Tag Archives: boulangerie

Monday 9th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… about those piles of gravel that had been appearing over the last couple of days on the quayside down in the harbour.

This blurred and illisible photo (I still have a lot to learn about the NIKON 1 J5) shows a ship that I have every reason to believe is Neptune moored at the loading bay by the conveyors where they ship the gravel on board.

At long last we’ve had a gravel boat in the harbour and I shall go out tomorrow (and try to be early) just to confirm that it is indeed she. It would be just my luck for her to have a rapid turn-round and for me to miss her.

But here’s something else quite interesting.

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that bad parking is a regular topic in these pages, particularly in the boulevard Vaufleury which is on a service bus route, is just 50 metres from the High School and is an access road for the fleet of school buses that come in the opposite direction to the service buses.

Where Madame (it is indeed a Madame) is parked is
1) the wrong way round
2) half on the pavement
3) blocking the buses
4) at school chucking-out time
5) just about 20 FEET from a huge free car park
so finally, at long, long last, the local police are doing something about it and they are making her move her vehicle.

That is pretty much encouraging news.

What else is encouraging news is that I was awake before the first alarm went off, and I was out of bed before the final alarm. Crashing out half-way through last night’s entry and so giving up and going to bed was good news in that case.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone. Apparently I was in this labyrinth of a theatre complex last night all the way through this underground reception hall place with doors going off leading into theatre auditoriums and all kinds of things. There were all kinds of announcements about the place, many of them were out of date, 2011 I noticed. There were all kinds of things happening here. But I was just wandering through listening to the radio. They were talking about “hypocrites of the year” I suppose – some guy who was telling us all about how keen he was for this and how good he was going to be for that but while he was doing that he had increased all your library charges. Someone else was going on about how brilliant a cricketer he might have been, all this kind of thing, but he made one fatal mistake and that was heroin. I was drifting through this auditorium that had a couple of very faded leather chairs and the leather was worn out in certain places. Something to do with catching a London Underground train somewhere. There was a thing too about caring for your vans if you were on a limited income, like a hippy, and a warning that the supply of LDV vans even in scrapyards was drying up now – the van that was chosen for an example was a silver LDV M-reg.
A little later I was outside with someone who was supposed to be Liz’s husband but he was more like the father of a couple of friends of mine. He had Liz’s daughter with him. She’d been on a student exchange and she had a student back with them. He was saying “you’ll have to come round for a game of pinocle or something one of these days. We’ll have an evening of five people”. He indicated roughly a place in eastern Manchester, Hyde or that area Stalybridge where he was living but he didn’t go into any further details about that. I was wondering who this “five” was because I knew that he was on his own, the daughter had her friend and there was me, so who was the 5th? I couldn’t think.

After breakfast I had a look at the digital sound files. I managed to unsort three of them too. One of them however needs much more attention because for some unknown reason there’s a load of “additional music” which seems to be a mixture of selections of various tracks, so I’d like to know what was going on there.

It isn’t the first one like that that I had found either.

By now it was time to go for my shower and to clean myself up somewhat, and then head up into town.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot that I actually got very far before I was interrupted.

Remember yesterday when I photographed all of the pontoon-supporting pillars on the quayside and I mused that they might be assembling them in two rows of four?

Here’s the big floating pontoon travelling across the harbour with one of the pillars within its clutches almost at the place where one would expect to see it if we were going to have a fourth pillar in that row.

scaffolding port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the scaffolding too. We talked about that as well.

My attention was drawn from a distance that the masts of Marité were not where they would usually be. And that was strange because she doesn’t usually roam around the harbour but stays put in her habitual little corner.

But she’s definitely moved, and the reason for that is that they’ve put the scaffolding, complete with OSB wallboards, in her usual berth and there are a couple of guys down there doing something.

So at least I know that the scaffolding is actually a working platform for some kind of task.

la mascotte boulangerie rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I headed down into the town centre and up the rue Couraye towards LIDL.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago we watched them fit some kind of protective shuttering around the front of the boulangerie here and start to smash out the old window.

The protective shuttering has now gone and, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the new shop front is in glorious display. That’s quite a nice job that they’ve done there. It looks quite good.

Now for the first time ever in my whole life, I’ve seen every till open at the same time in a LIDL. And that will give you some kind of indication of just how busy it was in there today.

No cucumbers, which is a problem, and nothing else of any real interest as far as I was concerned. All in all, a little disappointing. 3-kilo bags of apples was about the closest that I was to a bargain. And they won’t last long now that I’m making my purées myself.

birnam wood dunsinane moving vegetation rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I headed to La Mie Caline for my dejeunette but i was held up outside the shop as Birnam Wood went past on its way to Dunsinane.

There was actually a tractor and trailer parked around the corner with several large plants stacked thereupon, and presumably this machine was busy distributing them around the town.

It’s certainly a different approach to beautifying the town. I’ve said often enough … “indeed” – ed … that there isn’t enough greenery in this town and we ought to have some more.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving picked up my dejeunette I headed back home again.

Only half-way up the rue des Juifs before I was distracted yet again. Not that I would know much about these things but they look pretty much like new pontoon supports and new pontoons over there on the west wall of the harbour.

What with one thing and another, I can see that I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow having a look at all of these things. But at least the harbour gates will be closed again by 09:30 or thereabouts so it doesn’t have to be an “early” early.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd in other news, there’s activity in the chantier navale today too.

It’s been quite busy in there up until very recently, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the boats have been going back into the water one by one until just now we had none whatever left.

But that’s all changed now. There are two boats in there now, one of which is a large yacht that might actually be La Granvillaise. I’ll go for a stroll over there this afternoon to check on that.

Back at my apartment I made myself a coffee and then split up a fourth music file. Pretty straightforward except that there were three extra tracks on it that aren’t on the LP that I have, so I had to track down which version of the master tape I had obtained so that I could identify the tracks.

There was still time before lunch to send off my project for this weekend and to start a new one to add to the stock.

After lunch, I carried on with the radio project but didn’t get too far before I was overwhelmed with a wave of fatigue. I didn’t quite crash out but for about 15-20 minutes I was teetering on the edge and didn’t actually do any work or anything while I was sitting there

trawler fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was raining outside when I went for my afternoon walk.

Neptune was due to come into port, that I knew, so when I saw an object the same colour as Neptune far out to sea in the English Channel I took a photo with the intention of enlarging it back in the apartment.

Which I did, and it wasn’t Neptue at all but one of the fishing boats heading back to the port. Neptune must still ne well out of range, which wouldn’t be a surprise because there’s a while yet before the harbour gates will open and she won’t want to sit around outside waiting.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallShe might not want to, but everyone else is.

The tide is well out and the little creek that leads up to the side of the fish-processing plant is only just starting to fill with water. It’ll be another half an hour or so before she’ll be deep enough to accept the fishing boats but they are all starting to congregate just outside.

There were at least 10 of them out there – maybe more but I had run out of fingers by this point and I wasn’t going to start taking off my shoes and socks. Mind you, had I had my hands in my pockets, I might have been able to count up to 11.

strange house rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was walking round across the lawn by the War memorial, I noticed this.

We haven’t had an earthquake or a landslide or anything. That house is actually built like that. It’s what they call a trompe l’oeil – “something that cheats the eye” and it’s the window thats aligned strangely to follow the contours of the roofs rather than being in the hotizontal/vertical plane.

What’s bewildering me right now though is why I never noticed that before. It’s not like me to miss out on something this.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, enough of this. I continued on my way around the headland to go to see what was going on in the chantier navale.

And I was right here too. It’s my lucky day, isn’t it? The “G90” painted on the side of the yacht tells us that it is indeed La Granvillaise down there on blocks.

Crowds of people milling round her too so there’s clearly something important going on with her. At least, I imagine that the people are there for her. It’s unlikely that a fishing boat would receive that much attention unless she had caught the Loch Ness Monster.

men in small boat baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, you’ll recall that we saw a couple of kayaks out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

And so when I saw something else quite small out there in that general direction, I reckoned that it might be another one so I took another photograph of it to examine back in the comfort and safety of my apartment.

But it wasn’t a kayak at all but one of the small flat-bottomed boats that they use for transporting the boxes of seafood to the quayside from boats that have for one reason or another not been able to moor at the fish-processing plant.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd earlier this morning we saw the large flaoting pontoon carrying one of the pillars across the harbour.

A short while later the noise of the pile-driver started up and it’s been going on for most of the day. And so I had expected them to have made substantial progress, and I was quite right about that.

It’s been pounded quite well and quite deeply into the bed of the harbour and I imagine that they’ll be connecting up some pontoons to it in early course.

It’s certainly interesting.

And while I was musing on this, I witnessed the “police interaction” that I mentioned earlier.

Back here I did a little more to the radio project but ended up having an hour or so playing with the bass guitar and the 6-string electric/acoustic. It’s been a good while since I had a decent play about and I must work harder on this and make more of an effort.

Tea was a delicious stuffed pepper with rice, followed by some apple pie and coconut soya stuff. And despite the absence of spices, it was really nice. I’ll have to make a few more like that one of these days.

But I’m really going to have to buy a bigger fridge and a bigger freezer.

high winds storm plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I went to see what was going on with the winds.

The tide is well out now but the wind is still causing the waves to smash against the wall down on the Plat Gousset. I bet that they didn’t do much repair work on that wall today.

My two runs weren’t a problem, except that my first run had to be on a different course due to waterlogging. And then I went to have a look at Neptune.

Now i’m back here and ready for bed. I’ll finish (I hope) the radio project tomorrow and then I can deal with another outstanding matter.

However did I find the time to go to work?

Wednesday 4th December 2019 – BRRRRHHHH!

caliburn freezing fog iced windscreen granville manche normandy franceWinter is acumen in. And Caliburn is the first to notice it.

It was absolutely taters in my apartment this morning. And even with one of the radiators going full-tilt overnight in the living room, the temperature was a mere 9°C.

The other radiator won’t be switched on though, because I spend most of my life in the bedroom-cum-office here and even with just one small radiator, it keeps quite warm in here.

But outside this morning, the temperature had descended to just 0°C, with the promise of more frost on the way. Winter is well and truly on its way.

It’s not the only thing that’s on its way either. I was on my way during the night. I had an old beige Cortina mkIV (UOB? YLO? WGS?) that had been involved in an accident and was quite badly damaged at the front so we were taking the seats out of it to put in another one. We were having to do this on the very quiet in the hope that no-one would ever get to see about it because with the floor pans being the same all the seats in the mkIII, mkIV and mkV were quite the same. But the door cards wouldn’t fit and I remember thinking so it was probably a mkIII that we were going to fit these seats in. But apart from that I don’t really remember very much else and awoke shortly after the dream started.

There were further instances too, but the battery in the dictaphone went flat as I began to dictate them and by the time that I had sorted out new batteries, I’d forgotten where I’d been.

An early start meant an early breakfast and I was back at my desk quite early too. And by the time that I knocked off at lunchtime, I’d reduced the dictaphone backlog to just 8 files. I’m hoping to finish those tomorrow if I can get a good whack at it.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was planning to head off for this outside market on the football club car park. So I took a break from the dictaphone and headed off outside.

bad parking avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceMy route took me up the hill into the avenue des Matignon and here once again we witnessed one of the eternal banes of this site – the pathetic parking of various selfish motorists.

Here’s one guy who’s parked over not one but two places in a loading bay while he went into the boulangerie, despite the fact that right behind where he parked was an empty public parking place.

It really is unbelievable.

new house building avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceAnother thing on which we focus is the various house-building activities that are going on all over town.

This site in the avenue des Matignon has featured before, but a long while ago when it was nothing like as completed as it is now.

And judging by the space heaters and moisture extractors in use in the building, it won’t be long before it’s ready for occupation, I reckon.

open air vegetable market avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceAd I’m glad that I wasn’t expecting too much of this open-air market today, because I wasn’t disappointed at all.

There were a couple of bakers there but none of them had a loaf my size so I eschewed the opportunity. And the price of the fresh veg was, well, out of my range I’m afraid.

But there was someone there selling baking apples and had I not been planning my getaway in a week’s time, I’d have bought a few. Instead, I’ll get a few next week and they will be nice and ready for when I return.

erecting christmas trees place pierre semard granville manche normandy franceOn the way back down into town, the workmen were there once more at the roundabout at the place Pierre Semard, working on the Christmas tree.

Today they have brought another pile of smaller trees and they seem to be erecting their own little forest. And without any obvious Health and Safety issues, although had it been the UK, they all would have had to wear armour-plating to defend themselves against splinters.

Having admired them for a few minutes, I continued on down into town, picked up my dejeunette and came back home.

And much to everyone’s surprise, especially mine, I managed to run about 100 metres up the steep hill. I’ve not done that before.

Still an hour or so to go before lunch so I continued with the dictaphone notes, leaving just 8 to do, as I mentioned when I knocked off for lunch.

After lunch I had another play around with the Fostex mixer desk and I’ve managed to make it work after a fashion. At least, it’s recording tracks and I can upload them to the desktop computer, but the recording level is too low for my liking.

Still, I’ve ordered a few of the correct cables for the external microphones and when they arrive, I’ll be in business (I hope).

Next task was to edit out some soundbites of Louis de Funes and his friends from a few video soundtracks so that I can use them in my projects. I had an 8-minutes soundtrack and I’m halfway through it, having selected out about 15 so far.

At some time during the course of the afternoon I must have dozed off on my nice new comfy chair, because I suddenly sat bolt upright with quite a shock. And it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

freezing fog english channel granville manche normandy france 16:00 – time for my afternoon walk.

There was bright sunlight out there in places, yet it was freezing cold still and the sea was covered in this layer of freezing fog.

All in all, from this point of view it looked like a rather depressing afternoon.

peche a pied plat gousset granville manche normandy franceDespite the cold and the fog, there were some people out there enjoying themselves.

Some guy was out there with his bucket, doing what they call round here the peche à pied – fishing on foot. Scavenging in the rockpools for the cockles and mussels, alive, alive-ohh, hey?

And I hope that he shares them out with his friends. After all, one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish

donville les bains granville manche normandy franceFurther on along the coast the beach out at Donville-les-Bains was swathed in glorious sunshine.

There were quite a few people out there on the beach enjoying the sunshine while they could, and that sad former hotel building that is now apartments and where I went to look at something once, even that was looking quite nice today in the conditions.

But as you can see, the fog isn’t all that far away. You can’t see very much behind the building.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just on the beach at Donville-les-Bains that the people were sunning themselves either.

There were quite a few people walking out on the promenade at the Plat Gousset and there were even some intrepid souls who had made their way onto the beach.

As for me, I carried on with my walk and seeing as there was no-one out and about on the Square Maurice Marland where I take my evening run, I leapt into action there too.

All the way along my little track and up the ramp at the end too. It was something of an effort, that final 20 metres and that’s what usually finishes me off, the rise at the end, but I made it up to the top today.

Back at the apartment I started to split into their individual tracks the digital music that I have been downloading just recently. Today, I did two albums and I reckon that along with the photos, this will be my project once the dictaphone notes are finished.

There was some stuffing left over from the pepper the other day so I added a tin of kidney beans and made some taco rolls for tea. And there’s still some stuffing left over now. What I’ll do, probably on Friday, is to make some pasta and eat it with the stuffing and the left-over veg.

christmas lights rue du port granville manche normandy franceFreezin cold and pitch-black outside so I didn’t loiter on my evening walk.

They have installed the Christmas lights on the rue du Port so I stopped to photograph them. And, frankly, if that’s the best that they can do, it’s all rather sad if you ask me. They needn’t have bothered.

No-one about again so I broke into a run and made it all the way down my course here without too much effort.

Even though I say it myself, I’m feeling much better with myself because I’m making the effort to move about more. Who knows? At this rate I might even start looking for a partner. Wouldn’t that be something?

So LIDL tomorrow. I don’t know what they have in the specials but it will be fun finding out. So I’ll catch up with my beauty sleep right now.

After all, with my looks, I need all the beauty sleep I can get.

Thursday 20th December 2018 – TOMORROW …

… I’m off to Leuven. So I’ve spent today packing (of a sort) and tidying up (of another sort).

I was out of bed surprisingly early this morning – but that’s what comes of being wide awake at 05:40. And it’s been a while since I was awake that early, hasn’t it?

And after breakfast, I had a little relax before getting myself going.

This time I’m taking the medium-sized suitcase, with a basic foodstuff supply in it. After all, I’m going to be gone for about 6 days and that’s a lot of shopping that I need to organise. As well as that, it’s Christmas and so I’m taking some specialty stuff with me too.

Talking of Christmas, I erected the little mini-Christmas tree that I had bought the other week at Noz for €3:99 – the tree with its electric lights and baubles. It’s not too bad either. i’m pleasantly surprised.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceLunch was as normal, and I had two walks today. one was, as usual, around the Pointe du Roc.

And in the harbour I saw Neptune manoeuvring her way out of the harbour. She must have come in on the early morning tide and loaded up pretty quickly because I didn’t see her arrive during the evening.

I’ve not seen her turn round as quickly as this. She must be in quite a hurry today

christmas lights general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceBut later on in the early evening when it was dark, I went into town.

To Super-U for some fruit seeing as I have run out, and to the boulangerie for one of the baguettes that I like, for my lunchtime butties.

While I was there, I took the opportunity to go around the Cours Jonville and photograph the Christmas decorations. They aren’t so good this year as I remember the and it’s rather disappointing.

Tea was a slice of my pie from the other week, with veg and mushroom gravy.

So now I’m going to have a shower and then go to bed. I’m having an early morning tomorrow, ready to hit the road. It’s a long way to go.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

storm sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france
neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france

harbour pilot port de granville manche normandy france
harbour pilot port de granville manche normandy france

christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france
christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france

christmas lights general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle mairie granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 5th December 2018 – WE DIDN’T …

… have any blue screens today. Or any frozen keyboards or major crashes on the big desktop computer today. For the simple reason that I didn’t switch it on at all.

To preserve it for a while longer I left it switched off and used the laptop computer to examine the portable drive onto which I had downloaded all of the data.

First thing was to remove all of the duplicate (and triplicate and, in some cases, quadruplicate) files. 22,000 or thereabouts out of the 78,000 or so that I downloaded yesterday and it took quite some time to do all of that. But luckily there’s a little program that I have on the computer that does it all for me, otherwise I would still be here doing it this time next year.

And I’ve come across yet more stuff that I had forgotten, including a pile of photos, and the sad thing is that I can’t remember where many of them were taken. The sad part about it all is that I downloaded onto the desktop computer all of the files for one of the previous versions of the blog when the host closed down, but the dates of the entries don’t seem to be on the files. It must have been a javascript key running from the webhost at the time.

I’ll have to think much more deeply about this.

There’s also a pile of data that needs to be sorted, and so I’ve a feeling that this is going to be a very long job.

I was interrupted by a phone call at about 11:00. Could I come to the doctor’s at 12:00 instead of 16:00? So I had to have a shower and a good clean-up before setting out.

marité normandy trader neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way down into town, I noticed that Neptune was still in port, tied up at her quayside next to Marité and Normandy Trader.

I’ll go for a nosy round there after the doctor’s to see what’s going on.

At the doctor’s, I discovered that the situation about the vaccines is that you need a prescription from the doctor, and then go to the chemist for the supplies, and finally make an appointment with a nurse to do the injection.

The doctor did that all for me so I have to be at the nurse’s office at 11:00 tomorrow for the injection.

The doctor prescribed me a helping of Vitamin D to reinforce the injection. And you’ll be pleased to know that all of this medication cost me a grand total of €13:48. Cheap at half the price.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back, I picked up one of my favourite baguettes and then went for a walk around the harbour.

Neptune was still there, and Normandy Trader had sneaked in on the morning tide.

I’d never had a close look round at Neptune before, so this seemed to be the correct moment to go for a suitable exploration

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceShe’s a small bulk carrier of 2400 tonnes deadweight with a gross tonnage of about 1500 tonnes.

Built in 1992, she was formerly known as Islay Trader but changed her name quite recently, something presumably not unacquainted with the fact that she acquired something of a bad habit just recently of running aground and having to be towed off.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAs you can see, she’s registered out of the port of Faversham, although I don’t imagine that she sails … “diesels” – ed … out of there these days seeing as how it’s silting up so rapidly.

These days we’ve seen her heading into Whitstable or, occasionally, Ridham whenever the tidal conditions are right.

That’s because Ridham is what is called a NABSA port – “Not Afloat But Safely Aground” – whenever the tide is low and no-one likes to have a heavily-loaded ship sitting on the bottom.

victor hugo quote port de granville harbour manche normandy franceVictor Hugo was in port too.

She’s one of the ships that works the ferry service out to the Channel islands from the Normandy coast.

But it wasn’t her herself that caught my attention. What I was admiring was the notice where Hugo talks about the fact that there are four islands in the Channel Islands, which he mentions, but he can only find something to say about three.

As well as that, Aztec Lady had regrown her masts. There was a girl on deck working away so we had a chat for a while. They are off to the Far North of Norway soon, but not unfortunately to where I want to go.

people picnicking place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAs I arrived back here I was treated to a strange sight on the car park.

I’m all in favour of eating out wherever possible, but not in this kind of weather. So I admired the people who were taking their picnic lunch outside.

Not much danger of me joining them, I have to say. I’m going to eat my lunch indoors.

While I’m eating my lunch, I can tell you about the early part of the morning. With having had a really early night I’d had a really good sleep and was awake at 05:46.

I’d been on my travels too. Firstly, I had encountered someone from the Open University – an old guy whom I happened to quite like. A very quiet, timid type but last night he was busily killing off everyone who had offended or upset him. That was actually the plot of something that I had been watching on a DVD a couple of nights ago.
A little later I’d been at a football match, something like at Pionsat. But it was Bangor City who was playing and at a certain moment a long clearance out of the opposition defence had gone straight up towards the Bangor goalkeeper, who ran out to clear it. However he pulled a muscle and fell down, grabbing hold of the football as he did so in order to stop any attacker getting to the ball and scoring a goal. Clearly a free kick of course, but in view of the circumstances was it a yellow card offence for deliberate handball, or was it a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity? The debate raged for quite a while about that one. Unfortunately, I awoke before the referee reached the scene and made a decision.

This afternoon I typed a couple of letters. Time to get a few things moving to secure the future. They’ll be posted tomorrow and then things will be off. And I forgot to go for a walk this afternoon, being so engrossed. Not that it matters quite so much as I’d had a good stroll out this morning.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by pineapple and coconut-flavoured soya dessert. I’ll do this again because it’s lovely.

And on my walk around, I was all on my own except for a jogger. Minette was there and I gave her a stroke but she must have a sore spot somewhere because she suddenly leapt up, spat at me and cleared off.

Not quite an early night tonight, but I’m off shopping tomorrow and I’ll call at the nurse’s on the way back. Another thing crossed off the list.

normandy trader neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france
normandy trader neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france

samsung digger neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france
samsung digger neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france

low tide port de granville harbour pilot light manche normandy france
low tide port de granville harbour pilot light manche normandy france

Wednesday 28th November 2018 – I DID MY BEST …

… to have an early night last night. In bed at some respectable time but not able to go to sleep. And when I did I was awake again at 01:45.

But the body clock is working well again, for I was awake bolt-upright at 05:59, just seconds before the alarm went off.

With having done almost everything last night, it didn’t take me long to clean up and make sure that I had everything. And by 06:25 I was on my way.

AM80 sncb gare de louvain belgique eric hallThere was a train at 06:52 for Brussels. One of the old dirty, filthy, graffiti-covered AM80 multiple units heading for Quievrain down on the French border.

The lack of care and attention that these are receiving – surprising for the SNCB – tells me that these trains are the next to go under the cutter’s torch, and fairly soon too, I reckon. They aren’t far off being 40 years old and haven’t in the main had an overhaul for nearly 25 years.

Our train was pretty crowded too but I managed to find a seat where I could settle down for the journey. And as we passed though the various stations in Brussels the train emptied rapidly.

At the Gare du Midi I went into the Carrefour and bought my raisin buns for breakfast, and a packet of crisps and a bottle of water as emergency supplies.

sncf thalys brussels gre du midi belgium eric hallAnd then a wait for the TGV.

It should have departed at 08:13 but when I went up to the platform it was ominously marked “12 minutes late”. And by the time we left, we were 25 minutes behind schedule.

That’s enough to give me the willies as I don’t have too much time to change stations in Paris and it’s quite a hike across the city.

It was packed to the gunwhales too – not a spare seat anywhere. hardly surprising that even when I booked my tickets I couldn’t have a corridor seat.

We didn’t make up any time either and it was 25 minutes late that we pulled into Paris Gare du Nord.

I’m not into running about these days but I pushed on as quickly as I could. I was lucky with the metro in that I didn’t have to wait too long, and there were no delays. I chose a position right by where the exit to the platform at Montparnasse would be, and so I could step off the train and straight out of the station.

sncf paris montparnasse vaugirard franceWith no delays on the way, and no other incidents, I could push on and arrived at Vaugirard with 10 minutes to spare.

The train was already loading so I composted my tickets and leapt aboard. There was someone sitting in my reserved seat ao I was obliged to heave him out so that I could sit down.

There was plenty that I needed to do on the way back, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. Instead, I had a good sleep and that made me feel a little better.

sncf gare de granville manche normandy franceWe pulled in to Granville bang on time, which makes a pleasant change. And I stepped off the train straight into a wicked, high wind.

There’s a train timed to go out at about 15 minutes after ours arrives and I had always thought that ours did a simple turn-around. But apparently not. There was another train parked in the platform next to ours and all of the passengers for the afternoon trip to Paris were piling aboard.

I’m not too sure about the logic of running another train on the return. If I had invested as much money in captial equipment as the SNCF had, I would want it out there working and generating passenger income as much as possible

I stopped at the boulangerie on the way home for a baguette. I didn’t want to fetch any bread out of the freezer.

It’s good to be back home, even if it was cold in here. But the heating soon dealt with that issue.

After a very late lunch I started to unpack but I can’t keep it up like I used to of course. I ended up crashing out on my chair at the desk in the office. And I was away for quite a while too.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWith lunch being so late, I was in no mood for tea so I simply stirred a few papers around in here and then went for a walk. I was on 90% of my daily activity so I didn’t go far, which was hardly surprising because, if anything, the wind had increased.

All of the fishing boats were now coming up to the fishing quay by the processing plant. There was quite a line of them waiting to unload, rather like the queue at the self-scanners in a supermarket.

You can see how strongly the wind was blowing by looking at the waves in this photo. And remember that this is actually inside the tidal harbour. You can imagine what it must have been like outside the harbour, but this wasn’t the weather for going for a look.

Strangely enough, I wasn’t tired now so not having had my lie-in on Sunday I switched off the alarm and watched something on the internet.

It’s now 02:30 and I suppose that I’d better make an effort to go to bed. I’ll be still here in the morning if I don’t make an effort.

Tuesday 6th November 2018 – I’M NOT GOING …

… out for my evening walk tonight.

There’s a howling gale blowing outside right now – as strong as any that I’ve experienced since I’ve been living here. Had there been a high tide any time soon I would have gone to inspect the waves hopefully crashing down over the Plat Gousset. But it’s low tide right now so it’s not worth the effort for me to go out.

But never mind. I’ve already had a good couple of walks today.

And during the night too.

I was in the company of some nice young girl on a Saturday night. And taking the girl home she made some kind of remark about how she had to be at the railway station for 07:00 the following morning and how she didn’t know how she was going to do that bearing in mind that I usually refuse to leave my bed at any ungodly hour on a Sunday. I was just on the point of saying that she could stay with me for the night and then I could run her down there, when I realised that that kind of remark could easily be misconstrued. How I meant it was that I’d only have a 5-minute drive straight to the station instead of having to travel across town to pick her up and then back across town to the station, saving me half an hour that I could spend much better in bed. I certainly didn’t mean it in any other way (although I wouldn’t have found the idea unacceptable), but I had to think of a way to express it better so that she wouldn’t misunderstand.
A little later I was back in the Auvergne at Les Guis and I had to go down into St Eloy. The weather was fine up in the hills but down in the town it was snowing quite heavily. I ended up in some kind of meeting room on the first floor of a shop and amongst the people there was a girl who I knew really well. And it was either the Vanilla Queen or another certain girl of my acquaintance who bore a startling resemblance to the former – a startling coincidence of a resemblance about which I have commented to myself on many occasions. She was surprised to see me in view of the weather so I explained that up in the hills things were so much better. And we ended up having a good chat not about anything in particular but more in an effort for me to establish a certain position.

Just for a change just recently I managed to beat the third alarm out of bed and that made me feel a little better. Obviously going to bed at a more respectable (for me, anyway) time is a much better idea.

This morning I had a few things to do and once they were out of the way I had to sit down and fill in a form. I’ve collected most of the information that I need but I’ve no idea how I’m expected to fill in this form. I’ll just sign it, send it back with all of the assorted verifying paperwork to at least show a sign of goodwill and see what happens next.

When I was out at the shops on Saturday I forgot to buy a lettuce, so I nipped into town and the Super-U.

marite normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceI had a little distraction – or two – down at the harbour.

Marité has now returned to her berth just there, with another smaller sailing ship alongside.

In front of Marité we note the reappearance of Normandy Trader who obviously cam in on the high tide earlier in the morning. There’s a pile of stuff on the quayside and it’s quite probable that will be loaded on board for her homeward journey.

roadstone quarry port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat’s no all either. As I was looking at the ships, one of the lorries from the quarry turned up with a load of roadstone.

I waited for a while hoping that she would tip but the driver locked up the cab and walked away. It must be his lunchtime or something like that.

But it probably means that very shortly we’ll be having a visit from Neptune or Shetland Trader in early course.

At the Super-U they were rather sad, the lettuces in there I mean, not the people, but better than none. And I took advantage of the situation by buying a couple of packs of the mixed dried fruit that I add to the muesli.

While I was in town I picked up one of the baguette that I like.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy franceIt was not too warm today but not very windy either. And the sun was out so I took full advantage by going to eat my butties on the wall.

And this would be the kind of thing that I would find very funny, it it wasn’t so pathetic.

One of the themes that I feature quite often here, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is the sad state of parking round here.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy franceAnd as for this example of pathetic parking, here in the boulevard Vaufleury right by where I eat my butties, is about as bad as it gets.

I really don’t know what goes through the minds of some people that they can’t be bothered to even make an attempt at parking between the lines on the road.

I mean, it’s not even a BMW or a Volvo is it?

So having been dismayed by the parking, I didn’t stay out there for long. After all, it IS November.

This afternoon I attacked the High Arctic and I’ve made real progress on Day 2. It might even be finished by the weekend if I can keep it up. And then there’s only another 17 days to go. And these will be much more complicated than this one.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe afternoon’s walk was around the headland in the beautiful November sunshine.

But there were no ships to admire while I was out there. Only a pile of fishing boats coming in and out of the harbour on the afternoon tide.

Taking advantage of the ideal weather and sunlight conditions, I spent some time taking a pile of photos of the boats as they came in and went out.

omerta port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceThere were quite a few boats tied up at the quayside unloading too.

The name of this particular one took me by surprise. Omerta, which might mean “manhood” in Italian slang, is more generally associated with the name given to the Vow of Silence that is rigorously imposed, with quite often fatal results, on members of the Mafia.

Not the name that you might expect to see on a fishing boat in Granville

bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis particular one, which seems as if it belongs to someone on the Ile de Chausey, was unloading piles of crustaceans and the like onto the trailer attached to the rear of the tractor.

She has quite a massive catch on board. Business must be booming somewhere.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, which I’m sure that you are, a bouchot mussel is a mussel that has been grown from a string that is attached to a pole submerged in the water. By this method they are more grit-free and barnacle-free than one that has been grown on the sea bed.

Georges-René Le Peley de Pléville granville manche normandy franceAll of the work going on in the harbour was overlooked by our old friend Georges-René Le Peley de Pléville, or Pleville le Pelley.

He was a privateer who sailed initially on a ship, the Françoise du Lac (on which in one engagement he lost a leg), out of Granville, and later rose through the ranks of the French Navy until he became the French Government’s Minister of the Navy

He was appointed a Senator in 1799 and died in 1805 aged 79

Back here, there was a brief moment of repose and then it was tea time. Falafel fried with onions and garlic with pasta and vegetables, with salad dressing and herbs. It was totally delicious too.

With not going out this evening, I can do my outstanding work and then have an early night. If I can keep it up I’ll be in a much better position to keep up with my work.

But I do need to start to take it easy. There’s only so much that I can do.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Fishing boats entering and leaving the harbour at the Port of Granville

bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france
Unloading bouchots de Chausey in the harbour at the Port of Granville


Tuesday 17th July 2018 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day this has been. And I’m having far too many of these just recently.

Not going to bed until 03:30 probably has something to do with it, especially when I did manage to struggle from my stinking pit at 06:30 when the alarms went off.

But the wisdom of that decision was called into question because after having the usual medication routine, I sat down on the sofa to rest awhile, and the next thing that I knew was that it was 11:00. I’ve not had a complete crash-out like this for quite a while, have I?

So a very late breakfast indeed today.

What was even worse was that I wasn’t in much of a mood to do very much. But a whole pile of reading matter has come my way in connection with my little project that I mentioned yesterday, so I downloaded it all and set about reading it, and making a few notes. And I’m already seeing quite a lot of logistics difficulties that need to be overcome.

But then, many people just have problems. However I have solutions. And I’ll solve these problems or else die in the attempt. And as time has gone on during the day, I’m much more clear about what I want to do and how I intend to do it.

Lunch was taken at about 16:30, and that wasn’t without its difficulties either. I’d forgotten to fetch some bread from the freezer, but no matter. I went for a walk into town and picked up one of my favourite baguettes.

roadstone port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRemember yesterday when we saw Neptune sailing out of the harbour with another load of roadstone for Whitstable?

It didn’t take them long to start topping up the gravel bins again, did it?

We might be expecting the Neptune to make a quick aller-retour with all of the roadstone being accumulated like this.

house renovation rue du port granville manche normandy franceAnother thing of which we had seen plenty is the renovation of many of the houses in the rue du Port.

We’ve noticed two so far and it seems no that they are starting on a third one.

We don’t have a crane installed yet, but I imagine that this will be arriving any day now. They don’t seem to be able to do anything in the building line without a crane.

tide out port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving made my butties, I sat on the wall with my book and had a good look over the harbour.

The tide was almost out and all of the boats down there had settled down onto the silt.

My two lizards were there for company too, waiting for the bits of pear to fall onto the ground. And with the pear being well-overripe, there were plenty of bits to go round without them having to fight.

On the way back, I met another neighbour on the car park and we had a good chat for quite a while. And then I came back up here where, shame as it is to admit it, the next thing that I knew was that it was 20:00. I’d gone off again!

Still time to do a few bits of work though, and I cracked on and at least managed to salvage something from the wreckage of today. My little project is slowly starting to come together, although a couple of my plans are changing and it’s going to stretch my budget more than I anticipated. But this is no time for the faint-hearted.

And of course, I’ve still not resolved this application issue, have I?

So leaving that alone for a while, I went for my evening walk. It’s cooled down over the last couple of days so it was quite pleasant, but there was nothing going on of note.

However I had remembered something else that I needed to do, but that can only be done during office hours. But nevertheless I did some research when I came back, and it seems that it can be resolved quite easily.

But then again, this time it really does involve a phone call to Belgium, so I’m not holding my breath.

So here we are, 22:30 and here I am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Not feeling in the least like going to sleep.

We’ll probably end up tomorrow with another day like today, I reckon.

Wednesday 30th May 2018 – WHAT A NICE …

… tea that was!

One of those evenings where I couldn’t think of anything much so some spicy rice with peas and carrots, and a vegan millet and mushroom burger fried with onions and garlic. Add some nice thick gravy and it was absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed it.

In fact it was a relatively delicious day, although you might not have thought so with the weather that we were having this morning. When I left the stinking pit (at 06:30) it was raining buckets outside.

There were a few things that I needed to do though. Not the least of which being that the World’s Worst Bankers have struck again. I received all of the paperwork for the renewal of my insurances at the end of June – sent to the wrong address and featuring the wrong (closed) bank account.

What is worse is that it’s the Bank’s own insurance agency that handles it. Clearly joined-up thinking is not the strong point of the Credit Agricole, is it? Anyway, I had to telephone them to sort it all out.

Plenty of photos needed to be edited as well, with the result that I missed out on a few things that I needed to do. But no worries, they can keep.

What wouldn’t keep though is the bread issue. Buying a new loaf was one of the things that I needed, but instead in view of the time I just nipped down to town to the boulangerie that I like for a baguette.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAt least that gave me an opportunity to take a photograph of the Marité now that she’s come back here for the summer season.

One day I’ll check to see if there’s an exciting sea voyage, but as you know I’ve had issues with the lazy people who manage her and they aren’t my favourite people.

You need to be very careful about your sailing companions when you set off on a long voyage on a ship like this. They don’t seem to be interested in the ship or their potential clients at all, and that doesn’t bode very well.

But at least the weather had brightened up by now, and it was heading to be a nice day. Although the wind was pretty strong and I didn’t enjoy sitting on my wall. And my lizard didn’t put in an appearance.

This afternoon I revised a few blog entries by adding some additional photos, had the usual session on the guitar and chatted to Ingrid again. And, on a couple of occasions, teetering on the edge of falling asleep. Even my mid-afternoon walk – around the walls this afternoon – couldn’t clear my head.

lighthouse cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBy the time that I’d finished tea it hard turned into a beautiful evening and I really enjoyed my little walk which, for a change, took me around the headland.

The late-evening sun was throwing up some beautiful colours and the lighthouse looked quite stunning. It was well-worth taking a photograph of it this evening. I do’t actually have too many of the lighthouse here, do I?

And there weren’t too many people around either. What you might call “Phare from the Madding Crowd”.

baie de mont st michel cabane vauban carolles granville manche normandy franceWith the beautiful evening and clear skies, I took photograph in the general direction of Mont St Michel to see where or not you could actually see it from here.

It’s about 30 kilometres away from here as the crow flies, so the big zoom lens should pick it up if it’s in a line-of-sight, but it doesn’t look like it unfortunately. But I’m intrigued to know what those white buildings are down there. I shall have to go for a nosy some time.

But what’s the building on the Pointe Carolles, on the extreme left? It’s called the Cabane Vauban apparently and was a lookout point dating from the 18th Century. I shall have to go for an investigation, won’t I?

But it’s amazing the things that you can pick out of a long-distance photo with a really impressive telephoto lens and a good image-editing program.

So I’m off to bed now. It’s my “walk to LIDL” day and I need to pick up my rail tickets for next week. I booked them today, so I hope that we aren’t going to have another strike.

Monday 7th May 2018 – EVEN AS WE SPEAK …

… there’s a pot of lentils, carrots and peas simmering away in the slow cooker. That’s for tea tomorrow night with some onions, garlic and tinned potatoes because, believe me, tomorrow is going to be a very long day.

And just for a change, there’s some good news. And regular readers of this rubbish will know that it’s a long time since I’ve had any. I was checking the route of the 712 bus – like you do … "like one of you does" – ed … to find that its final stopping point is … errr … Brussels North Station.

So why get out at Lille, struggle up the road to Lille Europe TGV station, buy a ticket, wait for a train etc when I can be half-way there in what I hope will be a comfortable seat? So first thing this morning I had another attack at the website and now I’m booked all the way through.

The bus arrives in Brussels at 21:00 (in principle) and I’ve still 20 or so miles to go. So heaven alone knows what time I’ll be arriving. But at least I’ll be sitting down all the way and not having to struggle across Paris with my suitcase.

Even better, talking to Liz and discussing my trip and bewailing the bus issue to Avreanches from here, and she has volunteered to drive me. Isn’t it nice to have some really good friends? As I have said … "on many occasions" – ed … I don’t have many friends, but it’s quality that counts not quantity, and I have the best friends in the world.

Getting out of bed was difficult this morning at 06:30 but I did manage it. And after a leisurely start to the day I had a little relax and then set to work.

I’m having some kind of fridge issues right now. It seems that somewhere on my travels I had left the freezer compartment door open and it had frosted up so I couldn’t open it. No more ice cubes. So it’s high time that I defrosted it.

And here’s my patent method for defrosting the fridge –

  1. Unplug the fridge
  2. empty the aforementioned
  3. put aforementioned in bath
  4. make a coffee

For a change I walked down into town at lunchtime to buy one of the baguettes that I like. And having made my butties I went back outside to sit on the wall. It’s been a good while since I’ve done that, but it really was a beautiful day today, although the sea mist meant that vision was somewhat restricted.

This afternoon I had a little … errr … relax followed by a session on the guitar and a good chat with Ingrid. She’s feeling a little better at the moment and that is certainly good news.

beautiful sunset granville manche normandy franceTea was a stuffed pepper seeing as I had a pepper left, and then my walk around the walls.

Just at the right time too, because I was able to watch yet another glorious sunset. So glorious in fact that I have set up this photo as my desktop wallpaper for the next while or so

We’ve been having quite a few of these just recently as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. Makes a change from the miserable, gloomy winter and spring that we’ve had to date.br clear=”both”>

beautiful sunset granville manche normandy franceNot being in a very great hurry, I stayed out there for quite a while and was rewarded for my patience by catching the final glimmer of the sun as it slowly sank into the sea.

And this turned out nicely too, didn’t it?

There’s no doubt whatever that I’ve picked an absolutely beautiful spot to come for my retirement, here on this rock overlooking the sea.

crowds on the beach granville manche normandy franceBut sounds of raucous laughter away in the distance told me that I wasn’t the only one out enjoying the sunset.

There was some movement on one of the small beaches away in the distance and as I still had the big zoom lens fitted, I could take a photo and see what was going on.

A huge, heavy telephoto lens that’s difficult to hold steady and in the low light of the evening on a long exposure means that it’s slightly blurred, but even so, you can still see the crowds of people down there.

I was half-expecting a blast of “Hurry On Sundown” to come filtering up to me.

I’m back in the apartment now, and once my lentils are cooked (and they take a while) I’ll be making my tea for tomorrow night and then going to bed.

As I said, it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.

Tuesday 10th April 2018 – AND SO I WENT OUT …

… this afternoon into town, as I mentioned that I would.

And with the weather being so appalling (no surprise there) I was dressed up like Nanook of the North.

What then happened was completely predictable. The clouds dramatically raced away, we had a bright blue sky with this strange round, golden object in the sky and I melted. First time this year. I was so hot it was unbelievable.

But as I returned, the weather just as dramatically closed in again and we had a pile of rain. I tell you – this is really getting on my wick now. It’s beyond a joke.

Another night of not very much sleep, and I was on my travels yet again. I was driving down the hill (at the Clermont-Ferrand side) into St Eloy-les-Mines of all places in a car that was comparatively modern, and was joined by a pale blue early MkII Consul (the type with the small rear lights) in a rather tatty condition, and an ancient F-series Vauxhall Victor. Our descent took us into the suburbs of London (like you do) and the local MoT station where the three vehicles were examined. On enquiring of the tester, I was told that “they’ve all passed OK” – which totally surprised me. As he handed me the documents I asked him if there were any advisories. “No, none at all. They are all good” – and that I found even more surprising. But who am I to argue with an MoT examiner when he has just passed all of my cars?

We had breakfast and the usual relax afterwards and then SHOCK! HORROR! I vacuumed the floor of the apartment and cleaned the kitchen cupboard. Not that you’d notice, of course, but I do and that’s what’s important.

For lunch I finished off the soup with some more bits of baguette from the freezer and then headed into town.

My wanderings took me to the harbour to see what the crane was doing, but there was nothing particularly evident as to why it should still be there. And there was no-one around to ask either which was surprising.

I went round to the boulangerie where the good baguettes are sold and picked up one of the baguettes that keep for a couple of days. That’s for my butties on the road tomorrow of course. I’m heading back to Leuven aren’t I?

The post Office was next, to post a letter to the Tax Office and then round to the estate agent’s to pay them this famous €0:34 before I go away.

And here I tackled head-on a subject close to my heart. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the kitchen here is rubbish and I want to do something about improving it. So I asked the estate agents if the owner would consider making an investment into his property by making a contribution to the cost.

My demand wasn’t dismissed out of hand, which is one good thing. I need to make a report and to draw up a little plan about what I would like to do. This involves a trip to IKEA to price out a few things and I may well do that on Friday if I can – the one at Zaventam. I’m sure that there must be a bus from Leuven that goes that way. I shall have to make enquiries. I shall have to measure the kitchen area before I go out tomorrow.

This afternoon I was planning to wash the floor and then go for a walk while it dried but shame as it is to say it, I was stark out on the sofa. And you have no idea just how much this is depressing me.

Tea was a frozen curry out of the freezer and then I had my evening walk around the headland. Ready for bed now and I need a good sleep because I’m on the road tomorrow.

I wonder what Thursday at the hospital will bring for me.

Wednesday 21st March 2018 – SPRING IS SPRUNG

The grass is riz
I wonder where de boidies is
De boid is on de wing
But dat’s absoid
I taut de wing was on de boid!

In fact it was such a nice morning this morning that I went for a walk.

Mind you, I had had something of a walk during the night. I was in one of my 3D worlds as a character and it was all totally weird and surreal. So much so that I was rather disappointed when the alarm went off.

Dawn was breaking as I stuck my head over the parapet – the nights are getting shorter. We’ll be putting the clocks forward soon if I remember correctly.

And after the usual morning performance and with it looking so nice, I put the bread that should have been today’s back in the freezer and went out for a baguette.

And instead of going straight down the hill into town I went the very long way round, out past the headland and down the footpath.

napoleon fortifications pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen lots of evidence of World War II fortifications around here but the area was heavily fortified in the days of Napoleon and there are plenty of remains of 19th Century defences.

I’m not quite sure what this might have been but it’s certainly something to do with it all.

And the footpath that we are on is presumably the old road before the new one just above was built. I need to find out so much more about local history.

joly france granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only excitement either.

The passenger ferry to the Iles de Chausey still runs in the winter for the inhabitants, and as I went round the bend there she was, the Joly France, just setting off.

I can’t understand why it goes out to the islands in the morning and comes back in the evening. For the benefit of the islanders it ought to be the other way round.

And if you want to know the definition of bone-idleness and couldn’t care less (or je m’en foutisme as they say around here) I went as I said I would round to the Marité to see what was the programme for the season.

“It’s all on the website. Look there” said the guy in charge. No wonder there’s a recession on when people come armed with a pile of folding stuff and they are told effectively to clear off.

So armed with a baguette from the boulangerie I came back from my walk and made myself a coffee I had earned it.

After lunch, with the home-made mayonnaise that seems now to have emulsified, I did a few things such as worked on a few photos and a session on the guitar where I seem finally to have mastered the Paul Rudolph/Adrian Shaw composite bass line to “Damnation Alley” from the album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.

medieval walled city granville donville les bains manche normandy franceBack out this afternoon for my usual walk. I have to keep up the pressure and anyway, as I said, it was a glorious day.

There was a nice view along the cliff past the walled town out to Donville les Bains and another one of the many miserable ruins that I visited while looking for a place to live.

Sunlight was just a little bright though – bright enough to bring out the hordes of walkers who don’t have anything better to do than get in my way.

digger working on lock gates port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound at the quayside the big crane that we saw yesterday has now gone. And I couldn’t see what it had done.

But the digger was back digging away at the foot of the wall at the harbour entrance where the new gate is going to be. It’s supposed to be installed by now but they aren’t half taking their time about it.

They need to hurry up and get some ships in

Tea was more vegetables, vegan cheese sauce and vegan sausages, followed by rice pudding. And delicious it all was too. It’s certainly working well. And then we had the evening walk where my mate the black cat was waiting for his evening stroke.

But here’s a thing. My evening route takes about 27% of my day’s activity, so leaving here at 77% I expected it to be at 104% when I returned. But no it wasn’t – it was on 96%. So I don’t know what is happening here. I had to go for another lap around the block.

But next time that I’m out with someone so equipped, we’ll synchronise our fitbits and see what’s happening.

Saturday 17th March 2018 – I’M BACK!

marité port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd so is Marité.

As I wearily trudged (and it was a weary trudge) up the hill to here I saw her moored at her usual anchorage. She’s been away for the winter and now that Spring is just around the corner she’s come back to resume operations.

And I for one will be checking out just what these operations are.

snow condo gardens leuven belgium mars march 2018But “Spring is just around the corner” did I say? You wouldn’t think so because it was snowing outside this morning in Leuven when I went for my baguette and how about that for this time of the year?

Not what I would call a major snowstorm, but snow nevertheless. The thermometer on my new mobile phone showed “-1°C, feels like -7°C” and I wasn’t going to argue with that after even two minutes outside at the boulangerie – or maybe I ought so say bakker just around the corner.

Just for a change, I slept the Sleep of the Dead last night. And with having had an early night too, I felt so much better this morning.

And the new phone and new alarm did their business too, although switching it off it something of a performance.

I’d been on my travels too, loitering near the edge of the kerb as Terry turned up to pick me up. In an old FX4 and having trouble trying to make the handbrake engage. Liz shouted across that he had the sandwiches down by his side, bit all I could see was something that looked like a cardboard box all wrapped up in newspaper.

We had the usual performance this morning but I drew the line at having a shower. For some reason that I haven’t remembered, I closed the door to the bathroom last night so it was absolutely taters in there. And that was hardly a surprise given the weather.

So armed with a baguette I made my butties for the road and then having tidied up the place a little, hit the streets for the station.

photography session leuven station belgium mars march 2018They weren’t wrong about the temperature either. I was frozen to the marrow by the time that I arrived.And with the ticket machine in the basement I had to retrace my steps to the booking office.

On the platform waiting for the train we were entertained by a photographer across the tracks who was organising a photo shoot with a little girl aged about 6, dressed in clothing that was completely unsuitable for the Arctic conditions.

The poor kid looked as if she was freezing to death over there and I can’t say that I was surprised.

railway station leuven sncb train blankenberge belgium mars march 2018I didn’t have to wait too long though. There was an Intercity train for Blankenberge due in, which was handy, and so I hopped aboard. And it was heaving too.

It looked as if everyone in Belgium was heading off for a day at the seaside regardless of the weather. I ws crammed in rather uncomfortably next to three people who were watching videos on their phones at full volume, and that didn’t half get on my wick.

But it was only for half an hour or so, which was just as well. I wouldn’t have put up with that for a three-hour journey.

No excitement at the Gare du Midi today either. No-one arrested and no train derailed either. In fact nothing to laugh at at all.

tgv bruxelles mid belgium paris gare du nord  mars march 2018And crowded too. You couldn’t even have got a cat on board the TGV, never mind swung one around. It’s getting to be more and more popular this as summer approaches – not that you would ever recognise summer in this weather of couree.

I spent most of the journey with my ears closed to keep out the noisy brats and – shame as it is to day it these days – with my eyes closed too.

I know. I’m in a bad way.

We were minutes late arriving in the Gare du Nord and that’s crucial. I’m tight for time and even more so now that the line metro station is closed here. The deviation that I took on the way out took me about minutes, and that’s all the time that I had available so I took an executive decision (that’s a decision where, if it goes wrong, the person who made it is executed).

I took the line 5 as far as the Gare de l’Est nd then leapt on the line 4 train there and braved the long walk. It ended up being quicker than via the Porte d’Italie which wa good news and I reached my platform with 10 minutes to spare, totally out of breath.

sncf gare de granville manche normandy franceIn the freezing cold we rattled off to Granville, with me yet again sleeping most of the way.

And it was a long weary journey where we crawled at snail’s pace on the stretch between Argentan and Briouze. I was pretty much fed up by the time that we arrive back in Granville.

My OAP railcard expires in April so I took the opportunity to renew it. €50:00 for a year but you’ve no idea how much it saves me in discount. I couldn’t afford to do this trip if I had to pay full fare for it.

And then the long trudge back home into the cold, where I switched on the heating and made a coffee.

Tea was pasta and vegetables tossed in oil, garlic powder and chili. All of that followed by a walk outside. I’m on 111% of my daily activity and it feels like it too.

So tonight it’s back into my warm bed. And aren’t I looking forward to it?

Tuesday 13th March 2018 – SHAME AS IT IS TO ADMIT IT …

… I couldn’t even last out the morning today.

And it’s not as if I’d had a late night or anything, and it’s not as if I’d been on an enormous voyage during the night either. Just into one of the rooms on this 3D site that I mentioned just recently.

But I had the medication and the breakfast etc, and a shower, shave and even a haircut today to get ready to go. And then I sat down with a mug of coffee.

Next thing that I remember was that it was 10:30 – I’d been well and truly out for a good 90 minutes. And in the morning too. This is certainly not like me. I could understand it a little if I had been out already to the railway station, but not at all.

You’ve no idea just how much this is dismaying me.

But anyway, in the bright sunlight (because it really was nice) I headed uptown to the railway station and picked up my tickets without a hitch. Mind you, there will be a hitch coming home on Saturday because works on the line are forecast. That’s not nice.

On the way back I called at that good boulangerie to pick up a couple of those tasty baguettes. One was for lunch today but the other one is for my butties for the road tomorrow. And nice the bread is too.

After lunch I hd a few things to do on the internet and to download a couple of things onto the laptop that I take with me on my travels. And then a bit (just a little bit) of packing ready for tomorrow.

And the usual session on the bass guitar – and trying to work out the bass line from “Wind Up” off the Aqualung album by Jethro Tull – one of the albums that has to be in the top 10 of anyone’s list. Everyone immediately thinks of the title track to that album, and good as it might be, in my opinion “Locomotive Breath” and “Wind Up” have to be two of the best rock tracks of all time. And I’m determined to work out the bass lines to both of them, even if Jeffrey Hammond is a hard act to follow.

Tea tonight was the rest of the home-made stuffing with a tin of kidney beans all filled into a couple of tortilla wraps with spicy rice. And delicious they were too of course. And then we had the walk in the beautiful evening. It really was nice outside considering the time of the year.

And so an early night tonight. I have to be on my way quite early – something like 07:45 – as my train is timed for 08:34.

I am not going to enjoy this one little bit.

Sunday 18th February 2018 -FOR A REASON …

… that I didn’t understand at first, I slept the Sleep Of The Dead last night.

But I awoke with a start at about 06:40. I realised that I had changed the time of the alarm yesterday so I knew that it wasn’t yet time to awaken, but after about two minutes it hit me that today is Sunday and the alarm was programmed not to ring. And so instead of the usual Sunday morning procedure where I try my best not to awaken, we had the opposite procedure with me trying not to go back to sleep.

And then another thought hit me too.

All throughout the night there had been complete and utter silence from next door. I hadn’t awoken once. Perhaps they weren’t out partying last night at all, but had left the place yesterday morning.

I wondered whether to do a lap of honour.

I’d been on my travels too. Nina, a former girlfriend of mine, was to put in an appearance and so I needed to tidy up Caliburn, especially the back if a little session of indoor alligator wrestling (unlikely) were to take place. I also had to do some more tidying up elsewhere and this involved Dismantling the hi-fi system. Some woman helped me do this because it wasn’t easy, with cables, headphone leads and all of this kind of thing all tangled up into some kind of spaghetti mess that we were desperately endeavouring to sort out.

So with my noisy neighbours apparently having left yesterday, and having had a good night’s sleep as a result (and about time too) I was ready for anything.

Well, almost.

I made a mistake in the boulangerie. To me, a baguette is a baguette, but apparently not in Leuven. Had Jesus ordered five of the ones that were given to me there would have been no miracle about feeding the 5000. I have enough to feed myself for a week.

I took my leave of the guy at the hotel. He asked me if I’d enjoyed my stay. I explained the issues that I’d had with my neighbours and he pulled a face. I told him that I would see him in a few weeks time, and hopefully he would have a quieter room for me…

queue at boulangerie leuven belgium february fevrier 2018Emerging from the alleyway at the back of the hotel (to save walking all the way round the block) I burst out laughing when I saw the boulangerie.

We’ve all seen (and some of us have stood in) the queues outside the bakers’ shops in Poland and Bulgaria, places like that under the Communists. And here in Belgium we have exactly the same situation.

Of course, maybe not for the same reasons, but it’s amusing nevertheless to see it.

My luck was in at Leuven station. The earlier express to Brussels was held up while they endeavoured to negotiate a wheelchair and its occupant aboard, and so I leapt on board too.

There’s no doubt whatever that the guy was disabled, but when I saw him a little later walking around the train I thought that he might have given the porter at the station a little more help. But then, that might have meant that the train would have left earlier and I would have had a cold and miserable wait on the station for the next train.

And I managed to drop my woolly hat – the one that goes on my woolly head – in the train and some woman shouted after me as I was about to alight.

And although it was a cold and miserable wait in the waiting room at Bruxelles-Midi, at least we had some entertainment. For police officers manhandling … "PERSONhandling" – ed … two boys out of the restricted area. “I didn’t steal anything” wailed one of the boys but the police are the same the whole world over and took no notice whatsoever.

tgv thalys bruxelles gare du midi belgium february fevrier 2018The TGV previous to mine had been 10 minutes late but my train actually pulled in early, which made a nice change, and so I was one of the first to clamber aboard which is always helpful.

Old, tired and a little tatty around the edges. And the train wasn’t much better either. These first-generation TGVs have done quite a lot of work.

There were a surprising number of empty seats too – probably 80 or 85% occupancy. My experience of TGVs is that they are usually packed to the gunwhales.

tgv thalys paris gare du nord franceWe arrived at Paris Gare du Nord bang on schedule, which is just as well seeing that my train to Granville has been advanced half an hour because of the engineering works on the line. There’s no time to loiter.

But even more importantly, I arrived totally intact with nothing else missing from my trousseau. That makes a change after the events of the past few weeks.

But this train thing is going to become an issue in early course. They have a rolling programme of modernisation of the stations along Line 4 – the direct line between Paris Gare du Nord and Paris Montparnasse-Vaugirard. And on 17th March the platforms on the line here will be taken out of service.

There’s always an alternative route, like Line 5 to the Place d’Italie and then Line 6, but it’s complicated and takes much longer. And time is tight.

And in case you’re wondering, it is a different train from the one that I photographed in Brussels. Our train was made up of two train sets coupled together and they were of different classes.

I arrived at Paris Montparnasse-Vaugirard and my waiting room with 20 minutes to spare. And found a seat next to a girl from California who spoke French with a remarkably good accent.

You’ll remember last time I was here and the “incident” involving the woman and her mother. Here, we had quite an ugly incident where a couple arrived after boarding for their train had completed but before it had left, and they were refused admission to the platform. The abuse, insults and vitriol that they were giving the staff was outrageous.

Just to make things clear, it states quite definitely on your ticket that you should be present on the platform no later than 2 minutes before the departure time, and I’m sure that people don’t realise just how much of a walk it is to Vaugirard. Apart from the 1.3 kilometres of foot passage from the Metro (I’ve measured it), the platforms at Vaugirard are right down at the end of Montparnasse’s Platform 23, which is a very long platform. It’s a marathon hike and you won’t do it all in a couple of minutes.

eiffel tower paris franceEventually we could board our train so I took my leave of my companion and had another nice travelling companion for some of the way home.

I left my seat though a couple of miles out because at a certain point there’s a really good view of the Eiffel Tower and I wanted to get an eiffel of it.

It’s not come out very clearly because there’s only so much possibility with a swaying train and a camera shot through a dirty double-glazed window.

After my companion left I settled down to my butties and then dozed almost all the way to Granville.

diesel multiple unit sncf gare de granville manche normandy franceWe arrived on time, which is late these days because of the engineering works, and I had to help a woman with her suitcase (what help would I be?) as she struggled with a screaming infant.

And then through the drizzly rain (quite a change from the weather in Paris) I had a weary, dreary walk home. It’s definitely taking a lot out of me. If my health deteriorates further (which it’s bound to do) I’ll have to remember not to come home on a Sunday. The buses don’t run on Sunday.

Back here after I eventually arrived, I crashed out on the sofa with a coffee and was out of it completely until about 20:30. I missed tea of course, but I did have a bag of nuts and raisins.

And with the fitbit telling me that I’ve done 80% of my day’s activity, I crawled out of the apartment for a lap around the old town. When I came back I was on 102% so that’s enough for today.

I’ve done enough. I’m off to bed where I shall sleep for a week.

Thursday 21st December 2017 – I’VE FINALLY BITTEN …

… the bullet and I’ve arranged a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow morning.

After last night, I was feeling rather better this morning. But to tell you how bad things really are, it took almost 2.5 hours of film on the laptop before I managed to fall asleep. I’m clearly not well, am I?

I’d been on my travels too – down Coleridge Way in Crewe. And when I say “down”, I mean about 30 feet down because it was all under water. A couple of trips down there at various epochs, comparing the cars that were parked there – like “N” reg Marinas, that kind of thing.

No alarm, but I was still awake quite early. Not that this meant that I left the bed early of course. More like 08:30 in fact.

It took me ages to summon up the force to leave the sofa for my medication, and it goes without saying that I declined breakfast. I was back on the sofa again.

For lunch, I made a litre of packet soup and managed to drink a couple of mugs. But that’s left a horrible, metallic taste in my mouth that I can’t shift.

There was still the question of picking up my medication so round about 15:00 I crawled into town. A baguette from the bouangerie (to go in the freezer with the other one) and some little bits and pieces from the Coccinelle. And then the medication.

The walk back up here was a nightmare. I fet weak and dizzy and had to sop every couple of hundred yards. Definitely the worst trip that I’ve ever made back here. That was what made up my mind to see the doctor.
“Is it an emergency?” asked the receptionist
I explained the circumstances.
“I can’t fit you in before 10:15 tomorrow” she said.
Imagine that in the UK?

And then I crashed out on the sofa.

Rosemary rang later and we had a little chat. Only a little one, because I’m not feeling so well right now. But by 18:00 I had succumbed, and went to fect the pillow and quilt.

I managed to force down some dry biscuits later, but without any real enjoyment. And now I’m going back to bed.

I wonder what the doctor will have to say tomorrow.