Tag Archives: carolle

Sunday 11th September 2022 – WHILE THIS GUY …

kayak baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… on his kayak goes paddling by the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc, I was busy recovering from yesterday.

Far too tired to go to bed, and far too tired to do anything else after my exertions yesterday, it was rather late when I finally went to bed.

For a couple of hours I was having quite a good sleep and then all of the tossing and turning began and the rest of the night was quite disturbed.

If I had had the energy and initiative (both of which are sadly lacking these days) I could have been up and about a lot earlier than 10:45. But then again it IS Sunday and I’m entitled to have one day of lying in bed vegetating.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as the red powered hang-glider goes gliding by overhead while I was out in the Place d’Armes, I was busy taking my medication and then sitting down to start work.

And work on a Sunday? Yes! Especially when I had a day like yesterday when I didn’t write up my notes.

It took much longer than I ought to have done too, but then again with it being Sunday I wasn’t quite as dedicated as I might otherwise have been. There are always interruptions, one thing leads to another and once you make a start you’ve no idea just how many other things there are.

And this took me up to lunchtime.

It was the usual Sunday breakfast of porridge, toast and plenty of strong black coffee, and a good proportion of my porridge ended up in the bin.

Whyever that would be I have no idea. It’s not like me to leave food that I have made. I usually have a very good idea of how much food I’m able to eat and this was just a usual proportion.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While these people scramble across the rocks with their equipment for the pèche à pied, I began to deal with the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing.

Having been out all day yesterday I hadn’t paired off the music for Monday’s work and so I sat down to do it after my meal.

The joints went together really well and it sounds quite good. And I’m getting to grips with the idea of intros, and extended the one for Monday’s opening track so that there would be enough time to superimpose the introductory speech.

There was also a good lead-in for the speech from this week’s guest and that impressive as well.

And that took me up to the time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The weather was much nicer today – in fact I had the window open again – so there was a good possibility that it would bring out the crowds.

There were plenty of people down there too just as I expected. Plenty of them in the sea too “taking the waters” and that’s quite impressive. We’re approaching the start of Autumn and everything will be cooling down.

The tide was well-out this afternoon – far too far out for people at the Plat Gousset to be taking advantage of it – so it was quite quiet down at that end of the beach. No-one in the water down there unless it was in the tidal swimming pool that I can’t see from here.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And you can see just how far out the tide is right now.

We’re used to seeing the marker lights on the rocks at the end of the Ile de Chausey, but it’s rare to see them so far out of the water like this.

It makes quite a contrast from what we are used to seeing when we are looking out from here or going past on a boat.

That will explain the people that we saw just now on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc on their way out for a bit of pèche à pied .

F-GIKI Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While we were out here on the clifftop there was an aeroplane that had taken off from the airfield.

She’s F-GIKI, a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 that is owned by the Aero Club of Granville.

She was picked up on radar at 16:20 just offshore from here, flew over Mont St Michel, deep into Brittany and came back over St Malo, coming back in to land at 17:57.

My photo was timed at 16:17 (adjusted) so that’s probably about right. She must be under the radar just here.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Taking my life into my hands, I decided to restart my walks down to the end of the headland.

Fighting my way past the crowds, I came in the end to the bunker at the back of the lighthouse where there’s a good view out to sea.

The view out to sea today towards Jersey wasn’t as good as it might have meen but down the coast it was one of the best that we have had. Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye today, and even the lighthouse could be identified.

Having clambered up there to the top of the bunker I took a photo, and I’ve not enhanced it at all.

pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The view down the bay on the other side of the headland was just as good.

The Pointe de Carolles was looking quite beautiful this afternoon. The sun was catching it quite nicely and we could see the houses down there quite clearly. However they aren’t all that far away.

The hotels down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel are much farther away but even so, we can see them quite clearly this afternoon as well, in the background just to the right of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s a shame that we can’t see Mont St Michel from here – that is, not until someone decides to dynamite the headland over there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The walk down to the end of the headland was undertaken quite gingerly, sliding about on my gammy leg on the loose gravel and rough surface.

As we have already seen, there was plenty of activity down there with the kayak, the pèche-à-pied and all of the views. And so it’s no surprise that this afternoon there were a few people down there making the most of it.

There’s a woman down there hiding in the bushes but I’ve really no idea what she’s doing, and the knee of someone sunbathing too.

Plenty of people wandering around on the lower path as well enoying the lovely afternoon.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, there has been something exciting happening in the inner harbour by the looks of things.

Both od the sailing ships, Marité and Shtandart, have left the port and are out at sea. Marité must have simply gone for a lap around the bay as she did yesterday, because she came back into port at 19:51 this evening.

As for Shtandart, it’s much more difficult to keep track of her. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that she has switched off her AIS beacon and so I’m not able to find out by reference to my radar where she might be.

For all I know, she might even br back in port but it’s dark outside so I won’t be able to see anyway.

Having checked the harbour this afternoon I headed for home.

customs patrol porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And this was something that took me rather by surprise. I’m used to finding police barrages all over the place and even customs barrages. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I’ve even been caught in a few of them.

But what I don’t understand is why on earth they would want to have a customs barrage underneath the Porte St Jean. It’s not as if they are going to come across too many foreign smugglers there or people driving their cars on red diesel.

In fact the funniest moment that I ever had with a French “flying customs patrol” was back in 2002 when they took ages to set up all of their equipment to check the fuel of a lorry that I was driving, only to find out that it was in fact petrol-engined.

Back here there were the dictaphone notes to transcribe. All of them. There was Hans, Alison, Caroline and me. Caroline was in a wheelchair. We came into a building to go upstairs. Caroline went up first because she was going to bring down Aunt Mary in her wheelchair so that we could go up and visit whoever else was in her apartment. We waited and waited but nothing happened. We went upstairs to the floor, going up the stairs. The lift came back and Caroline exiited pushing the person on a wheelchair. We asked Caroline what had happened. She said that the panel had fallen down and you can’t see the buttons to press. We walked in there and a cupboard in there had fallen over blocking the entrance to the lift properly so we just stood it upright. I went to pull Caroline in and this other wheelchair. I thought that I would be blocked in here so I’d have to go down with them and back up. I stepped out. Caroline asked “how do I get in now?”. Suddenly Hans took her wheelchair, folded it up, stuck it in her hand and pushed them both inside it. Alison looked at Hans and said “I thought that you’d do well living in France”. The lift didn’t move but we were now focusing on getting to this door. Caroline would have to fend for herself to make the lift go downstairs and back up again.

Later I was in a white Ford Transit van driving from Nantwich to Crewe. As we reached Wells Green there was a vehicle in the middle of the road turning right so I passed underneath him on the left. Just as I passed him on the left a Morris Minor Traveller came the other way on my side of the road and hit all down the side of the van. Of course I stopped. Some guy came over who said that he had seen the accident. There was a girl there so he pointed me out to her. I shouted to her to come over. She was shouting some guy’s name. I went over to her and asked her why she wouldn’t come over and talk to me about the accident. She replied “no, I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it” and continued to shout this boy’s name. I said “right, let’s call the police”. I picked up my phone to dial 999 but she ran off up the road towards Nantwich. I ‘phoned the police and told them that I was involved in this accident but the driver had taken flight. They said that they’d be here in a moment.

And then we were in a hotel somewhere. There was a big business meeting taking place. I’d arrived early and was waiting maybe for Alison to show up. People stated arriving, all these upper echelons. I was amazed about how they were behaving, insisting, demanding, peremptory with the staff. One guy whom I noticed was particularly revolting with them. another guy sitting near me who was sprawled out on his chair listening to his music, someone walked past and pulled the plug out of the wall accidentally as they were going past. He was outraged and called on them to come back but they can’t have heard and just carried on walking etc. But he had put his power cable across the aisle so what did he expect? Eventually I noticed that it was approaching 16:00 and we had things to do so I decided to go upstairs which meant disturbing this guy again which wasn’t very popular. There was some stuff on the floor by the seat that I thought was mine so I went to pick it up. he made a scene about it as it was his. eventually I made sure that I had everything I need and began to set off for my room. I was really embarrassed by the behaviour of some of these people checking in at this hotel. It wasn’t a good signal for any of them.

I can’t remember very much about this one. I was with Nerina and I’d gone away early for Christmas. She was saying something along the lines of “you can tell that you’re popular when people waited until after you’d gone to bring in their Christmas gifts for each other”. I replied that that’s not true at all because people give their Christmas gifts around before they themselves go on holiday. There were a couple of people who went on holiday before me who brought in Christmas gifts for everyone including me”. That’s about all that I remember

Finally I was watching the football last night as well. Mike Wilde of Connah’s Quay Nomads took a really quick throw-in down the touchline to one of his players who beat someone and passed inside where one of his team-mates was totally unmarked. He came into goal with a on-on-one situation with the keeper. he pushed the ball past the keeper and then tripped over his own foot. The referee blew his whistle to stop the game. Everyone in the crowd could see quite clearly that there was no penalty because he really did stub his toe in the ground going round a good 3 feet from where the keeper was. We were all bewildered as to why the game had stopped.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Tonight’s pizza was one of the best that I have ever made.

And had I remembered to put the olives on it too, it would have been even better. I shall have to remember to make more like this

After breakfast i’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been defrosting all day. After my ginger beer following my walk this afternoon I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray where I left it to proof for a while.

When it was ready, I assembled it and put it in the oven to bake, and when it was completely baked it was ready to seat.

Now I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning with a radio programme to prepare. And then I have things to do. It looks as if everything is warming up again.

Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

not my cat place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Say “hello” to Not My Cat.

There’s a lengthy thread on all forms of Social Media with posts about Not My Cat. Anyone who knows anything about cats will know that they come and go as they please and finding Not My Cat in a house is a regular occurrence.

Finding Not My Cat in a block of flats is even more rare especially when, as far as I know, no-one has a cat and there’s a security door.

But I opened the door to my apartment this morning and there was Not My Cat waiting outside. Quite a young cat by the looks of things. He (or she) ran inside before I could do or say anything, did a tour of the place, found a cosy spot on the sofa, curled up and went to sleep as if he owned it.

When I stroked him he purred quite loudly and I’m sure that he could have settled down here for ever and how I would have liked that. Only the other day I was talking about having a cat around the place. But someone would be missing him somewhere.

A little later I had to go out so I picked him up to carry him out. He ran down the stairs to the front door and as I opened it he skipped off outside like a 5 year-old girl and that was that. He didn’t have any fear or anxiety about going out.

And that was that. What a shame because even though it was only for half an hour or so, I really enjoyed having Not My Cat here.

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

He’s not the first Not My Cat that I’ve had around. Back in the Auvergne there was a FERAL BLACK CAT that roamed around that adopted me during that really bad winter that we had.

Not My Cat wasn’t the only visitor that I had today, and that will explain the mad burst of energy and all of the tidying up just recently. But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was straight out of bed which is a surprise by itself and by the time that the 3rd alarm went off at 08:00 I’d had my medication showered and shaved.

When Lidl opened its door at 08:30 I’d already been outside for 5 minutes and by 09:15 I was back here.

It was an expensive shop at Lidl today but I’m not going to miss out on Bags of Brazil nuts at 40% off. And I’m certainly not going to miss out on grapes at €0:99 a kilo. We’re coming to the interesting time of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I pulled up on the car park I noticed that Marité ws out and aboout on her travels again so I went upstairs to fetch the NIKON D500.

Back down here I strolled over to the wall at the end of the headland and took a photo of her.

She was quite far out by the time that I came back down too. It was a windy morning and she had some of her sails unfurled but I bet that the diesel motor was churning away too.

Settling down with a coffee, I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I can’t remember too much about this particular voyage but we were working on a friend’s boat for some unknown reason, some kind of galleon. We needed to contact someone else about it. That other place asked us for the name of the boat and who owned it. For some unknown reason every time we tried to say his name a different name came out. They couldn’t match it with anything in their database. We must have said it 3 or 4 times and they still didn’t get it right as far as we were concerned.

A little later I was with Liz, wandering around the shops. We came to a newsagent’s where they had some brochures about camping. I had a look at a couple of them. One of them was for a company called Action Canada. The name caught my eye. I noticed that up in Labrador they had a camp site and 3 months there in June, July and August cost something like €3,000. I thought to myself “I could do this”. I picked up a brochure and showed it to Liz. When we had a look, this was a brochure for the British Isles only. I’d picked up the wrong one. I went back to try to find the one for Canada to find that where they had been, the owner had cleared out this particular range. We were scrabbling around looking for this particular brochure in stuff that was piled on the floor but we couldn’t find it. I was thinking to myself “here’s another one that has slipped away isn’t it?”.

Finally I was out with a bus-load of passengers and we were cruising around the back end of Shavington. We ended up on a dirt road. We were making comments about the dirt road etc. All of a sudden we came to a bit where they were tarmacking it. They actually had the whole road blocked off. I reached where these guys were working and asked “which way is past for me?”. He pointed to a steep bank that was probably about 1:2. he said “go down there”. I asked “are you serious?”. He replied “yes”. I thought that at the very least the front end of the coach is going to ground out on the bottom etc. I had the passengers making sure that they were sitting down and strapped in, and ever so slowly went down there and managed to bring the coach down to the bottom. We pulled away and ended up right where we ought to be in this café where we were stopping for lunch. I went in to see the girl. She was telling us that we would have to wait for a bit because we were early. I asked where was the best place to park the coach. She replied “about 1.8 kms away”. I replied “I’m not walking 1.8 kms”. Nerina who was with me said that she’d walk around the local area for a minute and look around. She was telling us about a mine shaft that was here which was why we’d come here for a coffee stop so that the people could see the mineshaft. She started to give the whole rigmarole speech. I thought “if she does this we aren’t going to have the time for the meal” so I had to somehow stop her and organise things properly. It occurred to me sometime during the night that I’d done the whole of the morning’s trip without putting on any music on the PA of the coach. I thought “that’s not like me at all to do that”.

Bang on cue at 11:00 my friends turned up. Someone whom I knew from my time in Manchester and with whom I’d kept in touch ever since, and was even best man when I married. We haven’t seen each other for eight years and so when I heard that he and his wife were passing through the area on their way down south, I invited them to call in.

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

There was so much to discuss and we were in here for a couple of hours. However the weather improved dramatically and it looked like a nice day so we decided to go for a walk around the headland.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You can see how much the weather had improved by looking at this photo of the Ile de Chausey.

With the sun being behind me the colours on the island came up much better than they notmally do in the afternoon. Perhaps I ought to go out more often in the morning.

There’s a yacht sailing around out there too but that was all the marine traffic that there was just now. Marité must be loitering around somewhere behind the island.

We couldn’t see Jersey today though. Still, I suppose that you can’t have everything.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We carried on walking along the path towards the port.

There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there was something in the iar, for the first time for several days. It’s a different autogyro than the one that we normally see. That one is yellow but this one is white and red.

It seems that this place is becoming much more popular as far as aerial travel goes, with all kinds of different planes putting in an appearance.

We went to la Rafale for a coffee and waited for a while until the crowds down in the town dispersed after the market was over, and then we went to hunt for food.

And just as you might expect, all of the restaurants had closed for the afternoon.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instead, we went for a walk around the harbour.

As we reached the Ferry terminal where we made a pit stop, we were lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the Joly France ferries from the Ile de Chausey.

This is the older one of the near-identical pair, as you can tell by her windows. There’s quite a crowd on board and they can’t have appreciated the weather that was out there in the bay this morning.

While we were there on the quayside at the fish-processing plant we saw the tractor and trailer belonging to Les Bouchots de Chausey pull up, as well as another outfit that I didn’t recognise. It looks as if the shell-fishing boats are out there working today.

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One place that I wanted to visit seeing as I was out on my travels with people who could pick me up if I fell over was the chantier naval

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a shell-fishing boat in the chantier naval that I haven’t been able to identify and I wanted to see who she might be.

We headed off that way and that enabled us to identify that it is Briscard who is in there next to Peccavi.

Hhaving ascertained that we wandered back into the town to find food. Our first choice didn’t serve meals on a Saturday evening so we ended up at the pizzeria. They also served Italian food and to my surprise it was no problem at all to rustle up a vegan meal for me.

It was quite delicious too.

bar ephemère chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home we went up the Rue des Juifs where we would look down on the boulodrome.

The Bar Ephemère, Chez Maguie, is still here and in the twilight it’s looking quite nice with all of the lights that illuminate it.

Whether it will be here there next year though is something else completely. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the residents of the building opposite have launched a petition to oppose it.

They were successful in obtaining a ban on the Big Wheel that we used to have here and that has probably given them courage. If only we had a maire and a town council who would do their job and respect the wishes of the other residents.

It’s quite true that I moan about the tourists being here, but even I realise that without them this town would be a very poor place.

old cars chevrolet covette stingray rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else that we saw on the way up was a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s been quite a while since we featured an old car in these pages. For some reason or other we don’t seem to see so many these days, so it cheered me up to see something like this just parked at the side of the road.

This is one of the third generation of Corvettes, one of the “T-top” versions, and it’s a later rather than earlier model because of the bumpers. The earlier ones had a traditional metal bumper but in 1973 it was replaced with the plastic “collision bumper”.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We stopped a little higher up for me to catch my breath, and to overlook the port.

Now that it’s going dark and all of the lights are on, it’s looking quite dramatic down there tonight. All of the lights reflecting off the water, and the lights at the town of Carolles down there underneath the Pointe de Carolles.

The ferry terminal is still lit up, although it looks as if all of the ferries are now back home. Presumably they are cleaning them out ready for work tomorrow.

Looking at this photo, I really ought to start to go out again at night like I used to.

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Back in the car park my friends prepared to leave to go back to their camp site.

We watched the sun go down while we were there but it wasn’t as spectacular as some that we have seen. It actually sunk below the horizon a while back and all that we are seeing is the reflection of the sun in the sky.

We’ve seen some good ones of those in the past. One in particular that I remember was on 21st June one night when I was in Scotland years ago when I drove my coach up to the top of a hill near Stirling in Scotland at celestial midnight and watched the night fail to go dark and the sun to rise a few hours later.

After they had left I went back in. 135% of my daily activity when I’m having major mobility issues is something of an achievement. And so I’m going to bed while I still can. I’ll probably pay for all of this tomorrow but who cares?

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Sunday 24th january 2021 – I’M NOT DOING …

… very well with this idea of getting up early, am I?

Obviously it’s Sunday so we don’t really expect all that much but nevertheless 11:30 is rather exaggerated and it doesn’t bode very well for my 04:30 start. At this rate I can see myself not bothering to go to bed and sleeping on the train on the way to Paris.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve done that either as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

So after the medication, the first thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

To my surprise, there was something on there FROM YESTERDAY so I transcribed that and added it into the entry, and then turned my attention to last night’s voyage.

And this was confusing because I was watching this action exactly as I would have done had I been watching a film – in fact it was a film although I’ve no idea as to the circumstances under which I was watching it – whether in a cinema, on TV or something like that. But it was certainly a film that, in my dream, I’d seen before.

It was something like a scene from The Great Escape or La Grande Vadrouille last night with 2 men and a woman escaping from the Germans. They ended up hiding in a forest and next morning they set out again. I remembered this film in my dreams – a film that inspired me about the Auvergne (although how I ended up in the Auvergne is nothing to do with any film at all) because the forest where they had been hiding was just like what I thought the forest in the Auvergne would be. It’s all very confusing. So they set off. The woman and a man set off together and another man walked on his own. he must have found a lift because he disappeared off the scene. The man and a woman went on walking and an old grey Albion lorry went past, one from the late 60s with an early Mandator TG4 cab actually and nothing to do with World War II, a left-hand drive one as well. Eventually they were picked up by some old woman who led them into town. They walked past a café and there sitting in the window was their friend who bore a very strong resemblance to Michel de Berg (and what’s he doing putting in an appearance here?). He left the café and followed them into the town centre. They went into a place and a fight broke out, I’m not quite sure why. The old woman was immediately suspicious of the two people whom she had brought in but anyway she went downstairs and the two people, the man and the girl whom he’d taken with her, they were already downstairs with the 3rd guy and were sitting at some tiny table tucked into the corner somewhere right by the toilet. When the girl came out of the toilet there was a whole rush of people trying to go in. The 3 people sat down and tried to order something. They had ordered a coffee but they were trying to order something to eat as well.
But somewhere along the line I remember myself with other people and I had two jars, one half-full of instant coffee and the other half-full of brown sugar. To save on the jars I suggested mixing the two together and I said that surely no-one will mind as they all take sugar in their coffee. And then I realised that I myself don’t take sugar.

There was a break in the middle of all this for a bowl of nice hot porridge, and then I didn’t do very much at all except attend to some outstanding paperwork.

There was the usual afternoon walk of course so out I went. And I rather wish that I hadn’t.

A long while ago I’d read a report on the Tay Bridge Disaster which said that the gusts of wind were so strong that men had to walk along the bridge on their hands and kneed to avoid being blown over, something that I didn’t take seriously at the time.

But having been out in the wind that was blowing this afternoon I can well believe it. I was being lifted off my feet and pushed along in any direction other than that in which I wanted to travel, so strong was the wind. I had never experienced anything like it.

That’s the reason why there were no photos from the northern side of the headland. It was just totally unsafe with a cliff edge nearby in a gale like this.

storm sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead you had to wait until I went around the south side of the headland before I could unleash the NIKON 1 J5.

You might not think that this is nothing about which to become excited but actually we are in the lee of the strongest blasts of the gale. And while the sea is only “moderately wild” it’s still impressive enough but doesn’t do justice to the actual conditions that we were experiencing.

If the wind were to shift round a few degrees and the tide were to come in any more, then we would be having some really interesting scenery down there on the harbour wall.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ll have more of an idea of what we were up against in this image here.

You can just about make out Carolles and Jullouville in the distance through the heavy clouds and the rainstorm (did I mention that it was pouring down with rain too?) but you can’t see very much further beyond there. And, of course, the farther out you go, the rougher the sea becomes as it’s out of the shelter of the headland.

It was one more haggard, drowned rat that made its way back to the apartment and the mug of hot coffee was extremely welcome. And while I was drinking it, I prepared my pizza base for tonight’s tea.

While the pizza was cooking I tidied up, backed up the computer and packed my bags. I’ve probably forgotten loads of things but that’s just too bad.

The pizza was delicious of course and then I had a shower and changed my clothes. I’m going to bed tonight fully-clothed in the hope that I can just fall out of bed and hit the road tomorrow morning. I am not looking forward to this one little bit.

Friday 13th November 2020 – AFTER EVERYTHING …

… that I wrote yesterday evening about an early night and an early start? it was … errr … 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

If you think that that is devastating, just let me say that after finishing my notes, I started on a little project of no significance, a project that I dip into every now and again, and by the time I started to feel tired enough to go to bed, it was after 04:00.

So 10:30 isn’t really all that bad, I suppose, and at least there was some work of a sort being done.

During the night I’d been on my travels again. I was going somewhere laat night on a bus or something so I had to leave my car, the mk V Cortina NMP parked up at the side of the road. I was going to be away ages so I was worried about leaving it there for so long but as the bus passed by I could see two of the guys from the taxis opening it and climbing in Obviously they needed it for things so that was OK. I ended up round at my mothers where suddenly I had some kind of panic attack – what about all my personal stuff that I’d left in the car? What was going to happen if the people at the taxis got their hands on it? But anyway I got dressed, in a pair of grey trousers that I wore when I was at Shearings. And as I pulled the belt tight, it went two notches over where it usually went which was strange. As I was setting off to visit the parents of a friend my mother shouted “make sure you ring them to tell them that you are coming. Don’t just turn up unannounced”. I thought that that would be difficult to arrange but I said nothing. However my mother said it twice so I wondered what was happening here.

My Covid friend was on line so we had a chat while I finished off what I’d been doing last night. And with the late start that took me right the way up to lunchtime. Something of a waste of a morning, really.

After lunch, fighting off the temptation to go back to sleep, I made a start on amending one of the journal entries from my voyage around Central Europe but I ran aground half-way through.

waves breaking on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was enough time however for me to go off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

The tide was well on its way in when I went out, and I noticed the effect of the waves breaking on the rocks that were there on the beach and which by now had disappeared beneath the waves near the marker light for the rocks.

They were actually submerged but only to a very minimal depth so although you couldn’t see them, you could see the waves breaking on them.

It was something that held my interest for a couple of minutes and then I pushed on, passing three or four others who were out there this afternoon.

sun in windows carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on out at sea this afternoon – no boats of any description in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But there was an exciting phenomenon occurring down the bay round by Carolles. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the sunlight reflected off the windows of St Pair sur Mer in the late afternoon earlier in the year. Of course, the sun has moved round in the sky and we now have the windows in Carolles picking up the glint of the sun.

You wouldn’t credit just how dark it’s starting to go now, even though it’s only about 16:00. Winter is going to be upon us a darn sight sooner than we think.

coelacanthe joly france waiting for gates to open port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no change in the occupants of the chantier navale. The yacht is still there, as is the vessel Ceres II

But it was interesting out in the tidal harbour though. The gates must have been on the point of opening and boats were queueing up to go into the inner harbour. Here we have one of the Joly France boats, the older of the two, and also one of the two trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister La Tiberiade.

There were a couple of other boats in the queue too, and as I watched, the harbour gates opened and the boats went steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port

le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallI came to the conclusion that the trawler that I had seen just now was Coelacanthe, and I concluded that for a very good reason too.

Moored up at the Fish Processing Plant was her sister and I could clearly see her name on the side of her superstructure. She’s Le Tiberiade, and one of these days I’ll be able to tell them apart. I’ve noticed a couple of little differences between them when they have been next to one another.

She’s busy unloading her catch right now. There’s a van with an opening cargo door that looks as if it might be taking away some of the seafood, and the tractor is busy negotiating the loading ramp with a full trailer.

coelacanthe thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there, I watched Coelacanthe pass through the gates and into the harbour.

Once inside she began to perform a little nautical danse macabre as she made for her mooring at the rear of the two Channel Island Ferries. And I noticed that Thora was still in port this afternoon. It seems that for one reason or another, she’s not benefitting from these rapid turnrounds that I’ve mentioned before.

But one thing that I did notice from the image that I couldn’t see with the naked eye is that she has steam … “diesel” – ed … up, so it does look as if she’s actually on the point of heading out to the open sea.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it all was turning out to be quite interesting in there this afternoon.

As Thora “cast off forr’ard, cast off aft” in the inner harbour, Le Tiberiade did likewise and as the one headed for the harbour gate so did the other from the other side, out of view of each other. Half expecting a “Greek meets Greek at the Hull Paragon, Valentine’s Day 1927” moment, I gripped the edge of my seat in eager anticipation.

However le Tiberiade just about made it into the harbour without a collision, Thora

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been wandering around, I’d noticed that the sea was becoming rather rough. And with the tide being well-in right now I was keen to see what was happening down at the Plat Gousset.

And it was a good move too because even with 90 minutes to go before high tide, the waves were coming in with something of a powerful force and smashing into the sea wall over there.

There weren’t very many people out there enjoying the spectacle from close to, but I imagined that they would all be out there a little bit later at high tide when they really would be treated to something of a spectacle.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I imagined that Thora would now be rounding the headland on her way out to sea, so I retraced my steps of earlier up to the viewpoint next to the College Malraux to see how she was doing.

And eventually she came a rattling around the headland into the teeth of the wind and the waves and set course for St Helier. It’s not going to be an easy ride for her in this kind of sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I keep on saying that one of these days I’ll hitch a ride on her when she has a couple of trips in rapid succession and see how she does. Luckily I’m in a good position in that I hold a British passport and a Permanent Residency Card for France so there needs to be little in the way of border controls to ease my passage.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s not going to be for a while with all of this Covid going on. No-one will be going anywhere for quite a while yet.

And so I watched Thora battle her way through the waves for a while and then headed for home.

On the way across the car park I’d seen Gribouille, the big ginger cat, sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke. And there I fell in with his owner, and learnt some pretty sad news. She’s had a couple of falls just recently, during one of which she fractured her had and it had to be stapled together. But as she doesn’t seem to be able to cope particularly now, she’s moving into sheltered accommodation

Of course, she’s taking my mate with her, but regardless of that, it’s another convivial soul from the building who is moving away. Nothing stays the same for long, and rightly so, but it’s a shame when people move away like this and break up a happy little circle.

Back here I caught up with a few notes and then went to make some kefir. This morning, I’d started on the last bottle and there was another batch brewing nicely.

The four kiwi fruits that I had bought three weeks ago were now nice and ripe so I peeled them and threw them in the whizzer, followed by a generous handful or two of grapes.

Having whizzed them around for quite a while to extract as much juice as possible and then passed it all through my network of meshes and filers into the big jug.

Having done that, I drained off the brewing kefir through a very fine-mesh filter and added it to the juice, stirring it well in, leaving an inch or two of liquid in the bottom to keep the kefir grains covered.

kiwi and grape kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeveral slices of lemon, a fig bisected and 40 grammes of sugar went into my big jar, followed by 2 litres of filtered water. That’ll brew now for a few days while I wonder where I’m going to get some figs from for the next batch after that as I’ve now run out.

The mixed kefir and juice was then strained through a mesh coffee-filter into the various flip-top bottles that I use. They’ll be put into a cool place out of direct light now to complete the second fermentation and in a couple of days they will be ready to drink.

But I made a bit of a boo-boo here. Remember the pineapple slices that I’d had the other day? I’d put the syrup on one side to use in my kefir today but I’d forgotten it. I don’t know whether it’ll keep for four or five days now.

All of that took so much time that I didn’t have my guitar practice, which was disappointing.

Instead, I ended up with some of the best taco rolls that I’ve ever made. That chick pea and couscous stuff that I used in error instead of the bulghour certainly made a difference. And my defrosted apple pie was delicious too

night rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my runs around the walls.

No-one else was out there, everywhere else was quiet, not even the Pizza van in the Place Czmbernon tonight with the lockdown. No-one down in town either.

I had a look to see if the Christmas decorations had gone up in the Rue Paul Poirier but while there is certainly something or other, and several thereof, strung up across the street, there’s nothing illuminated yet.

All of this is to come very soon, I imagine. But I’ll find out more in due course. I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow it’s shopping day, and I have to track down some figs. That’s not going to be easy because I’ll still without Caliburn so wherever I go and whatever I buy, I’ll have to carry it home and I’m not looking forward to that.

Luckily the freezer is pretty well stocked up and that should keep me going for a week or so but I really do need to organise myself better. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing right now but whatever it is, I’m doing it all wrong.

Monday 25th May 2020 – A FEW MORE …

… things to add to the pile of things that haven’t been done today. I’m not having a good start to the week.

It all went wrong right at the very beginning when the third alarm found me somewhere in Wyoming, and a very dry, dusty Wyoming at that too. I’d been in my old Opel Senator and had an accident in which it was written off and I’d had to wait around for a taxi. Eventually the one that the insurance company sent fo me tuned up – an old blue Volvo 244. On the way back (and the name Irmo – which Rhys might know – was mentioned) I mentioned how I’d be happy to settle in a place like this and I asked what taxi-driving was like around here. The driver told me with alarm “ohh don’t go settling around here” but didn’t elaborate. He told me that he might have a buyer for my car so we were talking about buying old cars and dismantling them like I used to from the abandoned car auctions in Brussels but at that point the alarm went off.

After the medication (I was up and about by 06:30) I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was something very enigmatic on there from round about 02:30. “Yes sometime during the night I dreamt that I was actually writing up my blog. Yes, it’s getting to me, isn’t it?” was what I heard when I played it back. But what it was all about I really didn’t have a clue.

Between breakfast and lunch there was a variety of things to do. First off was to send off the radio project for the forthcoming weekend. And seeing as it’s the end of the month we’re having a live concert again.

Then it was time to choose the music for the next radio project.

It’s a friend’s birthday so I had to prepare a special birthday card for her. That was quite important.

My Welsh homework needed doing too, and that involved some research and more than a little tidying up of my notes. And the questions had come in *.docx format which Open Office doesn’t read correctly – so I had to reformat that by copying the text and paginating it which took an age.

Then back to the radio project and by the time that I knocked off for lunch the tracks had been joined in pairs, I’d chosen a speech for my guest and I’d started to write the notes.

home made apple pear purée cordial granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch there was cookery to be done.

This morning I’d used the last of the purée so I made some more. It hadn’t kept as well as previously so I’ve decided to make smaller amounts more regularly. Today’s effort was apple and pear, and I remembered the cinnamon and nutmeg.

With the juice that was left over, I added some syrup to make a cordial, and we’ll see how that goes.

As well as that, there was the remaining kilo of carrots to be peeled, diced, blanched and frozen. They are in the freezer right now too.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break while I went out for my afternoon walk in the glorious sun.

There were a few people staring down at the foot of the cliff so I went along to see what there was going on. I’m not sure what it was that they were seeing, but I saw this beautiful little yacht go scudding by right under my nose.

One of my neighbours was there too – Gribouille’s mum – with her arm in plaster. She’d had a fall in the market on Saturday and broken her wrist.

She started to tell me all about it but no thanks – I don’t want to know things like that.

st helier jersey trawler english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next couple of photos look as if the quality is quite dismal too.

In several respects that’s true, but it was necessary to enhance them to bring our exactly what it was that I wanted to see. These are two fishing boats – in this photo and the next one, but it is what is in the background that is more interesting.

In all the time that I’ve been living here I don’t think that we have ever had such perfect weather out that way

st helier jersey trawler english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, on a good day we can see the island of Jersey from here even though it’s at least 54 kilometres away.

Today, not only could we see the island quite clearly but we could even see the buildings and the radio masts on the island. I’ve seen them before, but only with the zoom lens at full-extent and with some severe cropping and enhancing. But today, it didn’t take much to bring them out.

In places you could even see them with the naked eye, and that was impressive.

peche a pied beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving chatted to another neighbour who was in the vicinity I went off for my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there today – picnicking on the lawn, walking around the headland and even down on the beach. Some corners of the beach are not easy to get to but the seafood pickings must be really good. Here was someone having a go at the peche à pied by the looks of things

It would be really interesting to find out how much he actually was able to catch and, more importantly, how he was going to prepare it for eating.

seagulls scavengig in rock pools pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of good seafood pickings, regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few days ago that we saw a whole sock of fleagulls perched on the rocks, looking as if they were Waiting for Godot.

At the time I speculated that they were waiting for the tide to recede from the mudflats so that they could get stuck in to supper. The tide is out right now and here they are, having a feast.

There must have been several hundred here and it shows the capacity of the shellfish to regenerate themselves every day to be be able to produce enough food to satisfy this lot.

pointe de carolles plage cabanon vauban mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallA little earlier I mentioned the beautiful weather.

Over towards the Brittany coast the weather was rather misty and hazy but down at the end of the baie de Mont St Michel we could see quite clearly.

The large white buildings are all of the hotels and the like that service Mont St Michel. Having seen the prices that they charge for even the most basic services down there, I shudder to think how much they would want for a night in a hotel down there.

Over to the left we have the Pointe de Carolles with the Cabanon Vauban – the customs lookout post – perched on the edge.

And notice how far out the tide is? You can clearly see the orange sand down at the head of the bay.

boats trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual pause to admire the scenery down below the cliff on the south side of the Pointe du Roc.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we always keep an eye on the chantier navale to see what goes on there. Just ecently we’ve seen them whittle themselves down from five to four to three to two. But today, they have gone back up to four with the arrival of two more.

Only small ones, but then I suppose that everything helps. Someone was sanding down one of them. I couldn’t see which one it was but I could certainly hear the sound.

trawler beached port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallUp on blocks in the chantier navale is not the only way that boats receive attention around here.

Careening is a regular feature when there’s a high tidal range, although I’ve yet to see that applied in any seriousness. Being strapped tightly to a knuckle on the harbour wall so that the boat grounds out safely when the tide goes out is on the other hand something that we’ve seen on a regular basis and there’s another one over there receiving similar treatment.

There was quite a crowd up on the wall by it too, so something exciting must have happened to it.

giant crane rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOver the last few days regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the giant crane that appeared on the docks at the end of last week.

Whatever it’s come here to do, it’s doing it right now. Its width with its safety feet is such that it’s blocked off half of the road and there afe traffic light sontrolling the traffic.

It’s not possible at all to see what it’s doing from here. One of these days I’ll have to go for a walk down there and take a closer look. It has to be something worthwhile to have attracted machinery like that.

There was the usual hour on the guitars, somewhat later than usual, and then tea. Tonight was a stuffed pepper and the last of the apple crumble. I’ll have to make another pudding tomorrow and I have a cunning plan for that.

port de granville harbour entrance marker light manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual run out tonight – an agonising crawl up the hill in the teeth of a gale. But I recovered my breath, ran down to the clifftop and then walked round the corner.

The other day, regular readers of this rubbish saw the marker light for the harbour entrance standing well clear of the water on its rock. By my estimation it’s still half an hour or so before high tide, and if you compare the two photos you’ll see how high the tide comes in.

And look how clear the air is this evening. You can see for miles down there.

people fishing from wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I ran on down on top of the cliff I noticed hordes of people standing on top of the harbour wall.

For quite a while I stood and watched them, thinking that they might be going to jump in. We’ve seen them do that before. But as long as I looked, no-one moved and I came to the conclusion that they were fishermen or something.

There were a couple of parties of girls as well loitering around where I was standing, presumably likewise waiting for things over there to happen.

fishing boat seagulls baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I stood there watching them, something came a put-putting around the headland.

At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but I suppose that it’s another one of these very small fishing boats. It’s a working boat, judging by the radio aerial.

And those things in the foreground. I wasn’t sure whether they were marker buoys or seagulls. And having had a closer look I have to say that i’m still none-the-wiser.

And that reminds me of a story I heard about a barrister, FE Smith, giving a lengthy explanation of something to a crowded courtroom.
“I’ve listened to you for half an hour” said the judge “and I’m still none-the-wiser”
“Maybe not, My Lord” replied Smith. “But you’re certainly better-informed”.

fish processing plant sucking shellfish out of trawler hold granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and as there was a lot going on at the fish processing plant I went to see.

This equipment that they were using was quite interesting and it took me a minute or two to work out what it was. And I came to the conclusion that it’s a kind of vacuum-cleaner that was being used to suck the shellfish out of the hold of the trawler and into the fish processing plant.

And if that’s what it is (and that was what it sounded like) it’s a pretty ingenious device.

sunset english chennel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run tok me round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

Nothing exciting going on there and still a while before sunset so I took a quick photo and ran on home to write up my notes..

Tomorrow is a busy day. I have my Welsh class so I need to prepare, I have my book-keeping class that has now started, I have my music course.

Then there are the photos from Sunday to deal with, the current radio project and another live concert for the end of next month too.

That’s before I even think about the ongoing projects like the websites and the July 2019 photos, and then all of the other stuff that’s built up from projects before that were never finished.

It’s a mystery to me how I’m ever going to find the time to do it all.

Saturday 18th April 2020 – SOME PEOPLE ARE …

… becoming very touchy as time goes on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite often I’m posting photos here of interesting food articles and the like that have caught my interest when I’ve been out at the shops.

Today though, I was just taking a photo of something in leClerc when a couple of security men appeared, gave me a grilling and “asked” me to delete it. It seems that they are becoming rather nervous about what they have in stock and, presumably, their prices too – because, as I mentioned last week, they seem to be slowly going up.

And the fact that I was asked to either delete the photo or to go and do my shopping elsewhere tells everyone more than any photo ever could about what is happening in LeClerc right now

What else is definitely happening right now is that I didn’t hear the second alarm at all. That’s a surprise because it’s Billy Cotton going “Wakey WaaaaaaaaaaKEY” followed by the theme music to the Billy Cotton Band Show, and how anyone can sleep through that I really don’t know.

But I did

Consequently it was something silly like 06:30 when I awoke.

Nothing on the dictaphone so, even though it might have been a late-ish night, it was a complete one with no interruptions. So instead, I made an early start on the digital file stuff.

And today, I ran aground. I’ve reached the end of the first run-through of stuff that I can digitalise easily, and I shall be starting on part 2

That’s the compilation albums. There are quite a few of those that I have, for one reason or other, and I shall have to hunt them down track by track.

But some of the stuff is pretty obscure, like a demo single by Graham Gouldman and Kevin Godley long before 10CC ever became thought of, and another by Gordon Jackson, formerly in a group called “Deep Feeling” with half of “Traffic”. I wouldn’t have the first clue even where to begin searching for tracks like that.

But talking of 10CC – where are my 10CC albums? 3 of them, there should be, the early pre-commercialisation stuff? And “Angel’s Egg” by Gong, and “Caravanserai” by Santana? I’ve not found those yet and I’ve been through everything several times. I’m beginning to notice more and more stuff missing, the more that I think about it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Having done one or two albums I went for a shower and a weigh-in. And that weight I put on the other day – it’s gone again. Yes, I think that my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood machine at Castle Anthrax.

But no matter what I do, I can’t seem to drop below the 80kg barrier. Well, I did, just once, and it didn’t stick. I haven’t exercised like this for 20 years.

After the shower I set the washing machine on the go. I’ve changed the bedding, for the first time since I can’t remember when. I’ve been letting things slide just recently and I need to get myself back on track.

At LeClerc I spent more than usual – but a good proportion of that was on coffee. They had some decent stuff on special offer – not as good an offer as the last tme that I bought some and I wish that I’d bought more of that now, but enough to tempt me to have some luxury in the near future and I’m all in favour of that.

pointe du roc old medieval walled town from rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home, I saw the most amazing view.

With the market being closed, I’ve been coming back through the town instead of along the coast as I would normally do and as I came over the brown of the hill by the roundabout at the Avenue Marechal LeClerc I could see the Medieval Walled Town in the distance, all swathed in mist.

Consequently I did a U-turn around the roundabout by the station, drove back up the hill, another U-turn at the roundabout at the top, and pulled up at the side of the road to take a photo.

close-up pointe du roc old medieval walled town from rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallIf you see the church right in the centre, you’ll see behind it the roof of my apartment building.

To the left of that is the building opposite mine. That’s the College Malraux, the local High School (and seeing as it’s up there on top of the Pointe du Roc, “High” Is probably right). And to the left of that is another old stone building that has also been converted into apartments like this one.

In case you are wondering, this complex is an old stone military barracks, lately for the 2nd and 202nd Regiments of Line, with a parade ground in front which is now a car park, part of which is fenced off for private use by the residents of these apartments.

The old sports field behind the College, with athletics track and all of that, is now the College’s playing field which we’ve seen a few times in various photos in the past.

Back here I put my frozen food away, made myself a coffee, sorted out another digitalised file and then went for lunch.

After lunch I started on the third laptop – the 8GB one with the failed drive that I can restart using an old trick that the Gypsies taught me (T223 was an amazing course!) and moved the contents of that hard drive over onto the new external drive that I have bought to use as a back-up. And during the course of the day I’ve started on the external portable drives.

Memory sticks and memory cards will be next, and then the desk-top external drives, followed finally by the two desktop computers. I’ll sort this all out yet! Then I can start to lay up some of the old equipment. I can remember when I thought that a 250GB external hard drive for a back-up would last me a lifetime.

While I was drifting about on the internet I came across yet another two albums that seem to have gone missing from my collection too so I attacked those too and digitalised them.

But, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out yet again.

On the positive side though, I had a really good and lengthy time on the guitars tonight all told and I’m at the stage now where I’m really enjoying playing a 6-string guitar. That’s progress, isn’t it?

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by the last of the apple pie and some coconut soya stuff. Tomorrow i’m going to make an apple crumble, I reckon.

Monday though, I’ll need to make some more apple purée, and bearing in mind my success with the tinned apricots a while ago, I bought a cheap tin of peaches and I’ll see what that does.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up and so on, it was the time to go walkies outside.

Or, rather, runnies, because I’m running quite a lot just recently. I was hoping for a really nice clear, sunny evening tonight but I was out of luck.

While the air was quite clear and there was a really good view out for miles, there was plenty of cloud in the sky and for that reason it was difficult, if not impossible to see the sunset.

objects in the english channel st malo brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallTThe view out to sea was really good, as I said earlier so I had a scan along the Brittany coast to see what was going on.

From my vantage point high up, there was something that looked as if it might have been a ship leaving St Malo, 50kms away.

Not being too certain, I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up (the photo, that is, not the ship). My first thought was that it might have been Pont Aven, the big Brittany Ferries ship, but the superstructure didn’t look quite right to me.

objects in the english channel st malo brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat I did was to go to a different viewpoint and take a photo on a different bearing to see if that was any clearer, but if anything it confused the situation even more.

And so the jury is still out on this. Even enlarging the photos and enhancing them couldn’t give me any definite hint of whether it’s a ship or a large island. I’ll have to go again and see if whatever I saw is still there another time.

If it’s no longer there, it must be a ship, not an island of course.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut having said that, while you lot admire the beautiful red sky tonight over the ile de Chausey, I was doing some research.

And what I found was that there was a “Condor” freight ferry, the Commodore Goodwill in port at St Malo at 10:24 this morning. And 12 hours later, i.e. just now, when it sent out an AIS signal (I have an AIS detector and antenna in my apartment as regular readers of this rubbish will recall) she was somewhere to the north of Jersey, east of Guernsey and west of the Cotentin.

And her silhouette is not unlike that of whatever it is in the first photo.

But I dunno.

However, according to A PRESS RELEASE FROM BRITTANY FERRIES, Commodore Goodwill was taken out of service in Winter 2015 to be fitted with scrubbers.

That’s a ferry on which I’ll be sailing once normal service is resumed. Absolutely!

pointe de carolles plage baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallCrowds of people out here tonight. I think that this quarantine thing has had it.

For the first time since all of this started, there was a road block on the way into town where the police were checking motorists and as I drove back through the town on my way back from the shops, a foot patrol was checking papers of people at the bus stop.

But they should have been out here with me tonight because there were people everywhere, especially on the footpaths that are officially closed to the public.

carolles plage cabanon vauban baie se mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the photos that I took was of the head of the baie de Mont St Michel and you can see that above.

But with nothing special to do, I had a play with it and cropped bits out to see what I could see, close-up. This is Carolles-Plage, about 20kms away, with the white beach huts and the old hotel that’s now converted into apartments where I saw a miserable-looking apartment for sale that had once been a shop.

But never mind the apartment, what wouldn’t I give for a room in that house there perched on the side of the Pointe de Carolles? That would do me quite nicely

cabanon vauban pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHere’s another bit cropped off the photo above.

It’s not possible to see the Abbey of Mont St Michel and its island from here because the Pointe de Carolles is in the way, but we can see the hotels and restaurants and so on situated on the mainland. They are the white buildings at the head of the bay about 30 miles away.

And perched on the end of the Pointe de Carolles is the Cabanon Vauban, the old Customs observation post that we visited two years ago.

sunset english channel baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter that I carried on with my runs and stopped for a breather on the walls.

By now the sun was sinking rapidly and while the Ile de Chausey was obscured by clouds, there was enough of a gap in them to let some red glow seep though and reflect off the water.

While I was here, I was entertained by part of the choir from the local church who were przctising outdoors just here. They clearly believed more in the power of worship than they did in the power of Social Distancing, that’s for sure. I left them to it and ran home.

Tonight has been quite relaxing and much of it was spent playing the 6-string guitar. I’m really getting into that right now.

But I have new bedding tonight so I’ll be getting into that in a minute. Tomorrow is Sunday, no alarm so I can have a lie-in. A day of rest tomorrow and then back to work on Monday.

Friday 10th April 2020 – WE HAVE HAD …

… a calamity!

Opened the fridge door this morning, the top shelf fell off, dropped on the one beneath it and broke that off too. At the moment they are wedged in position but at this rate I can see the fridge becoming the first major item in here to be replaced once the shops reopen, if they ever do, that is.

At least my morning went as planned. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed, but I slept right through until about 09:30.

And it was more like 10:15 when I arose. That’s what a Bank Holiday is all about, anyway.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I’d actually been in London during the night and on my way back I’d had to go a long, mazy, merry way round by Newport, the one in South Wales, to reach home. I ended up back in Stoke on Trent where someone whom I know and his family were living. I was in a Mk III Cortina Saloon and I had to drive into their drive but usually I reversed in so that I could swing round into their garage. For some unknown reason I drove down this morning and I didn’t have anywhere to turn to drive back out. It was a really steep hill as well. Down at the bottom you could see that there was all new concrete so I wondered what had been going on there. I’d heard that they had had a water leak of some description but there was a torrential river that was flowing down their driveway with all of this rain that was happening. I had to climb my way back up there and it wasn’t easy with the force of the water. When I reached the back door I knocked and a voice said “come in”. I recognised the voice – it was the voice of Zero, who at one time used to accompany me quite regularly on my little nocturnal voyages but has been conspicuous by absence just recently. Anyway I said “hello beautiful”. There was another similar person in there so I said “hello and called her by her name”. The guy’s wife said “hello” but with a “why aren’t you speaking to us” kind of “hello”, so I said “hello” and tpld them about the weather and told them about the rain. She went to look and saw this torrent of water and made some remark. Something to the effect that we were supposed to be going out for a meal that night but how were we going to do that with this torrent of water cascading down the drive? I had already realised that there was far more water coming down the slope than could have possibly come with the rainfall that we were having.

What was so sad about all of that is that the batteries must have gone flat in the dictaphone because it simply petered out to a dead stop. and so I wonder what happened after that and where it all went to. It was starting to become quite interesting.

It’s Good friday today, one of the Easter Holidays of course. And i’m lucky in that last year I bought two packets of vegan hot cross buns and froze one of them. That came out of the freezer yesterday and defrosted overnight, so I had a toasted hot cross bun with my breakfast.

We then had the digital file splitting process, and another 4 albums have bitten the dust today. Not so many now to go at that can be done in a short time. Probably this time next week I’ll be into the cassettes.

There was a break for a taco roll in the middle of all of this but really things went so quickly that there wasn’t a great deal of time to do too many photos and I only reached 0506, which isn’t a great deal of progress.

Later on I made a start on the dictated notes for the radio projects for the rock music. I ended up yesterday with 4 audio files and now, three of them have been edited and i’m working on the fourth.

At 18:00 I came to a dead stop and had a good play around on the guitars for an hour.

Tea tonight was a falafel with vegetables and what should have been a vegan cheese sauce but the grated vegan cheese was off. And, of course, with not having gone to the Health Food shop in Leuven last time, I have no more.

The rice pudding was off too – I thought that it tasted rather peculiar yesterday – so that went into the bin and I had an apple turnover out of the freezer. On Sunday I’ll make a big apple pie and freeze some of it.

rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I went outside for my evening runs.

And you can see from this photo that I’ve pushed on the finish of my first run right up to the corner of the hedge where I usually start my second run down to the clifftop.

So, in other words, I can link up two of my runs – well, in theory because I’m well out of breath by the time that I reach here.

brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, having recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff and arrived just as all of the lights were coming on over in Bréhal-Plage.

It was well worth a photograph. And when I enlarged it back at home later, i could see other lights up and down the coast.

That’s one thing about this f1.8 50mm lens, that it does have a good resolution when it wants to. And that’s quite handy in this kind of light.

cross of lorraine war memorial st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallSo having recovered my breath again I carried on with my walk.

This evening there was a beautiful view right across to the other side of the bay round by St Pair sur Mer and I caught a glimpse of the lights of the town through the War Memorial

That was another one of these “must-have” photo moments, even though the focusing on something like that was a bit hit-and-miss. Still, I did my best.

pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite what it looked lke in the previous photo, it wasn’t as dark as all of that.

The view of the old sentry cabin on the Pointe du Roc and the surrounding sea came up very nicely in the dusk light.

And it really was a beautiful evening too. For the first time this year I didn’t have a jacket on at all for my evening walk. It was 18°C outside when I went out so I’ve no idea what it must have been during the day.

harbour entrance light port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france eric hallThere was yet another nice view across the Baie de Mont St Michel too down towards Jullouville and Carolles.

It was going dark quite quickly now and the light at the entrance to the harbour was flashing quite brightly. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen it look quite like this – it’s probably something to do with the very high tides that we are having right now.

And the lights on the coast in the background have come out quite well too. It was a good night for photography, I reckon.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s yet more excitement in the chantier navale tonight.

There were four boats in there on Wednesday night, then last night there were three. But today we are back up to four again, with the one on the extreme left.

And it’s not keeping its social distance either. That’s risky behaviour in these times.

So I ran back to the apartment – in two stages of course, to make sure that I had all of my five runs. And they are slowly but surely prolonging themselves, which is something for which I had been hoping the more that I run

It’s not going to be much better than this but we have to remember that four years ago I couldn’t even walk. And since then I’ve had all kinds of bits taken out of me, with not very much success.

So having spent most of the evening talking, it’s really late now. I’ll feel like death tomorrow and it’s shopping day too.

Still, you only live once.

Sunday 5th April 2020 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… wasted day today. And it’s my own fault too.

It all started to go wrong last night. As I was preparing to go to bed, some decent music came on the playlist. One thing leads to another, and once you have started, you’ve simply no idea how many other things there are.

It was one good piece of music after another, all kinds of nostalgia came flooding back (this is what happens when you start to listen to music that you haven’t heard for 40 years and more) and in no time at all I was in the depths of a depression.

So much so that, believe it or not, it was 04:00 when I finally went to bed. And I still wasn’t able to sleep.

At some point, I must have dozed off, because I awoke at 11:00. That was a good start to the day – having missed half of it. And even worse, it was 11:45 when I finally hauled myself out of bed.

Nothing on the dictaphone, which is hard to believe after the exertions of just recently, so after the medication I attacked the digital sound files.

That’s another four albums out of the way, reasonably straightforwardly. Only a couple of tracks that weren’t readily available and which took some tracking down. And while I was at it, I disposed of some more photos from July 2019. I’m not up to 19070400 or thereabouts, which means that there’s only about another 1200 from that month to deal with.

And then there are August’s (of which there are so much more) and September’s and October’s too.

That meant that breakfast was at the rather democratic time of … errr … 13:45, which is a late time even for lunch. And the apple purée is running low and I don’t have enough apples to make any more. I sense that a supplementary trip to the shops is on the cards some time soon.

After breakfast – or lunch, or whatever you might like to call it – I buckled down to the 2 radio projects on which I have been working.

They are both done now except for the speech for the last tracks which needs to be recorded, edited and merged into position. And they could so easily have been finished had I not … errr … closed my eyes for a while.

Unbelievable, isn’t it?

It’s just some more stuff to do tomorrow, isn’t it?

There was the hour or so on the guitars and I spent much of the time working out the rhythm and bass parts to U2’s “In God’s Country” and David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”.

Tea was another vegan pizza with the last pizza base, followed by one of the best rice puddings that I’ve ever made.

rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy daily exercise was after tea of course.

It was going dark now because I was so late, but I took a photo of one of my running spots in the rue du Roc. I start way back there beyond the farthest street light, and you can see the rise that always brings me to a halt.

The usual spot where I run out of steam is just by where the hedge begins but just recently I’ve been pushing on to the point at which I took the photo.

“Nothing much to shout about” I hear you say, but it is at my age and in my state of health. And it’s just one of four running tracks that i’m using

night lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFeeling in something of a good form, I ran across the lawn to the top of the cliffs where the lighthouse looked really good, silhouetted as it was against the darkening evening sky.

That was well worth a photo too, and it’s come out rather well.

And so it should, because I’m back in business again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had had an issue with the big NIKON D500 CAMERA. It wasn’t reading any memory card.

However, there is a second slot for XQD memory cards, an obsolete but much better form of memory storage.

baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallSo even though it’s much more expensive than SD format, I ordered a card to see whether the fault lay in the camera or simply in the SD card slot.

As you can see from the quality of the photos, like this one of the Pointe de Carolles, the XQD memory card seems to be functioning perfectly well.

The fault must therefore be in the SD card slot and I don’t know what to do about that. It’s probably going to be an expensive repair and unnecessary too as long as I can obtain XQD cards.

But one thing that I won’t be doing if I can help it is to take out the cards to upload the photos to the computer.

It’s only a passing thought of course, but I wonder if the regular removal of the card is what has caused the card slot to fail.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo once the card is in, it stays in and I’ll upload it using a cable, like I’ve been doing for the last few weeks with the NIKON 1 J5 and the old NIKON D3000

With the new card, I took a photo of the port with Chausiais and Joly France moored up over at the ferry terminal, and then carried on.

A poor woman had the shock of her life as I came round a corner at something rather less than a canter – but not as much of a shock as I had.

But anyway, 5 runs tonight and a good bit of distance too. This is starting to be a bit more like it.

But for how long? It’s well over an hour since I came back in and i’m still out of breath. But I must push on. Keeping fit, losing weight and watching my health is how I’m going to keep on going, not to mention an improvement in my diet.

But hard work tomorrow. There’s still plenty to do and less time to do it of course.

And the weather has changed. In the space of two days we’ve gone from being far too cold to having the heat switched off and the windows opened.

Has Spring finally arrived?

Tuesday 5th November 2019 – CALIBURN HAS GONE …

… to the garage today for his annual service and Controle Technique.

He should have gone sometime towards the end of June but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I was dealing with other issues like a broken right hand and a damaged kneecap which meant that I couldn’t drive.

And then I was heading off on my mega-adventure.

So this is the first time that Caliburn has turned a wheel since about the middle of June – 5 months – and then it was only around the block. So all in all, he did very well. There was a dashboard light illuminated when I set off but after about 10 minutes it went out again.

And talking of things going out, you won’t believe what time I was going out of bed this morning. Up and about and actually working at … wait for it … 05:45 and when was the last time that I was up and about long before the alarm? Even without a late-ish night?

But it’s not all about the new lean, keen, mean me. I woke up with the most incredible pain in a place that many men will understand and although the pain eased off somewhat, it was still giving me grief. So no point in lying in bed when there are things to do.

An early start means an early medication and an early breakfast, and being well-advanced with the dictaphone notes backlog, I could hit the streets with Caliburn.

There was a brief stop at the Centre Agora to pick up a recording kit. I have piles of audio to record in the near future and the quality of the dictaphone isn’t good enough.

Caliburn was then dropped off at the garage and I’ll tell you what’s frightening about all of this. I’ve only ever been there twice, the last time in June 2018, but the guy there this lunchtime saw me and said “ahhh – Mr Hall”. I don’t like the sound of this one little bit.

On the way back, I went into the cheap electrical shop where I’ve bought some stuff before and today I fell in love with an oven. Then down to LeClerc for a bit more shopping. Not too much though because this audio kit is quite heavy.

The route back took me by surprise because I walked all the way back up the hill to here from town without even stopping and I’ve not really managed that too often in the past.

After lunch I made a start on project 002 and the audio kit came in very handy, although it took me a while to work out how to use it. And I was so impressed that I was thinking about getting one of my own – until I saw the price. Now I’m trying to find something similar but cheaper.

sun effects tora tora tora baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy brittany franceAs usual, I went out for my afternoon walk at about 15:45 as usual – a nice mid-point between lunch and tea.

Round the headland again, and the sunlight is still playing tricks. We had yet another delightful TORA TORA TORA effect out there across the bay over onto the Brittany side between Cancale and St Malo.

You can see how this strange light is playing havoc with the colours of the sea out there

sunshine carolles granville manche normandy franceAnd that wasn’t all the excitement about the sunlight either.

The way that the rays of the sun were shining through the gaps in the clouds over there had illuminated the promenade between Jullouville and Carolles just as if it had been some kind of actor on a stage.

All of the surrounding countryside was in the darkness and this little area was properly bathed in sunshine.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGiven the foregoing and the lack of comment about any high winds, you could be forgiven for thinking that Tempete Amelie has abated.

But not a bit of it. Although the wind has calmed down somewhat (but not very much) we are still having the heavy rolling seas coming in from mid-Atlantic.

They are pushing along and smashing into the sea wall with some kind of incredible violence as you can see.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut as well as the one just above with the huge rolling wave, this one here is one of my favourites.

I waited just an extra second later before I pressed the shutter on the camera and while the wave has rolled away, I’ve captured the spray splattering down on the top of the sea wall and splashing everywhere.

It’s not very likely that I’ll be able to take another photo quite like this, right at the best moment.

fishing boat joker port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a fishing boat in port … “there were about a dozen actually” – ed … that caught my eye.

At first glance, Joker looked rather too much like the very ill-fated MV Darlwyne for comfort. But of course it isn’t.

However if someone were to tell me that it was a direct descendant of the aforementioned I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised.

And talking of ships in the harbour … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a nice mail (this contact form thingy really works!) this morning from some of the crew of Normandy Trader, a ship that has featured on these pages no fewer than 26 times, admiring my photos and inviting me aboard next time she’s in the harbour.

That’s a nice plan

There wasn’t enough time for me to finish off the audio work so I need to do that tomorrow. But for tea I had a scrounge around in the fridge and found some onion, green pepper, mushrooms and a few other things so I cooked some lentils and made a curry.

There’s enough for two days too so I’ll use the left-over stuffing in some taco rolls tomorrow and the rest of the curry on Thursday.

half moon granville manche normandy franceOutside, there were some thick clouds scudding about in the wind.

But just as the right moment the clouds parted and I had a lovely view of it. Just for a change, the camera was quite handy too and so I was able to take quite a good shot of an Autumn half-moon.

It’s come out quite well considering that it was hand-held and taken in a hurry. When I was taking all of those last year I was using a tripod and going for a slow exposure.

For my walk in the wind I was all alone, except for Minette the cat sitting on her windowsill. She still remembered me and allowed me to give her a good stroke.

And I had my run too – and even managed to run half-way up the hill at the end of my usual straight. You’ve probably noticed from the photos of the waves and the spray over the harbour walls that the wind has changed direction today. For a change I had a following wind.

carolles granville manche normandy franceWe had a photo earlier of Carolles bathed in sunshine.

Tonight there was no sunshine of course but the atmosphere was beautifully clear despite the clouds and I could see Carolles perfectly lit up tonight by the street lights along the promenade

Again, no tripod so it was hand-held and it’s not come out too badly. But some of the other night-time photos weren’t up to much.

So before I go to bed I’ll just have time to do half a dozen web-page updates. I promised myself that I would do that every day and I do need to catch up with the arrears of work

But no reason to go out tomorrow (I doubt that Caliburn will be ready) so I can do plenty of work if I put my mind to it.

That’s some “if”.

diving platform granville manche normandy france
diving platform granville manche normandy france

ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

moon hidden by clouds granville manche normandy france
moon hidden by clouds granville manche normandy france

jullouville granville manche normandy france
jullouville granville manche normandy france

rue paul poirier granville jullouville manche normandy france
rue paul poirier granville jullouville manche normandy france

Thursday 13th June 2019 – THIS PHOTO …

joly france ile de chausey ferry fishing boat granville manche normandy france… is quite symbolic.

It’s one of the first that I have taken with the new Nikon D500 camera.

It’s one of the Joly France, one of the ferries from the Ile de Chausey, heading off to the island with another load of visitors, passing one of the local trawlers heading into the harbour with the day’s catch.

So there I have been over the last couple of days crowing about how despite how late I might (or might not) have been to bed and how disturbed the night was, I had still managed to rouse myself from Ye Olde Stinkinge Pitte at something like a reasonable hour.

And so here I was this morning, in bed early, sleeping all the way through the night in comparative comfort without having to prop up my leg on a box, and sleeping right the way through all of the alarms until about 09:30.

What a way to start the day!

So with having set out all horribly late, I eventually sat down and started to edit the photos that I didn’t do yesterday, and added them into yesterday’s blog entry.

fishing boat jersey english channel granville manche normandy franceThis afternoon I had a read of the camera manual and then went out for a little walk to see how it all would turn out.

And I have quite a lot to learn about this machine – not the least of which being the fact that the controls work backwards from any other Nikon that I have had.

You can probably gather that from some of these iaages

fishing boat ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceSetting up the camera is quite complicated because being an up-market camera, it’s more of a machine than a camera.

It has buttons and controls everywhere for all kinds of different things, and that’s an advance on the earlier Nikons where you had to program “function” buttons to carry out some of the tasks.

And the manual exposure is so much easier too.

fishing boat yacht ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWith the older cameras, you needed to set the aperture or the speed by using the “Aperture” or Speed” function, set the camera to Manual, and then adjust the function that you didn’t previously set.

With the Nikon D500 it has separate buttons for “Aperture” and Speed”, and also a separate button for the ISO settings.

So from that point of view it’s much more straightforward.

jersey channel islands granville manche normandy franceBut as you admire St Helier and the Channel Islands, I’ll mention the problem that I noticed with the controls.

And that is that the “Aperture” and Speed” dials work back-to-front. To widen the aperture on the older cameras you rotate the button clockwise.

But with this one, you have to rotate the button anti-clockwise.

joly france ile de chausey ferry granville manche normandy franceAnd that caught me out well and truly with the first couple of photos.

Trying to add a little extra light to my images, I ended up adding a little extra dark instead. And that was rather depressing.

I shall just have to work a lot harder in this respect, won’t I?

st benoit des ondes brittany franceThe camera is also quite heavy compared to the others that I have used.

And so I’m glad that I bought the monopod the other week. I’m certainly going to need that as I work my way around, until I can get to grips with the machine.

And that might take me a few weeks, so I shall have to start to get out and about more often with it.

But I can’t wait to try out its low-light capability.

Feeling now a little better in the leg, with much more bendability, I eschewed the salt bath this afternoon, to give things a chance to settle down.

If I have another good night’s sleep, I’m hoping that I’ll feel even better tomorrow.

We can but hope.

Tea was some more taco rolls with the last of the stuffing that I made. Followed by pears and coconut soya cream.

And now it’s bed time. And I’m ready for it too, even though I had a good lie-in. Another good sleep will do me good and get me ready for Monday.

brittany coast baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
brittany coast baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

vilde la marine brittany france
vilde la marine brittany france

pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france
pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france

Thursday 18th October 2018 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… last night I was on board a ship again and it might even have been The Good Ship Ve …… errr … Ocean Endeavour. And I don’t remember much now about the journey except that the terrain over which we were walking bore a remarkable resemblance to the Ile de Chausey, where I was the other day and of which one day I’ll finish off adding all of the photos. I was with some woman and her teenage daughter on this trip – and don’t ask me who they were. The daughter was hungry and kept on going to the fridge for some food. There were a couple of plates of beans and sausage on there and she kept on helping herself to one of them. I put it back though, not because I didn’t want her to eat it, but because I was going to cook something special and I wanted her to try it. But every time I put the plate back, she would sneak back and take it out again.

With all that going on, I was actually awake on time, and out of bed before the alarm at 06:20. And it’s been a good few weeks since that’s happened, hasn’t it?

After breakfast etc I had a few things to do, and then I leapt … “well, sort-of” – ed … into the shower for a good scrub and a change of clothes.

marite granville manche normandy franceOn my way out of the apartment I went past the harbour and there, moored up at its quay is the Marité.

Of course, she’s back home now that the weekend is over and all of the tourists have gone home and won’t now be back for a while.

But it always happens like this, doesn’t it?

gluten free beer granville manche normandy franceBut down in the town I came across an exciting sign. And next time that Alison comes here I’ll take her for a beer.

Although France might well be 100 years behind the times when it comes to allergies and dietary issues, you occasionally come across some little gems.

Just like this one, in fact. Gluten-free beer must be something exciting.

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything special really, although it might have been a good idea to have bought some tomatoes, because I don’t have any left over for anything exciting.

ecole st paul granville manche normandy franceAnd on the way back, I was distracted yet again.

There’s a Catholic Primary School, the Ecole St Paul, that I pass on my way back. And I hadn’t noticed until today the statue of the saint up there, having been left holding the baby.

I thought that I would add a photo of the statue to my collection.

derelict house rue saint paul granville manche normandy franceAnd just down the road from there, again in the rue Saint Paul is a house that I have noticed in passing but at which I have never taken a good look before. 4

It’s a beautiful house as you can see, but a close inspection of it indicates that the house seems to be abandoned and derelict.

This would be just my kind of house, and there might even be a sea view from the top floor of the building.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the demolition that took place in the rue St Genevieve over the winter when an old house was knocked down.

rue sainte genevieve granville manche normandy franceAnd then a sign appeared advising that planning permission had been granted for a new construction.

First time that I’ve been down here for a couple of months, and during that time we can see that construction of whatever is going to be here is well under way.

It doesn’t look particularly solid but then again this is a feature of modern construction.

Back here I had a drink and then did some tidying up (just by way of a change). And then attacked yesterfday’s photos. And to my surprise, I’d finished them off pretty quickly (there weren’t all that many actually) and put them on line.

Another important thing was accomplished too.

After the success the other day of my frozen sprouts, I had some carrots here which, I expected, would start to look doubtful in a few days time. So I peeled them, diced them, par-boiled them with some bayleaves and then stuck them in the freezer in a zip bag too.

fishing boat port de granville habour manche normandy franceLunch was once again on the wall overlooking the harbour, looking at the fishing boats coming and going.

It was quite warm out there – a really sunny day – so I suppose that the fishermen were making the most of the good weather of this Indian Summer.

And I was practising with the light, bouncing it off the sea and onto the side of the boat.

la gravillaise sailing boat granville manche normandy franceFishing boats weren’t the only things that were wandering around outside the harbour.

That sailing boat that we saw the other day – that was back again with another crowd of people, towing its zodiac behind.

One of these days I’ll have to go down and check up to remind myself of its name.

Back in the apartment I attacked the pile of photos from my trip to the Ile de Chausey on Saturday. They are all on line now with some brief explanatory notes.

There was even some time to attack the notes of the second day of my visit to the Arctic when I was in Yellowknife. The notes for the first day have been on line for quite some time as you know, and I need to press on.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy franceI’d gone out at the usual time too and the weather had improved even more.

It wasn’t possible to see Jersey for some reason or other, but a couple of what might have been fishing boats were just about visible right out on the horizon, so I had a quick go with the big zoom-telephoto lens.

They are probably 30 kilometres out to sea where they are there.

blainville sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I had the big lens out, I had a good look aout along the coast to see what I could see.

That’s probably 30 or so kilometres away too, right out at Blainville-sur-Mer up the coast in the direction of Cherbourg.

I’ve not yet been for a walk on that beach, so I’ll have to put that right in due course.

agon countainville manche normandy franceOn the other hand, this here is a beach that I’ve walked upon. And on several occasions too.

And not only that, I was watching Terry, Darren, Kate and Dylan sand-yachting on there earlier this year.

It is of course Agon-Countainville and it’s one of the nicest beaches around here, with one of the largest tidal ranges around here too.

fishing boat pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceYesterday, we were walking around the Pointe du Roc and we saw a handful of what might have been fishing boats loitering at the foot of the cliffs.

Today I had another look over the clifftop where they were yesterday, and there was another one down ther today loitering around at the foot of the cliffs.

I’m still not sure what they are doing.

car park repairs stone paving pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd talking of not knowing what they are doing, this is what the council workmen have been doing to the car park by the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

And having seen the results of their work, I’m still none the wiser.

And I’m not even better-informed either. But that’s because the workmen weren’t there to ask.

The weather was even better in the shelter of the wind down at the head of the bay.

cabanon vauban pointe de carolles mont st michel granville manche normandy franceSo now that I have a decent zoom-telephoto lens I could take a photo of what I have glimpsed before at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel, to see if this lens will pick it up any better.

And sure enough, this lens is so much better than the older one and we can see quite clearly not only the Cabanon Vauban which we have visited on several occasions, but the hotels round by the foot of the Mont St Michel.

Not the Mont itself though. That’s hidden behind the Pointe de Carolles.

Back here I carried on with the work that I had been doing, and then made tea. Stuffed peppers (now that I had bought some) and spicy rice, with my frozen carrots too. And that worked!

And then off for my walk around the walls.

There are tons of photos though.

During the afternoon, the weather was so good that I took plies of photos with the zoom-telephoto lens all along the coast from the Pointe de Carolles back up t0 Granville.

And then this evening, the clear moonlight made the night-time photos even better.

And so I’ll be adding these in due course so that you can see them in all their glory and admire the new lenses that I have bought.

fishing boat port de granville habour manche normandy francefishing boat port de granville habour manche normandy france

port foulon granville manche normandy francePort Foulon The southern part of the town of Granville

cale de hacqueville granville manche normandy franceThe Cale de Hacqueville

cale de hacqueville granville manche normandy franceThe Cale de Hacqueville

plage de carolles manche normandy franceThe Beach at Carolles.

The large building just to the left of centre is another one in which there’s a ruin of an apartment that was offered to me.

plage de carolles manche normandy franceThe Beach at Carolles.

jullouville manche normandy franceJullouville

jullouville manche normandy franceJullouville

jullouville manche normandy franceJullouville

jullouville manche normandy franceJullouville

kairon plage manche normandy franceKairon Plage

kairon plage manche normandy franceKairon Plage

kairon plage manche normandy franceKairon Plage

st pair sur mer manche normandy franceSt Pair sur Mer

st pair sur mer manche normandy franceSt Pair sur Mer

st pair sur mer manche normandy franceSt Pair sur Mer

st pair sur mer manche normandy franceSt Pair sur Mer

st pair sur mer manche normandy franceSt Pair sur Mer

chateau de la crete granville manche normandy franceChateau de la Crete

chateau de la crete granville manche normandy franceChateau de la Crete

boulevard des amiraux granvillais granville manche normandy franceGranville – Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMarité

fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy franceFishing boat in the port de Granville awaiting the tide.

fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy franceCrew working aboard fishing boat in the port de Granville awaiting the tide.

moon granville manche normandy franceA rather over-exposed photo of the moon.

place d'armes and medieval walls granville manche normandy franceThe Place d’Armes and the medieval town walls

moonlight over the baie de granville manche normandy franceMoonlight over the Baie de Granville

another over-exposed moon shot granville manche normandy franceAnother over-exposed moon shot with one of the planets

camion pizza place cambernon granville manche normandy francePizza van, Place Cambernon

Saturday 13th October 2018 – WE WENT …

… today to the Ile de Chausey, and if you want to see all of the photos that I took, you need to go to THIS LINK.

josee constant drinking coffee place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut we started off as we meant to go on, by, just for a change, drinking coffee on the terrace.

Not exactly a terrace, but the footpath that goes along the walls at the end of the car park at the side of the building just here at the Place d’Armes.

It’s certainly a novel way to start off the day and I’ll have to do this more often.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy franceMeanwhile, while I was drinking my coffee I noticed some movement way out to sea in the English Channel.

With my new toy, more of which anon, I took a long-distance photo of it with the intention of cropping and enlarging it in due course.

And sure enough, once I’d done the necessary, I could see that there was a yacht out there next to the marker buoy

But to start with, we are running low on supplies and so our first port of call was the local market. Saturday morning is market day so we toddled off through the wind into town.

Josée bought me a book which was very nice of her. It’s all about making drinks from natural ingredients and I’m sure that once I have time to sit down and read it I’ll have endless hours of fun with it.

And then off to the covered market where we bought some lettuce, tomato, cucumber and the like. And on the way back we went past a place selling vegan biscuits. So a pack of those disappeared into the shopping bag too.

Back here, I had a very pleasant surprise.

Having been totally dismayed by the photos that I took in the High Arctic in Canada and Greenland just now, I’ve bitten the bullet and done what I should have done in the first place and ordered some new lenses for the big Nikon.

When we returned, two of the three had arrived.

There’s a 50mm f1.8 lens, auto-focus of course to replace the old manual focus lens that I had. That’s ideal for low-light work such as for indoor evenings, concerts and sporting events.

But also, in pride of place, a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lns, likewise auto-focus, to replace another elderly and creaking manual-focus telephoto zoom lens that’s been lying around here since the Dawn of Time.

So grabbing the telephoto zoom lens, that disappeared into the camera bag.

While we were making our butties, Liz and Terry turned up. They had decided to accompany us and so we all set out for the ferry terminal.

baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe sea was quite rough in view of all of the wind but I enjoyed the crossing and I was there playing about with the big new lens. And I do have to say that I’m very impressed, almost as much as with my galvanised steel dustbin.

It does everything that it’s supposed to do, and does it quite well too. Obviously it’s not in the same class as a lens that might cost 10 times the price of course, but it’s good enough for what I want. Have a look at this photo of Mont St Michel, about 15 miles away and judge for yourself.

village les blanvillaises ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceFirst thing that we did was to go and find somewhere to go and have our lunch.

A nice quiet beach seemed to be an ideal place to have our picnic, so we sat down, filled our faces and had a chat.

Although it was quite cool and windy, it was nevertheless very pleasant sitting out there on the sand with a pile of sandwiches.

village les blainvillaises granville manche normandy franceOnce we’d eaten, digested and rested we headed off into the hills, such as they are around here because the highest point on the island is only 31 metres high, to explore the island.

There are two villages here – one round by the landing stage and the other one where we are right now. This is called Les Blainvillaises, and receives its name from the fact that the houses were originally built by people from Blainville on the mainland who came here to explore the local marine resources.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThere are also several other isolated houses, all looking as if they are made of local stone.

The island is well-known for the quality of the local stone and it has been used in the construction of many important buildings on the mainland in the area, including many of the buildings on Mont-St-Michel.

Many of the houses would be empty though at this time of year. There aren’t too many permanent residents, most of the houses here being holiday homes.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceIt’s a bit similar to the island of Agistri where I was in October 2013 in that there’s no source of water on the island and it all needs to be shipped in. So conservation of water resources here is quite important.

Naturally, I could solve the problem in a matter of days by installing a rainwater harvesting system there like I had back on my farm in the Auvergne, a system that served me well from the day I arrived until the day I left 9 years later.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceApart from the water issues, rubbish and litter are very tightly controlled.

There’s some kind of organisation called the Conservatoire de l’espace littoral et des rivages lacustres – “The Conservation of coastal and lakeside surroundings” – and its aim is to preserve and protect the coast and waterside of France.

It’s taken on the rôle of protecting the southern half of the island and its presence is everywhere, with rubbish bins and notices all over the place.

And quite right too because it’s an area well-worth protecting. There are thousands of tourists who come here every year and the place could quickly deteriorate into a rubbish dump if no-one took any interest in the island.

chateau renault ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceOn the subject of people taking an interest in the island and holiday homes and the like, this building is extremely interesting.

It was originally a fort built round about 1559 to defend the island but subsequently allowed to fall into ruin.

Its potential was however realised by the industrialist Louis Renault, the founder of the Renault car company.

chateau renault granville manche normandy franceHe began to restore the property in the 1920s and subsequently became became his summer residence. And this is how the property remains today, although of course Louis Renault has long-gone.

However his memory linger on on the island. Many people still regard him as one of the main benefactors of the island.

And so does his view, because this is the kind of view that would attract me to a property too. I could pass many a happy holiday here.

fish pool ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThis construction on the edge of the beach right by the Chateau Renault caught my eye too.

I’m not sure what it is, but I reckon that it’s possibly a tidal swimming pool – one that would fill when the tide came in and would retain its water as the tide went out.

On the other hand it could be a tidal fish pool. These are well-known round here. The tide would fill the pond with water – and hopefully fish – at high tide, and then the owner of the pool could wade in after the tide went out to pull out all the fish.

And the drain at the bottom would lend support to that.

st helier channel islands granville manche normandy franceAlthough these islands here (because there are 365 here at low tide and 52 at high tide) are officially and geographically part of the Channel Islands, they are part of France.

We’re much closer to the Channel Islands than you might think – about 40 kms I reckon at a rough guess – and with the new telephoto zoom lens I could pick out quite easily the town of St Helier.

Although I wish that the weather would have been clearer so as to have given a better contrast.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceBut there is some kind of common history between all of the Channel Islands.

They were formerly the personal property of the Dukes of Normandy, hence when William the Conqueror invaded England and became king, he took his islands with him (if you know what I mean).

But his grandfather Richard II had in 1022 made a gift of the Ile de Chausey to the Abbey of Mont St Michel, hence the reason why these islands belong today to France.

cancale brittany franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a good while ago during a period of good light, I was able to photograph a church on the coast right across the bay in Brittany.

Today, with the new lens, I was able to take a photo of the same church from a viewpoint on the island, and was able to take a cross-bearing to verify the position.

And I can say that it is almost certainly the town of Cancale, where I stayed one night in April last year.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe continued with our tour of the island on foot (as if there was any other way to see the island except on foot), stopping to rest on several occasions to take photos or to admire the beautiful views.

And to enjoy the beautiful weather because considering that it’s the middle of October right now, the weather is really nice for the time of the year. Quite balmy.

And you’ll be surprised just how quickly 3.5 hours disappears when you are having fun and enjoying yourself.

fort plage du port-marie iles de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen the old 16th-Century fort that is now incorporated into the Chateau Renault. But there’s also a more modern fort here.

Tensions in Europe were rising and falling during the 19th Century and at one particular moment during the middle of the century, relations between the United Kingdom and France were somewhat tense.

As a result, in the late 1850s a new fort was constructed here at the back of the Plage du Port-Marie on the orders of the Emperor Napoleon III to defend the island and the Baie de Mont St Michel from any incursions by the British.

The fort was completed in 1866 but never saw action, although it was used as a Prisoner-of-War camp in the First World War and was occupied by a German garrison in World War II.

granville manche normandy franceOn the way back, the sea wasn’t quite as rough as on the way out but it was still pleasant all the same.

I took a pile of photos in the fading light and they came out quite well with the new lens. Despite the fact that it’s not as good in low light as a more expensive lens, the results are perfectly satisfactory for what I was expecting.

I really began to regret the fact that I hadn’t gone out and bought this lens before I left for the Arctic

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGetting back into port was quite the thing though.

We were late returning and that 15 minutes makes all of the difference. The tide was going out rapidly.

The boat had to inch its way in over the sandbar and I was convinced that we were grounding out the bottom of the boat here and there as we tried to get in.

On the way back to the apartment I had a chat with Liz and Terry about something that had been preying on my mind for a few weeks. After explaining the situation to them, their understanding was exactly the same as mine, and exactly the same as Alison’s, with whom I had discussed this a couple of weeks ago.

No-one seems to think that I misunderstood the situation, so that’s comforting to a certain degree. But even so, it doesn’t change the situation one jot because what I (and other people) think about it has nothing to do with the situation at all.

Josée went for a walk around the town in the evening because there was a football match on the internet that I wanted to see.

That might sound terribly chavinistic to some readers of this rubbish, but the bare facts of the story are that I’d done about 130% of my daily activity today, I’d already had a couple of little “health issues” while I’d been out, and I couldn’t go another step. “Feet up on the sofa” was what was called for from my point of view.

So in the Irn Bru Cup we had Connah’s Quay Nomads of the Welsh Premier League v Coleraine of Northern Ireland. Coleraine were by far the more skilful side when it came to moving the ball around but they had no real answer to the uncompromising defence of the Nomads. It seemed to me that the match would be decided from a set piece and so it was – the Nomads centre-half rising highest to a very long throw-in from the right wing.

As Coleraine pushed forward to find an equaliser they were leaving gaps all over the defence and the Nomads were very quick to exploit the breakaway. Twice they burst through the defence with just the keeper to beat, twice they were hauled down from behind with no attempt to reach the ball, and twice the referee reached into his pocket for a red card.

Down to 9 men, Coleraine made three substitutions to freshen up the team but the new players had no more luck. By now though they were becoming rather desperate and some of the tackles and … errr … incidents which they instigated have no place at all on a football pitch.

And towards the end of the game the Nomads brought on their star player, Michael Bakare, who had been rested, and he made the difference – brushing off a couple of weak, tired challenges to set up one of his team-mates for a second goal.

This was a good win for the Nomads – a dour, workmanlike struggle against a superior side and if they can play like that more often they could do much better in European competition than they have done up to now.

So now I’m off to bed. It’s going to be an early start tomorrow as Josée will be back on her travels to wherever her next stop might be.

Saturday 18th August 2018 – THEY SELL …

SWEAT LIDL granville manche normandy france … almost everything in LIDL these days, don’t they?

I’m not quite sure what the point is of it, but it’s here all the same.

I was far more interested in the grapes, at €1:99 per kilo. And yet another load of those disappeared into my shopping bag this morning. I need to stock up while the stocking is good.

I slept right through again until the alarm went off, but seeing as I had something of a late night it wasn’t really as good as it sounds.

An early start to the day followed by an early shower, and then an early trip to the shops before the grockles could get there. And quite right too. I was actually there before 09:00 and the place was fairly empty, quite a surprise for a Saturday.

My bill in there wasn’t all that excessive because I’m not buying too much just now, with plans to travel in a week’s time.

NOZ was more exciting. I turned up just as it was opening at 09:30 and had a good look round. The star of the shop was a pair of curtains. The right width but the length was a little too long. I should have brought my sewing machine back from the Auvergne I suppose but instead I’ll pin them up.

The crowds were starting to build up in Leclerc. Despite buying a pile of frozen food, the bill came to about €11:00. Again, I’m not buying much before I go away.

ON the way back home the traffic had built up and there were grockles everywhere. It took ages to return home.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThree lizards again for lunch, and this new batch of hummus that I made yesterday is just as good as the last lot.

Regular readers of this rubbish will know that I’ve been having issues with the Nikon D5000 camera. I’ve brought the other lens back from the Auvergne and took a few photos with it

It was quite a good moment to do so, because Marite was out there doing her stuff.

marite baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceI don’t know where she’s been but it looks as if she is coming back.

She did a U-turn just outside the harbour and then headed into the entrance. But what disappointed me was that she didn’t do it under sail, but with what I suspect is an auxillary engine.

That’s a bit of a cheat if you ask me.

period yacht granville manche normandy franceBut at least she won’t be alone in the harbour.

Parked up at the quayside next to Marité’s berth is this other really fine period-looking (apart from the solar panel) yacht.

I’ve no idea who she might be, so I shall have to go for a wander down there at some point in the near future and have a look. She looks quite magnificent from here.

I should have been having visitors today but there’s a delay on the road so I’m free until tomorrow evening. So in a change to the usual routine I took this afternoon off and mooched around on the internet.

Much of the time was spent chatting to someone in Montreal and someone else in Alaska. I’m starting to become all nostalgic, especially as my social media page keeps on reminding me that I’m usually in Canada at this time of the year. I must stop being so broody.

Tea was the last of the vegan sausages with vegetables and cheese sauce. And just as delicious as the first batch too.

gymnase jean galfione place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAnd later on this evening I went for a walk around. The purpose this evening is to do some more experiments with the new lens.

It’s the cheapest lens available for this camera and so I wasn’t expecting all that much. And that’s just as well because the quality is not what I would like to have.

While the lighting is correct, the quality isn’t and the photos have come out extremely grainy.

harbour jullouville granville manche normandy franceSo while you admire the evening looking over the Baie de Mont St Michel and jullouville, at least it proves one thing

And that is that it’s the original lens that seems to be at fault, so it wasn’t a waste of time after all.

What I’ll have to do now is to set to and order a new decent lens like the one that failed, and see where we go from there.

moon granville manche normandy france
moon granville manche normandy france

carolles granville manche normandy france
carolles granville manche normandy france

party boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france
party boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france

Saturday 4th August 2018 – SO HAVING HAD …

… a miserable night’s sleep (which seems to be par for the course these days) tossing and turning for much of it on the sofa, I was up and about without too much effort.

It wasn’t the first time either, having had to leave my stinking pit once during the night.

But I prepared breakfast, and a little later, Alison came to join me and we had a nice cosy chat together.

Alison wanted to know what time we would be leaving, so I replied nonchalantly “about 45 minutes”.
“Gosh! I’d better get a move on!”

I’d forgotten about women, of course. For me, “getting ready” to go out involves putting my shoes on and that’s that. For women though, it’s a full military operation involving all kinds of things and can take anything up to a couple of hours.

While Alison was preparing herself I had a shower, prepared a flask of cold stuff and finally we made some sandwiches.

baie de mont st michel genets manche normandy franceIn the glorious, wonderful but very hazy early morning sunshine and heat, Caliburn took us along the coast road.

Through St Pair, Jullouville, Carolles and Genets, and all points south.

We stopped to take photographs along the way. After all, this is a part of the world that Alison has never visited before, and having left home rather smartish, we weren’t particularly stuck for time.

The motorway westwards was very busy and there were signs for “traffic jams ahead” – not surprising with it being the first Saturday in August, busiest day of the year on the roads.

But we weren’t long on the motorway turning off to head towards our destination for today, Mont St Michel.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison has never been here before, and it’s been almost 30 years since the last time that I was here.

And haven’t there been some changes in that time?

When I was here before, you used to just drive down to the water’s edge, park your car on the marshes making sure that you were above the tide line, and then walk across the causeway.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut not today, though.

There’s a huge parking complex (that costs an arm and a leg of course) a couple of miles away from the Mont, and a series of weird shuttle buses that operate a free service to the island.

There was quite a queue waiting for the buses and we had this horrible feeling that we were going to be there for hours, but these buses are really high-capacity.

The packers (you can’t really call them anything else) pack the buses like the Black Hole Of Calcutta and so within less than 10 minutes we had been whizzed on our way.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWhile you admire the entrance to the complex, I can set the scene by telling you about the visit to the Gentleman’s rest room.

This will give you some idea about what to expect (if you haven’t already guessed from the parking) when I tell you that a visit to the Gentleman’s rest room costs you €0:80.

Yes, over here on the island they have got you by the shorthorns.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd if that hasn’t convinced you, then the fact that the first restaurant that we came across was offering a bowl of vegetable soup for €18:00 and an omelette at €28:00 should do the trick.

But then, that’s how I remember it, and as other people have said so too.

Not for nothing did we prepare butties and a flask of cold drink before we set off.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe history of the place is quite interesting.

It’s always been a place of worship for as long as worship has known to be important.

There was quite some considerable evidence of megalithic tombs on the island where it is believed that the worship of some kind of pagan cult took place;

But Christianity arrived in 709 when a chapel in honour of the Archangel Saint Michael was erected here.

It subsequently became a centre for pilgrimages and it still continues in this role today. In fact, we encountered a group of pilgrims who had come on foot across the sands from Genets.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceIn 966 a Benedictine abbey was erected here, and the Dukes of Normandy became important benefactors. They gave a great deal of land to the abbey.

One of the reasons that the Ile de Chausey remains French today and didn’t become English as did the rest of the Channel Islands was that William the Conqueror gave the archipelago to the Abbey before he became King of England in 1066.

Mont St Michel has regularly changed hands between the Dukes of Normandy and the Dukes of Brittany. It’s currently in Normandy and was so during much of the 100 Years War.

porte bretonne baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut there’s an interesting little story about the island during that period.

This gateway here to the west overlooks the Breton coast. Normandy was to the south and east.

The English laid siege to the island during the Hundred Years War and hoped to starve it out. But as the tide went out, the island became accessible from the Breton side before the Normandy side.

Consequently the Bretons could nip over to the island with a load of victuals to resupply the island before the tide became low enough for the English army to cross the sands to stop them.

As a result, the island held out for so long that the English lost interest and eventually abandoned the siege.

medieval inclined plane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere are a variety of ways to reach the Abbey.

The first, and probably the most interesting, way would be to be winched up by the medieval inclined ramp.

You can see the sone trackway here and right at the top are the remains of the wooden sledge to which they would attach the goods.

It would then be winched up from above until it reached the opening in the Abbey walls.

Today, there’s an electric winch and steel basket for supplying the abbey, but that doesn’t look half as exciting as the old system.

The more popular way is to climb up the steep street and then all of the stairs, following all of the visitors who take that way to the top.

But we stopped for a breather inside the church that’s half-way up, and noticed a back door out.

So we went that way and found ourselves going up a nice spiral, circular route that wasn’t anything like as steep, and with plenty of shady places to rest.

But at the Abbey, the €10:00 admission charge put me off. I would have liked to have gone in and seen the interior, especially the tombs of the Dukes of Normandy, but not at that price.

It’s good value if you are healthy though, because the admission allows you to climb right to the top of the tower where the views are stunning (or, at least, they would be if there wasn’t so much haze).

avranches baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceNevertheless, the views weren’t all that bad from where we were standing.

There was certainly a good view of Avranches from where we were standing. And with a little bit of digital enhancement you can see the town quite clearly away in the distance.

Hard to think that it’s probably 10 or 12 miles away across the bay from where we are. Such are the benefits of having some decent equipment.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAlison didn’t feel like the climb either so instead we descended and went for a walk around the walls.

It’s a walled city and as far as I could tell the walls are 100% intact, as you might expect. It’s not possible to go out to the north of the island without passing through the Abbey.

The whole lot is in a remarkable state of preservation, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that this was one of the very first places to be listed when they started the Register of Historic Places in France

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere’s another island a little farther out and I don’t remember seeing that from previous visits.

It looks quite inaccessible but when I blew up my photo (you can still do that kind of thing despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) I could see buildings – possibly World War II blockhouses – out there.

There were also people walking around out there, obviously taking advantage of the low tide.

high tide baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceAnd low tide it certainly was.

The tidal coefficient – the gap of the water level between high tide and low tide – was just 59 today. This meant that we weren’t going to be cut off.

The tidal coefficient can be as high as 120 and then the island is isolated from the mainland for a couple of hours. But the next one of these isn’t going to happen for quite a while, unfortunately.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceWe stopped on the way round where Alison took out a second mortgage on her house in order that we could have a coffee in one of the cafés here;

And on continuing our walk around the walls some obliging Asiatic guy took a photo of us both.

And Alison’s camera lived to tell the tale, which surprised me more than anything.

baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceFrom there we climbed up again to a small rest area and when a place on the wall underneath the trees became free, we moved in and occupied the spot.

It was quite nice there, overlooking the causeway and the entry gates to the island, and we ate our butties in the shade as we watched the world go by.

By now it was early afternoon and the hordes were still arriving. We decided that we had seen all that we had intended to see and so we returned on the shuttle bus to Caliburn, where we were fleeced by the parking charges machine.

Since this new parking system and charges have been in operation, visitor numbers have plummeted. At one time, over 3.5 million people came here every year and there was even a railway connection to the site.

In 2013 there were just 2.2 million people and apparently numbers are continuing to fall. One of these “alternative” Tourist guides writes of “la mauvaise réputation du Mont-Saint-Michel qui fait payer cher des prestations médiocres”“the bad reputation of Mont St Michel where the mediocre things on offer will cost a fortune”..

Still, it’s one of those places that you have to visit once in your life – preferably out of season – but you wouldn’t ever go back.

We headed off down the motorway, noticing the queues of vehicles heading west on the opposite carriageway, all heading to the Brittany coast.

It was a good idea to go out early in the morning because we missed most of that. I’d hate to be stuck in there right now.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times the “Cabane Vauban” – the stone hut on the headland of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s another place that has been on my list to visit since I first noticed it. We’d seen a road sign for it on the way down, and so on the way back we went there.

Despite its very isolated location, there was quite a crowd of people there and they wouldn’t move out of the way when I wanted to photograph the building.

And so they are now immortalised for posterity.

cabane vauban baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThe cabin was built as a lookout point for the excise me to survey whatever cargo was being smuggled into Avranches and Mont St Michel from the Channel islands during the 17th Century;

Some say, presumably because of the name “Vauban” being associated with them, that they are defensive posts to guard the bay. But whatever kind of defence you could launch from this cabin against an 18-pounder cannon on board an English ship would surely not be very effective.

There’s a good view down as far as Mont St Michel – or, at least, there would be on any other day when there wouldn’t be a heat haze shrouding the coastline.

pusher biplane baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceThere was also a lot of aerial activity.

I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo of the gyrocopter that flew over the cabane, but I was certainly quick enough to take a photo of the biplane that stuttered by overhead.

And much to my surprise, when I enlarged the photo I discovered that it was a “pusher”. That’s not the usual configuration these days. Most of the aircraft are “tractors”.

And it was making such a racket that I couldn’t help thinking “Goddam the Pusher“, although it probably wasn’t a biplane that Hoyt Axton had in mind when he wrote the song.

Back at Granville Alison wanted to go for a walk around the town and visited the shops. But it was far too warm for me so I dropped her off, gave her directions back here, and then drove back to my nice cool little hidey-hole on my rock.

When she came back we went for another walk, this time around the walls where we sat in the sun for quite a while and watched the people on the beach.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceFor tea, I had organised some gluten-free burgers which went down very well, and then once it became dark, we went back out.

it was the Nuit des Souders, when all of the blacksmiths in the area set up little stands all over the town and the port to demonstrate their skills.

There was even one ‘neath the spreading chestnut tree, but I couldn’t tell if “the muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands”.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThe music was unfortunately pretty poor, especially after last year’s exciting Russian rock group, even though they didn’t have the dancers from “Hellzapoppin'” with them on stage .

In the end, rather than listen to the music we went for a really long walk around the harbour and fell in with a couple of fishermen … “fisherPERSONS” – ed …fishing by the moonlight.

On the way back we called off at some of the galleries that were still open. But the only thing that caught my eye was, as usual, the most expensive thing on offer.

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy franceThere were also a few of the soudeurs dotted about here and there along the hill too, so we had a good look at some of them too.

But nothing at all really exciting.

It had been a really long day so I wasn’t disappointed to return to my apartment.

We were both pretty tired – after all, it had been a really long day – so we called it a night.

Sunday morning tomorrow, and so a lie in.

At least, I hope so.

And I have plenty more photos of Mont St Michel so I’ll probably put them all on a separate page one of these days.

pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france
pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france
fete des soudeurs granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 30th May 2018 – WHAT A NICE …

… tea that was!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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