Tag Archives: cap frehel

Monday 1st August 2022 – HERE WE GO AGAIN

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022This is one reason why tourists have such a bad name and reputation in holiday resorts.

As Guns ‘n’ Roses once famously sang, “They come to our country and think they’ll do as they please”

Where that woman is parked and where her passengers are alighting is on the disabled ramp that leads down to the pedestrian crossing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I promised that I would lay off the “pathetic parking” that I see on my travels around and about but sometimes some examples are really too awful not to document. I really do wonder what goes through the minds of some people some times.

Anyway, enough of that. Retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, my night last night was as bad as that piece of what is laughably called “parking”. I don’t recall going to sleep at all despite my early night and I spent all of it tossing and turning around in bed.

That’s not quite right because there were two things on the dictaphone, one of which I was actually dictating when the alarm went off at 06:00. And, rather like the gay ghost, that put the willies up me and no mistake.

There wasn’t much difficulty in falling out of bed at the sound of the alarm and finishng off the dictation once the alarm had finished, and then after the medication and checking the mails and messages I sat down and started work on the radio programme.

It turned out to be rather more complicated than most that I’ve done because I seemed to have somewhat overrun the speech. There was really only space for a final song of 1:59 and I had nothing even approaching that in the batch of music from which I had extracted this week’s stuff.

This led to some rather hefty editing of the speech. It’s just as well that I always add in facts that can easily be cut out but even so I was scratching around for stuff to erase at the end. That’s why even though I’d cracked on quite well this morning it was still as late as 11:20 when I finally finished.

While I was listening to it afterwards I was busy writing. I’d received a few e-mails and messages from various people that for one reason or another I hadn’t answered so I took care of that. I think that I’m up-to-date now so if you are waiting for a reply from me and haven’t had it, send me a reminder.

Another thing that I did was to organise my tickets for my journey to and from Leuven later this week, something to which I am not looking forward at all. But I’m going to be using the time sensibly while I’m away (I hope) and making plans for the rest of the year.

Before I went for lunch I had a good long session with the acoustic guitar, just to keep my hand in.

After the fruit I came in here to do some work but rather unfortunately the bad night caught up with me and I crashed out well and truly and completely. Gone for good, in fact, and I didn’t feel a thing for a couple of hours.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022Consequently I was rather late for my afternoon walk today.

There weren’t too many people down there on the beach this afternoon. The weather forecast had told us that today the summer weather would be back and while it was certainly nicer than yesterday, it wasn’t that nice.

So that would explain why the beach was rather quiet and why no-one had plucked up the courage to go for a dip in the sea. And I can’t blame them either. I wouldn’t have gone in there today either but I’m rather notorious for the kind of water in which I would immerse myself.

picking blackberries pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022There were quite a few people out walking around on the path this afternoon though.

This couple had caught my eye, and it took e a minute or two to work out what was going on. But by the looks of things they were blackberrying.

It made me think that if they were that keen on blackberrying I should have sent them round to my house in Virlet where there would be enough blackberries to keep them going for as long as they like.

One of these days I’ll have to think about doing something with that jungle outside my place there. There’s some stuff in the house that I need but I can’t access it.

f-gcum Robin DR400 180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022While I was brooding on the infinite, an aeroplane roared by out in the bay.

She’s one of our old friends, F-GCUM, a Robin DR400-180 owned by the aero club. We’ve seen her and her sisters on numerous occasions.

She took off from the airfield at 15:58 and flew south down the bay, did a lap around Mont St Michel, then came back up the coast, went out and around the Ile de Chausey and then came back in to land at 16:33.

My photo was timed at 16:09 (adjusted) so that seems to fit in with her voyage.

And “adjusted”? As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … all of my digital equipment is always set to standard time and not adjusted for Summer Time

sailing ship cap frehel brittany english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022As I walked down the path towards the end of the headland I noticed a set of sails out there in the bay off Saint Malo.

She was so far away that I couldn’t recognise her so I took a photo with the aim of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned home to see if I could identify her. But from what I could see, she’s the one that we saw the other day with the strange sails that we were unable to identify.

We could identify the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel though quite clearly. That’s over on the right-hand edge of the image. It was quite clear this afternoon and we could see for miles.

anvil cloud ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022This cloud out in Granville Bay caught my eye this afternoon. It was extremely interesting.

It’s what they call an “anvil cloud” and it’s a sure sign that wherever it is, there’s quite a storm raging.

If you look closely at the surface of the sea just in front of the Ile de Chausey, you can see the different, darker colour that would seem to indicate that that particular spot is taking a right beating right now.

There aren’t any boats out there in the bay right now and that’s not a surprise given the weather. They would be shipping a lot of water right now.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022And although there wasn’t an awful lot going on right now just offshore there was quite a crowd watching it.

Plenty of people on the car park, as I found as I threaded my way across the car park, and loads wandering around on the lower path, and that family of four has stopped for a breather on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

“No shipwrecks, and nobody drownding, in fact nothing to laugh at at all” and no-one fishing off the rocks either and so I left them to it and wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on.

la confiance 2 chant des sirenes cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I noticed that we have yet another change in occupancy.

There’s La Confiance II and Chant des Sirenes in there along with the two fishing boats that I have yet to identify, but we now have a fifth one that has just been pulled out of the water.

She’s Cap Lihou, one that we have seen quite often, and there was someone around there somewhere with a Kärcher pressure washer giving her a good going-over, as you can tell from the scaffolding and all of the water that’s around her.

There ought to be a squadron or two of seagulls loitering around as well because liberated barnacles would make a tasty snack

gerlean l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022Meanwhile, over at the Fish Processing Plant we have our usual suspects moored up

In front we have Gerlean and at the rear is L’Omerta in her usual place. In between the two is a little boat that we have seen around and about quite often but I’ve not yet been able to identify her.

One of these days I shall have to go for a walk around for a closer look but I’m really not up to it – at least, not up to the walk back up the hill again afterwards. Things have gone downhill quite considerably since I’ve been living here.

marité freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 1st August 2022Before I went home I had a good look at what was happening in the inner harbour.

Marité is back in town after her perambulations over the weekend. and at the side of her there’s a lorry that’s unloading a pile of freight presumably for one of the Jersey freighters to take away.

There’s a speedboat too, shrink-wrapped in plastic so I imagine that she’ll be going on a freighter too.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a listen to what had been happening on the dictaphone during the night. While I had been in my sleep I tripped over a rough bit in the path and fell, and couldn’t pick myself back up again. That was about the only time that I went to sleep during the night, that was, as I noted at the time.

There was a group of refugees who wanted to be taken clandestinely across Europe. I worked out a few things to do basically and came to the conclusion that it would be easier if I put a few of them on the train led by jackie and Alison. Then with one other person I brought the luggage and everything across Europe by vehicle. I could get in front of them and be there when they arrived. When they returned from work I had the apartment all ready. They had to fight their way in over this sofa that I was using to block the door. They had a meal of boiled eggs and bread but there wasn’t much bread then we discussed everything. I could see that they weren’t too happy about this which I could understand I suppose. They asked me what the railway company thought about me moving these refugees by rail. I came up with some story because they hadn’t really asked because I was quite confident that it would work anyway and I didn’t want to involve too many people in what we were doing. It was all going to be something of a mish-mash with the idea that it would be all right on the night. I had a few things to prepare like some dummy school books so I was sitting down trying to prepare those in a quiet moment before it was time to go. I had a feeling that we still hadn’t resolved this issue about who was going how and where. I felt that we were heading for some kind of difficulty amongst ourselves in this respect.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all kinds of bits an pieces loitering around in the fridge. And there is enough for tomorrow too which is just as well because it really was quite nice and I’ll make more like this, except that I’ve run out of fennel now.

And that reminds me – I need to check the supplies to see what I need because many of the herbs and spices tht=at I use can only be bought at the Asian supermarkets in Leuven and not anywhere local to me in Granville. It’ll mess up my cooking completely if I run right out of some things.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. I’m looking forward to a good sleep although I’m not sure if I’ll have one. I can’t understand why last night was such a bad night because I didn’t actually crash out at all on Sunday and with the early start and the open-air exercise I ought to have been completely wasted.

So it all totally beats me.

Wednesday 27th July 2022 – THERE WASN’T ANYONE …

l'omerta yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon at the Fish Processing Plant.

In case you are wondering where L’Omerta was this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, she was out in the bay doing a spot of fishing, surrounded by a flotilla of yachts from one of the sailing schools being ushered along by a zodiac.

There were a couple of the smaller port lighters moored up at the quayside there but it’s not usually possible to identify them and in any case they are only there for a matter of minutes.

le renard english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was oout there this afternoon was a large sailing ship out in the English Channel way beyond the Ile de Chausey.

At this kind of distance it’s impossible to identify her but having a crafty peek at the radar screen when I returned home I could see that Le Renard, the 30-metre sailing ship from St Malo, was out there in that position at that time.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, once more I ended up going to bed rather later than I intended, once again because something interesting came up on the on-line radio playlist.

Not as late by any means as the other night of course. We have to have some kind of limits somewhere.

During the night I travelled some considerable distance, but I actually started off at home. We were all there, all doing various things with electrics and electronics. Someone came to the door and asked for a quote so thinking that it might be for something like that I went to the door to ask them. It turned out that they wanted a quote for moving a load of carrots to Germany. For that I needed further information so I had to invite them in and clear a little space by my desk. Instead they went to sit on my sofa. That was difficult for me so I went to sit on a sofa over there. There were a couple of them and a very young girl and were talking about all kinds of strange and different things. One of our little girls was taking to them about something like that as well but not really about these carrots. I was trying to get them to come to the point so that I could deal with them but they were still busy talking about a pile of irrelevances. They asked if our milk was pasteurised. I replied that it was heat-treated. We talked about rockets to the moon. One of my sisters said that she was born on a rocket going to the moon so I corrected her and said that it was on a rocket coming back from the moon etc but no-one actually reached the point of talking about this lorry-load of carrots that needed moving.

And then this was where I’d had a bird bath or something delivered to me unexpectedly. Someone came to the door to me about it. They wanted to talk straight away but when I tried to talk there was some kind of major eruption from them about everything. It turned out that they were learning the language and wanted to practise it or something like that but they realised that this had been dropped in the wrong place and wanted it moved and wanted to do it themselves or organise it themselves. I didn’t have very much to say while this thing was swinging about. They finally managed to put it somewhere else.

Checking if my laptop didn’t work as well as I’d like. What I’d done was to switch it on and let it update itself. Then I’d been called away so I’d left it but it had been picked up by the Security people who had transported it to the central unit. I was watching it and the central unit was only programmed to show roads and a lot of the route that my laptop had taken was on internal pathways. It wasn’t shown on those. Basically the tracking thing for internal purposes was no use at all. Eventually I had the call through that my laptop had been found and I had to go to pick it up. That was at the centre so we went up there. Their building wasn’t a building at all but in the open air sheathed in tin while they were rebuilding the medieval city walls around them rather like they are doing in Leuven. It was pretty much a building site, I fell into a trench and people thought that it was funny there. In the end I managed to rescue my laptop that was still uploading and carry on with what i’d been doing.

So we were all back in this big hotel. I had my laptop. We were chatting. It was Christmas Eve. There was a huge group of us in the lobby and people were talking about what they were going to do. Someone said that he was goig to wait a few years, carry on working and then do all the things that he wanted to do with his £2 million. I said that his £2 million isn’t going to be worth that much in a few years time, which caused everyone to laugh. Then I decided that I’d go to bed so I took my laptop with me and went to my car. I went to plug the laptop in. One of the plugs I could plug in fine but the two RCA plugs I just couldn’t plug in at all. There was like a subsidiary plug on the RCA plugs that plugged into another part and I couldn’t make them line up no matter how I tried. They wouldn’t go in at all into the charging box

Somewhere in a dream with some girl or other we’d had to go along and file some important papers. To do that we had to access a room where there was no access. In theory I could always jump up there, catch it with my fingernails and haul myself up. The two of us went. The idea was that I’d take the torch and paperwork and jump up there, she would pass everything to me then I’d haul her up. There were some other people there too. They had something made out of a weird collection of plastic bottles full of water that they were trying to use as steps to get themselves up like a circus artist’s trapeze thing. I went round to my usual spot but didn’t even bother to try to jump because I knew that I couldn’t reach it. I thought “what kind of state am I in these days that I can’t even do something like this that I could have done so easily a couple of months earlier?” I really am in a bad state right now and I wish that I wasn’t. Usually my dreams are my only form of escapism but it seems that it’s even catching up with me there and that’s a horrible state of affairs.

It’s hardly a surprise that I had a real struggle to leave the bed this morning. I did manage to beat the second alarm but there wasn’t that much in it.

After the medication I had a really exciting time taking the metal, glass and plastic rubbish out to the bin. Such are the highlights of my life these days when I have that to look forward to.

As well as having a really good session on all of the guitars that went on for hours I’ve been downloading stuff again. I’ve found another OLD-TIME RADIO SITE that I hadn’t know about before. That had tons of Francis Durbridge’s “Paul Temple” radio programmes on it so I’ve been downloading them.

Some tidying up too, packing for my trip next week to Leuven and doing a little DiY around here too – stuff that I should have been doing a long time ago. I was so busy that I was surprised that I managed to find the time to crash out for half an hour after my lunchtime fruit.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there was time to go out for my afternoon walk as well.

And as usual my first port of call was down at the end of the car park to have a look over the wall to see what was happening down on the beach.

A few more people down there this afternoon although no-one was brave enough to take the waters. “I was misinformed” as Rick Blaine might have said.

It was quite warm this afternoon, although not that warm. Not like it was the other day.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was quite windy this afternoon too.

That ws evident by the number of Nazguls that were out and about. There were several of them hovering around having just taken off from the field by the cemetery and a few minutes later one of them went by overhead, casting a cold shadow on those of us below.

This one is another two seater and it looks as if the passenger is a rather young person. I wonder what the age limit is for going as a passenger on board a Nazgul … “it’s 6 years old” – ed.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The Nazguls weren’t the only things out there enjoying the wind either.

There was this rather beautiful yacht out there in the bay this afternoon having a sail around. And as I watched, her sail bellied out in the wind and she performed a rather dramatic U-turn and headed back the way that she had come.

At a rather slower pace, I followed her down towards the headland. I can’t travel as quickly as a yacht in full sail in a gale, unfortunately. Especially when I have other pedestrians to contend with.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Round about here, I noticed an aeroplane out there in the bay on its way back towards the airfield.

Too far out for me to read its registration number I took a photo of it in the hope that I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home but when I did so, that didn’t reveal much either.

However, the records of the airfield show that F-GSBV, a Robin DR400 180 that we have seen on several occasions in the past, took off at 15:19 and flew down the coast to Avranches. It then flew out into the bay, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and came bak to the airfield where it came in to land at 15:56.

My photo was taken at 15:48 (adjusted) so that seems to correspond.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The views out to sea today were really quite good.

You probably noticed that when you saw the earlier photo of the sailing ship out in the English Channel. It’s even more apparent with the view of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel 70 kilometres away down the Brittany coast.

What is interesting about this photo is firstly that it wasn’t even taken from the usual spot on top of the bunker but from a place much more banal, and secondly I could see it with the naked eye without the aid of the camera lens.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From there I walked across the desert that at one time used to be a lawn and was almost squidged on the car park by two cars reversing out of parking spaces.

Nevertheless I adroitly avoided them and wandered down to the end of the headland where I noticed that we had a fisherman down there on the rocks.

According to the local newspaper this morning the ban on fishing at certain spots has been lifted and our fisherman here does have something in which he might drop his catch.

Always assuming that he does manage to catch something. That would be exciting if we were to see someone else pull something out of the water.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But whatever was happening, there was quite a crowd down there watching it.

These two people were sitting on the bench but they must have seen me coming because as soon as they saw me they stood up and made ready to leave. And who could blame them?

Not me anyway. I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there, passing L’Omerta and her entourage as I did so.

La Confiance II is still in the chantier naval and still on her own. I’m hoping that she will have some more company soon.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In the inner harbour yesterday we saw Normandy Trader loading up with freight and setting sail for Jersey.

Today we have Thora in port too loading up with freight. The harbour gates are closed right now but once they are opened I imagine that she will be disappearing into the sunset.

My coffee was waiting so I disappeared into my apartment and then transcribed the dictaphone notes which you read a little earlier.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry that was just as delicious as last week’s. I’m not quite sure what it is that I’m doing differently that is responsible for the improvement but I wish that I knew so that I could keep on doing it.

While I was writing up my notes Rosemary rang me up and we had another long chat, and as a result I’m going to be quite late going to bed yet again. Isn’t it always the case? But then again talking to friends is an extremely permissible reason for being late and I don’t do it often enough.

Tomorrow is another day without a lot to do so I need to organise myself even better and catch up with some arrears. There are plenty of those.

Thursday 21st July 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

la confiance 2 chantier naval chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… when I said the other day that it looked as if Les Bouchots de Chausey wasn’t going to be around for very long in the chantier naval.

When I went past this afternoon she had gone! And never called me “mother”. There was just La Confiance II in there now and that was that.

Meanwhile, in other news, over at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter. The last time that we saw her was when she was underneath the crane in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

However someone whom I know sent me a photo this morning of Chausiaise in the harbour at St Helier. That will explain why she was loading up the other day.

It will also explain why ships like Southern Liner have been in port sounding out the possibility of running additional freight services to the Channel Islands. Business must be booming if they have pressed Chausiaise into service on that route too.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While we’re on the subject of ferry terminals and ferries … “well, one of us is” – ed … other things that have gone! And never called me “mother” either are the two Channel Island ferries.

Granville departed at 11:04 and is currently in St Helier. Victor Hugo also left at 11:04 and may currently be found in Cherbourg.

So what’s happening there I really don’t know, but the plot sickens. Whatever it is that’s going on, I wish that they would sort themselves out quite quickly because all of this isn’t doing anyone any good.

Last night’s sleep didn’t do me much good, unfortunately. It was another one of those nights where I struggled to go to sleep and when I did, I was soon awake as the bedroom warmed up dramatically.

Things were such that I could even have left the bed at 07:00 but I loitered around until the alarm went off at 07:30, for old time’s sake.

After the medication I went outside to take some stuff out of Caliburn. A pile of rubbish went into the waste bin and some more stuff came upstairs.

The idea was that someone was coming round this morning. There was a request on Social Network for an offcut of linoleum and I have some here.

We’d agreed a deal that he could have it for free in exchange for helping me bring upstairs the flat-pack units that I’d bought from IKEA in Germany the other week, hence the tidying up in Caliburn. However it goes without saying that after all that effort on my part, he never turned up.

What else never turned up was the Zoom link to the Welsh class. As a late addition to the course I’m not on the mailing list. I had to send an e-mail to the tutor and hope that she saw it. I ended up being 45 minutes late for my course.

She was much more organised today which was good, and that was helped by the fact that we as students are starting to take the initiative and between us we’ve worked out screen-sharing for powerpoints and so on and that makes things much easier when we are in break-out rooms.

Once again we bashed right through without lunch and finished early. That gave me time to deal with a few things such as the dictaphone.

My solicitor came round last night and he brought his managing partner with him. This was when my parents were out then – there was me and one or two other people. They began to talk and said that they had some good news for me. Firstly all my accounts had been accepted. They confirmed that I didn’t actually buy or sell anything so I’m not liable to anything. Secondly they aren’t interested in any accounts for previous years. The third thing is that I don’t have to sit any English exams at all. For unknown reasons this really delighted me. When my parents came back it took an age for them to stop talking. At the end I could tell them all my good news. They wanted to know all about the implications of it. They were wondering about this English exam because they thought that I could have some really high marks with my English. Not taking it would reduce my overall average. I explained that things like time was an issue, my energy was an issue. If I could receive a credit for my English without taking an exam then I would go that way. We had quite a long talk about everything about this.

There was something going on later about 2 girls who knew each other. They had been to the USSR and had noticed a few business opportunities that they could exploit. One went back to the USA and the other stayed in the USSR. They set up this import-export agency. For one of them it went really well and so was living a life of comparative luxury but the other one was living in poverty in a caravan and eventually on an old boat. She had to cross the Atlantic in this boat but it was not particularly seaworthy. Things like the wind generator was only held on by an old nail etc. This was going to be a voyage fraught with disaster. I was on it as it slipped out of harbour and she went off to do something. As we rounded the bend to leave the harbour there was a catamaran coming in with children on board. I couldn’t really stop the boat so I had to put it into the side wall where it bounced along the side wall and out so that it left this catamaran plenty of room. She was quite upset about that and asked me what I thought that I was doing. I explained that I’d never been on board a boat before in these kinds of circumstances and I was doing what I thought was correct to the best of the ability that I had

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

That meant that it was cooler than it otherwise might have been when I went out so I wasn’t expecting to se too many people out there but I was pleasantly surprised.

It was warmer than I was expecting anyway and the crowds were wandering around everywhere even down on the beach and even one or two brave souls who had gone into the water.

No Nazguls out there today though. There wasn’t all that much wind about.

ch651332 hera suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that I have mentioned recently is the fact that the fishing boats seem to be exploiting new areas of the sea since the issues with the Channel Islands.

This wzs illustrated today by not one but two trawlers out there in the bay with their nets out and I was expecting to see one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek vs Greek” moments as Hera in blue and Suzanga in pink sailed towards each other on a collision course.

They did however pass by with a couple of metres spare, and then both did a U-turn and went back for another go at each other.

This was certainly exciting and I stayed around for a few minutes to watch but eventually they formed themselves into parallel lines and headed off into the sunset.

lysandre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of other boats out there this afternoon too.

This blue inshore shell-fishing boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey is blue and white and that tells me that it’s either Lysandre or Petite Laura because there isn’t much differenc ebetween the two and I can’t read the registration number from here.

But for reasons that you will find out if you have the patience to read on to the end, I reckon that this boat is Lysandre.

And there were others too but they were too far out to identify.

10sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And there weren’t just crowds on the path or on the sea either.

Although we had to Nazguls in the air today while I was out, we did have a light aeroplane. As far as I can tell, its registration number seems to be 10SA and that’s one of the ones that isn’t on the aeroplane database that I can access.

But that’s a number that hasn’t appeared before in our paperwork so I’m wondering it it is in fact 50SA with some dirt or staining obscuring part of its registration.

Or maybe I should have gone to a well-known chain of opticians.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022My eyesight can’t all be that bad today though.

Although there’s quite a bit of haze about today I actually did manage to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with the naked eye, even if it is about 70 kms away from where I’m standing.

In fact it was easier to see with the naked eye than it was with the camera and that’s not something that heppens every day. Usually the camera picks out objects much better than the naked eye at any kind of distance.

One of these days I’ll post the photo that I took of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel that I took when we sailed past on Spirit of Conrad so you can see what it is that you are supposed to be seeing.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With the crowds out there this afternoon it was quite busy at the end of the headland so I fought my way down to the end of the headland.

There were plenty of fishermen out there too. There seemed to be one on every rock. This guy, and presumably one of his offspring, were out there near the cabanon vauban.

Only the father seemed to be fishing though. Although the younger one had a fishing rod handy, he seemed to me more interested in scrambling around on the rocks and I’ve no idea why.

But then we’ve only ever seen one fisherman actually catch something so I imagine that the younger one found it to be rather boring.

cabanon vauban man pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Mind you, there was an audience out there this afternoon.

Not sitting on the bench but standing down at the end of the headland was this guy armed with a camera. And there was plenty going on down there so I’m surprised that he wasn’t taking any interest in anything that was happening around him.

There were more people in the vicinity too, including a Dutch family of a father and two young girls who were taking photos of almost everything. And much as I like to take photos of people taking photos, there are some limits to what it’s polite to do.

yachts speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off around the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was plenty going on there as well. Out by Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, a few yachts from one of the sailing schools were happily sailing by.

There was a speedboat too roaring past, as well as another boat hiding behind the light.

There was quite a lot of other stuff too but they somehow managed to make themselves out of shot.

Having made a photographic note of what was going on at the ferry terminal and the chantier naval, I carried on along the path towards home.

l'omerta petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the Fish Processing Plant we can see L’Omerta. She’s still there from the other day and doesn’t look as if she’s moved.

And behind her is a blue and white shell-fishing boat. She has a “CH” (Cherbourg) registration number so she’s not Lysandre, who has an “SM” (St Malo) number and so she must be Petite Laura

That means that the one that we saw earlier out in the bay must be Lysandre because it’s certainly a different boat.

With my chocolate drink awaiting me at home, I headed off back to the apartment

extinction rebellion posters Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It looks as if the flyposters have been out overnight.

There’s a project afoot to turn the road between Granville and Avranches into a dual carriageway and it’s causing a great deal of controversy. It now looks as if the Extinction Rebellion movement people are now on the case.

Actually I sympathise with their campaign because the road isn’t all that busy. And they could deal with much of that by making the train service more reliable and regular.

At the moment it’s just trains between Caen and Rennes but they really need to restore the trains between Cherbourg and St Malo and that will double the frequency of trains on the section of the line between Granville and Avranches.

Bus transport around Granville is improving and if they would make more of an effort at Avranches I for one wouldn’t need to use the van to travel there.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun and that was quite delicious with potatoes and vegetables. Tomorrow I’m going for sausage beans and chips.

But that’s tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed and prepare for the last day of my Summer School. I’m glad that I found this Summer School because even if it’s not as well-organised as it might be, it’s still bringing my Welsh out of the dark recesses of my mind and that can’t be a bad thing.

There’s still 6 weeks until our course restarts and I bet that I will have forgotten it all again by then.

Monday 11th July 2022 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

fisherman in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… another extremely mobile night.

So while you admire a few nautical photographs featuring some of the dozens of watercraft that were out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

I started off out with my mother last night. We were delivering beer to various pubs all round a town somewhere. She was driving this artic. at one point we came to a pub on a corner and we took stuff in. I was back sitting inside the passenger seat which was on the right on this lorry. Then she started throwing bottles of wine to me to stack inside the cab. I caught most of them but there were 3 that I dropped. 2 of them I was able to pick up because they had dropped inside the cab but the 3rd one fell on the street. Just then an artic appeared coming from our right and tried to turn into the junction where we were parked. Of course it was practicaly impossible. They widened this road junction by demolishing the pub and a few other places that were on the corner so that he could turn in but when we looked around he had driven away. He hadn’t actually come back now that they had made these major adjustments to this road junction. I was outside picking up this bottle then I had to climb aboard the lorry. The only way to do this was round by the left-hand side of the lorry. I could walk so far but then I had to drop down into a stream and walk along it somehow reach up and open the door hoping that it wasn’t locked and haul myself up and in. I dropped myself into the stream, the water was wetting my feet as I walked. I reached right up and this door was open, unlocked which was a real piece of luck so I started to haul myself up. But I didn’t have the strength to haul myself right up and go in. I was dangling from this door, not able to haul myself up that final few inches so that I could get into the cab.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were in Germany, walking our way all across Europe, in Germany and still had 1000 or so km to go and only a couple of days. We were pressing on quite rapidly and I was certainly at the point of exhaustion but carried on. We came to a supermarket in a small village. The sign said “you are halfway” which meant halfway across Germany but we saw it and of course laughed thinking that if we’re only halfway on our journey now what’s the other half going to be like. We carried on and one of my party said that we need to stop and take a break. There were some bollards in the road a couple of kilometres further on so we can stop and rest on those and take a break before carrying on

In that dream there was something about us sitting at a table and the waiter brought over a carton with all different kinds of milk. He went around the table asking what people wanted to drink. I said that I wanted plantaardige melk which of course is Flemish. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying – for some reason he thought that I’d said “Scottish milk” at first and was going on about how milk was milk. When he suddenly realised what I’d said he said that that kind of stuff was disgusting. I said that it makes no difference. He asked me what kind of milk I want and that’s what I want.

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I had my big Opel Senator and I was down the lanes between Shavington and Weston. It wouldn’t start for some unknown reason so I rolled it but it slipped out of my hands and rolled off down the road and disappeared into the hedge. I ran after it but when I reached where I thought that it had rolled into the hedge it wasn’t there. I had a look all the way along the hedge in the area for probably an hour but I couldn’t see it at all. It was quite dark and everything. I wasn’t making very much headway at all so in the end I ran back home to round up my mother and brothers and sisters to come and help me look.They wouldn’t come and my mother said that she had better things to do. I wondered what could be better than giving me a hand for half an hour in an emergency but she didn’t say anything. In the end I went to fetch my motorbike and go to look for my car. The motorbike hadn’t run for ages so I had to start it with fresh petrol from a ladle. As I was going away from the house my mother was upstairs. She opened the door and made some kind of disparaging comment to me so I tuned to her and let loose a volley of rather offensive abuse. She asked “what do you mean by calling me that?”. I replied “don’t worry. If Mrs Chesters (our neighbour in Shavington) hadn’t been at her window I would have called you something else as well. I started my motorbike and rode it up towards Weston but then I realised that I hadn’t a clue how much petrol was in it. I thought that if I run out of petrol now on the motorbike I’d be in a real pickle. I reached Dodd’s Bank and took the new road around the corner where I met someone from the Welsh football supporters who had just moved into Shavington. We said hello and one or two things. A little further on I met someone else. We mentioned this guy who I’d just seen but I couldn’t stop to talk. I had to go off down the lanes and start to look for my car again before someone found it and had it towed away. Then I’d have no idea what would become of it.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Finally I’d gone to Blackpool in Caliburn. I was driving down the road into town when there were these red flashing lights so I stopped. Caliburn rolled a little so I put on the handbrake. Suddenly I noticed that I was on tramlines and a tram was coming so I had to reverse a little. The tram passed so close to Caliburn that it shook the vehicle. Someone said “that’s close” and someone else replied “when you’ve had your vehicle a long time you know its exact length”. I drove into Blackpool and found a place to park, went and brought some sticks of rock for my family and friends then went off for a wander around. I’m not sure what happened next after that but I ended up in a house in London. The ground floor of it was a flat where someone who lived had gone to live in the Auvergne or somewhere similar, emigrated. The flat was dark and not in very good condition. There was a lot of furniture about. I was with this person’s daughter. We were talking about the flat and a neighbour was there talking about the rock that I’d bought in Blackpool. After the neighbour had left I was looking around thinking “how on earth did they fit all of the furniture that they have taken to the Auvergne in here? It looks cluttered in the Auvergne. Here with all of the stuff that’s left there wouldn’t have been room for any of it”. The girl replied “yes I was wondering that”. When we looked at the condition of some of the furniture and condition of the flat I couldn’t understand why they wanted all of their stuff in the Auvergne to be treated like Royalty. It certainly wasn’t the case here in Blackpool. Her father lived somewhere in the neighbourhood before he was married but her mother had lived in the flat in the basement of this building. She asked me if I would like to go to see it. I said “yes, but is it vacant?”. She replied “no, there are people living in there “. I asked “do they mind?”. She replied “I told them that there was someone coming to look at the bed that they have for sale so you can go in and have a look around”.

cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So as Cap Lihou goes sailing past the end of the headland, I’m wondering why it is that the last few nights have been so animated.

Some nights have been positively peaceful with nothing going on at all whereas others have been non-stop from start to finish. I’m intrigued to see whether it’s something to do with the full moon, the state of the tide or the conjunction of the planets

And I shall refrain from making any remark at all about Uranus.

But seriously, just why oh why do members of my family keep sticking their oars in?

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’ve no real objection to Nerina wandering around with me in the depths of night. After all, regardless of anything else I did actually invite her to share my life for better or for worse. But even so, she’s not been around for a while.

As for my family, I fled across the sea in order to leave them far behind me yet they keep on creeping into my night-time activities. Whatever happened to Castor, TOTGA and Zero? And the Vanilla Queen? And Percy Penguin? It’s rather sad when I can’t actually choose my own companions but have to make do with people whom I kicked out of my life 30 years ago?

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication and so on I sat down to work on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today. It took me about 4 hours to complete it which, although not particularly fast, was still faster than a few of them have been of late.

While I was listening to it afterwards, I had several tasks to perform.

Firstly I had to send to the owners of this building a copy of my home insurance. And that’s not as easy as it might have been because the way that my French bank’s website and client page is configured, you have to be something of a detective and a mind-reader to track it down.

The next problem was much more complicated.

Someone whom I know had imported into Europe from Canada a vehicle that is not sold over here. And now they need some parts for it. Do I know anyone?

As it happens, my niece’s husband is in the motor trade so after contacting the “client” and obtaining all of the details about the car and its VIN I’ve been liaising with “Canada” about sourcing the parts, arranging shipping, dealing with issues like payment and so on.

Luckily one daughter of my niece works for one of Canada’s largest transport companies so this might actually happen, but it’s not easy and it’s not straightforward.

Once I’d finished with all of that (for now) I had a go at my mailbox. You have no idea how many mails there are in there that arrived while I was away. And I reckon that about 80% of them are junk. I’d had a quick scan through over the weekend and replied to the ones that seemed to be urgent so if you are still awaiting a reply from me, let me know.

As a result of the foregoing I ended up rather later than usual going for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach

And as you might expect, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon, and the water was heaving with people.

That’s no surprise because I think that it’s just about the warmest day of the year today. I’ve had all of the windows open in my apartment and doors propped open in order to have a nice through draught of cool air

The holiday season is really in full swing right now and it’ll be like this until the beginning of September. I hope that they fix the barrier on our private car park.

The next couple of photos are pretty miserable but what is important about them is not so evident at first.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The sky was really clear today and you could see for miles, right out as far as St Helier on Jersey, which you could see with the naked eye.

But there was a weird effect of haze going on out there that was obscuring part of the island several feet above sea level. I could see the island itself quite clearly, except for the part that had disappeared in the mist.

What was interesting about that is that the tower that we can see from here is quite clear just to the left of centre in the photo but it’s part of the island that is right behind it that is lost in the haze. And that’s weird. I would have expected to have not seen the tower either

It’s a phenomenon about which I know very little.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was quite clear with the naked eye was the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

According to my calculations, that’s about 70 kms away from here so it’s not every day that we can see it, even with the 70-300mm LENS. Only 14 times in the last 12 months in fact, one of which was exactly a year ago today.

It’s a really good idea to have an indexable and searchable on-line journal.

So fighting the crowds that were milling around here, I wandered off across the car park down to the end of the headland. But today we have no fishermen on the rocks and no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

l'omerta gerlean yann frederic la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Nothing new at the chantier naval today but it looks as if we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again. L’Omerta and Gerlean were actually moored there together at the fish processing plant.

There were several other boats moored there too. One of the lighters that chugs around the port and also a couple of trawlers – Yann Frederic and over there on the right, La Bavolette II.

There were other trawlers that were on their way into port as well. We saw a couple of them earlier and there were a few more out in the bay heading our way, but I wasn’t going to wait around.

windsurfers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Meantime, my attention was diverted elsewhere.

A little earlier we had seen some yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay but there is also a windsurfing school too, by the looks of things. They seem to have plenty of clients this afternoon, with several zodiacs standing by for when someone falls in

They seem to have erected some kind of barrage of small boats out there too, presumably to stop people going beyond a certain area, but the surfers will know al about it if the wind takes them headlong into the boats.

And from there I headed off home.

hang gliders baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were crowds of people back at the wall overlooking the beach again so I wondered what was happening.

As I watched, a couple of hang-gliders took off from the field next to the cemetery so I waited for them to come my way. But in fact, they just stayed around there and didn’t go far at all.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a good session on the guitar. And that reminded me that I’d still left the bass in Caliburn so I went down there to rescue it and bring it back up here with the Roland bass cube.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on this music song-book. You never know when it might come in useful.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and it was actually quite delicious. One of my better attempts, I reckon.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh conversation class on Zoom. I have to keep in practice. And I need to hunt down a summer school as I did last year. I had plenty of success with that

So I hope that I’ll have a good sleep tonight – and I also hope that one of my preferred companions will come with me for a good roam around tonight instead of the ones who have accompanied me just recently.

Sunday 29th May 2022 – DESPITE IT BEING …

… a Sunday today, I’ve actually been rather busy. And it’s not like me on a Sunday, is it?

It actually started off like any Sunday ought to have started, by having a nice lie-in. And to a reasonable time as well. None of your middays or anything like that but I was wide awake at 10:05 and by 10:30 I was actually up and about. I’m quite happy about that.

After the medication I started to hunt down the paperwork that I need to complete my tax return. Luckily, the banks have organised themselves correctly and a search on their sites reveals something called “fiscality declarations”. It’s just a case of downloading them and then printing them off.

For a change, I can actually find my pension certificate from Belgium. Last year, my Belgian old-age pension totalled €403:58. Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Unfortunately, there’s a slight problem with my pension from the EU. I need a declaration from them about the tax-free status of my pension from them but as you might expect, their web site is down at the moment.

When I had a look a couple of days ago, the EU’s website was OK but the web site of one of the banks was down. It looks as if they are all taking it in turns to confound everyone and make our tax returns late.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in the army. A group of us had to go and investigate a chimney from the inside. The vertical transition up and down was easy enough but going from side to side, horizontal transition, was difficult. I had to go first. People were keeping a close eye on what I was doing. I had to call back every couple of minutes to explain the procedure. It was quite complicated to try to move horizontally in this chimney rather than vertically so everyone was keeping close tabs on me. They were pretty impressed with my progress. Someone was telling me about the cables he’d used when he was doing it. He’d plug the electricity cables into a house’s socket but for some unknown reason that had caused certain problems and the light only worked at certain times

And then I’d been away on holiday for several weeks and had taken a whole ton of stuff with me. When I came back to the office and my car I had it all in the office with me ready to move down to the car park. Someone reminded me about a book that he’d lent me. I didn’t remember actually taking it with me. I thought that it must be at home so I went to explain to him. He started to talk to me but then went off to talk to someone else. This happened two or three times. In the end I was fed up of waiting. I went back and started to search through everything that I’d taken with me. I couldn’t find anything there that related to this book at all. There were all sorts of things like 7-inch records, tons of paperwork, all kinds of stuff. Then I thought about how I was going to take all this home. From my office to the car was quite a trek. I’d have to do about a dozen trips to move all this. I thought that I could stick it all in my storage locker and take it home bit by bit over the period of the next few days. I went off to look for a trolley to load it all on so I could take it all round to my storage locker but it was strange that I couldn’t find that book in all this stuff that I had with me. This guy only seemed to be interested in making a scene about his book rather than making genuine enquiries about where it is and what had happened to it.

And then I was also having a laugh at the daughter of my friend Erika in Atlanta, Georgia, who is just 10 years old. According to Erika’s social network, Harper was going over to a friend’s house a few buildings away.
Erika: “Ok, what do we do if someone tries to grab you?”
Harper: “Kick him in the balls and yell ‘FIRE’!”
Erika: “Ha, right, but that’s not a good word, it’s ‘testicles’.”
Harper: “Ok, kick him in the balls and yell ‘TESTICLES’!”
Erika: “You know…that might work too.”.

Kids of that age are wonderful, aren’t they?

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

There was plenty of sun this afternoon but the strong winds that we had earlier in the year are now back again. For that reason I wasn’t expecting to see too many people out there this afternoon.

And I was right as well. The wind seems to be keeping them all indoors this afternoon. Everywhere was quite deserted, even the car parks up here. It wasn’t like yesterday at all when you could hardly move around down there because of the crowds.

Nobody up in the air either. I would have expected to have seen a few Birdmen of Alcatraz out and about in this weather.

yachts ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022What else I would have expected to have seen would have been fleets of boats out there just offshore having a good run around on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

However it looks as if everyone has now gone back to Paris now that the long weekend is over. There wasn’t anything at all just offshore. All that I could see was right out at the Ile de Chausey where there was a handful of yachts milling around this afternoon.

No speedboats, no cabin cruisers, no fishermen. “No shipwrecks and nobody drownding. In fact, nothing to laugh at at all” as the old song goes.

And so I headed off slowly down the path towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that can be said about the day today was that visibility was amongst the best that we have had for a while.

The other day I showed you a photo of St Helier but I can do even better than that today. Even with the naked eye I could see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel this afternoon and considering that that’s about 70kms away, that’s quite impressive.

One of these days I really will post those photos of the Cap Fréhel lighthouse that I took when we sailed down that way on Spirit of Conrad two years ago. I haven’t forgotten but like most things these days, I never seem to have the time to do anything.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday while we were out for our afternoon walk we were overflown by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

Today, someone else has had his chopper out. We were overflown by yet another helicopter as we walked across the lawn at the end of the path.

And this is a helicopter that I don’t recognise. I’m not sure whether or not we have seen it before and unfortunately from this distance I can’t read the registration number that it painted on her tail boom so I’ve no idea who she is.

All of the arrivals at the airfield this afternoon are aeroplanes whom we know for one reason or another so it’s not likely that she went in to land there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With no-one in my way and no cars to knock me over on the car park I had a safe passage down to the end of the headland this afternoon.

And as usual, we had a few people sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban admiring the view.

Not that there was much view to admire this afternoon because there wasn’t a single boat out there in the bay this afternoon. I’ve no idea where they have all gone today, unless they have all gone home.

But there are still five weeks to go before the schools break up for summer and then we’ll know all about tourism and no mistake.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little earlier I mentioned the really good view that we were having this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent view of Cancale, away across the bay in Brittany so it seemed to be the right moment to deal with that.

We were actually there five years ago and didn’t take a single photo because we couldn’t find a place to park. And then we were there with Spirit of Conrad but we never stepped ashore.

Why I was there 5 years ago was that I was looking for a hotel for the night and one came up that was 18 kilometres away “in Cancale” so I booked it. Of course, as I was to find out later, that’s 18 kms as the crow flies and I ended up driving almost 90 kms around the bay to reach the hotel

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We had a few more fishermen out there on the rocks this afternoon.

Not engaged in the peche à pied but using a rod and line like the guy was using the other day when we saw him pull a fish out of the water. These three here didn’t have the same amount of success though but then again, I don’t think that anyone was actually expecting them to.

Mind you, one of them did have a bucket so I suppose that he was having certain expectations.

And who knows? Maybe I might have seen him catch something had I waited around long enough but I had places to go, things to do, people to see etc.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Before I head for home, I had to take a photo of the latest arrival at the chantier naval.

It’s not exactly what I would call a serious piece of maritime equipment and I’m sure that they don’t need the services of the chantier naval to do what needs to be done to it, but as Marechal MacMahon once famously, said, “j’y suis – j’y reste”.

Back here I made a coffee and started work again as I had plenty of things to do. Firstly, I had some home-made bread to make seeing as I had run out. And so I mixed up a big batch of dough and left it to proof for a while.

Before I’d gone out I’d taken the last load of dough out of the freezer and by know that had defrosted so I kneaded it, rolled it out and then pout it on the pizza tray.

By now the bread was ready for its second kneading so I dealt with that and then came in here for a bash on the guitar for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on the bread went into the oven and while it was baking I assembled the pizza and that went into the oven when the bread was cooked.

And here are the finished products. The pizza was quite delicious as usual – much as it pains me to say it, going back to commercial bleached flour was the right decision – and I’ll tell you about the bread at lunchtime tomorrow.

But right now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare. High time that I organised myself better than I am doing. I’m never going to make any progress if I don’t.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Sunday 26th December 2021 – IT REALLY IS …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021 … unbelievable, isn’t it?

Look at all of the crowds here walking along the path between the College Malraux and the Pointe du Roc. Hordes of them, and not even one single face mask to be seen.

Yesterday we had almost 105,000 cases of infection here in France and much of it is heading our way on the holiday trains that I saw at Gare Montparnasse at the weekend.

As well as that, there’s a Prefectorial Arrêt ordering the wearing of facemasks in public in the Manche, and no-one (except me) taking any notice whatsoever of it all.

If they all catch Covid, it will be no surprise, and won’t the World be a much better place when these people are no longer on it? Serve them all right, the lot of them.

But in much more interesting news, while I’m typing out these notes, I’m letting my evening meal cook itself. And in news that will come as a complete surprise to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall that Sunday night is pizza night, I’m not having a pizza.

Yes, as it’s Boxing Day, I’m cooking another Christmas meal.

With it also being Boxing Day, I had a nice lie-in this morning. All the way up to 10:30 which was really pleasant. I could do with a few more of these although I doubt that I will have any more for a while.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and sent out a few replies to messages that I had received over the last day or so. And then, I had a relaxing morning doing next-to-nothing except sorting out this old hard drive. Another 2.3GB of duplicate data has bitten the dust and there’s still more to go. It’s hard to think that my first home computer back in the 1980s worked on 2x 5.25″ floppy drives of 256kb each and at a push I could make it work on just one.

There was a ‘phone call immediately after 12:00 – someone is well-aware of my habits. A friend of mine is writing a book and needs a letter writing in English to a “witness”. It’s an extremely complicated and crucial letter so he’s asked me if I could write it for him.

Not a problem – after all, he’s helped me out on numerous occasions, so he’s going to come round tomorrow at 17:00 for me to do it.

The work is piling up, isn’t it?

After my Christmas brunch of beans, sausage, potato fritters, toast with mushroom pâté, I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow (yes, I’m still working). And to my surprise, the joints went together perfectly – they couldn’t have been better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, especially after yesterday when I didn’t go out at all.

What was disappointing was that there wasn’t anyone down there on the beach at all. I must have missed the mad stampede into the sea down at Donville-les-Bains this afternoon.

No-one down on the beach here either, although over there we can see plenty of people walking around on the path underneath the city wall and over on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So with absolutely nothing whatever going on out at sea, I turned my attention to the Ile de Chausey.

There was something of a sea mist over there in the direction of the Ile de Chausey so we couldn’t see it as clearly as we have done just recently. It was all hidden in some kind of light blue haze.

But even more interestingly, there weren’t any boats at all out there at sea this afternoon. I would have expected there to have been quite a few out there right now as people sail off their Christmas pudding. I’ve no idea where they all are.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A little earlier I showed you the photo of the crowds of people milling round on the path.

While I was up there on top of the bunker I had a good look around in the other direction down the coast.

The view was much clearer in that direction and even with the naked eye I could just about make out the lighthouse at the Cap Fréhel 70 kilometres away. The camera lens didn’t bring it out very much better than I could see with the naked eye, unfortunately.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that I noticed while I was up there on top of the bunker was the sunset over the Brittany coast.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of the things that I like about going out for my walk at this time of afternoon at this time of year is the magnificent sunsets that we can sometimes have.

This afternoon there was another TORA TORA TORA effect with the rays of the sun streaming down through the small gaps in the clouds over there.

The nice round circle in the centre of the bay was most impressive.

cabanon vauban people at bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sunset.

It’s been a few days since we’ve seen people down by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland but today with all of the crowds milling around on the paths I was expecting to see some people down there this afternoon.

Sure enough, we have four people down there right now. Not actually admiring the sunset but talking to each other with their backs to the view. But I imagine that they will be turning round in a moment or two to see the beautiful sight behind them.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while there was nothing whatever going on out at sea, we had a few things going on up above in the sky.

The usual sounds of machines in the air told me that there was something heading my way.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to see its registration number but it doesn’t resemble any of the larger aeroplanes that loiter around at the airfield.

It’s probably one of the light aircraft there that isn’t registered on the main database and doesn’t file a flight plan.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The light aeroplane wasn’t alone either.

Following it very closely was one of our regular visitors – the red autogyro. It was following the aeroplane so closely that I imagined that they had been out together for a lap around the bay.

My lap around the headland was coming to a close as well so I set off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening down there.

l'omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021L’Ormerta was back in town today.

She was moored over by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt seeing as the tide has gone out. There is a whole pile of fish baskets just above it on the quayside so it looks as if she is in the course of being made ready to go to sea.

At the chantier naval the portable boat lift was back in its position over the dock. The yard was still fenced off, however and there was no boat in there awaiting repair. I imagine that it will be getting back under way after the New Year.

articulated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And talking about the fishing boats being made ready to go out to sea, there was an articulated refrigeration lorry pulling up at the fish processing plant.

It looks as if they will be expecting a decent crop of seafood when the boats come back from their next trip out.

My trip out was drawing to a close so I headed back home. I’d put the coffee machine on the go before I went out and the coffee should now be nice and hot.

Back here I made a couple of ‘phone calls to wish a friend the season’s greetings but she was out which was a shame. I’m not having a great deal of luck just recently.

Tea was delicious as usual. But I have so many vegetables left over – leeks and sprouts – that tomorrow I’m going to have a blanching session followed by a freezing session.

And whatever else happens, I mustn’t forget last night’s voyages. They are really quite important. And there were plenty of them too. It must have been a restless night.

I started off in hospital. It was actually my old Grammar School building but it was a hospital. I was walking there. As I was walking through a ward of a corridor there was someone there who was not a medical staff but opened a door and pushed a rat into the room. Someone inside said “you’re cheating! This isn’t a minute!”. I chased him off and asked matron what was happening. She replied “he’s not a medical staff. He’s a friend of mine. I have a personal pet project that I’m following up”. I said “it doesn’t look very good to me”. There were some other kinds of slithering animals etc that were being introduced into this hospital for one reason or another that made me most uneasy. Outside there were a few kids messing around. Girls probably mid-teens. One of them started to talk about a Beatles song, Savoy Truffle. She asked whether something was in the song and I said that it was. She threw me something like a very small but heavy frisbee. I caught it and threw it back to her. She asked me about something else. I said “yes” so she threw it again. This went on for a couple of minutes. Then a couple of other girls who had been watching came down and it was as if they had put me in the middle, like a kid’s game to catch this thing as they were throwing it between themselves. Of course I caught it. One of the girls had a kind of wrestling match with me to to try to wrestle it from me.

Later on I was driving a lorry up to Scotland last night. I had a box with me that I had to bury, the ashes of one of my cats. I dropped off the cars that were on the back of this lorry, drove out of the yard and stopped at the side of the road to make sure that all of the straps were secure and weren’t going to fall off as I drove home. There, it was a lot of wasteland so I started to look around to find a place to bury this box with this cat’s ashes. A couple of little kids came round to see what I was doing. I explained it to them. In the end we found a few cemeteries where you could bury ashes but there were lots of people round there. I didn’t have a spade. In the end I thought that I would just throw it in a ditch on this wasteland. I thought that I could drop it in my old rucksack and leave that there. I wasn’t very happy but that was the only solution. I Went to the bottom of the rucksack and pulled out a few things that I’d overlooked and put the box in there ready to discard. Then I had another thought. I kept on having all these different thoughts of course but every time I tried something I ended up with some kind of problem so I would think of something else. That would create a problem as well

And then I was back on the taxis last night. After I’d sold it we were going through the paperwork. The boy who lived down Coleridge Way, we found some papers of his. I was back out again driving, sometimes in France, sometimes in the UK, enjoying things much better in France than the UK. Then I had to go to the station in Sandbach so I was driving down the A530 and came to the roundabout at the end of Bradwell Road. The car skidded at the roundabout, mounted the pavement, went through a pile of snow, missed a lorry and ended up facing the correct way down the correct street. Everyone gave a round of applause for that so I got out and bowed to everyone. I got into a different vehicle and started to drive back up there. I can’t remember now what happened after that.

While I was asleep in the middle of one of my voyages someone came past, banged on the door and shouted “alarm call for Madame -” (and said a Russian girl’s name). I wondered what she was doing sleeping in my room

Later on there was some kind of workmen’s or youth hostel where I was staying. There were dozens of people staying there but I always seemed to be pushed out on the margins for everything. I remember we would have our meal and then be in this series of common rooms and I would always end up being on my own. When the meal was finished there was this huge bowl of water that needed to be taken out and emptied and for some reason or other I would always do it. They would probably have to open the door for me while I took it out. There would be people hanging around the sink etc. I’d tip the water in down the sink. Gradually after I’d been there a few days I discovered the snacks, where they kept the fruit salad, where they kept the soya dessert. Gradually, wandering around I came to where they kept the fruit so things weren’t going to be too bad. The people there from all places and all nationalities but it seemed that everyone was speaking English which I thought was a shame. Then I thought that I would have to look for a couple of books, something like “500 Words You Never Knew In France”, that kind of thing and make more of an effort to improve my foreign languages.

There was more than that too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Having done all of that, which totally exhausted me, now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m preparing a radio programme. It’s later than I would like right now so it’ll be a struggle to leave my bed. But we’ll manage somehow, won’t we?.

Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further along down at the beach at the Plat Gousset there were even more people.

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 12th August 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here, sailing around the bay was Marité

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch this space.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, read on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 9th July 2021 – NOT VERY MUCH …

… to say about today right now because I’ve been out this evening.

Yes, me socialising! Whatever next? But I had an invitation from a neighbour to go for a soirée. I only intended to stay for half an hour but then I noticed the time – 21:00 and I’d been there for two and a half hours. I thought that I’d better go home. I can amend these notes tomorrow because I’m not going shopping.

Not with having to leave for Leuven on Tuesday. I’ll make do with what’s lying around in the house.

And after all of this whining and moaning that I’ve been doing just recently, I thought that I was going to have a really good day today.

When the alarm went off I leapt to my feet (and I did too!) and went off for my medication. And while I was at it I went through the medication that I need to take with me to Leuven and a few other things that accompany me. I recall that I’d run out of ice cube bags, not that I’ll need them in this weather. I’ll just scrape it off the puddles outside

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone. There was something from yesterday so I did that, and THAT’S NOW ON LINE. and then I went and had a listen to last night’s wanderings around. I was with a boy from school last night and we were in a pub. He was asking me about any map that I had because he was going to go out on his bike on a few country roads. The only map that I had in my possession was a map for the whole of the British Isles which he said was no use so I suggested that we go back to my house to download one. That sounded like a good idea so off we went. When we arrived we changed into al all-maroon strip. Then I went downstairs and we had to manhandle my computer downstairs which was not easy. He was passing it down to me, then a voice from upstairs, which was my brother’s, asked me what’s going on. I replied “nothing much – I’ve just come back” saying today that really this is the first time that I’ve come back for about 8 hours and the story finished there – there was a lot more to it than this … I fell asleep here …

As I explained a while back, I’m always asleep when I dictate where I’ve been. But I usually manage to switch off the dictaphone and put it back on top of the unit by the bed when I’ve finished what I have to say. 20-odd years of doing this has taught me a lot.

But just recently these days, more and more often, I find that I’m drifting back off before I’ve finished what I want to say and the dictaphone goes on for hours recording the sound of my snoring.

Having done all of that I made a start on the photos from Greenland in 2019, but with an endless, remorseless stream of interruptions. The most important was the visit of the postie with another couple of boxes of my Amazon order, including the two new hard drives for the computer.

There’s also a bag for the portable computer. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, with me not feeling so well, I’m going back to taking a rolling suitcase with me to Belgium instead of my backpack. A nice big shoulder bag for the computer will be just the job

After a very late lunch I spent a couple of hours just doing things for pleasure, something that I don’t do often enough, and then I went for my walk. And now that I’ve uploaded all of the photos and edited them, I can post them on here.

people leaving beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the first thing that you’ll notice are the crowds of people deserting the beach and heading for the steps back up to the street.

Obviously, I have to go to see what’s going on down on the beach this afternoon so I wander off across the car park and down to the end where I can look over the wall.

And while it’s probably incorrect to say that there are “crowds of people” deserting the beach, it’s true to say that everyone down there is leaving.

And that’s not very many people at all, and that’s no surprise because we’re back in winter and there’s no-one swimming today.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at the end of the car park I could also look out to sea to see what’s happening over there this afternoon.

Here in the Baie de Granville, it’s home-time for the fishing boats as the tide is now coming in. Here’s a trawler heading back to port after a day’s work out in the bay, coming sailing, steaming or dieseling in past the Iles de Chausey

Stuck up on a rock out there on the right of the photo is another one of these lights similar to Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour here in Granville, and I’ll tell you its name when I’ve finished my Spirit of Conrad notes.

And the height of the column on which the light is situated tells you the height of the tide here in the Baie de Granville.

trawlers and yacht returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just that trawler that’s heading back to port right now. There’s a veritable stampede of vessels heading in that general direction.

In this photo we can see three fishing vessels that have finished work in the Baie de Granville for the day and are heading back to port. But in the lead right now, although I suspect that it won’t be for long, is a yacht presumably heading for the Port de Plaisance where the pleasure boats moor up.

In the background we can see the Brittany coast. The day might be heavy, overcast and about 9/10ths cloud, but visibility is quite excellent today and even Jersey in the Channel Islands was quite clear this afternoon.

ship heading to st malo lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo clear was the view this afternoon that I could see for miles. And out to sea off the entrance to St Malo was a boat that didn’t have the profile of a traditional fishing boat.

With the 70-300mm LENS fitted to the NIKON D500 I took a photo of it with the intention of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can do these days despite modern terrorist rules) to see what i’d caught.

And sure enough, it does seem to be a small freighter heading into St Malo about 35-40 kilometres away from here. And a couple of hours after I’d taken this photo, a small chemical tanker called Tatlisu docked in St Malo harbour.

In the background of this photo the Brittany coast is even clearer than the previous one, thanks to photo enhancement, and on the extreme right of the image we can see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres away.

boy finishing fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just the fishing boats that are heading back home right now either. This guy down here looks as if he’s had enough.

After I’d exhausted the possibilities of the sea I walked down the path, across the car park and down to the end of the rocks. The guy was fishing from a rock out there but as I approached he hauled in his line and began to scramble away over the rocks.

What interested me about this is that he didn’t have any equipment, like a net to haul in his catch or a bag to take it away once he’d caught it. It’s almost as if he was expecting to catch nothing. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have yet to see anyone actually catch a fish with a rod and line.

fishing boats coming in to unload port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome of the boats with the shallowest draught have already made it home and into the harbour.

So having dealt with our fisherman I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what they are up to.

As I mentioned yesterday, they did a good job of excavating that little channel at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant because even though there are plenty of craft still grounded out on the silt, that channel is filling up quite rapidly with water as the tide is coming in, and the smaller boats can come in to unload.

And I wonder if the yellow and white one is the same yellow and white fishing boat that we saw in the chantier naval a couple of months ago.

l'alize 3 black pearl trawlers chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of the chantier naval“well, one of us is” – ed … I had to cast my eyes in that direction to see what was going on there.

And we’ve had a change of occupancy in there today by the looks of things. We still have Rebelle the yacht and three trawlers, but while L’Alize 3 and Black Pearl are still there, Philcathane who was in there between them has now disappeared back into the water.

Instead, another trawler has appeared to the right of Black Pearl. Unfortunately I can’t read her name from up here, so I see that I shall have to go for another walk around the harbour sometime over the weekend.

Not right now though. I’m going back home for a nice hot coffee.

Back here I made another start on my trip on board the Spirit of Conrad and I really thought that, after all of the complaining that I’ve done just recently I was going to hold out until bedtime. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I crashed out for an hour.

At least I managed the practice on the bass before I went socialising and that always makes me feel better I suppose.

Having spent much longer than I intended round at my neighbour’s, I’m back in the land of the living and now I’m going to have an early night. I updated the post the following morning instead of going shopping.

Monday 12th April 2021 – I WAS NOT …

… alone this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out this afternoon I was overflown yet again.

Whenever we’ve had clear days in the past it’s been aircraft, whether main-line stuff flying at impressive altitudes over my head or else it’s been light aircraft, autogyros and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who, incidentally, we haven’t seen for quite a while) going past at head height.

But none of that today. It was the local bird of prey, whatever species he (or she) might be, buzzing around over my head looking for food, and then swooping down to the ground to capture something, all of which takes place a darn sight quicker than I can follow it with my camera.

fishing boats brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was different this afternoon was the situation in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve been down there on the path to the end of the headland to look out across to the Brittany coast to see what was happening and, as Bob Dylan once famously sang on THE BASEMENT TAPES there was “too much of nothing”.

But today was rather different. We had the fleet of local inshore fishing boats out there in the bay doing what they are good at. There was probably about half a dozen of them all told presumably setting their traps and the like.

They rotate from one fishing area to another and it looks as if today is the turn of the inshore waters to receive their attention.

My attention this morning was focused hauling myself out of bed this morning. And seeing that I didn’t go to bed this morning until 01:30 that was rather a complicated matter. I’ve had worse mornings than this, but I can’t remember when.

First task after the medication was to deal with the radio programme on which I was going to work this morning. Having already chosen the music and paired it all off it was a simple matter of writing the text, recording it, editing it, cutting it into segments and using the segments to join together all of the pairs of songs.

Then I had to choose a closing song and write the text for it, edit that and then join it all together.

It ended up being 23 seconds over but in the speech that I write, there are all kinds of little bits that can be edited out and so weeding out 23 seconds of recorded superfluous speech is not as complicated as it might sound.

It was all done and dusted and up and running by 11:30.

That left me with plenty of time to book my transport and accommodation for my trip to Leuven next week. And while I can understand that there is only one train out of Granville per day when there’s a pandemic and movement is severely restricted, just WHY does it have to be at 05:55?

At least I’ll get into Leuven with plenty of spare time to recover from the voyage, but on the other hand it means that if there’s an issue with just one of the trains that I need to catch, I shall be well and truly up a gum tree.

After lunch (and my bread from yesterday is really delicious) I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and I’m now caught up with my plan of a minimum of 30 a day. I’m now patrolling the “south skirmish line” of last Stand Hill at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But while some might think that it’s a “south skirmish line” it look to be very much like the route of a panic -stricken flight to me. You don’t dig yourself in at the bottom of a steep ravine when the place to dig yourself in would be at the top of the slope where your adversary would have to struggle up towards you slowly and you’ve have plenty of time to fire at them to push them back.

The fact that there are so very few memorials to the Native Americans on this side of the battlefield when the whole area is littered with memorials to American soldiers tells its own story. My opinion is that the natives were firing into the backs of the fleeing soldiers rather than face-to-face in a firefight.

All of this took me up to the time for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do today was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there was plenty of beach to go at. And there were quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it. Not as many people as we have seen on occasion – no schools playing rounders or anything like that – but I would have thought that with all of the holidaymakers around right now, they would have been there.

After all, it was a pleasant, sunny day if you could find some shelter out of the wind, because once more we seem to be having a bucket-full of wind and I’m rather fed up of that right now.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as we all know, it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

There’s always going to be someone who would take advantage of it and we have one of those out here this afternoon – the yacht that’s out there somewhere between the Channel Islands and the French mainland.

At the distance that it was from here – probably about half-way across, I couldn’t make out whether it was coming or going and I know exactly how it feels after everything that I seem to be going through right now. And the whitecaps on top of some of the waves will indicate that it’s not having the best of it out there in this weather. The wind must be even stronger offshore.

unidentified ship st helier jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out at the yacht that I saw just now, I noticed something just offshore outside the harbour at St Helier so I took a photo of it to enlarge when I came back so that I cn see what it might be.

Having done that, I have to say that unfortunately, I’m still none-the-wiser. It’s big and white and my first thought was that it might be a cruise ship anchored outside the harbour. But there’s no trace of any large ship of this size anywhere in the vicinity so I’ve no idea what it might be.

But I’m impressed with the weather this afternoon because I can see St Helier so clearly this afternoon. We can even see the medieval tower that guards the entrance to St Helier harbour, never mind all of the other buildings there.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about now that the famous bird of prey flew past overhead.

It took up station, hovering around over the edge of the cliffs round about 50 yards from where I was standing. And then suddenly, as I looked it swopped off down to near the foot of the cliffs. Presumably it had seen something edible but it was so quick that I couldn’t see what it was.

At least it’s having more luck that the local fishermen.

So from there I set off along the path on top of the cliffs. The people were there on top of the bunker again clearing off the dirt and dust but I carried on past them. There weren’t too many people this afternoon to get in my way.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel once more

With the weather out to the Channel Islands being so good this afternoon, I was wondering how the view would be out along the Brittany coast. So I climbed up on top of one of the other bunkers where there’s a good view.

Once again, the lighthouse was clearly visible even with the naked eye and we could even see the headland behind the lighthouse today. It’s not every day that we can see that much of the coastline. I’ll really have to crack on and finish the notes of my trip around Central Europe so that I can get on and show you the photos of the Brittany coast that I took on board the Spirit of Conrad

Off along the path I went and then across the car park to the end of the headland.

fishing boat with nets out pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that just off the headland at the Pointe du Roc we’ve occasionally seen something that might be interpreted as a marker buoy for a lobster pot are something similar.

Seeing this boat here make me even more certain that it is a lobsterpot and its marker or something like that. If you look closely at this little boat you’ll see that it has its lines out on the starboard side so it’s possibly engaged in either lowering down or raising up a lobster pot.

However, as you can see, there are so many boats out here working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel, all over the place this afternoon.

From there I pushed off along the path towards the port.

panhard 24 2+2 rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrossing over the pedestrian crossing in the Rue du Cap Lihou I was almost squidged by a passing motorist.

But if I’m going to be run down by a passing motor vehicle, I wouldn’t mind so much it being one of these. This is a Panhard 24 2+2, one of the very last of the vehicles built by the Panhard Motor company before they closed their doors in 1967.

The Panhard 24 was the car that was designed to replace the famous Panhard 17 and was built between 1963 and 1967. It contained many features that were considered to be “luxury items” at the time such as 3-way adjustable seats, adjustable steering wheel and the like

They must be beautiful to drive but unfortunately I have never ever had the chance to find out.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was some kind of excitement going on over at the ferry terminal.

Both of the Joly France boats, the ones that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey, are over there this afternoon. The tide is well out so they are in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – situation over there.

This would seem to indicate that at the next high tide, probably later on towards the evening, they’ll be going back out to rescue the perishing wo are stranded out there right now.

We also have another fishing boat tied up over there too. It’s bewildering me why so many of them are no longer going into the inner harbour to tie up in there.

material on quayside port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path there’s a good view down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora tie up.

And have you ever seen such a large pile of freight lined up on the quayside waiting to be taken away? It’s enormous. They must be expecting one of the freighters to come in pretty soon because they wouldn’t otherwise leave all this much stuff lying around.

It’s no surprise that they are talking about buying a larger ship to deal with all of the freight. It’s quite an unexpected Brexit dividend that rather than having freight sent to and from the UK for onward trans-shipment to and from Europe, it’s sent directly to the European mainland

men inspecting harbour bed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the end of today’s excitement. either. We had some men rooting around in the outer harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had diggers out there working in the harbour dealing with the issues of installing more mooring chains. They are a long way from finishing, so I imagine that these men are either inspecting the work that has been done or else surveying it for further work.

But I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. With nothing else going on, I headed on for home and my mug of hot coffee. And I certainly needed it today because I’m still feeling quite cold.

Armed with my coffee I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was living with Nerina and we had the house at Gainsborough Road and all of the kids were living there as well. I kept on coming back from away and the place was an absolute mess so I started to tidy up the kitchen. I started to collect together all of the things for the microwave. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t use regularly so I thought that I’d take them to France so I put it on one side ad carried on emptying these boxes to see what there was in there and stacking it up. When I reached the final box it was full of water as it had been left out in the rain. There was one of my electric drills in there. I drained it off but the sound of the running water awoke Nerina as it was 02:00. It also disturbed someone walking down the side of the house so Nerina asked what was going on. I told her. She asked if I was going to take all this lot to the Cheshire Cat. I asked her what she meant and she said “to put it all in a line”. I replied “I’m not selling anything, I want to keep it all. I can keep some of it in my garage but I’ll have to find a place for the rest”. This was another dream where I had these imaginary lock-ups that I had but I couldn’t remember where they were.

Having done that, I did some Welsh revision but unfortunately I crashed out in the middle of it.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly and then I went for tea – veggie balls with steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by more of my really delicious jam roly-poly.

Now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and then I REALLY MUST deal with my Central Europe trip and finish it off. I’m fed up of it lying around like this. There’s plenty of other stuff that I need to be doing, even installing the kitchen that I bought before Christmas.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Sunday 11th April 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many people out and about on the footpath as I did this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past week the whole place has been like a ghost town as far as the general public wandering around here has gone. Today though, you couldn’t move around on the path without tripping over crowds of them out there enjoying themselves.

It must be that they are like mayflies or something – with the warm weather bringing them out in swarms. Except that the weather wasn’t all that warm. It’s probably all the holiday-makers and second home-owners bored to tears after a week going round and round in circles inside their own little holiday homes.

In my own little holiday home I had a rather late night last night, still being awake at 01:30, and so awakening at 09:05 was far too early to rise for my liking. 11:30 was much more like the right kind of time to leave my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I had been during the night. First off was a story about Britain and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Dardanelles where the outbreak of war had caught them unprepared. In the end 2 battleships had held up the British reputation and had managed to fight their way through, had beaten off encirclement and were ready to fight another day, something similar to the story of Goeben and Breslau. They’d come up with this really dramatic poem that talks about irons as in flat irons, that kind of thing but what I can’t understand is where that relates to the girl, the heroine of the story who I was in full tilt after during the earlier part of this dream that I can’t remember now, and I wish that I did.

Later on I was doing something with a friend during the night. It involved some kind of music. We were talking about the piano. I was saying that it was a bit in tune, near enough. There’s no point in doing anything to it. We carried on with what I was doing. he said “round about 17:30 could you just play something so that my mother could hear it?”. I thought to myself “me play the piano?”. Then I remembered my jazz blues course and how I’d learnt to play 12 bar blues on the piano in the key of C. That should be quite simple and I thought that I could just improvise something in the key of C like I did in my 12-bar blues course. I made a start round about 17:30, well 17:33 in fact. But I just couldn’t get to grips with the piano and the noise coming out was awful because I couldn’t seem to find any timing or rhythm. All I was trying to do was something simple and I had to do it so that his mother could hear me and the piano being played.

Just for a change I missed lunch because I was already running quite late. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went to look at the sourdough bread mix. It hadn’t risen all that much at all, which was really disappointing, but I gave it a second kneading, shaped it and put it in its mould.

Next thing was to make up another break mix, using the yeast this time. This was for a more traditional loaf with cereal bread and of course several handfuls of sunflower seeds. Once it was all mixed together, I left it to fester a while. And then I fed the sourdough and also the ginger mother solution.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside this afternoon, down on the beach there were crowds of people too.

Well, maybe not crowds but still more than the odd one or two people who we’ve seen for the last few days or so. But you can tell by the clothes that they are wearing that we aren’t actually in the height of summer right now.

It might have been something of a bright day as far as the sunlight goes, but there was a bitter piercing wind – the kind of wind that blows through your clothes and through your skin and eats its way into your bones and for mid-April, this is not the kind of weather that we ought to be having. We deserve better than this.

tractor bouchot mussel beds people on beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out down the beach at Donville les Bains, there were crowds of people out there too.

Most important of all of the people down there are the guys who look after the bouchots, the mussels that grow on strings. You can see their beds over there on the left the stakes that have been driven into the sand, and the guys with the tractor and trailer are the guys who harvest them.

Regular readers of this rubbish might have heard me mention it before … “just once or twice” – ed … that the growing of mussels on strings was serendipity – they were trying to do something else when they planted the stakes and strings. However mussels attached themselves to the strings and grew there.

Of course, with not being in the sand, they didn’t taste gritty and so became very popular. This then became something that the local fishermen began to exploit.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how about this for a view this afternoon?

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long, if we’ve ever been lucky enough to have caught a glimpse of Jersey across the English Channel, and that’s not been very often at all, it’s been some kind of hazy, misty grey mass of granite with nothing at all of any feature that we could distinguish.

But it’s nothing like that today. With some careful enhancement of part of my image, I could bring out not only the individual houses and buildings, but also some of their colours too, and we haven’t seen any of that for a considerable length of time.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the same image I cropped another section and blew that up too, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation.

In this section I’ve been able to bring out some kind of concrete ramp down to sea-level and also what might possibly be identified as some kind of tower block, something that I have never noticed before. The radio mast that we’ve seen on a few occasions is over there to the left of whatever the large building might be.

One of these days I’m going to have to hitch a ride across there on either Thora or Normandy Trader and see for myself what all of these objects are so that I can identify them the next time that I see them.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s exactly what I did when I went down the Britany coast on Spirit of Conrad for those 5 days.

That helped me identify quite a few different objects that we see every now and again down that way, like the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel. That was so clear today that we could see it with the naked eye, even thought it’s about 70 kilometres away as the crow flies. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it this clearly.

But I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed. From my viewpoint overlooking Jersey, almost 60 kilometres away, I carried on along the path, fighting my way through the crowds of people as I pushed along towards the end of the headland.

people on roof of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path, I noticed the people on top of one of the bunkers – the one of which I had a guided tour two years ago just before I broke my hand and dislocated my knee.

It looks as if they are cleaning all of the dirt, mud and weeds from off the top of it – maybe having a spring-cleaning to make it ready for the celebrations on the 8th of May. That’s a Bank Holiday here, and that means of course that I can have an extra lie-in.

But not for the moment, I pushed on down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out to sea. But there was nothing whatever of any interest for me to see.

Nothing whatever of any interest anywhere else either. No change in the chantier navale nor in the port either. As a result I wandered off back to my apartment as I had things to do.

The bread dough that I had made earlier had hardly risen which was bizarre, but nevertheless I kneaded it again and then shaped it and pit it in the bread mould that I used, and left it to fester for a wile.

In the meantime I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and when it was defrosted I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza tray that I had greased, rolling the edges back in.

While all of that was busy doing what it does, I came in and did some of the photos from August 2019. I’m now on the battlefield of the Little Big Horn, where I’m going to be for quite some time, I reckon. That was a long day and there were plenty of things to see while I was there.

When the bread had proofed for a while (but not risen much) it went into the oven that I’d heated for a few minutes. And in there it went up like a lift.

vegan pizza sourdough fruit loaf home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile it was a-doing, I assembled my pizza for tonight. For some reason, it was rather short on toppings but it actually came out quite nice nevertheless, as you can see in this photo.

No pudding today because there’s plenty of my jam roly poly left. I’ll finish that off this coming week and maybe make a rice pudding for a couple of days towards the weekend. That’ll give me some opportunity to heat up some pie and do some baked potatoes, which will be nice for a change.

Now that I’ve had my tea and written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow and I really must find some time to revise my Welsh ready for Tuesday. I also have 2 kilos of carrots to prepare and freeze so I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow.

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon out there again this afternoon.

There was so much traffic out there at sea this afternoon that you wouldn’t believe it. Out there at sea is one of the local trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister Tiberiade heading out to the fishing grounds near to the Channel Islands now that the fishing agreement has been extended, being followed by an optimistic seagull or two.

There was a smaller boat out there too, heading back to port from I don’t know where because there isn’t any land out there in that direction for her to come from.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there in the Baie de Mont St Michel they had the sailing school as well. A pile of little tiny yachts and their tutor accompanying them in his little boat.

One of the students appears to be trying to get away from the others, so good luck to him.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my ambition to be out there with them one of these days. Having been to the school last Thursday I am now in possession of the literature to enable me to apply. All I need now is 10 minutes of my time to fill in the forms. But where I’m going to find that time at the moment I really do not know.

At least I made a start in the right direction this morning. Once more I managed to leap out of bed as the first alarm was ringing.

And after I’d had my medication I forgot to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Instead, I started straight away to attack the photos from August 2019. And by the time that I was bored enough to knock off and do something else, not only had I done the arrears, I’d done today’s supply and a few of tomorrow’s too. I have to get ahead because I’m not going to be here on Saturday.

kiwi and pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I’ve been up to today is to make another supply of kefir because I’m running low on stocks.

In the fruit and veg cupboard were several rather ripe kiwis (one of which was rather too ripe to use) so I whizzed up three of them with a ripe pear or two and strained them through the sieve into the big jug. The brewing kefir followed it in and I made a new batch in the big jar for next time.

The stuff in the jug was all mixed up and then poured through the filter stack and bottled in the flip-top bottles where they will fester away for a few days and ferment until I’m ready to use them, hoping that they won’t explode under pressure.

There was also time for a bash at the arrears from Central Europe last summer and I made some headway. Not as much as I would have hoped but I had an interruption, as you will find out as you read on.

Other interruptions of course were the morning break for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit cake, my lunch, and then my walk out around the headland this afternoon.

seagull window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside the building I was greeted by one of the regulars who hangs around the neighbourhood.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have often seen the seagull out here. He perches on the windowsill of one of the apartments at the other end of the building and I’m not sure why.

But there was quite a change today. Normally he’s on the windowsill chatting to the model bird on the shelf inside but today, for some reason that I don’t know, he was standing on a different windowsill chirping away to no-one in particular. No model birds for him to talk to there.

seagull street light place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone there either.

Sitting on a lamp-post just next to the building is one of the first-year juvenile seagulls. It’s clearly not very happy about the larger one on the window sill in front of it because it’s sitting there bleating away.

Eventually it became fed up of sitting on its perch because it took off and did a few laps of the car park before settling down on the wall at the end of the car park. It’s presumably waiting for daddy (or mummy) to move off the window sill so that it can follow on to the next port of call

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we saw a yellow zodiac flitting around in the water here and there.

We haven’t seen much of her since then, up until today. But here she is, moored in the English Channel just off the Pointe du Roc with a couple of guys in it casting out a line or two into the water. It looks as if the fishing season is now underway.

It seems that sea bass is the thing that they spend so much time trying to catch around here, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually catch anything while they have been fishing. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the end of the car park, I could look over the wall now that the baby seagull has gone and see what is going on down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon with the tide being a good way in but nevertheless some people had managed to find a secluded little spot down there for a little relaxation. The little kid running towards the sea seems to be enjoying himself but the others are more content with keeping quiet and keeping warm.

Winter coats and woolly bonnets abound down there and it’s no surprise because it really was cold this afternoon and there was a bitter wind. I was certainly wrapped up in my winter coat and wished that I had remembered to put on my woolly bonnet.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I said earlier, there was an enormous amount of activity going on out at sea this afternoon.

Right out in the English Channel halfway across to Jersey I managed to pick out a yacht that was sailing on its way to St Helier. It certainly had the right kind of wind to push it along in that direction this afternoon.

And as regular readers will recall, the last time that we saw Jersey we could only just about make out the island and that was our lot. Today, the sky is a little clearer and we can actually see the individual buildings at St Helier. That’s always a good sign.

So with just one or two people walking around on the headland this afternoon, I walked off along the path to the end of the headland to see what was going on.

With the really good view across the English Channel to Jersey this afternoon I went and stood on the roof of the bunker near the end of the headland to see how things were down the Brittany coast.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the first time for quite a while, we’re able to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel down the coast 70 kilometres away. And we can see it quite clearly too, just to the right of centre in this photograph.

When I’ve finished the story of my trip around Central Europe I’ll be starting on the notes of my trip in the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast, and you’ll be able to see exactly how the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel looks from close up, because we sailed right up to it while we were out there and I was able to take some good photos of it.

Climbing down from the roof of the building I made my wy round across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there on the rocks there were a couple of fishermen having a go at fishing from off the rocks at the foot of the headland.

A little earlier we saw a couple of fishermen fishing from the yellow zodiac and I mused that the fishing season might be under way now. These two guys here would certainly lend credence to that sort of thing.

But once again, despite all of the time that I spent watching them, they didn’t catch anything either. In the end I lost interest and headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on that side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I travelled particularly far because I came to another halt half-way along the path.

sailing school trawler pleasure cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the sailing school that we had seen earlier had regrouped and they were all performing their own version of a nautical danse macabre over there in the bay.

There was another trawler leaving the port too and heading for the fishing grounds. They seem to be leaving in dribs and drabs just now rather in the mass charge en flotte as has been the usual procedure up until very recently.

There was a nice little cabin cruiser following the trawler out of the port and I wondered where he might be going this afternoon.

While I was there I had a look down into the chantier navale to se what was happening there. There was no difference down there from yesterday – the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was still in there, with some paint now missing from her hull.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile there was some excitement going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

Thora, the little Jersey freighter, is in there this afternoon and as I watched , she was being loaded up with material destined for Jersey. Sneaked in on the tide, I reckoned.

With the heavy cloud this afternoon it was impossible to see what was going on above me in the air so I headed on home airless, as you might say. And first task was to collect up all of the rubbish that was lying around and taking it to the big waste disposal bins outside. They were rather overflowing.

Rosemary had rung me up while I was out so I phoned her back. And as a result I missed finishing off my Central Europe trip, missed my guitar practice and missed my evening meal too. In the end I banged a couple of potatoes and some beans into the microwave while I was doing something else.

But now I’ve finished and I’m off to bed. I’ve crashed out twice already while I’ve been typing this and I reckon that the third time will be a good one. Tomorrow is shopping and I need a few things as well. And I have to book my travel to Leuven too for the end of the month.

And to have a go at fixing Caliburn’s door if the wind will drop. I’m going for my second vaccination on Saturday morning and entering and leaving the van is pretty much essential.

Earlier the next morning I finally managed to sort out the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in France yesterday and I was in Granville. I still had Les Guis. It was a Friday evening and I had Caliburn completely emptied out so I popped into Caliburn and headed off back to Les Guis with the aim of throwing another load of stuff in the back of the van and setting off back to Normandy. I arrived there and made a start on a couple of things. As well as that I was organising the furniture in there – the stuff that I was keeping and the stuff that I was throwing away, that kind of thing. I started to write out a note and I was doing it on a piece of wood that was an old bed base. There was a ridge where two pieces were joined and a strengthening batten and I was having to write around that. I remembered that TOTGA lived just down the road from me in France near Virlet so I arranged that I ought to go along and see her. She had this great big trailer that I had borrowed and I might need it again for removing. But in any case I wanted to go to see her. I worked out where she lived and of course it was a Saturday morning by the time I’d arrive so I wondered if maybe she’d gone shopping or something like that or should I invite her to come shopping with me or something.

This dream continued later on. I was going into a café and there were 3 girls whom Î knew in there. They shouted out “what’s this about you going for a drink with someone’s secretary?”. The girl whom we knew, it was her secretary. I remember saying something in a bit of a jokey jest type of thing and I hadn’t reckoned on her taking it seriously but apparently she had. She had written out directions of where she was going to meet. I remember her being a sweet little kid, Anoushka, and she’d written out this letter for me and where to meet so I thought that I’d better do this because it sounds interesting. The 3 girls asked me what I was actually doing down here. I said that I’d driven through the night to get to Brussels and I was sleeping in that little lodge place down near St Jacobsplein in Leuven. June Wayland said “but they’ve closed that route that you use, haven’t they?” and I was trying to think of which route she meant because I’d been coming a different way just recently. One of the things that I do remember was that a game of cricket was taking place, England v Pakistan or India or someone and the match was taking place in the conconrse of the airport – the arrivals lounge or the departure lounge. I thought that that was a strange place to have a cricket match. But they were playing there, and I was watching for a few minutes and wandered away but I could hear the commentary. It came down to the final couple of overs and at a certain point England can’t possibly lose the match now. I had to go to the bathroom from my room in this lodge and there was an Indian guy actually standing in the doorway listening to this. I couldn’t make him move. I thought that he might have seen me but he didn’t so I waited until the math finished. Then he saw me and stepped out of the way so I could leave my room. Then I suddenly realised that I ‘d forgotten my towel so I went back for it. Then I’d forgotten something else and had to go back for that. I ended up at the bathroom but there was someone already there.