Tag Archives: centrakor

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

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

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Saturday 28th August 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… miserable day today. And much of that is my own fault too.

Despite having, for what has been just recently an early night – so early in fact that I was nowhere near finished yesterday’s journal entry – it was a real struggle to force myself out of bed this morning when the alarm went off.

It was a crawl into the bathroom and even after a cold-water wash I didn’t feel any different. I had the medication and then came back in here to start work.

After an hour or so and ot having done very much at all, I reckoned that I may as well go for a coffee.

A quick check of the time told me that it was in fact just 05:25 – it seemed that I had forgotten to switch off the alarm from last Saturday. No wonder I was feeling so dreadful.

What I did was to switch off all of the following alarms except that for 06:20 and then went back to bed.

When the alarm went off, I couldn’t move out of bed at all so I went back so sleep and the next thing that I remembered was rhat it was 08:40. That wasn’t the start of the day that I wanted.

Having organised myself I went out to the shops. First port of call was Lidl where I bought some stuff that I couldn’t carry home when I was there on Wednesday.

Next stop was at Centrakor where I wanted to see if they had anything to cover my fruit but that was a disappointment.

At Noz I spent half my time going around the shop buying a couple of things and the other half of the time dismantling Caliburn’s door handle and freeing it off so that it would work.

At LeClerc, that was a disappointment too. No decent keyboard and no decent printer either. Some other stuff that I needed, like food and so on, and then I came home.

Carrying the stuff up here (only some of it too) was quite a struggle and I was glad to sit down for a pause with a coffee. And while I was seated, I organised myself a new keyboard and printer. The keyboard can’t be here soon enough because this one is driving me berserk.

After lunch I came back in here to start work but unfortunately I fell asleep again – as if this morning hasn’t been enough. It meant that I was rather late for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless, out I went and as usual, my first port of call when I go out for my afternoon walk is to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what’s going on down there.

Despite the weather, which is quite windy today, there are a few people making the most of the last weekend of the summer season. No-one actually in the water this afternoon which is hardly a surprise because I imagine that it will be quite cold in there this afternoon.

By the looks of things the beaches further along the coast look as if there is no-one on them and that’s a surprise. They are less susceptible to the wind, the views are good and they are good for walking

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile one eye was roving around on the beach, the other eye was having a good look out to sea.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore but way out in the bay there was a zodiac travelling offshore at quite a rapid rate of knots. I’ve no idea from where it’s come and to where it’s going. There’s no evidence of anything out there that might be of interest.

But you can see how rough the sea is this afternoon. It’s due to the effect of the wind that is whipping up the waves. You can tell that from the whitecaps out there in the bay.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite everything else, the sky was quite clear this afternoon and the view was really good.

In the past regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Ile de Chausey but it’s been very rare that we’ve been able to see it quite as clearly as this.

The colours have been enhanced a little, of course, and we can see the houses along the shore quite clearly . And that’s the lighthouse on the left of the image on the hill, and on the hill on the right is the semaphore station.

lighthouse semaphore crowds on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that’s the lighthouse and semaphore station station on the Ile de Chausey. Here are the lighthouse and the semaphore station at the Pointe du Roc.

The semaphore is of course the smaller post on the far right. The taller post in the centre seems to be some kind of transmission aerial, maybe for the coastguard post right out on the end of the headland behind the building up there.

And is that one of the Joly France boats out there to the right?

Crowds of people taking a walk this afternoon around the headland too. The last weekend of the summer season and they’ll all be heading home tomorrow (I hope) and we can all return to some peace and tranquility far from the madding crowds.

fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, in other news, a little further on along the path we have the presence of a fisherman.

Not a very optimistic fisherman either because he doesn’t have a net with which to haul in his catch or a bucket in which to keep it, and that seems rather a strange idea to me.

In fact, I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that the fishing off the rocks is sport fishing, not subsistence fishing, and the aim isn’t actually to keep and eat any fish that they catch but to release it back into the water afterwards.

As a vegan I should be applauding this gesture but it’s still something of a mystery

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had our attention distracted by the sea and by the land, it’s now time to turn out attention to the air.

Even if the fisherman isn’t necessarily hunting for food, other people are, like the sparrowhawk whom we have seen on several occasions.

He’s out there again hunting for his food in the rough grass down the bank on the clifftop and he’s probably having better luck than the fisherman below him.

That’s my lot really. Nothing else of any other great excitement happening around here and nothing else going on out to sea, I headed off around the path and across the car park.

carolles plage Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust at that moment, as I was crossing the car park, a ray of sun fell onto the beach at Carolles-Plage and illuminated it as if with a spotlight on a stage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have walked the length of that beach on several occasions not long after I first came here, when I was staying at that cheap hotel in Jullouville while I was looking for an apartment.

It’s a beautiful beach and quite quiet too as much of it is not easily accessible. It peters out up against the Pointe de Carolles, under the watchful eye of the Cabanon Vauban that is out of shot to the right.

Around the end of the headland and along the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

marite les epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on there of any note so I carried on along to where I could see the boats in the inner harbour.

First of all, the small red white and blue boat that’s there in the loading bay – when I was down there yesterday I was able to have a good look at her and she is indeed Les Epiettes, the boat that we saw out at the Ile de Chausey when we were aboard Spirit of Conrad last year.

Marité of course needs no introduction at all. she’s quite happily sitting at her berth waiting for her next trip out.

But as for me, I was waiting for my trip back home.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that “bad parking” is a feature that used to figure quite often on these pages, but fear of boring you all to death has made me abandon it, except in certain clearly outrageous circumstances.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust like this one here in fact.

This is a van that is fitted out as a mobile home and because there is no room to park just here (obviously the public car park just up the road at the Boulevard Vaufleury is too far to travel, they have decided to park just here.

Two wheels up on the kerb on the grass verge and the rest of the vehicle parked in the street, on a bus route and right opposite a relatively busy road junction.

But of course, who cares about the day-to-day life of the residents here? Being a tourist is much more important and who cares if it inconveniences the locals? Tough luck!

It’s no wonder that many people are glad to see the backs of the tourists when the holiday season is finally over.

By the way, it was one of those little concrete bollards just there that I tripped over on my nocturnal excursion the other evening.

Back here later there was the dictaphone that needed attention. And despite the rather short night, there had been plenty of time to go off for a mega-ramble or three.

There was another ship very like a Spanish galleon. I was on it and someone said to me “you won’t be going back on board the ship for a while because it had been raided by the local police. I was still out there trying to make a living by getting her food by carving on fish paste sandwiches and making sure that she does actually want to do it herself. I’ve no idea at all what was going on here, but once again I awoke covered in sweat from this.

And who is “she”? The cat’s mother?

Later on I was watching a football match and the opposition goalkeeper had been sent off just like someone yesterday. Someone else had to go in goal. His team won a corner so he went up to the penalty area for it. The corner came in but the other team’s keeper caught it quite cleanly but the other guy bundled him straight into the net, ball and all, and did a lap of honour around the goal at the back. Of course, the referee, talking to his linesman, ruled it out. That caused all kinds of problems but I could certainly see why it had been ruled out and wasn’t going to argue about it. It seemed a fair decision to me

And somewhere along the line I had another one of these work dreams where everything that I was doing was in total chaos yet again, and when I was on the point of retiring and could have just walked out.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Connah’s Quay Nomads. An exciting, free-flowing end-to-end game but most of it went to naught because the final touch was just not good enough.

The score finished 1-1 which was a surprise because there was a point in the game when I was thinking that they could be playing until next weekend and the score would still be 0-0. The central defensive pairing of Penybont was one of the best that I have ever seen.

But up front, both teams will have to be doing much better than this.

Just as I was about to go for a late meal, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for … errr … 2 hours and 37 minutes. Hence I’ve had no food, and I’m too tired to write this out properly.

It’s just not my day, is it?

Saturday 3rd October 2020 – I ONCE STARTED TRAINING …

… as a fortune teller, but I had to give up my studies due to unforeseen circumstances.

That is just as well because I would never have made the grade. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last weekend I mentioned Y Fflint – a football club from Deeside that has just been promoted to the JD Cymru League I mentioned that “They are no mugs, and certainly not cannon-fodder like some promotees have been.”

Today they played TNS – and TNS put 10 past them. That’s the heaviest defeat that I recall in the JD Cymru League for quite some considerable time … “August 2016” – ed …. although in fairness, Flint’s keeper was carried off after 23 minutes and they had to put a substitute in goal.

But anyway, I’ll stop predicting and shut up. Except to ask the same question as I did last weekend – “just how good are TNS this season?”.

They are obviously better than I was this morning because once again I had trouble hauling myself out of my stinking pit. Only by a few minutes, but a miss is as good as a mile.

But it seems that I have a lot on my mind right now, judging by what was happening last night.

There was a boat last night and a few of us were on it. It was called the “Son Derwyn”, something like that it was called. There was some woman on there but I can’t remember what she was doing. In fact I can’t remember anything about it at all apart from that.

Later on I’d been seconded onto a job to go to work in the South Atlantic (that’s a coincidence, isn’t it?). There was a group of us and three of us were leaving on the same flight so we were waiting around at the ferry terminal (don’t ask me why). I was with Nerina. We were sitting there talking to each other and there were these two other people talking and making a couple of phone calls. It turned out that they were indeed two of these people. They’d been told to look out for a third so I was wondering whether to introduce myself but I couldn’t be bothered. Nerina and I sat there and carried on talking then we got on this plane and flew to wherever we were going. We ended up in the hostel where we were staying, all sitting around but these two other guys hadn’t come. We weren’t saying too much about anything to anyone. In the end it was time to go to our rooms to get ready for dinner. We went off to our rooms but ended up in the wrong one. We’d all been waiting in one of the rooms so we went off to ours. All it consisted of was two divans, sofas, wickerwork type bamboo things. We thought “this is strange. It’s not going to be very comfortable. We’re not going to be able to get up to much good in here”. We realised that we’d left all of our stuff in the other room. One of the other guys had been for a shower. He came out and said “God you don’t want to go in that shower. It’s freezing cold”. I said “I’m not a penguin. I don’t fancy that idea”. He said “it’s all there is”. We went down into the communal bar place. Apparently there was some bread and jam somewhere so Nerina asked one of the waiters or staff or someone where the bread and jam was. They replied “you have to do things for yourself you know here. You’re expected to work on Saturdays”. I explained that we were quite happy to go and get stuff for ourselves – that’s not a problem. We just wanted to know where it was because we were new. We didn’t get our bread and jam but nevertheless Nerina went off to try to find some and I went to find some tables. It was pretty crowded and in the end I found a couple of chairs and we tagged ourselves on to some other group we were with. Then I realised that I needed some names of people who did things in the town – tradesmen and I’d left the telephone directories that I’d pinched from the library in this guy’s room so I thought that I’d better go and find some more. I walked out into town and found a few. On the way back I was being harassed by this little boy and I almost picked him up and thumped him one but I restrained myself just in time. As I got to the traffic lights – we’d been passed by buses and whatever – I thought “this is a bigger city than I expected. Much more modern”. An ambulance came out of a junction and was rammed by a little white van. A few people piled out of this little white van and another vehicle pulled up as well. They started dragging people out of this ambulance. I noticed that the people in this little white van had police jackets on. One of them gave this gorgeous right hook on one of the passengers in the ambulance. i’ve no idea what this was all about. The ambulance guy was radioing through that he’d been hit by this van and that there was a fight going on with some of his passengers but he had a woman who was seriously ill who he was taking to hospital. Could they send another ambulance to pick her up and take her on while he sorted everything out here. I was making my way back to where I was staying. I do remember thinking “how the hell am I going to be expected to keep the peace in a town like this if this is the kind of behaviour that goes on and it’s such a busy place anyway?
Somewhere along the line was a pizza that had to be put in the fridge so we went to arrange the slices so we could but found that it was all too big for the fridge and there wasn’t the room to put it so what would we be doing about that? I had some ribald comments from my father and my brother about all of this while I was doing it to so I thought that if I can’t find a solution to a little problem like this how am I going to manage doing anything major?
And what was this next bit all about? “This train was crowded with people. Everyone was crammed in and no-one dare move in case someone took their seat. I was handed a telegram which when I opened it said that there was a mumbled something that I couldn’t decipher. immediately. I thought that this was a reference to this new job or else they’d found out something about me that I hadn’t wanted anyone else to know.

With a reasonably early start nevertheless I managed to edit about 15 photos before I went for my shower. And today I had the heater on in the bathroom. The first time this back-end. And I needed it too.

Next step was to empty out the fridge and switch it off. It’s frozen up again and needs to defrost. It can do that while I’m out at the shops.

NOZ had nothing exciting and Centrakor couldn’t supply a new bread mould.

In Leclerc I spent very little – most of which went on things like a box of 2kg of grapes. I bought three fresh figs too and when I reached home, I set another kefir mix en route. Mind you, I needed a boat to come home in, not Caliburn. It was raining hard when I set out but by the time I made it home we were having a torrential downpour of the type that you don’t see very often.

Brigitte had left the window open on her car too so I rang her and told her. But it was rather too late to do any good.

Having set the kefir going, I alternated between the photos and hacking lumps of ice out of the fridge. That latter is now done – all nice and clean and defrosted (but for how long?) and I’ve done almost 70 photos today. And some of them needed quite a lot of editing too. That took some time.

St Helier Jersey Channel Islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I was ready for my afternoon walk there had been a dramatic improvement in the weather.

By now not only had the rain ceased but we were having a beautiful afternoon – one that had really brought out the crowds. And the views were splendid too. You could see for miles and miles – all the way to St Helier in Jersey 58 kilometres away. In all the years that i’ve lived here, I’ve never ever seen the Channel islands so clearly with the naked eye, and with the BIG NIKON D500 and the 18-300mm ZOOM LENS it all looked even more clear

It’s tempting me, if I remember, to go out with the tripod tonight if the wind has dropped to an acceptable level

Peche À Pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland it wasn’t just on the footpaths and the lawns around here that there were plenty of people either this afternoon.

The severe storms that we have had just recently, such as Storm Alex and what went of before it have certainly shaken up the sea bed and who knows what they have unearthed? And so that’s another reason for the people doing the peche à pied to be out there this afternoon, over and above the beautiful weather and the very low tide today.

And I hope that they share the catch with all of their friends and neighbours. After all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

Medieval Fish Trap Crowds On Beach Plat Gousset Bouchot Farming Donville Les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I left the viewpoint overlooking the beach and walked on along the Rue du Nord, and down the footpath underneath the walls. Too many people about today to go for my run so I shelved that until this evening.

There was quite an assortment of items to note going on this afternoon on the beach at the Plat Gousset and down all the way past Donville les Bains.

  1. In the foreground we have the medieval fish trap (at least, I’m assuming that it’s medieval). The water flows over the walls when the tide is coming in and when it retreats it leaves behind a large pool of water in which, in theory, there should be fish trapped which the inhabitants can then pull out with their hands.
  2. Plenty of people out there too, including more pecheurs à pied
  3. The bouchot farm. These are mussels that instead of growing in the sand, somehow manage to grow on the strings that are attached to those poles. These are supposed to be something of a delicacy because with not having been in the sand, they aren’t anythign like as gritty. I once talked to one of the ropes and asked him about the affair. He told me that at first he didn’t like the bouchots but then after a while they began to grow on him.
  4. More pedestrians
  5. The caravan park, with the airfield behind it
  6. The Church of Bréville sur Mer

Crowds Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt beats me sometimes where all of these people come from because as well as the crowds milling around on the footpaths etc., there are also quite a few loitering around on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

You can see that all of the beach changing cabins on the promenade are no longer there, having been taken away for winter storage a couple of weeks ago. And that’s just as well because had they still been there the other night they would have been smashed to matchwood with the force of the waves that were sweeping up over the wall onto the promenade.

There are one or two people on the beach as well, but not as comfortably-installed as they were last weekend with their folding chairs.

Anyway, I left them to it and wandered off through the Square Maurice Marland where I was engaged in conversation with a boy about three years old.

Joly France Seaweed Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see that one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey, the newer one with the smaller upper superstructure, is there whereas the other one looks as if it might be out at sea.

But it wasn’t that which caught my eye, it was the seaweed in the dock. The storm has clearly devastated the sea bed, as I suspected that it might, and the tidal current has been so strong that it’s brought the seaweed right into the head of the harbour.

That must have been some storm.

Football tonight on the internet tonight again. And Sgorio is still having problems with its service. Apparently the English-language stream stalled and while they were fixing it they transferred the viewers over to our Welsh language stream. And the presenter apologised to the English-speakers – IN WELSH.

As for the match itself, it was Cardiff Metropolitan v Caernarfon Town.The Met had 60% of possession, 15 corners compared to the 5 of the Cofis and a dozen shots on goal compared to the 4 of the opposition. When the Met were awarded a penalty early in the game those of us who were watching were saying “here comes the first of many”.

However Josh Tibbetts in the Cofis goal saved it, and from then on the result was predictable. The Met could still be playing out there all alone right now on an empty pitch and they would still be unable to score. As for Caernarfon, three of their four shots went into the back of the net, to produce one of the most unlikely results that I have ever seen.

The Met had a right-winger out there – a young lad called Liam Warman. I’ve not seen him before but he impressed me considerably tonight and I’ll be looking out for him again.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite what I said earlier, I didn’t get out with the tripod tonight.

When the weather brightened up earlier this afternoon as it did, I reckon that it must have simply been the eye of the storm, because it’s back, and with a vengeance too. So well wrapped up and in my waterproof jacket (and how I wish I’d taken my waterproof trousers too) I went out to take a photo or two of the storm.

And if you are wondering about the dreadful quality (because they really are dreadfully blurred and over-exposed) there was a wind blowing at over 100 Km/H and a driving, torrential rainstorm right into the lens of the camera and I had to do the best that I could.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there, I noticed that there was no-one else whatsoever taking advantage of the view tonight.

That’s hardly surprising because I don’t think that I’ve ever been out in such dreadful weather. There was no chance whatever of going around the headland so instead I went back around the walls. It was impossible – absolutely impossible to run down the path as I usually do. Not only was this absolutely awful headwind and driving rain, but the path was about two inches deep in water.

That meant that I had to pick my way gingerly around, which wasn’t easy as I had the hood of my raincoat pulled firmly down and I couldn’t really see where I was going.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, after many difficulties, I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Here, I was being battered and buffetted by a blinding blizzard of rain and I could hardly see a thing. But I’d caught glimpses of the spray as I walked around the path and you could hear the noise of the waves smashing down on the promenade for miles, so I knew that it was going to be a good one.

Basically, it was just a case of waiting for a really loud crash, counting to three to give the spray enough time to make it high into the air, and then pressing the shutter blindly, hoping that something would work out. And, quite frankly, it was something of a failure altogether but you can’t have everything. Ideal conditions and nothing to photograph – miserable and depressing conditions and lots of excitement.

isn’t it always like that?

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving stuck it out for as long as I could and with rivers of rain running down the back of my jacket and soaking my legs through to the bones, I headed off for home, thanking the heavens that there had been no football in the area tonight that I might have gone to see.

The Square Maurice Marland was pretty well sheltered so I managed to run all the way across there and even halfway up the second ramp. I need to try my best to keep my heart working. But the final run that I do – from the church back home, there wasn’t any possibility of attempting it tonight in that wind. And I was right yesterday about the wind tunnel. The howling gust coming up there as I walked past almost bowled me over.

Back here I’ve written up my notes and that’s that. Sunday tomorrow and a day of rest too. No cooking or baking either (except for the usual pizza) because I shan’t be here for a few days. I might stretch myself and, having defrosted the fridge today, defrost the freezer tomorrow.

In this weather, it’s not as if there’s any danger of anything defrosting, is it?

Saturday 1st February 2020 – I HAVE SEEN …

vannes olympique club stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall … US Granville play some rubbish in my time, but nothing quite like they played in the last 30 minutes or so of this evening’s match against Vannes Olympique Club.

And it all started so well too.

In fact it was looking like it was going to be a good match today. Both sides playing possession football and trying to open the other one up. And while it is true to say that Granville had the better of it, they were playing some kind of aimless football.

At least, Vannes OC had some kind of plan or tactic.

The second half was a different story. I don’t know what the trainer of Vannes OC had put in his team’s half-time cuppa but I could do with a mug of that myself.

They came out of the dressing room at a blistering pace and quickly had the Granville team pegged back in their own half. Granville were absorbing the pressure quite well and just as it looked as if the danger might have passed, Vannes OC got the ball into Granville’s net. And I do have to say that it had been coming for quite some time.

Strangely enough, the goal seemed to inspire Granville more and they started to play a lot better after that – but then 5 or so minutes later the wheels really did come off.

Whether the tackle that a Granville midfielder put in on a Vannes player merited a yellow card or not is a matter for debate, but what the midfielder said to the referee about the decision certainly merited the red card that came out of the referee’s pocket.

It’s stupid. Pathetic. Childish. Indisciplined. It cost Granville the game and it’s not the first time either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. The Granville trainer needs to do something about the lack of discipline in his team and kick a few of the worst offenders down the road, or else get down the road himself.

We had a couple of weird substitutions too this evening. he took off both of his front two and put on two others. It’s quite true that they hadn’t done a great deal and didn’t look much like doing it either, but everyone in the ground except the trainer apparently could see that the reason why this was the case was that the midfield weren’t getting the ball forward quickly enough or often enough.

Changing the forwards isn’t going to solve that particular problem.

Granville went a second goal down near the end and then we had four minutes of injury time. By now the players had lost all interest in the game and it was a dreadful sight to watch as the fans streamed out of the ground in dismay.

With about 30 seconds left and 2-0 down, they had a goal kick. “get the ball upfield quick with a long ball and put the defence under pressure” – but no – a short kick out to a defender and they try to play the ball upfield with just seconds left. What a dreadful decision that was at that particular time.

So what happens is that the defender loses possession. With most of the team upfield waiting for the long ball that never came, there’s no-one back to defend and Vannes score an easy third goal.

I came home in disgust.

Last night was a bad night for me. Gone 02:30 when I finally went to bed last night and although I mdidn’t take too much notice of the alarms I was up by 06:35 which was good going.

After the medication I checked the dictaphone. A group of us had been out for the night celebrating the New Year and we were walking home. My German friend was there and he had banged his leg and they had had to stop and look at his leg all that kind of thing. Some people kept on walking on – I was one of those people who kept walking on. Then someone caught up with me and we asked about him. “Yes, that’s fine, they’ll be catching us up in a minute” so I asked what they were doing – had they stopped for chips or something like that and they got some money for you because one of the guys has given you a reduction. I couldn’t work out why I would get a reduction. I thought that it was because I’d brought all these people in or it might be something else that I’d bought before midnight or whatever. But it turned out that it was a fancy dress night and I was in fancy dress. I said to a former friend of mine who had miraculously appeared in my voyage (they are good like that) “find out if this guy meant to give me a reduction and if he did then give him the money for the deduction. I’m not quite like that”

After breakfast I cut up another digital track or two and then went for a shower. And then off into town.

Noz was first and I bought a few things there – but nothing of any significance. Next stop was Centrakor where I wanted some small pyrex bowls, some pastry cutters and a new small baking tray. But nothing whatever of any good to me which was a shame.

LeClerc didn’t have anything either, but I knew that anyway.

bio products self weigh leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a thing! It looks as if at long last LeClerc is about to enter the 21st Century, a good 10 years behind the Auchan and a few years behind Carrefour.

LeClerc did have a small self-weigh section but it had about 10 products from which to choose. But here they are on a Saturday morning, and a busy Saturday morning at that, setting it up.

Why the couldn’t have done it on Friday night so that it would be ready for today’s customers I really don’t know. You can’t sell the stuff if you can’t get it into the shop.

It was like NOZ this morning. You couldn’t get round half of the shop due to the piles of unopened boxes just dumped in the aisles waiting for the staff to fill the shelves.

Totally disorganised, totally poorly managed, totally crazy.

vegan brioche bread rolls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut the vegan bread is back on the shelves again, and about time too.

Not that I buy stuff like this these days but it deserves to be encouraged so that they might expand their selection og Vegan products.

Things were such that I didn’t buy a lot today. I’m pretty well stocked right now and that’s good news. There’s enough food to eat for the week anyway.

On the way back I had the extreme misfortune to be stuck behind a parcels delivery van of which the driver would much rather park in the middle of the street than advance 20 yards into an empty parking space.

Lunch was the rest of the mushroom soup with bread, and then I made a start on editing the dictation for the radio programme. That’s done and I’ve started to assemble the soundtrack, and I could have done much more had the bad night not caught up with me at a certain point.

Tea after the football was out of a tin and now I’ve had a slow desultory evening.

NO alarm, no early awakening so I’m hoping for a decent lie-in. And then I need to crack on and get these things done.

Saturday 15th June 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… out and about today. and not just once but a couple of times too.

The day actually started off quite well, with me being up and about (well, on my feet anyway) for the third alarm at 06:20.

That’s a rare occurrence these days.

And it’s a surprise because it was the annual firework display last night, as I found out round about midnight when Iw as rudely awoken from my slumbers.

With having an early breakfast I was able to attack the dictaphone notes and deal with a few of those – get them out of the way. And shame as it is to say it, I dozed off for 5 minutes in between.

My little sleep was interrupted by the doorbell. Liz arrived. So we had a coffee and some chocolate and a chat before hitting the streets.

LIDL came up with nothing special, and our next stop was Centrakor.

Here in the apartment I have a big 100-litre waste bin and it’s ridiculous because I never create enough rubbish to fill it (and I’m not talking about the blog either). However I forget to empty it regularly and I don’t realise about the state of it until it comes to look for me itself, by which time it’s rather overwhelming.

As is usual, I need to be pushed into doing things so I bought a nice 20-litre waste bin today. That’s much more like it. It’ll take a week or so to fill and then I shall have to take it outside – much more regularly than I do right now, and that has to be good.

LeClerc came up with nothing special but we had a nice lunch, and that’s always welcome.

This afternoon, there was football on the internet. The Welsh clubs are preparing for the Europa League and Champions League matches and Barry Town were playing a representative side from the Punjabi FA who are on tour in the UK.

The match was streamed live on the internet so I watched it. And Barry will have to play much better than they did if they want to progress in Europe. They were extremely rusty and off the pace.

Tea was veg and pasta, and then I went for my evening walk. First time for a few weeks. It was rather uncomfortable but I have to press on and get myself back on form.

Sunday tomorrow so a Lie-in. And I hope that it’s a good one.

Monday 11th June 2018 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… why it’s so difficult to give my money away.

As I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … there’s supposed to be a recession on, and yet shops seem to be totally unwilling to take your money off you.

I had to go to LeClerc this morning to pick up the kitchen estimate that I had asked for last Tuesday. “Ohh yes – I haven’t finished it yet”. Since Tuesday! But at least he gave me a print-out of the price of the components.

And he can forget that. €2400 and that’s BEFORE we start to talk about any electrical appliances.

And he couldn’t do what I asked him about the cabinets. “It won’t work out” he says. And that’s nonsense too, because I can make it work without a moment’s effort. I want two cabinets, one of 90cms and one of 120cms, one on top of another, but with the bottom one turned at 90% so it opens to the front door of the apartment so I have somewhere to put my shoes and keys.

Just HOW difficult is that?

“Anyway, you’ll have your plan tonight”. So he’s clearly going to be working some very late hours because it’s almost 21:30 and it’s not arrived yet.

Prior to that, I’d been to BUT, and I made sure that I was there when it opened at 10:00 too. I finally found the girl who is doing the kitchens this week “but I’m booked up”.
“Total nonsense” I retorted. and told her what I thought of the arrangement, especially as I’d been fobbed off last week too and that was still rankling with me.

In the end, she agreed to see me at 14:00 hours, which just goes to show what you can do when you set your mind to it.

There was also the delivery point to visit as there was another parcel awaiting me. But no rizes for guessing that it was closed this morning. Monday is never a good day to try to do anything in France.

In the end, I went to the LeClerc supermarket and did some shopping. I need to eat anyway.

I need to sleep too, because I’m not getting any right now. I was in bed early enough after my exertions yesterday but it was very hard to drop off. And being wide awake at 06:00 was definitely not part of the plan.

There was plenty of time after breakfast and before I needed to hit the streets so I made a start on one of the pages of my trip to the desert back in April (was in THAT long ago?). And this page is going to rumble on and on because I’m far from finished, what with all of the interruptions.

Back out at 13:45 and stuck behind the grockles admiring the seagulls again and people who are totally unable to drive. But I was there in plenty of time nevertheless.

And now I understand why this girl only wants two appointments each day. Because despite it being a “point and click” 3D program that she uses to calculate the kitchens with an automatic counter and pricer, 90 minutes later we were still at it and we were far from finshed.

And she was another one who couldn’t understand what I was meaning about the two pieces of furniture one on top of another. And when I finally got it through to her, she replied that the computer wouldn’t do that.

So I took the computer mouse, highlighted the piece of furniture, pressed the “rotate” function and selected “90% anti-clockwise”. Took me 5 seconds.

“Ohh, I didn’t know it could do that!”

So she’s another one who is going to be working very late because it’s now 21:45 and despite her promise to do it today, it’s not here yet.

Mind you, she needn’t bother. I obtained a printout of the “price to date” and we were already at €2200 before we talk about the appliances. This IKEA price is looking a bargain.

After that I visited a few more shops, like GIFI and Centrakor (coming out of which I was drenched in a sudden, unexpected rainstorm) to see what they had going, and I went to pick up my parcel too.

Back here I had a coffee and a play on the guitar, and by then it was tea time. Vegan burger in onion gravy with rice and vegetables. Delicious.

And I’ve had my evening walk too.

So an early night and I need it too. I have quite a lot to do tomorrow.

And aren’t i getting crabby in my old age?

Monday 26th March 2018 – HOW LONG IS IT …

cruise ship english channel granville manche normandy france… since we’ve had a Ship of the Day?

We have them every now and then of course but nothing like the ones to which we are accustomed, steaming … “dieseling” – ed … down the Straits of Dover or up the St Lawrence. But today was rather different.

With a huge 300 mm zoom lens and a high vantage point on the Pointe du Roc, a good image editor (Paint Shop Pro has never failed me yet after well over 20 years) and a bit of “crop and paste” I can take photos dozens of miles out into the English Channel and make them look fairly respectable, all things considered.

I’ve no idea who she is and where she’s going, but her silhouette bears a strong resemblance to the Brittany Ferries’ Pont Aven – the ferry that runs between St Malo and Portsmouth. That is of course mere speculation but she’s impressive just the same.

grima port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd that’s not the only ship that was out and about.

The rattle and clanking of an ancient Kelvin diesel engine left no-one in any doubt as to who else was just leaving the harbour as I rounded the headland.

It’s our old friend Grima presumably having nipped in last night under cover of darkness while I was flaked out on the sofa.

grima port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was quite a crowd up here on the city walls watching her leave port. French people of course, but judging by their accents not from around here.

They were making all kinds of remarks and speculations about who or what she might be so I was able to fill them in on the details. They may be none-the-wiser, but they are certainly better-informed right now.

But never mind ships for now – during the night I was on the strangest rail journey. Rattling down the long corridor of this double-deck train furnished with cheap red and white plastic seats and trim until we suddenly came to the carriage with the swimming pool in it. The only way past was to shoot down this hole underneath the pool in which you were propelled by compressed air, and it was full of water. Definitely not the stuff for claustrophobics. So I queried it with the two Japanese attendants who at first didn’t (or wouldn’t) hear me but eventually they understood what I meant and “ohh yes, that’s the only way”. “But it’s wet!” I replied. “So where’s your towel?” they asked. When I explained that I didn’t have one they immediately offered to lend me one, with a weary sigh as if they were totally fed up with people who come on their trains and don’t bring their own towels. And I still wasn’t convinced about this escape route. I come out in a cold sweat even when the word “submarine is mentioned and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once declined the opportunity to visit the interior of the aforementioned.

But this all began with a visit that I had made to Stoke on Trent with someone whom I know to go to pick up something from the car spares place. It was crowded and I eventually fought my way to the front of the queue. The three little Chinese girls standing next to me were after a car part as they couldn’t go to school until they had this piece. “Let me guess – it’s a Mercedes” I said, recalling a similar occasion that had occurred to me. Of course, it was, so I leaned across to my friend, told him the story and invited him to guess. He didn’t hear me so I went across to him – and found that I had lost my place in the queue. So back again and worked my way round, and eventually I was seen. I had to go outside for my part where the person dealing with me told me that the measurements were wrong. It wasn’t 84m but he could find something at 80mm. I reckoned that it was more like 84mm but he insisted on 80mm and it was the centre boss from a Ford Escort steering wheel. The one he had was dirty so he started to clean it up but this had already taken far longer than I had planned and I had things to do, so I took it as it was, explaining to my friend (by now joined by none other than Zero) that I would see him later – although I knew that I wouldn’t really have time. My route away took me to the hospital and I ended up in a ward where I had once stayed. It was crowded with people sleeping everywhere and in the corner were people doing relaxation exercises, pretending to be rabbits asleep. Something that I found quite amusing. My route out of here took me past all of the nurses whom had dealt with me, and they all kept on asking me if I had my permit to leave. I explained that I hadn’t even been in, but they of course asked me why I was here then. And it was during one of these encounters that I ended up on board this train.

And no wonder that I was exhausted after all of that. Quite a struggle to leave my bed when the alarm went off.

And for a change I managed the medication and a breakfast, followed by a shower and even a lap round of the washing machine. High time that I organised myself.

Once everything was up and running and the medication had done its stuff I headed out for the shops. And it was an expensive day too for in three of the shops I spent €25:00 each, and that’s not like me.

In LIDL the money went on a kitchen roll holder and a set of kitchen knives (which are rubbish – worse than the one that they are supposed to replace), some absolutely delicious strawberries (I remembered that I had half a can of spray-on vegan cream left from Christmas) and a punnet of kiwis. Yes, with my new sorbet maker, I’m not going to be short of desserts for the next week or so.

NOZ was having another sale of exotic drinks plus a DVD sale with some good stuff in there, and also a nice black fleece. I realise that I don’t have enough jumpers and fleeces are good because they dry quickly when you wash them or it rains. And this one has the pockets sewn that they make little inside pockets too, which are very handy for travelling.

And a rolling pin! I’ve finally found a traditional wooden rolling pin too. Been looking for one for ages.

LeClerc was just the usual stuff but a lot of it because I’d let the supplies run right down just recently. And just €2:50 in Centrakor, on a new measuring jug. I had something of an accident the other day with the previous one.

Of course today was just the kind of day to take your butties to the wall outside and sit thereupon, so I had some soup to finish off, didn’t I? And then I had my walk and my little guitar practice session.

The postie came meantime and bought me the first consignment of my order from the other day. With having no credit card I wasn’t able to treat myself to a birthday present but once I’d organised that last time that I was in Brussels I could go ahead and order some of this year’s wish list. We had the remote control that I mentioned, and a couple of DVDs. More is yet to come.

Tea was a burger and vegetables, and the usual evening walk.

Liz was on line later on so we chatted for ages. Dylan, her grandson, has just passed his flute exam (bravo Dylan) and Robyn, her grand-daughter, has just passed her first level ballet exam.

So I’ve ordered a command performance ballet when they come in the summer, Dylan on music and Robyn on the dance floor

What more can anyone require?

Saturday 3rd March 2018 – OHH HECK!!!

Yes, I awoke this morning to find bright sunlight streaming into the bedroom.

Blasted 08:20, wasn’t it? The alarms hadn’t gone off.

Subsequent enquiries revealed that the battery and gone flat in the telephone. And so I was in something of a panic.

So much so that I forgot where I had seen during the night. But it did involve a spare wheel of a vehicle – the type that hangs on the back door of a 4×4 and how the owner of the vehicle wanted to make sure that we knew precisely what wheel was under the rainproof cover before we ordered a spare part or something for it.

But I medicated, breakfasted, showered and hit the streets – out of the apartment at the usual time. And here I bumped into Mrs Neighbour who had with her husband just come back from 2 months in Vietnam. It seems that he too spent New Years Eve in hospital, with the same bronchitis that I had. It seems to have been an epidemic all around the world, this illness.

I did the usual round of the usual shops today. At LIDL they had a couple of the sorbet makers left over so I blagged one and I shall have a go with it this coming week.

And at Leclerc I ought a computer mouse. The “other” laptop that I use as a media centre has a broken mouse (that was how I bought it so cheaply) and I’ve been using an old plug-in mouse to work it. And it is so easy to manoeuvre for my 3D programs that I went out and bought one for this laptop. It makes a whole world of difference.

But going into Leclerc it was bright sunlight so I ought a ticket for the cheap open-air standing area at the football ground. nd when I came out the rain was asolutely teeming down. That wasn’t a good plan, was it?

After lunch I spoke to Rosemary on the phone but having only given my phone the briefest of charges the battery went flat. And for some reason the phone wouldn’t charge up off the laptop … "it won’t if it’s not plugged into the mains" – ed … and so I ended up doing a few other things before going to the football.

stade louis dior football us granville stde rennais manche normandy france

And as for that, the 540-odd of us in the stadium were treated to a rather unusual sight of a linesman and a referee officiating at a totally different match to the one that we were watching, and I’m still shaking my head at some of it.

Tonight’s opponents were the reserves of Stade Rennais – a professional outfit with a professional set-up and a professional approach to the game. And it told, too.

They might be a couple of places below Granville in the table but I don’t know why because they played some very pretty football. They were well-organised and moved the ball around well, and their three goals were all excellent.

What didn’t help matters was that US Granville allowed them far too much room in midfield and it looked to me as if they wre refusing to close them down.

But the three goals of Granville were from the usual breaks down the wing from the rapid wingers and overlapping full-backs.

stade louis dior football us granville stde rennais manche normandy franceHowever, going back to Stade Rennais’s professionalism, they were very careful to punch the Granville n°5 when the attention of the linesman and referee was elsewhere.

And the Granville was stupid enough to punch back as soon as the referee had turned round. The red card that the referee gave him was more for stupidity than the punch.

But that’s the difference between a professional team and an amateur one. THese amateur players are sometimes so naïve.

The referee did however lose control of the match, which is hardly a surprise with some of the decisions, and it all ended rather nastily. I don’t know what went on in the tunnel afterwards but it was greeted with hoots of derision from the crowd in the stands.

And If I’ve read some of the subsequent comments, it looks as if a few red cards were brandished in the tunnel. We shall see.

It was a pleasant walk back and I didn’t feel the strain, surprisingly. AND i4M ON 111% of my daily activity.

Tea was different. With running low on tinned curries? I tried a new line that LeClerc was offering. Mushrooms in the Greek style. And to my surprise, it wasn’t too bad. Not up to curry standard, but nice enough. I always eat out of a tin on Saturday because I’m usually out at the football or something and I don’t have much time, energy or ambition to cook very much.

So we’ll try this time for an early night, and see where that takes us. Sunday is a lie-in and I need it.

Saturday 13th January 2018 – ISN’T IT NICE …

NEW TELEVISION place d'armes granville manche normandy france… to be able to watch the football on the big screen?

Unfortunately the laptop with the broken screen didn’t work – it’s quite an old laptop of course and the software in it won’t run the video plug-in for the browser.

But the laptop that I’ve been using as a media centre up until recently did the business, that’s for sure, and I was able to watch the first half of Cefn Druids v Llandudno in perfect comfort.

Unfortunately it wasn’t such a perfectly comfortable night? I was awake in the middle of the night and took a while to go back to sleep again. But I was dead to the world when the alarm went off and it was a struggle to leave the bed. How I’m looking forward to a nice lie-in tomorrow!

After breakfast I had a shower, a good clean-up and change of clothes, and then off to the shops, where I spent another pile of money.

LIDL had some hand towels of the type that I bought the other day so a pack of three disappeared into Caliburn, as did a battery charger. All of mine are back at the farm and in any case are over 30 years old. A little hi-tech modern one will do much better when I might need it.

At Mr Bricolage I bought a knob for my saucepan lid – the one on which I broke the handle the other day, and NOZ came up with the usual stuff.

Centrakor provided a new washing-up bolw of the correct size (so my wok and my pizza platter will fit into it), a few other bits and pieces and a box with a tight-fitting lid – just the thing in which to keep my socks and undies.

At LeClerc I went to look at the HDMI cables because the one-metre cable that I have isn’t really long enough for what I need. And with -metre ones on offer at just €9:99, that’s long enough for just about everything.

LeClerc was also having a sale on suitcases. And a small cabin-sized one on wheels at just €15:99 – just the thing for my trips to Leuven – also ended up in the back of Caliburn.

And I’m glad that I had bought that TV last weel, because there wasn’t a cheap one anywhere to be seen in the shop.

After fuelling up, I came back home, made myself some soup and then … errr … had a little rest for half an hour. And then cracked on with organising the shopping and sorting out another pile of papers. There’s actually some room in the drawers here now, and isn’t that astonishing?

At the end of the football I had to leave.

football us cerencaise us mouettes de donville cerences manche normandy franceCaliburn and I went off to Cérences where we were the other week.

It’s the nearest Saturday night match and the home side were playing the Mouettes of Donville.

The first half was all one-way traffic towards the Donville goal. But the Donville keeper put in a performance that neither he nor I will ever forget, including a magnificent “Banks” reverse save. It was the performance of a lifetime and I don’t think that I’ve seen better.

At the start of the second half Donville made two substitutions and the two players that came on, playing down the left, changed the balance of the game and we had a much more even contest.

However it didn’t last. The new left winger had clearly unsettled the defenders and after about 25 minutes he was on the receiving end of a bad challenge and limped off the field. We then went back to the one-sided match that we had in the first half.

The Donville keeper was finally beaten with just 10 minutes to go – a long-range shot that dipped and curled out of his reach and in underneath the angle of the post and crossbar – but he still made a couple more top-class saves to make the result look a lot closer than it deserved.

But there was a lot of naughty stuff going on in this game about which the referee didn’t seem at all concerned. One Cérences player made two tackles in as many minutes, either of which merited a red card in my opinion but nothing was given. And so a minute or two later a Donville player exacted his own retribution by giving him a kick that would have felled an ox. No card for that either.

And that’s just a couple of examples. There were many more.

So, frozen to the marrow, I drove back here and now I’m going to bed.

A nice lie-in, I hope. I deserve it.

Saturday 6th January 2018 – I’VE BEEN CHANGING …

… the habits of a lifetime today.

And how!

We started off with another bad night last night. Despite going to bed at something like a reasonable hour I was tossing and turning for ages and spent most of the night watching the clock wind down.

And never mind the alarm going off at 07:30 – at that time of the morning I was up, medicated and thinking about breakfast. And my porridge did go down nicely too.

At about 09:15 I hit the road for the shops and I’ll tell you more about them in due course. But my shopping trip was interrupted by Rosemary phoning for a chat, and we passed a very pleasant half hour or so, with me parked up at the side of the road.

Back here, a late lunch (because I’d been out for ages) was followed by a snooze as you might expect, and then I had plenty of things to do – such as making start on tidying up the paperwork seeing that I bought a binder today.

This was followed by watching Cardiff Met play Aberystwyth in the Welsh Premier League, and then off out I went.

Up to the 3rd floor and Odile’s apartment. She was having a little fête to celebrate Epiphany and I’d been invited, which was very nice of her. Brigitte was there, and Roberte, David, Nicolas and Patrice. We all had a good chat for ages, and I wasn’t the first to leave either.

Not like me to be sociable is it? But then, I was never really invited anywhere before. My reputation hasn’t reached here yet, obviously!

But the shops!

I have resolved to make my life easier and more comfortable, and that includes buying things of a better quality than maybe I might usually do, and also to have one one or two luxuries around the place to bolster my morale.

And didn’t that work in Spades today?

Not that it means abandoning my trips to NOZ of course. IN fact I was there today and another €15 of near-expired food and a few other irrelevancies ended up in Caliburn. And the braderie at LeClerc was hit as well, with a waste bin for the living room and a bucket-waste bin for the bedroom.

But that’s only part of it – and a small part of that.

I seem to only have two towels here and both of them seem to have long-since seen better days. So with LIDL having a sale on and luxury towels reduced to a reasonable price, they had one blue shower towel and one blue hand towel (the bathroom is blue) left, as well as a matching blue bathrobe (my old one is falling to bits).

So they ended up in Caliburn too.

Next stop was NOZ, and then Centrakor for a new wallet to replace the one that was lost.

After that it was to “Happy Cash”, the second-hand shop.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be surprised to hear that I’m looking for a cheap television. I have a DVD player here – the one that I bought in Belgium years ago, complete with hard drive, and I only used it for about 6 months before I moved to France.

It’s been in a cardboard box ever since, and here I am watching DVDs on an old laptop. So I want a cheap TV and the second-hand shop seemed to be the place to go.

No such luck unfortunately, but I did strike gold in a quite unexpected direction.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I moved here I went looking for a stereo hi-fi. It needed to meet several criteria, like AM/FM radio, CD, auxiliary input, USB port (for a memory stick or a USB turntable). And how I had been singularly unsuccessful.

And there sitting on the shelf was an old battered LG stereo hi-fi with absolutely everything that I wanted, and as an added bonus, a cassette player/recorder. All powered by a remote control.

A lengthy chat with the manager saw it disappearing into Caliburn for the grand sum of … errr … €49:00.

One very happy little bunny here. I spent part of the afternoon wiring it up and the rest of the afternoon having a nostalgia trip listening to a pile of cassettes from the 1970s. Ohh Happy Day!

And later, having bought a memory stick, I copied a pile of music onto it and it’s running even now in the hi-fi. It recognises 999 tracks, which is quite acceptable

But that’s not all. Ohh no it isn’t!

Still in search of a television, I went, more out of curiosity to LeClerc. They had some televisions advertised at €99:00 and that could have been a possibility. But a 57cm screen won’t go far and besides, no SCART socket – just a HDMI cable, so my DVD player wouldn’t work. And after all of the money that I paid for it (because it was a top-of-the range machine) I didn’t want to throw it away lightly.

But there in the corner in the sale were three or four cheap Chinese TVs – 80cms – much more like it. With SCART and HDMI cable plugs and a USB port. €149:00.

So >copulatum expensium , as we Pompeiians say.

That’s now in the back of Caliburn too and it will be up in here tomorrow.

And if that’s not enough, I lost my carte de fidelité the other week and with this kind of thing it’s important because if there’s a complaint they can track your article.

The girl at the cash desk sent me to the accueil and I had to queue behind another guy. He asked for two tickets for tomorrow’s Cup Match against Bordeaux. I thought they would be sold out but “we only have six left”. So he bought two and that left four.

So badger that for a game of soldiers. I bought two too. And Terry is going to come with me to watch the game.

But shopping did wear me out – the first time for three weeks that I’ve hit the shops. I’ll be hitting the sack in a minute to gather my forces for tomorrow.

Tuesday 8th August 2017 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN STRIKES AGAIN!

I had to go to the Bank this morning. And as I was running a little low on fruit and stuff I decided to make a list and go to the fruit shop in town and pick up a baguette while I was there.

So down I strolled, picked up my fruit, picked up my baguette – and then came straight back up here having forgotten all about the bank!

I’ll just have to go another time, won’t I?

Bu I don’t think much of the fruit shop though. It’s quite expensive and the quality is nowhere near as good as in the Leclerc.

I’m still not getting the hang of this sleeping thing though. 02:30 when I went to bed last night and awake after just 4 hours and 28 minutes of sleep, of which 3 hours and 58 minutes was restful sleep and the other 29 minutes was restless. Maths is clearly not the strongest suit of my Fitbit, is it?

A minor crisis in which I have run out of muesli, but I’m not making a batch just for a couple of days. Luckily there’s a packet loitering around here from when I was living in “digs”. That’l do until I go.

And talking of going, I’ve been synchronising the computers today. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I bought a new laptop in the sales in June. I still have the old one, slow that it is, because of its light weight and extraordinary battery life. That will be coming with me on my travels.

Despite being the worst, slowest computer that I’ve ever owned, it’s done some sterling service and been on some incredible travels. And it will be on some more too. The synchronisation isn’t finished, but I’ll be dealing with that on Friday.

Not possible to go for lunch on the wall today. Every time one sets foot outside one’s apartment one is drenched with a squall of rain.

This afternoon I was on my travels again. I’d been invited for tea chez Liz and Terry as a pre-holiday treat.

Having had a shower to make myself look pretty (hence the Fitbit stats – I charge it up while I’m under the shower), I took the opportunity of

  1. going to the railway station to pick up the railway tickets for Saturday (you can’t trust these machines to work when you need them).
    That was exciting because there was nowhere to park (I pinched a car hire space in the end) and also because the machine wouldn’t give me the tickets either without the bank card that I used to order them.
    “See the clerk in the ticket office” said the machine. And so I did. And she asked me for my bank card too.
    Regular readers of this rubbish will recall me being stranded in Arizona in 2002 when a bank card was “suspended due to unusual transactions – and so now I have six different cards – and so we had quite a performance trying to decide which the card that I had used.
    Eventually we sorted it out and I went outside to be greeted by the manager of the car hire concession and we had words.
  2. going to Centrakor to buy some luggage labels. All luggage has to be fully-labelled these days and my suitcase – would you believe – does not have a luggage label supplied. At that price too!
    So I bought a pack of flourescent lime-green ones. They’ll stand out on a baggage carousel.

But the traffic through the town was horrendous. One of these huge mobile home things driven by a novice having difficulty in manoeuvring through the streets. And so much time at the railway station that I was stuck in the rush hour and it took ages to move through the town.

Liz had made vegan burgers, which went down nicely with chips and peas, followed by fruit salad and vegan chocolate cake (and a doggy-bag for me). Liz let me borrow her printer to print off my flight tickets too, so that’s all sorted out.

But I was struggling to keep awake all evening so I made my excuses and left. No walk this evening – it was pelting down outside so I sat down to do wome work on the laptop.

But having fallen asleep three times in the middle of a couple of keystrokes, I gave it up and went to bed.

Totally wasted.

Friday 21st July 2017 – WELL, I’M NOT …

… going out for an evening walk tonight, that’s for sure.

Not only do we have a howling gale, we have a lashing rainstorm too. And it’s pretty black over Bill’s mother’s too.

I had another bad night last night, that’s for sure. Only 5 hours and something-worth of sleep, with ony four hours of that in a deep and restful sleep. Yes, I’ve charged up the Fitbit and uploaded the data to the laptop.

I was busy working on another mega-blog page after my walk and somehow ended up being carried away. 01:45 when I went to bed. No wonder that I was tired when the alarm went off, and that I crashed out for a couple of hours this afternoon.

But a shower brought me round somewhet after breakfast and having dealt with “a computer issue”, i went shopping.

And I’ve been spending my money too, yet again. Although nowhere near as bad as last week.

The Centrakor was the beneficiary of my largesse today. They had some multi-USB hubs on sale at €3:99 and I need one of those, seeing as how Brain of Britain has somehow contrived to leave all three of his back in Virlet.

But of course one thing leads to another, and once you make a start you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

The Bluetooth oyster that I had as a hands-free device before the bluetooth radio – I took that to Canada for use in Strider, but it’s a different kind of lead than a standard USB lead, and I’ve … errr … misplaced that.

And so I’ve been havong a good look around for another one. And they had one in Centrakor – with a Bluetooth oyster device included. All for €7:99, which is the same price as I have been quoted for a cable. Do bears have picnics in the woods?

Not only that, they were having a sale of silicon pie dishes and the like for just €3:99 which is cheap at anybody’s price. And now I have a proper round pie dish, a bread/cake mould and a mould for making six tarts. I’ll be having a go at making mince pies in the winter.

Note to self – ask someone to bring me a couple of jars of mincemeat from the UK.

I stayed in at lunchtime too – the winds were wicked out there and I wouldn’t have enjoyed sitting on my wall at all. And I rather lost direction this afternoon with the fatigue. So it’s not been a very good day.

But I did finish the blog entries about the trip to the UK in June 2011. Now to see what else I’ve missed before I start on the Canada 2011 pages.

And I did have a visitor at lunchtime – and I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow. I’m too tired to go into details tonight.

I did go out – just for a quick lap around the block. And in the 5 minutes that I was out, I was soaked to the skin. Except where I had my new McKinley raincoat. That did exactly the job that it was supposed to do – and I wish that I had bought it in a bigger size now.

Saturday 15th July 2017 – OUCH! THAT HURT!

And I’m not talking about cutting my finger open with the sharp vegetable knife when I picked up the cutlery out of the drainer either. It was much more painful than that!

So last night was another restless night. Especially so seeing as how I was off on my travels again.

There was a war on, and of course the UK was very susceptible to a blockade. However there was no rationing and people were going about as it it all was of no consequence, something that struck me as being a great matter of concern.
And then I was with my mother (but whoever it was wasn’t my mother, thank heavens) and it involved something to do with Mark III Cortinas. She drove away and I was left holding a bonnet from the aforementioned – a light blue one. I was trying the blots with my fingers to make sure that they were loose enough without disturbing the settings. A couple of women in a cafe made some ribald remark about me being with a “much older” woman so I went over to say “hello”. Their tune soon changed when they saw me come over because they recognised me, and they realised that the “much older” woman had been my mother.
While I was in the queue here a whole group of people came to the counter and it was all people whom I recognised from from a difficult period of my life. They were all pleased and enthusiastic to see me but I wasn’t at all pleased to see them. They crowded around me and asked me how I was and I was really uncomfortable in all of this. We discussed work and they found out that I had given over a good job to go driving taxis – but at leat “it was my own taxi, and not someone else’s”.

I’ve no idea where all of these people have come from – people whom I met in the early 80s in a couple of unpleasant encounters and whom I wish never to see again. I can’t think whatever it might have been to trigger all of that off.

After breakfast and a shower, shave and clean clothes, Caliburn got his motor running and headed off down the highway in the general direction of the shops.

LIDL came up with nothing special and neither did NOZ, the rubbish shop. But at least they had a few more of these hexagonal herb and spice jars. I get through tons of turmeric here so I stocked up with two containers of that together with a couple more of different types.

At Centrakor I went a little berserk. They were selling cigarette lighter socket twin-USB adaptors for just €1:99. I need one of those for Strider over in Canada so I picked one up.

But they also had some of those portable battery packs for powering your mobile phone or other hand-held appliance – a 2600 mAh set-up and just €3.99. That’s half what I have seen them elsewhere at their cheapest, and that’s without postage and packing too of course!

LeClerc was just the usual banal stuff, but I REALLY went mad in Intersport.

The trainers that I bought at Sports Direct in Leuven last October have fallen apart. So I only paid €20 for them, I know, but they’ve been letting in water for quite a while and now the soles are falling off.

Intersport was having a sale so went to have a look around, and came away with a pair of Salomon Goretex trainer-style hiking boots. They should have been … gulp … €119 but they were reduced by 30% in the sale and they were so comfortable.

I hope that they last a darn sight longer than these ones that I’ve just chucked in the bin.

And that’s not all either.

My rain jacket is falling to pieces. It has a couple of holes in it (never good for a rainjacket – holes in it) and it’s looking well the worse for wear. I have another one but that is one of those bright yellow rubberised ones that is uncomfortable, bulky and sweaty.

Today though, reduced to just €24:95 was a proper McKinley breathable Aquamax. And in my size too, which was unusual.

And last, but by no means least – I’ve been talking for a while about buying a Fitbit – one of these that tells you your heartbeat, how far you’ve walked, how many calories you’ve burnt and all of that stuff. But when I’ve seen the price, it’s put me off.

But a new model has been launched and Intersport was clearing out the remains of the previous one. Nothing wrong with them at all – there’s just a new design – and they were reduced to just €50:00.

Yes, I’m making ready for my holidays, aren’t I?

All I need now is a new suitcase and a new camera.

But this Fitbit – “always ready when you are” it proudly announces on the packet. So I went to wear it … and the battery was flat! What kind of misleading publicity is that?

Back home, the whole town was heaving with grockles as predicted. Even coming home the back way I was stuck for ages. And it’s a good job that we have our own private parking here because the public car park was jam-packed, with grockles dragging off suitcases all over the old town.

Early for my baguette tomorrow, I reckon.

Fighting off the waves of sommeil this afternoon, I was on the blog again. Not reducing the “unclassifieds” but untangling a few bits and pieces from when I returned from the Ile d’Yeu until going back to Brussels.

I’ve put that bit off for a while, but a close look at it revealed that it was fairly straighforward to untangle so here I am. Well on my way to finalising that little lot.

Tea tonight was more mashed potato, frozen veg and burger. And I fried a little onion and garlic with my burger too and it was delicious.

I really do appreciate living here in my little apartment.

Saturday 20th May 2017 – THIS WORLD …

… is becoming far too small for my liking.

This morning I met the previous tenant of this apartment. She lived here until March when she moved to an appartment at the front that has a sea view when it became available. And it turns ot that she formerly lived in Belgium and worked in the Fisheries Department of the EU and remembered me well enough to know my first name.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that someone from the EU followed me to live in Virlet. At least they are keeping tracks on me.

It was hard to leave my bed this morning. 20 minutes it took me to haul myself out (although I had been out of bed at about 06:00 but I wasn’t waking up then – ohhh no!) ready for breakfast. And once that was over, I had a little relax and then went off measuring up because I had forgotten to do that on Friday.

By 10:00 I was ready to leave, and this was when I bumped into my former colleague. 20-odd minutes we were chatting, although I do have to say that I didn’t say very much.

I found the dechetterie this morning, although I missed the turning and ended up going right around the houses. But now I know where it is and disposing of all of the cardboard was pretty straightforward. I’m sure Caliburn runs about 5mph faster now.

The dechetterie wasn’t all that I found either. I stumbled across a DiY place just down the road – one that I hadn’t noticed before. And I wish that I’d found it before last week because the stuff in there is a lot cheaper that the things that I bought last week. A set of reasonable screwdrivers cost me just €1:10, 13-amp plugs cost me €2:10 and a reasonable spirit level cost me €3:20.

bad parking brico cash st pair sur mer manche normandy franceAnd while I was there I couldn’t resist taking a photo of some more breath-taking parking. I really don’t understand why people are so selfish.

But it’s a sign of the times and you only have to read some of the comments on your social networking account to see just how much selfishness is prevalent in the modern Western world. It fills me full of dismay.

There’s a big Casino hypermarket on this industrial estate so I had a look in there. Stuff isn’t as cheap as in LeClerc but they had a couple of bits and pieces of household stuff that I needed. A trip to LeClerc was therefore in order. That’s much more like it.

I now have lace curtains in the window of my living room too. I went to Centrakor and found everything that I needed to hang them – and to hang the main curtains too. I don’t particularly like the lace curtains but there wasn’t anything in the way of choice and so beggars can’t be choosers. I was determined that, come what may, I would buy the main curtains too, but I didn’t like the look or colour of anything on offer there and so that was that. I wonder if I can find some on the internet.

Back here, I made my butties and went to sit on the headland in the glorious summer with my book. I was there for a good couple of hours and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, even though there were too many people walking along the pathway in front of me. I’ll have to try to find a quieter place next time.

This evening I went to the football. It’s US Granvillaise’s last match this season and they were at home to Bergerac Perigord. And I really am the kiss of death to whichever team I seem to support because they lost yet again. They went 2-0 down due to two goals in a minute – one of which was a magnificent powerful header from a corner – but pulled it back by scoring 2 goals in a minute themselves just before half-time.

Bergerac Perigord scored 2 more later in the game and the US Granvillaise keeper pulled off a couple of magnificent saves – and then US Granville pulled one back with just 5 minutes to go. That five minutes, plus a lengthy stoppage time, was the only time during the match that US Granvillaise played with any sense of urgency. But of course it was too little too late and that was that.

preteen gymnasts stade louis dior us granvillaise granville manche normandy franceCheerleaders seem to be the thing in Belgium for the half-time entertainment, but here today we had something different. A whole pile of young girls swarmed onto the pitch and performed a pile of gymnastic routines.

Not that I spent too much time watching because gymnastics is not really what I call entertainment. It’s a bit like ice-skating – it only becomes interesting when a competitor falls over or drops his partner, of the skater disappears into the water as the ice collapses underneath her.

But full marks for them for being out there anyway.

I’ll be off to bed in a minute. I want to have a good sleep because I’ve bought myself a new toy today – quite expensive but very cheap for what it is. And I need a full day or so to set it up.

Friday 5th May 2017 – SO HERE I AM …

… about to spend my first night in my new chez moi.

Last night I had a really good sleep and was awakened from the dead by the alarm. I knew absolutely nothing about anything in between. I’d been on my travels but all memory of them had disappeared by the time that I had come round.

It was something of a painful breakfast – I’ve clearly been doing too much just now – and I ad to sit around for half an hour or so before I could hit the road. But I ended up at NOZ just as it opened.

NOZ was something of a disappointment. It’s a shop that sells all kinds of ends of series, bankrupt stock, all of that, and I was hoping for a pile of stuff to help me set up home, but it had almost nothing whatever.

I had much better luck in Centrakor where I spent almost €100. Tons of stuff in there that I needed, but most important, after a decent big waste bin of course, was some bedding. A single quilt, pillow and quilt cover. I’m sleeping on the sofa until I can sort out a bed, and I’ll need these to keep warm. It won’t be wasted because if I have friends to stay, they can use the bed and the double quilt that I’ll be buying, and I’ll use the single on here.

After that I went to LeClerc and stocked up with whatever I couldn’t get and also a pile of food. And then I came here.

Still creaking and groaning, it took me a while to bring everything up and then I sat down and made my butties – only to be disturbed by the man from EDF. It took him just 5 minutes to reconnect the electricity and another couple of minutes to show me how to figure out the switch to the immersion heater so that it works on off-peak hours only.

Once that was organised I went into town. I had to pick up the lease for this place, but the estate agent wasn’t in. And then I had to go to my internet provider to pick up a new box. On the way back, seeing as how I now have a working fridge, I picked up a box of strawberry sorbet. I may as well make good use of the freezer drawer I suppose;

This new portable halogen hob thing that I bought in IKEA a couple of months ago isn’t half the bee’s knees. Once I’d worked out how to make it function, it cooked a quick meal for me in minutes flat. It just shows you how out-of-date this old technology is. When I organise the kitchen I’ll be having a couple of halogen hobs to cook with, and I’ll see if I can’t find a halogen oven to go with it. I’m very impressed.

There’s no internet here for another week but I’m in luck because seeing as I am so high up here on the rock, I can pick up some really good signals and my internet supplier has a public wi-fi point in the vicinity to provide a service to the hostel for young workers just down the road. With my own ID and password I can connect into it, so here I am. I’m not sure just how reliable it might be though.

So now I’m going to try for my first night here in my new place. No curtains on the window so I’ll be awoken early.

And that’s the cue for an early night then, isn’t it?