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Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was quite delicious too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Friday 16th September 2011 – IT POURED DOWN …

… all through the night and we had high winds too, but I slept right through it – didn’t feel a thing.

It’s overcast and cloudy but they reckon that it might clear so with a light heart and a spring in my step, I set off for Fredericton.

GIT numberplate fredericton new brunswick canadaFirst stop was the big Atlantic superstore on the edge of the city, and this caught my eye. Vehicle number plates go up to 999 here in New Brunswick, which is just as well.

They also go up to 999 in the UK so it’s also just as well that this combination of letters would never be issued over there, because 999 wouldn’t be anything like enough.

coffee cup holder kiddie's pushchair new brunswick canadaAnother thing that they would never dare sell in the UK would be a kiddie’s push-chair with a coffee cup holder like this one here.

It wouldn’t be a coffee cup that you would find in the cup holder, and it wouldn’t be an ice-cream holder that you would find in there either. In fact, it’s quite surprising the things that you find on sale here in North America that would never be sold in the UK – or maybe it isn’t.

justice building fredericton new brunswick canadaThat building over there has “Justice” written on it, so it’s probably quite appropriate that it’s hidden behind a pile of trees.

It also has two dates on it. The first one is 1878 and the second one is 1930, and so maybe the first one is the date that Justice began in Fredericton and the second date is the date that Justice ceased. I dunno.

But I will really have to stop being so cynical.

british army barracks fredericton new brunswick canadaThese are the old British Army barracks here in Queen Street. The British Army were here from 1784 to 1869, and was chefly known as the home of the 104th New Brunswick Regiment.

They were famous for a forced march of 700 miles in just 52 days to Kingston, Ontario through the snows of winter in 1813 during the war with the USA

city hall fredericton new brunswick canadaThis building that we have here is the old Fredericton City Hall. Built in 1876, it’s the oldest Municipal building in the Maritimes that is still in administrative use, and has been a Canadian National Historic Site since 23rd November 1984.

It’s quite rare in that it was built with a market hall underneath and which survived until as recently as 1951. Nowadays, the Tourist information department is housed there

george street blues project harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaBy now the weather had brightened up a little and the festival was under way.

On stage at the Officers Square was a local band, the George Street Blues Project. Too many musicians on stage for me, unfortunately. They can lose the harmonica player for a start as I’m not a very big fan of those. Every blues band believes that a harmonica is essential, yet very few harmonica players can play one properly.

george street blues project harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaThe guy at the front had an enormous amount of stage present and knew how to move a crowd, and they rocked along with numbers such as Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” and the Smokey Robinson hit “Get Ready”.

For an encore, they played the Kix Brooks number “Sacred Ground”, and that was that. I quite enjoyed that set.

Next up was an act called Christine Crowell, but the saxophones, trumpets and sheet music looked onimous and so I made my excuses and left. I had business elsewhere.

First step was to find the Canadian Government department dealing with commercial visas for people setting up businesses in Canada. After much searching and enlistment of the Fredericton City Hall, we eventually discovered that I need to speak to the Population Growth Secretariat (but why them I have no idea).

Kings Tower is where I’m supposed to be, and it has a shopping centre in it. Yes, a shopping centre, not a shopping mall. There’s hope for these Canadians yet.

Eventually I cut through swathes of red tape and blagged myself an interview with them. Her first question was, surprisingly enough, “how would your project help the growth of New Brunswick’s population?”
Never one to hold back when the occasion presents it self (as I have done so often in the past to my cost) I replied “if I told you that you would probably have me arrested”.
She tried again “we are trying to encourage the growth of young families here”
“Well”, I replied, “just because I look over the hill doesn’t mean that I am, and I still have considerable expectations along that line. If a suitable young woman were to present herself, I shall certainly try my best to increase the population of New Brunswick”.

And so she had another go. “You need to show some kind of proof of ability to invest $75,000 in your project”
“Well, I can put on the table proof of about $300,000 in cash” I replied. “Would that do?” Yes, I’ve just sold my apartment in Brussels, haven’t I, and I still have the cheque, which I haven’t deposited yet.

I picked up her pencil and notepad from the floor and handed it back to her, and I have to come back for my visa interview next Friday.

I popped round to the Festival Offices and had a chat with one of the girls there. And during this chat, the subject of “Radio Anglais
” came up. She asked about it, and so I told her, and then she asked me why I hadn’t applied for a Media Pass. Apparently I’m entitled to one, being the representative of a Media outlet.

So armed with my Media Pass, I went back to the festival.

chevrolet corvette 1978 fredericton new brunswick canadaI was however sidetracked, as you might expect, by an old and interesting vehicle.

This is a Chevrolet Corvette, from 1978 if the number plate is anything to go by, but it is certainly one of the later “3rd-Generation” Corvettes, judging by the rear lights. But it’s a little bit scruffy with a few scratches on the paintwork.

mike biggar harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaIn the Barracks Square tent was a guitarist called Mike Biggar. He comes from Rothesay which apparently is a suburb of Saint John.

He played a number that went something like “You Come To Me Like Sunset On The Water” or some such, that I don’t recall having heard before but it really was superb. I wish that I knew what it was.

24 pesos harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaOn stage at the Officers Square was a band from London – that’s the UK, not Ontario – called 24 Pesos. They had won some kind of competition, the prize of which was to come over here and play at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.

It was a sort of modern blues, not really my scene, but there was no disputing the quality of the band. Their music really was good.

lonesome line harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaI went back to the Barracks Square after that, and discovered a band called Lonesome Line on stage. They come from Edmundston up in Madawaska and so we had an interesting little chat in French.

I wasn’t convinced by the wisdom of having an acoustic double-bass in an act like this. It doesn’t work when you are backing a lead guitar solo as you have so far to travel and so you can’t react quickly enough. And you will have noticed that it’s the drummer doing the backing vocals.

barracks square fredericton new brunswick canadaA pause in the proceedings enabled me to have a good look around the Barracks Square. We’ve seen the Barracks earlier, and this is the rear of the premises. It’s a grassy lawn in the quadrangle that will produce an interesting situation for the spectators if we have heavy rain.

The ground floor of the barracks here is transformed into little boutiques occupied by craft artists and the like but there’s not very much of interest to me.

lonesome line winners of competition harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaApparently there had been some kind of competition between the bands that were playing in the Barracks Square, and the winners were Lonesome Line, those who we saw just now.

And I was outraged by that. Lonesome Line were indeed quite good but there was no doubt in my mind that Mike Biggar was 10 times better and should have won this competition by a country mile. Still, I’ve often found myself in a minority of one at this Festival, so no reason to suppose that today will be any different.

buskers with police interaction harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaThere were quite a few buskers here and there around the town, including this couple playing down underneath the footbridge at the back of the library.

As the police car turned down there and pulled up close to them, I prepared the camera ready to record an “interaction” between the farces of Law and Order and the musicians. After all, I’m from the UK

buskers with police interaction harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaAnd sure enough, the window came down, the hand went out of the car and then, much to my surprise, the fingers came out and started tapping on the door in time to the music.

Like I say, I’m from the UK. I was half expecting to see an arrest on “public order” issues, a knee in the groin and a truncheon across the back of the neck.

And that reminds me – that’s the third policeman that I’ve seen since the festival started. Just imagine that in the UK. Three policemen in a couple of days at a do like this. There would be thousands.

That is, if the event were to take place at all. The British Health and Safety Inspectorate would have a field day with what I have seen here this last couple of days and the event would be closed down in minutes.

I hope that the Health and Safety Inspecorate is never imported into Canada

fraser and the offspring irving steps harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaI encountered a couple more buskers around the corner. On the steps of the Irving Building in Queen Street. These are called something like “Fraser and the Offspring” or some such name – it was very hard to hear.

I’ve seen many an impromptu band like this and indeed I’ve played bass and sang in quite a few, and these weren’t all that bad at all. I quite enjoyed listening to them and so did the little crowd that had gathered around them.

From here I went off to watch Taj Mahal in concert. No photography allowed at the Playhouse Theatre, but not to worry – I’ll catch up with them again in a public venue.