoughts down there. It didn’t look anything like the school that I knew with local recruitment. It seemed to me that there was a year that was being missed for which they weren’t offering tuition which I thought was strange. I must have dictated the previous notes and then gone back to sleep right back into where I left off yet again.

Later still, I’d been leaving France for Belgium and gone a different way than usual. I was looking over the map and the road that I wanted was over the edge of a page so I was wondering where I was going to end up. At first I thought that it looked shorter but then with it going off the page it started to look longer. I was wondering whether I’d made the right decision. I noticed that it seemed to end up back on the road that I used to take when I went down to the Auvergne through the mountains of the Ardennes. I was trying to work out exactly where that was going to be.
There was also something about living on a farm and buying a car, but I wasn’t allowed to use the car on the road. I bought it and I was trying to smarten it up and getting it to be a kind-of custom hot-rod thing. I’d bought 2 exhaust pipes for it that go down the outside of the car. Then I found out that there was another type that improved performance even more than I ought to have bought and it was starting to get a little bit crazy.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First stop is at the end ot the car park where I can look down on the beach. And considering that we are now rapidly approaching mid-November there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon.

It was actually quite a nice, sunny day which was a surprise, and there wasn’t very much wind. And as you can see, there was plenty of beach down there for everyone to wak upon with the tide being well out this afternoon.

seagulls harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the beach towards Donville les bains there were even more crowds down there.

Mainly crowds – or shoud I say flocks – of seagulls. They seem to be enjoying themselves having a feeding frenzy in the tidal pools with all of the fish that has been left behind, stranded by the tide.

Further on down the coast the harvesters of bouchots are also out there at work. You can see a couple of their tractors heading out towards the beds. No trailers though, so they aren’t ready to pull them in just yet.

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual, when I’m out and about looking at what is going on down on the beach, I have one eye looking around out at sea to se what’s happening there.

Right now of course we are living in interesting times so I’m keeping a close watch on all of the activity. And there’s plenty og avtivity out there this afternoon.

Out there we have a couple of trawlers looking as if they are working rather than heading in for home. And the yacht that’s out there with them is going to have a long wait before the tide comes in far enough for it to make it back home.

patrol boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I’m not the only one keeping a close eye on the activity either.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, that looks like a French Navy patrol boat out there having a little wander around in the bay.

Of course, with things starting to heat up around here in the bay, it’s not surprising that the French Government has sent someone in to watch what is going on.

It’s not just the British Navy that has warships, despite what the crooks in Westminster and the collaborationist press will tell the gullible public.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon in the nice weather, although I don’t know where they have come from. The schoolkids were out ther eorienteering too but none of them came over for a chat this afternoon.

people taking self photograph cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the end of the path I crossed over the car park to go down to the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a regular feature on these pages is photographs of people taking photographs of people. And here were a couple of people in action down by the cabanon vauban.

Whether or not “selfies” actually count as photographs of people taking photographs of people, I’ve included it all the same. There was another couple as well on the car park taking photos of each other but I wasn’t quick enough for that.

man fishing off rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And our photoraphers weren’t the only ones down there at the end of the headland.

We had the fishermen out there on the rocks as well. Here is one of them almost up to his knees in the water casting his line into the deep. Not that he’ll be catching very much if past experience is anything to go by.

With plenty of things to do I couldn’t hang around very long to watch. I cleared off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France ferries sitting in the silt. It’s the older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure

On this side of the harbour at the chantier naval there wasn’t anything at all happening.

The portable boat lift is still standing there in the middle of the yard with its wheels off waiting for something to happen to it. And I hope that they won’t be taking too long to repair it. The town needs the business that the chantier naval can bring.

joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the ways of telling the two Joly France boats apart is by the step in the stern of the newer one.

There’s a really good view of the stern of the new one down there in the inner harbour and you can see the step quite clearly.

To the left of her is the very new Belle France ferry that came into the town earlier in the year.

And if you want a full house, Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is over on the right out of shot. There’s nothing whatever going on over at the Ile de Chausey today, not like the other day when we saw them streaming out from port.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further along the road there was quite a racket coming from somewhere in the Rue du Port.

Looking down there from up on top of the cliff I could see that there was someone down there doing a bit of roofing.

It’s certainly the right kind of weather to do it. It’s a nightmare being up on a roof in a torrential downpour and a howling gale, as I know from bitter experience. And I’m surprised that, just for once, there isn’t a howling gale blowing around.

Anyway, there’s plenty of time for him to be soaked to the skin or blown off the scaffolding. It looks as if he’s only just started and the weather can turn at any moment.

people taking photographs boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier, I mentioned something about some people taking photographs of each other.

When I was down at the Pointe du Roc I wasn’t quick enough to catch them but I caught up with them in the Boulevard Vaufleury, standing in the middle of the road defying the oncoming traffic to take their photos.

She had a bunch of flowers earlier. I wonder where she has stuck them.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and carried on with the dictaphone notes, and that took me right up to teatime.

It was a quick tea of taco rolls and rice with veg (not dropped into the sink tonight) because there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd v Barry Town.

Played in a driving rainstorm on a sodden pitch it wasn’t a very attractive game as the teams struggled to come to terms with the conditions. The match ended 1-1 which was probably a fair result in the circumstances although the goals were really messy goalmouth scrambles.

It wasn’t at all like the match LAST WEEKEND which had a couple of the finest goals you’ll see at this level of football.

Anyway now I’m off to bed for another night’s voyages. Listening to all of the stuff on the dictaphone I’ve been having some really vivid dreams just recently, and plenty of them too.

All of this corresponds with my dreadful nights and I’m wondering if there’s been a change in eithe rmy diet or my medication that has brought all of this on. I shall have to go back and review everything to see what it’s all about.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – I WAS LUCKY …

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021 … this afternoon, finally managing to take the photo that I’d been trying to take for the last I don’t know how long.

As I was walking back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home after my physiotherapy appointment, the gates to the inner harbour opened quite dramatically.

That was the cue for all of the fishing boats that were lined up outside in the outer harbour to surge forward and fight their way in to be first to tie up at the fish processing plant.

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As you can see, there are dozens of them that go out from here almost every day.

And what goes out has to come back, of course, unless it’s called Bugaled Breizh, but that’s another, much sadder story for another time and place.

We can recognise a couple of the trawlers in this photo. On the extreme right looking as if she’s trying to leave is Cap Pilar and at the back of the queue is Coelacanthe, one of the biggest fishing boats in the port.

And one of these days I’m going to have to go through my notes and make an illustrated database of the boats in here so that I can identify them more easily.

marite chausiaise thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just Cap Pilar that looked as if she was leaving port.

Chausiaise had been tied up in the loading bay underneath the crane and as I watched, the crew cast off the ropes and reversed away from the quayside.

She’s not going to be heading out for a while because there was quite a queue of traffic waiting to come in, as we have already seen. And it’s not really a good time of day to be going anywhere because by the time that she reaches the Ile de Chausey it’ll be almost dark and the tide will be turning.

Talking of turning … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was doing a lot of that in bed last night. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed but nevertheless by 03:20 I was wide awake and from then until 07:30 there was only a few minutes sleep here and there.

When the alarm finally did go off, it was all that I could do to raise myself from the dead.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I knuckled down to attend to the work on the list that I had created yesterday. And to my surprise (and to yours as well, no doubt) I breezed my way through it, and a few other things that I had forgotten to add onto the list as well.

That was what I call a productive day, and it’s high time that I had one of those.

There was the usual pause for breakfast and for lunch, and after lunch I had a shower before carrying on with the work.

Listening to the dictaphone some time later, there was plenty of stuff to transcribe. I must have had an exciting night. I was working for the radio and trying to find people to interview for this radio programme. I was in an old Plaxton Elite coach parked up somewhere in the Wirral. All these people were getting on and off it as we were near one of these burger van things. People asked me what I was doing so I explained that I was looking for people who had experience of Brexit good and bad and wanted to talk about it. They asked in which direction I was going so I said “north”, so quite a few stayed on. I was going north and came to a road junction. Someone said that if you go left here there’s a centre down there where there will be plenty of people and I’ll be bound to find someone there. I went to the left and came across a low bridge. There was nowhere for me to turn round, the road was so narrow and so built up on either side that I couldn’t get a swing round to turn the coach round at all under any circumstances.

Later on I’d forgotten to fill the water container for the house at Virlet. It was late at night and dark and I had to set out and do it. Nerina wasn’t very happy. When I went out I remembered that I hadn’t fought my way into the room where the water tap is. She was annoyed about that. In the end I fought my way round to the top of the barn and went in. The fridge in there was working really hard and making a lot of noise. I went downstairs and out, and found that I could in fact get into the water room. I’d left the light on in there from the last time I’d been there. I went in and there was a bat that was flying around, diving into my hair and everything. There were thousands of little flies. I fetched the water container out of there and managed to struggle my way outside. The bat came out with me and flew off. So did all these insects.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When it was time to leave the apartment for my physiotherapy I went down to look at the beach.

Peering over the wall I could see that there was quite a bit of beach this afternoon – after all, it is my more usual time of going out compared to yesterday.

This time though there wasn’t anyone on it at all and that’s no surprise because it was blowing a howling gale and it was trying its best to rain. Not the right kind of day to be out at all unless one had to.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the hill on my way into town I could see that there was a boat moored up in the loading bay underneath the crane.

As I drew closer (but it wasn’t a good likeness of closer because I’m useless at drawing) I could see that it was Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, who was in there. She must have come in on the morning tide

Another thing that took me by surprise was that I made it all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath. That’s something that I haven’t done for months and I was so impressed with that.

Today she had me doing movements and exercises and they seemed to be better for me than the tilting platform. I was certainly aching more than I did before and, getting ahead of myself here, I was up the 25 steps to my apartment much easier than I have been of late.

old sfr shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But on the way home, I could see the first casualty of the mobile phone wars that are going on throughout the world right now.

That shop over there used to be, until the weekend, the SFR shop and I’m not surprised that that has bitten the dust. Regular readers of this rubbish going back 7 or 8 years or so ago will remember the dispute that I had with them.

By now it was raining fairly heavily so I didn’t want to hang around too long. I came back a different way home yet again but there was nothing of any interest to see or to photograph.

bouchots de chausey avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Well, that’s not actually true.

Quite by accident as I was crossing over the Avenue de la Liberation, I saw a tractor heading my way and I recognised it immediately so I prepared the NIKON D500.

Sure enough, it’s the tracor and trailer that unload the Bouchots de Chausey and we saw them yesterday hard at it. Had I been able to run, I would have followed it to find out where it is going, but I’m long past that kind of thing these days.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier I showed you a couple of photos of the fishing boats coming back into harbour.

After they had all passed by, one of the Joly France ferries reversed out of her berth at the ferry terminal and followed the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

What I liked about this photo was that I also captured two blue and white fishing boats racing neck and neck towards the harbour. I had to wait a couple of minutes to have all three boats in exactly the right position but it was worth it.

trawler cap pilar meaving port de Granville harbour in a storm Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another photo that you saw earlier was the one with Cap Pilar waiting for the traffic to subside as if she intended to go out to sea.

Sure enough, once there was a gap in the traffic, off she went and was immediately engulfed in the storm that was now raging out at sea. She disappeared into several waves that swept over her bows and my hat goes off to everyone who puts to sea in this kind of weather.

Back here I had a much needed coffee and that warmed me up somewhat. And there wasn’t time to do very much because it was quite late when I returned.

There were some mushrooms that were on the verge of looking quite dubious so I made a potato and mushroom curry with them and wasn’t that delicious.

And just as I put down my fork, Rosemary rang me – perfect time again – and we had another one of our endless, rambling conversations, hence I’m running quite late.

But now, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed and after my dreadful night last night I hope that this one is better. I’m interviewing tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.

Thursday 26th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

… a calamity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I digress … “again” – ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just my luck, isn’t it?

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

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

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

Bizarre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, she also has an auxiliary engine.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 11th August 2021 – GONE!

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd never called me mother!

For the past few days we’ve been keeping an eye on the steadily-increasing pile of freight that has been building up on the quayside down in the port. But when I looked down there this afternoon, there it was! Gone!

It looks as if one of the little Channel Islands freighters has paid us a visit on the early morning tide and cleared off back to the islands with its cargo, without saying anything at all about it to me.

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that has gone, and never called me mother either is our old friend Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat.

She sneaked out on the early morning tide by the looks of things too and probably won’t be back home until the gates open this evening.

What I can see me doing is checking on the times of the tides and going for a morning walk as well as an evening one. I seem to be missing quite a lot just recently.

marité ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering exactly where Marité might have been this afternoon, then I reckon that this is she.

While I was out on my afternoon walk I was keeping a watchful eye out to sea and with the aid of the big 70-300mm LENS I was able to make out the sails of a very large sailing ship just offshore.

The photo isn’t very good because while it was one of those days where you could see for miles, there was a peculiar taint to the atmosphere that distorted all of the colours and you can’t see things as clearly as we did yesterday.

yachts cezembre fort de la conchée st malo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut with the peculiar atmospheric conditions, this afternoon we could see things around the entrance to the port of St Malo that we don’t usually see.

The big island that you see is the island of Cézembre. At one time connected to the mainland by a causeway that has long-since eroded away, access was forbidden to the public after 1944 as an extremely heavy bombardment had littered the place with all kinds of unexploded ammunition.

Several attempts at sweeping the island have taken place and access has been permitted since the Spring of 2018, although many areas are still closed off.

The rather rectangular island to its left is one of the forts that guards the entrance to the harbour at St Malo. The silhouette resembles very much the Fort De La Conchée, built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and Siméon Garangeau. No longer used by the military, it was classed as a National Historic Monument in 1984.

But anyway, I’m running away with myself again, aren’t I?

This morning I awoke with the first alarm and wandered off for my medication. Back here I started to do the morning tasks but the next thing that I knew, it was 09:18. I’d been fast asleep on my chair in the office for a little over 2 hours and I didn’t feel a thing.

Having finally recovered I made myself a coffee and sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I started off in a country area, somewhere like that, and there was a lot of building going on. There were all these Germans there building houses. I had all of my medication so I wandered off to have a look at these houses while I took my medication but I dropped one of my tablets. I had a good look around but I couldn’t find it anywhere so I thought “never mind – I’ll have to go back and get another one”. This girl came up and began to talk to me. She asked me what I was looking for so I told her. She turned out to be Bruce Springsteen’s daughter. We talked about this tablet and one or two other things. She said that she was having to go on holiday soon but there would be someone around at their house. If they wanted to pay she could arrange for someone to be up there at the shop who could maybe bring my tablet back. She explained that their business was being sold and there would be someone new in there pretty soon.

Some time later I’d been going around my garages trying to get myself organised with my old MkIII Cortinas (and this is something that seems to come up quite often). I suddenly realised that now I had electric there was no reason why I couldn’t go back to MiG welding. I resolved that what I was going to do was to start to practise on bits of metal and see how I could develop a technique. While I was there I took a boot lid off a MkIII Cortina and went to replace the locking mechanism on it but then I couldn’t get the boot to lock. I was wondering if I’d assembled it correctly. I put it down in the toilet of this place while I went wandering off and there were people coming in and out of the toilets as you might expect. Some little girl went to the toilet and some older woman, her mother maybe, went running hell for leather after her to try to catch her. Then it was time for me to take myself off so I went outside to walk home and the skies were really, really heavy grey with rainclouds and rainstorms and everything. I didn’t have a jacket and at the moment it wasn’t raining where I was but it was going to rain soon and I was wondering whether I ought to try to reach home before the rain started. It was a big wide road and I had to wait for some traffic to pass. One of them was a big Riley used by the local police. There was another one, a smaller type of police car that went past while I was waiting to find a gap in the road. Then a Morris Oxford MO pulled into a car park just a little further back so I thought that this might have been something like an Austin Morris Owners Club event.

Later still I was living in an apartment somewhere and I’d gone outside to do something. I noticed that the apartment above me was being redecorated. There were 2 vehicles there, an ancient Land-Rover and something else with people taking boxes out of it, all that kind of thing and taking them up the stairs to this apartment. I thought that someone must be moving in. I thought that I’d go round and see them and make a coffee but I wasn’t dressed so I thought that I’d dress and then I’d better have a wash as well. At that point someone came round to see our apartment and see some people who were there. The were all getting in my way and I couldn’t get anything organised. I thought that by the time I get myself organised and these people had cleared off and I’m ready to go the ones upstairs doing this apartment would have probably had a coffee and wouldn’t need one from me so they wouldn’t have any time to sit and chat and talk about themselves.

While all of this was going on, I was chatting to Liz. She had some news for me, but more of this anon.

All of the day has been spent, as I mentioned yesterday, dealing with arrears of work.

The photos from Greenland had quite a lot of time spent on them and just as yesterday, one or two of them touched rather a nerve with me just as yesterday and I can do without sinking into a deep depression right now. As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now.

But to cheer myself I had a little fun with A PHOTO OF STRAWBERRY MOOSE. It’s been a long time since he’s been on an adventure.

Mind you, he has told me that he’s pleased that he’s in the EU and not in the UK at all. Word on the streets is that the UK is about to tear up the EU’s restriction on experiments on live animals, and he would have been afraid that he might been forced to sample my cooking.

As well as that I spent some time on my Spirit of Conrad notes but I’m not doing too well with those. For some reason I can’t seem to summon up the creative spirit these days and that’s annoying me too.

There was breakfast of course, and lunch, and then there was the afternoon walk around the headland to stretch my legs.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo Nazguls casting their shadows of doom over me today so I could wander off calmly across the car park to the wall overlookign the beach.

The tide is once more 40 or so minutes behind where it was yesterday so there’s even more beach to go at this afternoon and there were a few people taking advantage of it as well.

There were even a couple of people in the water and one or two sunbathers, but it’s still quite quiet compared to how it usually is in August when you can’t move outside here for the heaving masses.

man in canoe woman sunbathing on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there were some people taking advantage of the weather in all kinds of different ways too.

We had a guy out there paddling his own canoe around the headland and I did wonder from where he came seeing as the tide is well out and there isn’t a slipway or quayside in the water right now.

He has a spectator too – a woman sitting on the sand at the water’s edge, prresumably wondering what the canoeist is going to do next.

As an aside, I used to go canoeing when I was at school and on one of our trips on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR I was asked if I would like to take a kayak out.
My response was “I would do if I could find some oars” to which they replied “who you meet and what you do when you are out there is your own business”.

bouchot beds st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen the bouchot beds out at Donville les bains and talked about them on several occasions.

There are bouchot beds all along the western coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and because of the strange atmospheric conditions today, we can see many more than we do usually.

If my geography is correct, these are the beds to the north of St Martin de Bréhal that stretch all the way along to the mouth of the River Sienne. And it’s not every day that we can see them as clearly as this, even when the tide is quite low.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we are on the subject of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … there has to be some fishing included in the report of the day’s activities.

For the last couple of days, as I mentioned yesterday, there’s been a distinct lack of offshore fishing been going on, which is strange seeing as we are right in the middle of the summer season.

Today though, there were some fishermen out there. This speedboat had several in there but they weren’t doing much fishing as their rods were all furled up. And in any case they wouldn’t have caught much at the speed at which they were travelling.

f-bsno Wassmer WA-4/21-250 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd at this point I was oveflown by an aeroplane from the airfield just along the coat.

Having spent several days without the sight of even one, we made up for it today when this one went past. It’s one that we’ve seen on one occasion in the past, about two months or so ago – F-BSNO, a Wassmer WA-4/21-250.

She was picked up on radar at 16:07 over the sea near Granville – my photo being timed at (adjusted) 16:06 so that’s probably right, and she disappeared off the radar somewhere in the vicinity of the St Malo-Dinard airport at about 16:16 so she wasn’t aloft for long.

Another aeroplane, one of the smaller, lighter ones, flew by overhead almost immediately but I was engaged in a (Flemish) conversation with a couple of Belgians who wanted to know about the offshore islands.

fisherman canoeist pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith fishing seeming to be the activity of the day I wondered if there might be anything going on out at the end of the headland.

And so I scurried across the car park and down to the path to see for myself, and sure enough, we have someone with his rod out, down there on the rocks right at the end, not having much luck as usual.

There’s a canoeist down there too, but I’m not sure if he’s the same one who we saw a couple of minutes ago. If it is, he’s made rather rapid progress.

And I would still like to know how he intends to take his canoe out of the water at the end of his trip because he has a good few hours to wait before the tide will be in far enough for him to have access to a slipway

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, as they say around here.

And so having seen a couple of photos featuring fishing (of a sort) there’s bound to be a third, especially as the tide is so low. There are bound to be some pêcheurs à pied around here somewhere.

And sure enough, there were a couple of them scratching around in the rocks and rock pools a little further around the headland. Plenty of others elsewhere too out on the rocks further round, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

And that reminds me – why is shopping in North America so boring?
Well, when you’ve seen one bunch of shops you’ve seen a mall.

I’ll get my coat.

trawler trafalgar charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, some new activity yet again in the chantier naval.

As I’d been making my way along the path on the southern side of the headland I thought that the layout of the place had changed a little, and sure enough, we have another little trawler come to join the crowd this afternoon.

She’s called Trafalgar, a strange name to give to a French vessel bearing in mind the outcome of the battle of that name on 21st October 1805, and we haven’t seen her before – at least not to note. She’s now in here keeping company with Charlevy and the two others whose names I have still not discovered.

paddleboarders plage greve de herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I drew your attention to that swimming pool area at the beach at the Grève de Hérel.

And it’s a good job that I did so too because it’s a hive of activity this afternoon. The guys from one of the sailing schools have taken out some pupils on there and it looks as if they are going to be receiving some paddleboard instruction, or something of that nature.

If there are any sunbathers and swimmers on the beach over there, that’s not going to be too popular with them. There’s precious little enough water as it is without having to share it with a sailing school.

small boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile back at the ran … errr … harbour there are more boats left to go around at the wharf as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish well recall having seen this one a few times on and off, painted in colours that are more usually associated with Government vessels than private ones.

But she would seem to be a private vessel because those red buoys look to me like the buoys that they use to indicate the presence of their lobster pots.

And something that I’ve always wondered is “how do you train a lobster to go on a lobster pot?”

On that note I’ll head for home.

Back here I had a cold drink and carried on with my notes until guitar practice time. That was followed by taco rolls with the last of yesterday’s stuffing, followed by apple crumble.

It’s early yet, but who cares? I’m going to bed. If I feel up to it I’ll resume my weekly treks to LIDL tomorrow but I’m not too optimistic. I’m a little better than I was and I could climb the steps without clinging on to the handrail, but even so that’s a long way from when I used to sail up the bank like a Spanish galleon.

Wednesday 28th July 2021 – SAY HELLO …

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… to a new resident in the port here.

And we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future that’s for sure. She’s called Belle France and she’s came into port last night to take part in working the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

It’s not clear whether she’s in addition to the 2 Joly France boats or whether one of them wiil be sailing off into the sunset in early course.

But one thing that I noticed about Belle France is that she doesn’t appear to be fitted with a crane to load the luggage from the quayside, and that may well explain the presence of Chausiaise in the fleet.

My presence this morning can be best explanied by the fact that I managed to stagger to my feet at 06:00 despite not having gone to bed until 01:00 this morning and so for the rest of the story I only have myself to blame.

But nevertheless I kept on going for quite a while. Nothing on the dictaphone and so I worked on the photos from Greenland in August 2019 . And seeing that we are in the middle of the Olympics, WHALES WON THE GOLD MEDAL in the synchronised swimming.

What else I did was to carry on with loading the shelves in the kitchen. I’ve rearranged them somewhat and now I seem to have made much more room there, which is always nice. And while I was at it, I took out the waste paper and the rubbish to the waste bins and washed my bin. What excitement, hey?

While I was sorting through stuff I came across the filters for the water jug so I cleaned the jug and changed the filter over.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned this before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why I note down things like this. The answer to that is that this journal is indexed and so I can find out when I last changed the filter and when it’s time to change it again.

It’s important that I write these things down to remember them because two things happen when you reach my age .

  1. you forget everything that it’s possible to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is

Having done all of that (and you’ve no idea how tired that makes me) I came in here. It was round about 12:15 when I sat down and the next thing that I remembered it was 14:05. Yes, I’d had another one of these mega-sleeps that I’ve been sliding into just recently without knowing it.

That led to a very late lunch followed by a very late acoustic guitar practice.

After lunch being fed up of tripping over the clothes airer I put away the dry clothes and then had another look through some papers. And while I didn’t find the papers for which I had been searching yesterday, instead I found Caliburn’s insurance certificate for which I had been searching previously. So I wonder what I’ll be looking for when I find my missing paper.

After another 10 minutes or so dealing with the kitchen shelves, It was time to go walkies

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call is of course the beach down below the cliff just here so I wandered off across the car park for a look.

No buses parked on the kerb or young people on the verge in the car park this this afternoon.

I’m quite a bit earlier than yesterday so the tide isn’t all that far out right now. But nevertheless there are still plenty of people down there enjoying what they can, as I discovered when I stuck my head over the wall.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather was quite mild today and I’d actually gone out without a jacket, which shows you just how brave I am.


tractors people on beach donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just in Granville either.

There must be a very low tide this afternoon because you can see that over on the beach at Donville les Bains the bouchot farmers have brought out all of their tractors and so on ready to begin the harvest as soon as the beds are uncovered.

And you can tell that none of those beaches is affected by the ban because there are quite a few people on the beach right out there, including something of a crowd by the caravan park on the extreme left, as well as a few people taking the waters.

Yes, when I go to visit the airfield, whenever that might be, I’ll pick a nice day and take my butties.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was what my right eye was doing while I was there overlooking the beach. But what was my left eye doing?

As usual, my roving left eye was looking around out to sea to see what might be going on out at sea.

And the answer was “zilch” – nothing at all. There wasn’t a single (or a married) boat between here and the Ile de Chausey and I’ll tell you something else for nothing as well – and that was that this afternoon I didn’t even see a hint of a boat anywhere out at sea at all.

After he crowds of boats that we saw last week and the traffic jams of fishing boats heading for home, I have been amazed by the lack of water craft.

It’s true of course that the tide is out but even so, someone could have nipped out this lunchtime with his butties and gone fishing until this evening when the harbour gates opened up again

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever one thing was not missing from our afternoon’s activities.

Having been overflown by endless squadrons of light aircraft and Nazgul over the past week or two, then yesterday aerial activity in the vicinity was conspicuous by its absence.

The abstinence didn’t last long though. While I was walking along the path near the lighthouse a familiar rattle announced itself and sure enough, the yellow autogyro that we have seen so often in the past went flying by overhead.

And it’s a two-seater too of course. That’s something else I can do whenever I make it to the airfield – I can hitch a ride and go for a fly around. I’d feel much happier in that than in a 2-seater Nazgul.

medieval fish trap plage d'hacqueville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something that I haven’t noticed before.

The other day I took a photo of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks just outside the harbour. So today I took a photo a little further inland towards the Place d’Hacqueville.

And doesn’t that look like a medieval fish trap to you? It certainly does to me.

It’s like two stone walls built in a V out to sea. The tide comes on and fills the pool with water and hopefully fish, and when the tide goes out, the water percolates out through the gaps in the rocks leaving the fish behind, trapped

Then the medieval fishwives wade in and pull out the fish for supper with their bare hands

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile from my vantage point above the harbour, I’m not too interested in the chantier naval because nothing has changed in there since yesterday

Instead, looking in the other direction, I can see that very shortly we will be expecting the arrival of Normandy Trader.

And how do I know this? The answer is that there’s a swimming pool on the quayside by the loading crane. There’s a company here in France that exports swimming pools to the Channel Islands and I know that the owners of Normandy Trader have the contract to pick them up and take them back to Jersey.

They won’t leave that on the quayside for long in case it’s damaged. Those things are not cheap at all.

boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou are all probably wandering what has happened to all of the boats that we haven’t been seeing out at sea just recently.

Well, here there are – or, at least, some of them. There’s a port de plaisance with a gate to keep the water in and that’s where the expensive stuff and the houseboats are moored, but the less expensive boats and the smaller fishing boats are out here in the tidal harbour.

When the tide goes out they simply settle down in the silt and wait for the tide to come back in and re-float them.

You can see what looks like a little river on the left. That’s water that drains out of the inner harbour quite slowly so that the inner harbour settles down and isn’t full when the tide comes back in, which means that they can open the gates a long time before high tide.

victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime our two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo in the foreground and Granville in the back ground are still here.

The Channel Islands have announced that entry restrictions to the Channel Islands are being slightly relaxed so people can at long last go to visit the islands.

However, that doesn’t apply to the two ferries. I’ve no idea why not, but it seems a strange decision to me. Maybe they don’t want the kind of numbers coming to the islands that the ferries could bring.

And I do know that there is some kind of issue about finance. The local region has been footing the bill for this for ages and they have suggested that the Channel Islanders put their hands in their pockets too, but as yet, no folding stuff has come from over there.

And as an aside, do you notice a resemblance between Granville and Belle France?

Back here I sorted out some photos, had my bass guitar practice and then went for tea. Chips and curried beans (I found a tin or two in my supplies while I was filling the shelves) and a burger followed by apple pie from the freezer.

Now an early night is called for as I have visitors coming tomorrow, I hope.

Sunday 25th July 2021 – BANE OF BRITAIN …

trawler yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall.. strikes again! And in spades too, so it seems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there is a new trawler that arrived in the chantier naval and from my handy little spec up on the clifftop I couldn’t see a name on her superstructure.

Most of the trawlers around here have their names written on the wind deflector above the windscreen and so I mentioned earlier this week that I’d go down there at some point and have a look.

So here I am – and guess what? Yes, of course, they are repainting her and the wind deflector has been painted over in thick grey primer and I couldn’t see a thing. It’s just as you would expect, really, isn’t it?

What else you might expect as well is that seeing as I had promised my self a nice lie-in this morning I was awake at 07:20. But if anyone really thinks that I’ll be putting my sooty foot on the bedroom floor at that time of the morning then they are mistaken, especially seeing that I didn’t go to bed until something like 03:15 this morning after my mega-crash-out during the day yesterday.

Even putting my feet on the floor at 10:20 and making the effort to move was some tough going but I managed it.

After the meds I made a new mix of dough for another loaf, and this one might actually work because the yeast foamed up like bottled Bass when I activated it. Fresh yeast from a different batch.

Back in here, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone but I couldn’t find it. Eventually I came across it, on the floor still working with 4:45:00 of silence on it.

Well, not silence, actually quite a lot of my snoring and my apologies to Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear on these pages as often as she deserves, for not believing her. Although what I was doing sleeping with Percy Penguin there is something that I don’t understand.

There was however something of interest on the dictaphone. And I didn’t track it down by listening to it – 4:45:00 of my snoring is far too much even for me – but by looking for my speech waveform pattern with my sound-engineering program, although the sound that I make when I’m dictating in my sleep is nothing like the sound that I make when I’m awake.

Anyway, I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed.

I was in a Welsh lesson last night with a variety of different people. The first part went well but in the second part the Welsh presenter had a flood so we had to do it ourselves. We talked about where we had come from, what we’d been doing, what we were doing now and what we were going to do, to keep it very simply for the beginners in our lesson to catch up. I can’t remember any more of this. I fell asleep instead.

So having dealt with that I paired up all of the music for the radio broadcast that I’ll be preparing next week and sorted out a speech for my regular guest. That took me up to lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to work again on my trip down the Brittany coast on Spirit of Conrad and wrote out some noted for about 10 photos. I would have done far more than that but I … errr … (fill in your own answer)).

Before I went out for my afternoon walk I kneaded the bread dough a second time, which had by now gone up like a lift, and mixed in the sunflower seeds. Then I shaped it and put it in a bread mould and left it to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course the first port of call was the beach so I headed off across the car park to the far end to have a look over the wall

And what a change from a week ago when there was hardly enough beach to swing a cat. Today there was beach for miles, as much as anyone would want. But it was windy and overcast again, and that might explain why there weren’t too many people about down there.

But surprisingly, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea either. A Sunday in midsummer and a darn sight better weather than yesterday, and I expected to see everyone out there today making up for lost time.

But not a soul

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever, one place where there was no shortage of activity today was down the coast at Donville les Bains.

The tide is well out, as you have seen, and the bouchot beds are uncovered today. The harvesters are out in force this afternoon with all of their equipment giving it a really good go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens there but for the benefit of new readers, of which there appears to be more than just a few just recently, the bouchots were a comparatively recent and quite serendipitous discovery.

Someone planted some stakes with ropes attached into the ground for some purpose and when he returned he found that although his original purpose was a failure, the strings were covered in mussels.

Mussels are usually harvested from the sand and thus are quite grainy and gritty, but with growing on strings, there’s no sand in them and so they are said to be quite smooth and delicious, not that I would know of course.

This area is now quite famous for its bouchots

crowds of people on path near lighthouse semaphore station pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, now that the biology lesson is over for the time being, I can clear off along the path on the clifftop.

Not exactly far from the madding crowd. There were loads of people walking around there today on the path as you can see in this photo. And there were plenty more than these too.

And I could count on the fingers of one hand the number who were wearing masks, which is rather disappointing seeing how the infection numbers here are now going through the roof. I really don’t know what the answer to this one is, except that I hope that Darwin catches up with them pretty quickly.

Anyway, high time that I stopped moaning and pushed on along the path. I have things to be doing.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six - F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown yet again by an aeroplane taking off from the airfield at Granville.

This time I can tell you who she is because she has a pretty distinctive shape, even if she is quite far out over the bay. She is in fact F-GVJC, a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six serial number 7140066 and she took off at 15:59 to perform a series of concentric circles around between here and Avranches.

It’s the same one that w saw the other week and the reason why I wasn’t able to correctly identify her then when we saw her much more distinctly than this is because there’s a coachline that goes right through the middle of her registration number.

For a change, instead of crossing the path and the car park, I took the low road down the steps and along the path lower down.

And it was down there that my right knee gave way again. That’s three times now and for a while I had to hobble, if not limp along on my way. Sometime during the week I have to see the doctor about my injections and I’m going to try to blag my way onto some physiotherapy sessions or something like that. I can’t go on like this. Bits are dropping off me now at an alarming rate and I’m fed up.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way round, I noticed that there were people out there at the peche à pied.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what goes on here, but again for the benefit of the new readers, the beach between average high tide and average low tide is let off in a series of concessions to commercial harvesters, as we saw with the bouchot farm.

But whether or not they are actually being exploited, no-one else can harvest seafood from there. It’s like gold claims – once it’s claimed, it’s claimed.

However a few times a year the low tides are so low that the water goes below the level of the commercial beds, and that area that’s uncovered is now available as a free-for all for just about anyone who cares to go raking in the sand or prising oysters off the rocks.

But they have to share their catch with their friends. After all, no-one should be selfish with their shellfish.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving been forestalled (I’ve gone all Peary-ish again) at the chantier naval, I thought that I’d take a photo of these objects and tell you what they are.

These are actually shellfish dredges. The trawler or fishing boat will drag these out behind it and it basically ploughs up the sea bed.

The shells and other obstructions like bicycle wheels, scuba divers and World War II munitions go in through the mouth and whatever is too small to be of any interest goes out through the grating.

The rest is kept inside the dredge and has given more than one fishing boat crew an unexpected surprise when they have hauled in the dredge. Sometimes, the phrase “shell-fish” is more appropriate than they realise.

Of course, this type of fishing is only appropriate in fairly shallow water where there are no rocks.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ll notice that they all have a serial number welded onto them in MiG-weld and in some cases the name of the boat to which they belong.

Every boat has a registration number painted on her hull somewhere and the the registration numbers of the boats around here, being registered in Cherbourg, begin with CH, although there are still one or two older boats, such as La Granvillaise for example, who still like to display the old “G for Granville” number.

So having organised that, I hobble off up the hill on my way home cursing my luck about the trawler. I’ve no idea when they will have painted her name back on.

A strawberry smoothie was my treat when I returned, and then I bunged the bread into the oven to bake

While it was going that I peeled diced and blanched 1.5kg of carrots and I would have done the rest too but the saucepan was full by now.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallwhen the bread was baked (and what a good loaf that is) the pizza went in.

And here’s the finished product. Really nice although I still can’t make the base any more crispy than it is.

No pudding, you will note. There is plenty of jam roly-poly left, and I have a cunning plan for the rest of the week, more of which anon.

And tomorrow I’ll tell you about the bread. If it tastes as good as it looks it will be a belter, that’s for sure.

But that’s enough for today. For a Day of Rest I’ve done a great deal and I’ll need a day off to recover.

No chance of that, though. I have far too much to do and I’ve no idea how I’m going to fit it all in with my busy schedule of arrears that are piling up.

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Friday 11th June 2021 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what happened today but just for a change I’ve had rather a busy and productive day. And when was the last time that you heard me say that?

As usual I left my stinking pit as the first alarm sounded at 06:00 and headed off for my medication. I spent some time sorting it out too. I have two packs of it – one that stays here and another that’s in my rucksack for when I go off on my travels. I need to make sure that I have everything in both packs otherwise I shall be a bit stranded.

And while I was sorting out the Lyrica I noticed that the doctor’s “couple of boxes” that he gave me yesterday was enough for a six-months supply. It can’t be a very popular medication here.

Afterwards, I came in here and listened to all of the stuff that was on the dictaphone. First of all I started on the notes for last night. We were going somewhere on a coach. I can’t remember now who I was with. For a change I wasn’t driving – I was a passenger. It was an old coach and as we drove to this zebra crossing we had to stop, and a load of vehicles came up on the right-hand lane and pulled up to stop. Then one of these minibus/coach things pulled up. It didn’t pull up quickly enough and slid on the white line and hit a bollard in front of him. He was loaded with schoolchildren. We said “well he probably would have stopped had he not slid on that white line there. When we reached this place we went to a hotel room and the first thing that – it might have been Liz Ayers – said was “shall we have some coffee to forget about the journey?”. I replied “Oh God, yes” (load of incoherent rambling then I fell asleep). Yes this place that we went to was all futuristic and modern and so on. Everything about it was really advanced technology stuff so we couldn’t understand why they had a traditional toaster there.

Next task was to listen to yesterday’s ramblings (in both senses of the word). And did I ramble too because there was tons of stuff from yesterday. That’s all on-line too after much ado about a great deal.

There were several days from my trip to Leuven that weren’t sorted out so I’ve done a few more of those. Everything up to 29th MAY is on line now and I’ll do the final day tomorrow.

And they will be done tomorrow too because I have made an executive decision (that being a decision where, if it all goes wrong, the person making the decision is executed) in that I’m not going to the shops tomorrow.

There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning so there’s no real point in buying all that much anyway. And secondly, I’ve made myself an appointment for a Covid test on Monday afternoon ready for my Belgium trip and I have to go there in Caliburn, so if I have forgotten anything, I can buy it while I’m out.

It’s silly to waste two lots of diesel like that.

For much of the rest of the day I’ve been musicking. Splitting a lot of album *.mp3 files down into their original tracks and then uploading lots of CDs that I’ve had lying around. I’ve been working with groups for which I only have one example of their work because I don’t want to confuse things any more than they are.

Some of that could do itself so I used the time to sort out a pile of paperwork and file it away. It’s hard to believe I know, but things are looking a little more organised in here just now.

But it won’t last.

There were of course the usual breaks, for my morning hot chocolate and fruit bread and also for lunch.

Not to mention going out for my afternoon walk … “Your afternoon walk?” – ed … “I told you not to mention that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was going on there today. Across the car park I walked (yes, not staggered. I’m feeling a little better) over to the wall to stick my head over the top of the wall.

And there is much more beach for people to be on today because the tide is quite far out . So much so that I actually managed to count as many as a dozen or so people down there today.

And that was a surprise in itself. There was hardly anyone down there yesterday when the weather was so nice, but this morning we had a rolling sea mist blowing in and there hadn’t been all that much of an improvement as the day had drawn on.

There was a neighbour on the car park and we had a chat. And he was as fed up of this weather as I am.

bouchot beds donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere might not have been all that much going on down on the beach but farther along the coats at Donville les Bains there was all kinds of excitement.

With the tide being so far out the bouchot – the shellfish that grow on strings rather than in the sand – beds were exposed and so the guys with the tractors who harvest them were hard at work pulling in their catch.

And in the background on the shoreline is the little campsite where when I first came to Granville I was all set to buy a touring caravan and park myself up in a corner because I couldn’t find anywhere comfortable to live.

And then I came to this place, and the rest, as they say, is history.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just from the beach that people are harvesting the fruits of the sea – that is, if those in the boat out there are actually harvesting anything.

When I’d finished taking photos down at the car park near my building I walked along the path on top of the cliffs past the hordes of tourists shamelessly not wearing masks despite it being compulsory until 30th June here, and noticed these men in a boat out to sea in the English Channel having a bit of a fish.

And as you might expect, it goes without saying that not one of them seemed to catch anything, other than a cold, while I was there watching. One day someone is going to take me completely by surprise and pull out a whale. And what would I have to say about that?

canoeist baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there are other varieties of marine life that our men in a boat could try their hand at catching.

Not too far away from where they were, there was a canoeist paddling his own canoe, presumably from the marina around the other side of the headland. And I take my hat off to someone who can be able to do that. I was strictly a canal canoeist in my youth.

Once upon a time someone once asked me why making love in a canoe is different from beer from the south of the UK. My answer is that there is no difference whatsoever. They are both f***ing close to water if you ask me.

There was nothing at all going on out to sea anywhere. Or, at least, if there was, it was shrouded in sea mist and I couldn’t see it. Standing at the end of the headland looking out to sea was pretty much a waste of time today so I cleared off along the path on the other side.

l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were one or two things going on – or not, as the case may be, in the harbour today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of fishing boats in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – position in the outer harbour and today we have L’Omerta, one of the regulars, and another one whose name I remembered at the time and subsequently forgot.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t understand why this is happening. At one time when I first came here we hardly ever saw a one moored like this but these days since they refitted the harbour, we’ve seen plenty.

The cynic inside me wonders how much the harbour fees have increased in order to pay for the redevelopments.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere are still plenty of boats in the harbour regardless of whether or not the question of fees is an issue and here are two of the local fleet, Victor Hugo in the foreground and behind it, obscured for the most part, is Granville.

These are the two passenger ferries that go out to the Channel Islands from here and one or two other ports up and down the coast. Or, rather, they did. Because apart from a brief foray at the end of June last year, they haven’t been anywhere (except when the harbour has been drained) since March last year and the start of the Covid drame.

And the word on the streets is that they won’t be going out for the rest of the year either. What with the Covid epidemic now surging in the UK (cases having tripled in a fortnight and are now well above France’s levels) and other factors, all ferries are cancelled “until further notice”.

So on that depressing note I left the harbour and returned home.

political posters rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s election time in France – the local elections this time. And what happens is that the local council sticks up notice boards and each party or group of candidates can have one on which to erect their publicity.

We have all kinds of candidates here, even a couple of Fascists unfortunately, and if I were allowed to vote I would be voting for anyone at all who could beat them. The last thing that we need here is the rise of the extreme right.

Back here I made myself a coffee and grabbed a slice of ginger cake, and then decided to attack the photos from August 2019. And now I’m heading towards the Holy Grail, which took a lot of finding over a couple of days but find it I eventually did, and in spades too. Yes, the goal of every emigrant on this side of the Rocky Mountains – South Pass – where they crossed the Continental Divide.

And the reason that it’s so hard to find is that it’s such a gentle slope up and slope down. Edwin Bryant wrote “we have scarcely been conscious of rising to the summit of a high ridge of mountains”.

That took me up to guitar practice, which went a little better than just recently, and then I went for tea. In the absence of any other alternatives I had taco rolls with the leftover stuffing, followed by rice pudding.

Now that I’m all caught up with my notes, I’m off to bed. With a bit of luck I’ll do the last bit of arrears of dictaphone tomorrow morning and then I’ll get down to some serious work.

We can always live in hope, I suppose.

Wednesday 12th May 2021 – DESPITE HAVING HAD …

… something of an early night last night (although not as early as I was hoping) I didn’t have a very good day today.

Sure enough, I was up and about just after the first alarm even though I didn’t feel much like it, and after breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Planning on taking over a couple of ships (who was?) by piracy down in the Tennessee area and that was something that hadn’t been done since the 30s. I got on board and a few others got on board and by the time we’d gone very far we were about 40 people. But then before it set sail one of the people had had a bad attack of cramp and that gave the game away as far as the munitions went. The captain immediately shouted for all hands on deck and a spirited defence, even though I could see on the radar that the other trips had been a success and the other boats had been captured. We were hard at it trying to capture this one now that we had been caught at a disadvantage.

As you can imagine, I don’t have a clue what was going on in the middle of all that.

Next task was to deal with the outstanding correspondence. There has been piles and piles of it building up since I last had a good clear-out. If you are expecting a reply from me and haven’t received it, don’t worry because I’m a long, long way from catching up. In fact I’m surprised that I did as much as I did.

One of the strangest items of correspondence was to write to the Greenwich Maritime Museum. I recently attended a virtual funeral on the internet and the assistant director of the Museum gave a speech to the assembled multitude.

Unfortunately, for reasons known only to himself, he addressed himself to the half-dozen people in the church, totally ignoring the microphone that was there. Consequently no-one watching on the internet heard a single word of what he said in his eulogy and so I was nominated to contact him and ask him for a copy in writing.

Another thing that needed doing was to contact the holder of my web server. I’ve run out of room again so I need some extra space freeing up.

And that reminds me. My web hosting isn’t cheap so if you have benefited from or appreciate the content of these pages, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links on the side. It costs you nothing extra but I receive a small commission on sales and it goes a long way.

The re have been considerable arrears of stuff on the dictaphone that have been building up and so I’ve had a bash at all of those. All of the arrears on there have been brought up to date and you can go back now for several weeks and found out where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing during the night.

Well, not everything. I went through a spell of having some really disturbed dreams and you won’t want to know about them if it’s anywhere near your mealtime. There must be a load of things preying on my mind and I wish I knew what they were.

And I would have done a lot more had I not had another dismal crash-out for about an hour. Right out too and I’m rather fed up of all this nonsense as well. It never seems to end.

But anyway I was able to take myself off for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I went to have a look down on the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And it’s not the usual viewpoint, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. I didn’t go round the headland to day. Instead I went for my afternoon walk around the medieval city walls and so I could gaze down onto the beach from the viewpoint on the Rue du Nord.

The tide is quite far out at the moment so there is plenty of beach for people to be on, but there weren’t all that many folk down there. It was cooler and more overcast of late and the temperature had fallen. It’s no wonder that people had forsaken the outdoor life today.

bouchot beds donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out on the beach much further down the coast at Donville les Bains this afternoon.

With the tide being well out, the beds of bouchots were clearly exposed this afternoon. This is just a small proportion of the amount of bouchot beds that there are altogether along the coast just there. The guys who manage the beds were out there with their machinery doing some harvesting and it must be keeping them very busy when the tide is out.

There’s also a horse harnessed to a small trailer over there too. There’s a hippodrome (that’s a horse-racing course, not a place where hippopotamuses come in to land) over there too and they do these trotting races there. A few of the horses and their carts train on the beach when conditions are suitable.

drainage spouts medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the viewpoint I passed through the old gateway in the wall and passed along the path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run (although I was tempted) because there were too many people about and I don’t want to embarrass myself.

The local council has been out and about for the last few days trimming all of the grass and they have even done the top of the cliffs beyond the parapet. And one thing that I hadn’t noticed before was the system of overflows pierced into the walls presumably for draining the water that builds up on the path.

Although that doesn’t seem to work so well judging by the number of times that the path was flooded out during the winter and I had to take the long way round.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were no obstructions along the path today though, except for the groups of people strolling around, so I was able to make my way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

It’s a Wednesday afternoon so the schools are out. And as the promenade down at the Plat Gousset is quite well protected from the wind, it was no surprise that there were so many people out there having a wander around to take the air.

None of the cafes seem to be open as yet so there isn’t all that much to do. It’s rumoured that they may well be open in a week or so’s time and I imagine that there will be a stampede in that direction when they finally do.

And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget my appointment at the bank next Tuesday afternoon.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that the builders’ compound across the road from where I live was dismantled last week so I wanted to go to round to the Rue St Michel to see where they had reached with the work.

On my way that way I went down the Rue St Jean where I met Minette, the old black cat. She had a stroke from me on my way past and her owner had a cheery greeting .

In the street itself, I was pretty disappointed to see the mess that they have made of the surface. I would have liked to have seen them put some cobbles down to match the rest of the streets in the medieval city but instead they have left us with this shambolic finish.

The fact that it’s not even would seem to indicate that they might be back to finish it off. Let’s hope so because this surface is pretty dismal.

street repairs venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that what we have seen is pretty bad, then this must surely take the biscuit.

There has been a trench dug in the alley – the Venelle St Michel – at the head of the alleyway, and that now seems to have been filled in and the workmen have gone. But you can see that while this alleyway was previously nicely cobbled, they’ve just filled in the trench with almost anything to hand and just left the cobbles piled up at the side of the street.

There are probably 100 reasons why they have not finished it off correctly but one that goes through my mind is that they can no longer find the workmen qualified to do the work.

Having seen the state of the city walls and the fact that they are having to run training courses to teach people how to do pointing, it must be quite a major problem finding the right kind of qualified people around here. All the old skills are dying out.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the corner I find myself back on the city walls again where there’s a good view over the port and further down along the cliffs towards the chantier navale.

And we have had another change of occupant down there this afternoon too. And quite a major change too because the final boat of the batch that has been in there just recently, the little fishing boat, has now gone back into the water. The work that was being undertaken on it seems to have finished.

But as far as the port goes, there’s nothing of any interest going on in there this afternoon. Everything in there is exactly as it was yesterday. Still no sign of any of the Jersey freighters coming into town right now. I suppose that they are keeping a rather low profile too.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michek we have another trawler out there working away.

There were a few in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc as well but I couldn’t photograph them easily from this end of the town. But the ones down in the Baie de Mont St Michel were easier to see. And I forgot to check the radar when I returned home to find out which boat this one was.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a go at the photographs of my trip around Wyoming in August 2019. A few more of those have now been dealt with and I’m now admiring the signatures of the early pioneers carved into the rocks of Register Cliff, some of whom subsequently became famous (or notorious) due to events that might have happened further along the Emigrant Trail that were recorded in old Pioneer diaries.

As it happens I have copies of several Pioneer diaries (albeit facsimiles), the most famous being the diary of 12 year old Virginia Reed, one of the few survivors of the tragic Donner Party that were snowed in in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846-47 and ended up eating each other.

After the hour on the guitars I had tea – burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg, followed by more of my chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And it really is good too. I’m pleased with this and I shall certainly make some more for another time

But not tonight. I’m off to bed. Although it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow the shops are open so I’m off to do my usual shopping. I have no sugar and very little cocoa power and I can’t make any chocolate sauce without those.

Monday 26th April 2021 – AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT …

… I’ve not had a very good day today. It seems to be the case whenever I come back from Leuven after my treatment. It always takes its toll of me.

And despite the early-ish night last night I didn’t have a very good sleep, and in particular for one very good reason that many men my age will understand, and I had hoped that I had passed through that stage a couple of years ago.

There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone too but that will have to wait until later because I forgot about transcribing it today. For a start, I was far too busy radioing this morning after I awoke. I wanted to finish that off while I was still conscious.

And sure enough, having done some of it while I was in Leuven I was able to have it all done and dusted, up and running by 11:30. And while I was listening to it, I extracted some more Louis de Funès soundbites from one of the many soundtracks that I have. My little Funès library is building up quite nicely.

There had been a pause for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruitbread, and I can say without exaggeration that it’s the best sourdough fruitbread that I’ve ever made. It’s still a little too heavy but not as heavy as it has been in the past.

There’s another live concert to send off to the radio station for broadcasting at the coming weekend so after lunch I had a listen to that too to make sure that it was correct. And while that was at it, I edited a few more photos from August 2019. I’ve now arrived in Edgerton, Wyoming, the centre of the Wyoming oil industry.

And such is the enthralling life that I lead, I took some of the rubbish out to the waste bins. Does it get more exciting than this?

As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

bouchots harvesting donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the wall at the end of the car park, to put my head over the top and look at what was going on down on the beach.

It wasn’t so much the people in the immediate vicinity that caught my eye, but the work that was going on out in the distance by Donville les Bains where the harvesting of the bouchots is in full swing.

The tides right now are among the lowest (and the highest) of the year and so all of the beds are accessible to the tractors and other machinery that they use down there. I can’t recall seeing so many of the beds all uncovered at once, so now is the time to harvest them.

The advantage of bouchots over the more traditional types of mussels is that with being grown on strings instead of in the sand, they don’t taste gritty.

Chasing my cap across the car park, I set off on the path along the cliffs. The wind was quite wicked this afternoon and while my cap found it easy enough to move about, it was rather more difficult to me.

biodiversity pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been an interesting sign erected on the lawn by the lighthouse, as I noticed this afternoon.

Basically, it’s telling us that in the interests of biodiversity and a greener planet, they are going to be delaying the mowing of the lawn here to give the grass, flowers and wildlife a chance to establish itself.

And that’s something that I would take far more seriously had I not seen the council workmen cutting the grass and doing some pruning around here a day or two before I went off to Leuven.

That was something that gave me food for thought as I carried on my way around the headland this afternoon.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I progressed very much further because my attention was drawn to something moving out at sea on its way back from the Ile de Chausey.

At first, I was wondering whether it might be Joly France performing a ferry run back from the Ile De Chausey or whether it was Chausiais performing a freight lift from the island. But on second thought I ruled that out because with the tide being so far out right now, they would not be able to get into the harbour when they arrived.

But as it happens, it’s neither of them. It’s actually one of the smaller fishing boats on her way back. Her colour scheme is similar to that of Cherie d’Amour, the yellow fishing boat that was up on blocks in the chantier navale the other day.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough she won’t be going into the harbour, she might be going to join her friends in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, there has been nothing going on in the bay for quite a while but suddenly a couple of weeks ago the fishing boats began to put in a appearance over there. I wasn’t sure that they would still be there right now but there are still a few of them dredging and trawling away out there this afternoon.

Unfortunately, with the sun shining right into the camera lens and all of the haze that’s out there I’m not able to see exactly who it is out there fishing today.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just on the water this afternoon that the fishing is going on.

There are piles of fishermen there with rod and line, each one perched on his own rock like a little garden gnome, casting his line into the water. And, as you might expect, I didn’t see a one of them actually catch anything. I’ve long-since given up all hope of doing that.

For a few minutes I waited, on the off-chance that someone would pull something out, but in the end I lost interest and moved on along the path.

But while we are on the subject of garden gnomes, the Flemish for “garden gnome” is tuinkabouter, which has to be one of the best words in any language.

diggers working on entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something interesting going on out at the harbour entrance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I commented on the new chains that had been laid in the inner harbour, and I said something along the lines that they don’t seem to have had all that much for their time and money.

And as usual, I’m proved immediately wrong because the work is continuing out there now that we are at the very lowest of tides. They are digging out the silt at the harbour entrance with the aim of presumably deepening the entrance.

Does that mean a return to the port of some of the larger freighters who used to come here in the past? We haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for quite a while and we could do with a few more of those, as well as a couple of other large freighters coming into port.

anakena trawlers chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut something that seems to be doing good business right now is the chantier navale.

A thriving ship repairer is always good news for the port because it encourages more ships and boats to operate out of the harbour if they know that they can be maintained and overhauled in the immediate vicinity.

We still have Anakena here, and Aztec Lady is still up on blocks too, but out of shot. But we have also acquired two more small fishing boats this morning, presumably in for an overhaul and maintenance. I can’t see their names unfortunately so I might have to go for a good walk down there one of these days for a closer look to see who they are.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind who’s in there today. What’s much more interesting is who isn’t in there.

As we can see, the inner harbour is quite empty today, particularly down there at the bottom left-hand corner. It looks as if Marité has gone walkabout this afternoon. Gone! And never called me mother! I wonder where she went because I didn’t notice her out at sea just now.

On that note I came back to the apartment and made myself a mug of hot coffee, and armed with that I made a start at long last on updating the blog notes of my journey down the Brittany coast last summer. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while I was doing it.

That wasn’t a good start, was it?

The hour on the guitars wasn’t as good as it might have been. I think that I must be rusty after my week away. But it’s no good if I lose my technique after just a few days.

Tea was some veggie balls that I’d brought back from Leuven, with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by some of the apple crumble. And wasn’t that delicious too? I really enjoyed that.

Anyway, what was on the dictaphone?

I was in Canada last night and my niece and her husband were getting ready to go out for a meal or something. She was in a gorgeous pink dress and he was dressed up in his bow tie thing. She was driving so I said “why don’t I drive you there and come back, and then come back and pick you up later on at night”? They didn’t seem to be to keen on the idea so I asked them why. They replied that they didn’t want me to have an accident late at night, that kind of thing. He had some photocopies from work. It turned out that he had photocopied the local newspaper from that area with all the classified ads. I started to look through it. He said that the motorbike’s number begins with 505 that you want. So how did they know that I was looking for a motorbike? But someone came up with a number and I looked at it and there was a place up in the hills that has plenty of motorbikes to look at. Just then a big lorry pulled up outside. My niece’s husband looked and said “it’s the cappuccino lorry. He’s left it a bit late hasn’t he”?

Later on I can’t remember now who I was with but we were around the UK somewhere and we were discussing pronunciation, about how people in Eastern Derbyshire should be pronouncing things with a Yorkshire accent. Someone came out with a few examples. We were listening to the radio and a couple of cars went past us, like a 1935 Rolls Royce and a slightly more modern vehicle. They went past at about 80mph and we were astonished because vehicles that age aren’t meant to go that fast on modern roads. For a start the braking distances are rubbish on old vehicles. As we were talking about that a kind of go-cart pulled up. It had no wheels on it, just driving on the brake hubs. It pulled up and a guy got off it, unclipped the engine and walked into the room, warehouse or garage where we were. I tried to take a photo of it but when I went to photograph it someone stood in front of me took one. The person concerned aske me “are you going to finish taking your photos”? I replied “I haven’t taken one yet because of you”. I was talking to this guy. It was a 50cc friction drive engine, he did tell me the name – was it Jawa? He just unclipped it and carried it in, and told everyone that he was thinking of fitting it to his son’s Montesa motorbike that he had just bought because it had a kind of Montesa fitting. I asked if this was a vehicle that he could drive on the road with no tax, no driving licence or anything. He said that he had an American driving licence so rules were different for him. He explained that most people don’t think very much about Wetherby – the council at Wetherby but he always found them pretty good. I explained to him the problems that I was having about having a driving licence and insurance for Strider.

Now having written up my notes, I’m off for an early night. And if you are still here reading this on your own, I’ll leave you with SOME OF THE WORST CENTRAL DEFENDING that you’ll ever see in top-flight football.