Tag Archives: classe découvert

Monday 9th May 2022 – HERE’S A SIGHT …

victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022…. that I am more than happy to see.

Over there moored at the quayside is Victor Hugo, one of the two ferries that run out to the Channel Islands. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the service from Granville restarted on the 5th of May after a break of over two years (with the exception of one very short week).

There was this worrying feeling that with the end of the gravel boats and the cancellation of the Big Wheel, the ferry to the Channel Islands would be the next thing that this mayor would cancel in his valiant attempt to turn the town into some kind of haven for luxury retirees rather than a working, bustling seaport.

And so I for one am more than pleased to see the service restart.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But what comes with one hand goes with the other.

On Saturday I made the remark that the kiddies’ roundabout was back in the Place Charles de Gaulle during the outdoor market. But today, there it was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Never mind “musical chairs”. That roundabout is certainly doing the rounds a darn sight quicker than I can keep up with it.

Anyway, last night despite going to bed rather later than I intended, I still managed to be up and about “fairly shortly” after 06:00, beating the second alarm rather comfortably even if I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I had two radio programmes to prepare. I’d written the notes while I was in Leuven last week so that saved me some time but even so, it still took an age to complete everything. It wasn’t until 12:35 that both programmes were finished.

There had been a few pauses during the proceedings of course. I felt that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph so I had several mugs of coffee during the morning, as well as stopping for breakfast.

And then the nurse came round to give me my injection for today.

When it was finished I made myself a big bowl of leek and potato soup. There was a big frozen mass of leeks in the freezer that weren’t doing much and having been brought several packs of hot cross buns last weekend seeing as I had run out, I needed to make some space in the freezer

While that was cooking I went and had a shower and a clean-up. And then filled the washing machine ready for when I go out later. I’m running out of clothes again.

The soup was delicious. Nice and thick and creamy and there’s enough for three days in total. And I’ll have to make some more some other time. The cumin and tarragon in it gave it an additional bite.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I went out for my physiotherapy appointment.

First thing though was to stop at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I can look down on what’s going on at the fish processing plant.

And as you might expect, L’Omerta is still tied up there. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now. Mind you, the other boat that was there yesterday, Petite Laura, she has moved away. There’s another boat tucked away around the corner but I can’t see who she is.

There were plenty of seagulls floating around down there too, waiting for some shellfish to drop off the quayside.

la granvillaise trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of other excitement going on out there this afternoon.

My attention had been caught by the boat that was over there out at sea. Even though we can’t see her registration number at this distance, my money is on her being G90 – La Granvillaise. The shape of the lasts and the sails, even if they aren’t all unfurled, would seem to indicate that

And there’s still plenty of activity in the chantier naval. From left to right we have an unidentified boat, then L’Ecume II, Valesque, and then another unidentified boat. By the looks of things Le Roc A La Mauve III has finally gone back into the water after all this time.

boules petanque place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My route into town took me down past the Place Pelley and the Bar Ephemere.

When we came past here on Saturday there wasn’t anyone down there playing boules, which took me by surprise because it seems to be an unstoppable national sport. But they are making up for it today. There are plenty of boulonauts down there right now.

The walk up the hill was strangely difficult today, and I don’t know why that might be. It might have been quite warm outside but nothing else had changed.

And starting today I have a new physiotherapist. She took my X-rays and MRI Scans and then put me through several tests before giving me a few exercises.

At least having all of these different people means that I’m having all kinds of different tests and that can only be a good thing.

ambulance rue couraye rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On the way home, down at the bottom of the hill there was yet more excitement.

There was an emergency ambulance parked at the corner of the Rue Couraye and the Rue Paul Poirier, complete with blue flashing light. There wasn’t anyone in attendance though and I couldn’t see where they had gone.

On the corner of the Rue Lecampion I had to go to the pharmacy. The nurse this morning asked me to ask them for a container to deposit my discarded needles. He usually takes them away but I imagine that he’s being overloaded right now. I’ve “had the summons” to have my fourth Covid injection (which he’ll be doing next time he passes) and if I’ve been summoned, so has everyone else.

building work rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022If the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was tough, the walk up the Rue des Juifs back home was even tougher.

There were several occasions where I had to stop to catch my breath, one of which was just by where there was some building work going on. We had a skip lorry with crane and another small lorry in attendance.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed, that there seems to be more and more renovation work taking place about the town, either rebuilding or renovating existing apartments or building new ones.

It’s quite a boom business now, but I bet that it’s not going to result in many more permanent homes. Holiday accommodation and Air B&B lets seem to be the way that things are going, pricing permanent residents out of the market.

classe decouvert rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that I’ve mentioned … “quite often” – ed … on these pages is what is called the classe decouverte.

This involves school kids being taken out of their normal environment to experience life elsewhere. And here is one such class, all congregating underneath the tree by the drawbridge into the walled city while someone was telling them all about the French Revolution.

The walled city is quite important because revolutionary forces defended it against counter-revolutionaries in a famous battle during the Revolution.

The conversation sounded quite interesting and I was in half a mind to hang around and hear the end of it but I was gripped by a raging thirst and wanted to go home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First though, I had to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what is happening down there.

Plenty of people down there sunning themselves on the sand and a couple of people out there on a zodiac. But no-one brave enough to go in the water, which was a surprise because it’s a lovely afternoon right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’ve been during the night. I was starting to shave myself with an electric razor last night but no matter how hard I tried, it hardly made any impact at all. I was there for hours trying to shave my face but there was very little hair coming off. I thought that I was going to be here for hours but I had to do it. Now that I’d started, it would look a mess if I only were to do a bit of it. After about an hour I had a feel of my face. There was still plenty on it in places. There was a knock at the door and a girl came in carrying my breakfast. I was lying on the floor trying to do my face so she didn’t see me at first. Eventually she put down the tray and we had a chat. I offered her some of my breakfast but I was still concerned about this shaving and getting my face done so I could hurry up and go out.

Having listened to the radio programmes that I prepared today, I went for tea. Pie with veg and gravy.

And now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. But there’s not much danger of that.

Tuesday 26th April 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

speedboat buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022 … something of a nautical day.

After a week or so of next-to-nothing out at sea, we had the lot out there on the water this afternoon. Speedboats, cabin cruisers, yachts and even La Granvillaise if you look closely at one of these photos. It wouldn’t haven’t surprised me if the Loch Ness Monster had reared its ugly head at some point.

And at some point during the proceedings I reared my ugly head from off the pillow this morning, but not at all when I had wanted to. I’ve had a bad day today.

trawler la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while you admire a pile of photos of boats on the water this afternoon, I was struggling to leave my bed.

Never mind the alarm at 07:30, nor the alarm at 07:45, I just about struggled to my feet in time to beat the alarm at 08:00.

Nothing at all like how things were yesterday morning.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mails and messages and then revise for my Welsh lesson later this morning. But in actual fact I didn’t. I crashed out and that was that.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Eventually I awoke and managed to do a little work before the lesson began.

Luckily our tutor had decided on a revision exercise seeing as we have been on holiday for a fortnight so the hole in my knowledge and the lack of preparation didn’t really matter all that much.

There weren’t all that many of us in the lesson today though. A few dropped out at the end of the second year and we’ve not had any new students in to replace them.

But it’s what you might expect. There won’t be many people of the 1022 who started who will make it through to the end of year 6.

yacht cabin cruiser trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that I did just after taking my medication was to make a pile of dough for another loaf.

I’d given it a second kneading at some point and when the lesson began I put it into the oven to bake. By the time we knocked off for a mid-lesson coffee it was baked and so I had taken it out of the oven to cool.

As a result, at lunch I actually had some more bread. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was perfectly baked.

And it tasted delicious too. One of the best that I’ve made so far.

trawlers fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night too.

I dreamt that I’d turned over in bed and pushed a load of people out who had been on the other side of the bed from where I’d turned over. When I went to look there was no-one there, I’d just turned over and emptied the quilt into the basin in the Canadian High Arctic, no people at all.

I was also running a marathon last night. It finished in Shavington. It was the bank up to Gresty out of Crewe that slowed me right down and quite a lot of people ran past me while I was struggling up that bank. Once I came onto level ground I was able to push on and overtake a lot of them. The final stretch was just something like just 10 laps around a table to the finishing line. I even overtook a couple of people there. 2 parents, a man and a woman, actually crashed out on that 10 laps round the table but their boy kept on going. However I beat him.

trawlers yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Going back to the dream about the marathon, after we’d stopped, someone was in a car driving around with a load of dry-cleaning in it of which she was trying to find the owners. She kept on stopping to ask whether this dry-cleaning was theirs or not.

Finally, it was the school sports day. I wasn’t actually competing in anything. It was like something out of one of these “Trumpton Fort” things, a children’s TV programme where they opened the school building that was like one of these houses in a kids’ TV programme. They opened a grille in the door so everyone could swarm in. The day went on and we were all sitting there outside dressed in white. They announced that the girls could go to choose a partner to dance. I wasn’t expecting to be selected but as the girls came closer and were picking up these boys I could see that there was going to be someone heading my way. It looked as if someone was slowly working their way around but she was cut in by another girl who asked me to dance. I said “yes” and we started to dance but she wouldn’t let me lead. She wanted to lead. It was all extremely confusing. Then this girl suddenly became another boy. It was a boy with whom I was dancing and kept on trying to lead. It was all becoming very confusing.

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

As usual, I wandered off across the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see who was about. This afternoon there wasn’t much beach for anyone to be on but there were a few people down there.

That’s not really much of a surprise because it was quite nice today. Quite a bit of wind … “yet again” – ed … but it was quite sunny and warm.

There was something of a mist out there which cut down the visibility somewhat but even so there was quite a fleet of boats out there this afternoon as we have already seen.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were quite a few people out there enjoying the view as well.

Here’s a couple sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban but they look as if they have other things on their minds that all of the boats out at sea.

They weren’t concerned by the crowds of people swarming around on the paths around at the end of the headland either.

In fact it was quite a touching scene and to be honest, it made me quite envious. I’m trying to think of when I last had such a romantic scene as this and I really can’t remember.

classe decouverte port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022They weren’t the only spectators either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I have mentioned in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the situation of the classe découverte.

What they do is to send classes from schools in a particular area to another area where the lifestyle is completely different so that the kids can discover what goes on in other parts of the country. Kids from the towns will go to rura areas and vice versa.

The fishing ports will have their fair share of visitors too. Those kids will be staying at the Youth Hostel at the town and will be nosing around the harbour and the fish-processing plant.

The metal objects down there are shellfish dredges. The fishing boats drag them across the sea bed to scrape up the shellfish, rocks, human remains and unexploded bombs

The dredges are constructed to a standard set of dimensions, including the size of the grid framework. That’s to ensure that any undersize shellfish will fall through the framework and back onto the sea bed.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of the things that had caught my attention this afternoon was the fact that the sailing schools were out and about.

They are all having a good sail around the bay, under the watchful eye of a friendly neighbourhood zodiac making sure that none of its charges comes to grief. Not that the weather was anything like rough enough to cause a disaster today.

Having had a good look around in the harbour and seen everyone coming back home from the sea, I headed off back for home and my afternoon coffee. There was no need for me to hang around this afternoon.

lorry trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty that people have of receiving deliveries when they live within the medieval city walls.

What usually happens is that they have to arrange some kind of trans-shipment with a smaller vehicle to carry the articles underneath the Porte St Jean

By the looks of this lorry though, it has quite a heavy load on board judging by the way that the rear end is sagging down.

While I was drinking my coffee, Rosemary ‘phoned me up. She’d put the little holiday cottage next door to her house on a database for refugee families from the Ukraine and she wanted to tell me that she’ll be taking in a young family as of next weekend.

We had another one of our lengthy chats on the subject and I gave her a few hints. The solidarity that people are showing in the middle of this crisis is quite heart-warming.

Tea was taco roll with rice and veg. Plenty of stuffing left too so I’ll be having that with pasta and whatever else I can conjure up tomorrow.

But right now I’m going to bed. I’m exhausted yet again and a good sleep will set me up for the rest of the week. What’s the betting that I don’t have it?

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Thursday 12th March 2020 – I WAS ALMOST …

installing floating pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… right about the pontoons. So almost right in fact that I’m going to give myself 9 out of 10.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I counted the pillars on the quayside and decided that they were going to install two rows of four, and then they went yesterday and put a fifth one in the row on the north side of the harbour that confounded all of my expectations?

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “thank goodness” – ed … they might have installed five n one row, but today they are indeed starting on a second row, just as I reckoned that they would.

trawler tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut that’s going to be bad news as far as I can see for the shipping in here, where they are installing that second row.

Here’s Tiberiade, a sister ship to Coelacanthe, and I watched her for a good five minutes struggling to negotiate her way around the pillars in order to find a berth to which to tie up.

And that’s just a fishing boat. We have both of the Joly France boats, Chausiais, and then the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and Victor Hugo, that tie up more-or-less where they will be fitting that pontoon. I’m not sure how that’s going to work for them

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while you admire the photos of the storm that we had tonight, let me tell you about my totally miserable day. A day when everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

And we started off my oversleeping. Not by five minutes or ten minutes but a good hour and a half. Staying up and listening to decent music might be a good plan from that point of view, but 01:30 is being rather optimistic when I want to be up by 06:15

That got me off on the wrong foot and things disintegrated from there on.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe medication was no problem, and then I came back and looked at the dictaphone.

And no wonder that I was exhausted this morning. I’d been miles during the night.

There was a whole group of us discussing some guy’s application for something or other. It was an unusual application – it turned out that he had an eagle on a ring not too far away and he wanted something to control this eagle but no-one would take him seriously about this. Everyone was saying that if he had an eagle living there it would be fantastic. But no-one could quite get to grips with the seriousness of the thing because eagles can even carry off people. This all came about I think when someone was getting married, I’m not quite sure, and there was a fear of this eagle but this sighting was dismissed and they never saw it again. People were saying “ohh well, there you are, it must have been a false report, this kind of thing, but this whole thing was based on the fact that an eagle had reappeared and been seen at a different place entirely so maybe it hadn’t actually gone away but had just basically moved nest into somewhere else.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on, three kids were staying at our old house in Vine Tree Avenue. We were there and there was a hell of a lot going on in this dream. One of my things to do was to go round and check on the flies. For some unknown reason, the flies were of interest. I’d read a book on flies and the life-cycle of the flies, the family of the fly, all this kind of thing and it was interesting to see how much the families of the flies around our house actually bore to it. So I used to do my rounds and check on things while everyone else was out and I still kept on doing my rounds. And on one of my rounds I walked into my parents bedroom and there was one of my sisters. “So what are you doing here?” I asked her “I’m looking for a quiet place to study and write some letters and people wouldn’t leave me alone so I came in here”. I said “the easiest thing to do to be left alone is to not make any noise and people won’t remember about you. You should really be in here and shut the door and that would be better still” and I gave her some more advice like that as well. But it was something about the life cycle of the fly and the family of the fly that interested me.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall
I was in the area of Shavington last night, (…Rope Hall Lane…). I was on a motorcycle and I was following someone in a car. This motorcycle thing went past us, grey but with an orange-painted tank on it. As I went round a bend the guy in the car was busy turning the car round to come back the other way towards me. I asked him what was up. Apparently the motor cycle had hit him and driven off. A crowd of people came round, someone on a police motor bike but it wasn’t a policeman. The guy with me was telling a story about how he had hit him and said a few impolite things and driven away. I suddenly realised that I knew this guy, and I bet that I knew his name as well as he sounded like the kind of person whom I’d met. I mentioned it to him, that he’s a regular on this road and we can find him again at some other time.
But then I was in Shavington (… Rope Lane by the Vine …) with someone else, someone from Canada but not Josée I think. We were talking about my childhood as we drove through Shavington so I took her down Vine Tree Avenue and showed her the house where we lived as kids. Of course it’s much different now than it was in those days. We were having a chat about it when some woman came up and asked me if I knew the area. I said that I had lived here. She replied that she had lived here since the 50s and she knew this street – pointing to Edwards Avenue – by some other name. I said that if she had been here in the 50s she must have known me then so we had a chat. I don’t think that we actually got to mentioning my name, who I was, but we were talking on about Edwards Avenue and Vine Tree Avenue and I was pointing out some garages (… which don’t exist …) that still bore some kind of resemblance to how our houses looked at the time

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said, no wonder that I was exhausted.

After breakfast, there wasn’t much time before I had to go to the shops, so I looked at the digital soundfile that I’d downloaded yesterday. And one brief listen to that, and that one followed the previous version into the bin as well. The first couple of minutes of the opening track are missing, and that’s no good to anyone.

What I’ll have to do is to download yet another version if I can find one.

Before I went out I grabbed a quick shower and then headed uptown, stopping to watch Tiberiade perform her nautical danse macabre around the harbour.

At LIDL there was nothing of any particular interest, although I did watch in mild amusement as someone came into the shop in plastic gloves and a face mask to do his shopping. I think that some people need to get a sense of proportion. More people died in the 2003 heatwave, and more people will die of influenza in a normal winter. The trouble is that because those things are so normal, the Press never mentions them so people don’t realise.

Talking of journalists, I have a journalist friend in the USA who is currently having a hysterical panic about this virus. So I asked her how the tally of deaths and illness from the virus compares with the amount of firearm-related deaths and injuries in the USA.

She didn’t reply, but kept on having her hysterics.

Yes, never mind this virus. There are people walking the streets in the USA with enough firepower to wipe out a small-sized district at the drop of a hat, yet that causes these silly Americans no concern whatsoever. But then again, I suppose that the USA is such a violent bloodthirsty country that they are accustomed to the idea of violence.

And that’s a dreadful state of mind to be in.

first buds rue de la houle granville manche normandy france eric hallSeveral weeks ago, I posted a photo of what I considered to be the first buds of the year. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the time I expressed my scepticism.

But there’s no doubting whatsoever about these. here in the rue de la Houle there are definitely buds here on this creeping plant that’s growing up the wall.

Yes, we can definitely now say that Spring is on its way quite definitively. That put a little spring into my step, although I wish that I knew what happened to winter.

new house construction rue charles guillebot impasse de la corderie granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the new building that’s going on on the corner of the rue Charles Guillebot and the impasse de la Corderie.

Being in an energetic mood today, I went to have a closer look at it today. It is indeed a new house. But the people who are building it don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to finish it.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed here with the local builders. They don’t seem to be in any rush whatever to actually complete anything and we’ve seen projects like this go on for ever.

eglise st paul granville manche normandy france eric hallJust by way of a change, seeing as I’d never come this way, I went down into town via the rue Charles Guillebot.

That takes me down the north side of the eglise St Paul, a side of the church that we haven’t seen before. I’ve probably mentioned this church in the past. It was one of the earliest concrete structures built in modern times (the Romans were well-advanced with the use of concrete) but like most things, was never maintained.

As a result, there are bits dropping off it and there are notices all over the place telling the public to keep well clear.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed back home.

floating pontoon support pillar granville manche normandy france eric hallBut once more, I stopped half-wau up the rue des Juifs to admire the view. We saw them earlier knocking the support pillar into the floor, but that was a photo that I had taken later this afternoon.

What we are seeing in this photo is the floating pontoon setting out from its mooring with that support pillar in its evil clutches and being shunted into position by the little boat.

It’s actually quite an exciting procedure watching then manoeuvring about the harbour with all of their equipment. All of this free entertainment that we are having.

Back at the apartment, I had a little surprise. I bumped into one of the more energetic owners here, and he invited me to come with him on a little guided tour.

underneath residence vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallUnderneath this building are several big man-made caverns which had been bricked off and a year or so ago they had found the entrance and smashed their way through the wall to the inside.

There were apparently the water tanks for the old city in the days before there was the mains water supply. All of the rainfall from the roofs of the houses and from the street was channelled into here.

And it’s certainly an impressive sight to see. Apparently, it was full of all kinds of things before they started to clean it out. The plan was to divide it up into private cellars for the owners of the apartments, but it’s hit a major snag.

rubble underneath residence vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd he showed me what was the snag.

One of the underground caverns was well-blocked off and took some smashing down. And when they finally broke their way in, they could see exactly why it was so well sealed.

If the story that I was told is correct, and I would gladly learn otherwise, the building was divided into rooms by all kids of ad-hoc partitions that had accumulated over the centuries. When it was converted into apartments, the old partition walls had to be smashed down and taken away.

Included in the contract for the work was a large sum for “hire of containers and transport away of the waste” and this was duly paid. However it seems that the waste was never transported away at all but thrown down the lift shafts into one of the caverns and the cavern was then sealed off so that no-one would see it.

Of course, this is just one person’s view of the matter and there is very likely another, but one inescapable fact is that m’learned friends have been called in by the building’s management committee.

We shall see how all of this develops over the next few months. But nevertheless, it was exciting being down here and seeing all of this that I had never seen before.

After lunch I boiled up some ginger and then started to make my orange and ginger syrup.

I peeled 5 large juice oranges, gave then a quick whizz in the whizzer and poured off the juice, which I put into a bottle that I had sterilised. That went into the fridge.

The left-over pulp was whizzed down finely and then, after the ginger had simmered for an hour or so, I added the left-over pulp, brought it to the boil again and then left it to simmer.

While that was happening, I made a start on the sound files that we had recorded at the Grande Marée yesterday.

charles marie chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere were a few people out there this afternoon but I didn’t loiter very much.

My route took me round to the chantier navale where I could see that La Granvillaise and one of the fishing boats have gone back into the water. But Charles-Marie is still in there, minus a good few of her planks. This is going to be a long job

There was another classe decouverte out there today too, but no-one whom I recognised so I headed for home. I’m still shaking my head about that unexpected encounter yesterday.

home made orange ginger syrup granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here, I had a look to see how my orange and ginger was doing.

Nicely simmering away so I took it off the heat, added a couple of tablespoons of manuka honey (that’s how I make it into syrup), poured it all into the whizzer and gave it all a really good and lengthy whizz around.

The syrupy mass was then poured into the orange juice that I had put in the fridge earlier and it was all shaken up to mix it in. It all went into the fridge where over the course of the next week or so I’ll be using it up as my morning drink.

Back at my desk, I carried on with the sound file but I didn’t get very far as I drifted away with the fairies. And I also had my half-hour on the bass.

Tea was a burger on a bun with potatoes and veg. And I forgot the veg until the very last minute and had to rush them. The apple pie and ice cream for pudding was delicious too. I really am living well these days.

night storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was quite a wind blowing outside this evening.

Not one of the strongest winds that we have had and not really enough to knock me out of my stride either. And so i was astonished to see how the waves were roaring in to the Plat Gousset.

It is the period of the fullest moon and the highest tides, but even so, I hadn’t expected to see waves like this coming into the Plat Gousset with such incredible force. I stood there for quite a while to watch the show.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWindy it might have been, but not enough to frustrate my two evening runs. I managed to fit them in without too many problems and managed to push the distances on again. For my second run, I even made it up to the top of the ramp and I haven’t done that for a while.

But there was a lot of activity in the port and at the fish-processing plant. With it being nearly high tide, the gates are open so the big fishing boats can come in and unload.

For my part, I went and had a little play with the NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe photo above was taken with the shutter speed at 1/20 at f1.74 with ISO 900

This photo here was taken completely manual with speed of 1/125 at f1.74 and ISO 2800.

They have both come out rather well and I’m quite pleased with them. Still plenty of room for improvement but I’ll just keep on working away at it until I improve.

So back here I’ve written up all of my notes and now, a lot later than I hoped, I’m going to bed. I hope that I have better luck trying to drag myself out of bed tomorrow morning, but who knows? It’s really driving me to despair

Wednesday 19th February 2020 – THESE FAIRGROUND WORKERS …

marquee parking cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hall… aren’t half cracking on with it, I’ll tell you that.

At lunchtime I went down to La Mie Caline to buy my dejeunette and after picking it up I went round to the car park at the Cours Jonville to see just how they are going on with the chapiteau that they started to erect on Monday morning.

Yesterday we saw that they had had a really good go at one of them but today they have leapt ahead in spades and they now have a second one up and it’s almost finished.

When they’ve done that I’ll have to get them to go round to my farm, won’t I?

As for me, I’m not very impressed with myself. I somehow managed to miss the second alarm and while I was contemplating my navel in bed, the third alarm went off. I actually had my feet on the floor half a second later but just couldn’t puck up the courage and went back to bed.

By the time that I was finally on my feet, that was half an hour of the day missed and gone.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was this family – a husband and wife and a couple of kids – girls about 11 and 9. They had been on their travels and I’d forgotten a lot of what had gone on but they ended up being back in Mexico. They were at some kind of place and they had an old Mexican woman with them who had befriended them. There was some music being played. While they were rejoicing about their escape or whatever it was that had got them to Mexico these two guys slowly sidled in from the dark. The kids were cheering and the husband was laughing but the two women, this wife and the elderly Mexican realised that these two guys were here and it was quite clear to them that these two guys meant some kind of mischief. They tried to get the person who was playing these records to stop playing them so they could all go off to bed but this person hadn’t really grasped the seriousness of it and carried on. Meantime these two guys were becoming a bit more intrusive and talking about all kinds of things and reading some of the comments that I had on piece of paper about the music that I was doing. One was making air guitar gestures that kind of thing and I thought to myself that this is going to start to turn really ugly in a minute.
Somewhat later, I was at the death of John Cipollina the musician. He didn’t die of lung disease at all but was killed in a motorcycle accident in South Street, Crewe, opposite the Up The Junction club. He’d been playing with man and I’d been recording it for a concert for my live shows and I was preparing it. There was an awfully long speech about the introduction and all of this kind of thing. We were all called outside and there was a car mounted on the pavement where the undertakers used to be and Cipollina and his motorcycle were there. They’d been hit by this car. They were asking “how is he” but his eyes were closed and all this kind of thing “don’t anyone go near him”. Someone said “we had to go near him. We had to disentangle the wheels of his motor cycle, all this kind of thing. We were there; we didn’t know what to do. We phoned an ambulance but the ambulance took ages to come along. We then all went off into the village hall where they had the autopsy and examination and someone was talking about suicide at one time – he’d rammed the car directly, I suppose. Then we had to go down to the High School, Sandbach High School and break the news to my daughter whoever she was because she was rather fond of John Cipollina.

Like I said, the things that go on during the night are far more exciting than whatever happens to me during the day. Someone once asked me if I were troubled by dreams during the night. I replied “well, no. I actually quite enjoy them”.

After breakfast (and my apple, pear, coconut and cinnamon purée and drink are delicious by the way) I attacked the radio projects. And by the time that I was ready to knock off to go and fetch my bread I’d finished project 26 completely and also done the “live concert” for the last week in March.

The way things stand now, I’m already dealing with the prjects for may but I’m short of a live concert for the end of April. I have a few things lined up that I could use but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, anyone who has anything that they would like me to broadcast on their behalf is more than welcome to submit it.

joly france ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith my new determination to push on past the 100% level on my fitbit every day, I decided on a very extended walk down into town to fetch my bread.

So off to duplicate my afternoon route around the headland and I’m glad that I did because there was something moving about in the thick mist out to sea in the general direction of where the Ile de Chausey might be.

Armed with the big Nikon and the mega-zoom lens I took a photo of it to crop and blow up back at the apartment in case it was anything interesting.

However, it was only Joly France off on one of her runs out there.

bunker atlantic wall lighthouse point du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I reached the lighthouse, instead of going off across the lawn my the War memorial as I usually do, the lack of any major wind today meant that I could go down the steps and right around the headland without any major discomfort.

It’s actually an exciting way to go, not just because of the physically-challenging nature of the walk for someone like me but also for the fact that there’s quite a lot of the old Atlantic Wall, like this gun emplacement, to see.

We normally wouldn’t get to see this when we are on the more usual route.

slit trench atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s another part of the Atlantic Wall that we don’t usually see either.

This is a slit trench that’s reinforced with concrete and I can’t make out whether it’s supposed to be a shelter (given the roof) or an observation post given that the direction of the trench aligns with the Channel Islands.

Whatever it is, it must have been a very lonely, cold and isolated vigil, being posted to a tour of duty in here.

storm waves port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallJust now I mentioned something about “the lack of any major wind today”.

That may well be the case but you would never have thought so by looking at the waves here. The tide is still a couple of hours out yet the waves are storming in from out at sea and smashing their way into the sea wall here.

It’s going to be pretty exciting down there at high tide if they keep on going on like this, that’s for sure.

speedboat disappearing into the waves english channel baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallYou can see exactly what I mean by looking at this photo here.

Out in the English Channel is this speedboat – at least, I think that it’s a speedboat – and it’s disappearing into one of the heavy waves that’s rolling in.

That’s going to be something of a wild ride into the harbour in a little vessel like that in waves like these. Whoever is on board will know all about the weather by the time that they arrive in port.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was round about this time yesterday that I walked into town for my bread. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my arrival coincided with all of the fishing boats coming in to harbour.

The tide is about half an hour later every day so the gates won’t be opened for a bit, and this looks like the first of the fishing boats heading in for home. It’s quite a way out in the English Channel (hence the blurred photo) but it will take that extra half-hour to arrive here.

No particular need for me to rush for the harbour gates today then.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallJust as well because … ohh look over there!

Yes, we have a visitor today. It seems that Normandy Trader has sneaked in on the morning tide and tied up at the unloading bay underneath the crane.

So seeing as I have plenty of time today, having finished my essential work for the week, I’ll go over there and have a talk to them. I have things to discuss.

new pontoon port de granville habour manche normandy france eric hallSo I make my way down onto the docks, across the harbour ates by the pathway on top, and across to the other side of the port.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that we watched them float one of the new pontoons across the harbour to the far side.

And sure enough, there are some of the new pontoons, properly anchored (I hope) to the mounting brackets that they have been installing over the last few days.

But how are they going to get down to the pontoons? They’ll need some steps of some description.

machinery pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEveryone was at lunch and the harbour was totally deserted right now.

That gave me a good opportunity to go and have a look at the big floating pontoon that they are using to transport the crane about the harbour to see what else is on there.

There’s a compressor and a generator on there as well as a couple of storage containers, and also some other machinery that I was not able to identify with any certainty.

Still, it’s enough to be going on with.

Once again, despite my best intentions, there was no-one about on Normandy Trader. I shouted and button-holed a passer-by from another ship, but no luck.

This is something that I’m going to have to deal with by correspondence or by phone.

workmen outboard motor dinghy port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt la Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette, went to check on the chapiteau as above, and then headed for home.

And the workmen are back at work by now too. Clearly too tired to walk around the harbour, they have decided to sail across in some kind of outboard motor-propelled craft of some description.

Whatever is the world coming to? As for me, I believe that I did mention that the last day or so I’ve been feeling a little better. So much so that I actually RAN for 50 metres or so UP THE HILL o the way back.

How about that?

After lunch I updated THE RADIO PLAYLIST with the tracks that were played over the weekend. That’ ssomething that’s pretty important and I always seem to manage to let it fall into arrears.

After that, I realised that I hadn’t yet chopped up any digital soundfiles into the individual tracks. So that was the next task and I would have done that much quicker and been much farther ahead had I not confused myself by “copying” when I should have been “cutting”, pasting the same track three times and wondering why everything was out of sync.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel port de granville granville  manche normandy france eric hallWhat with all of that, I found myself rather late going out for my afternoon walk around the headland – the shorter route this time.

And it seems that I wasn’t the only one who was “late” either. The harbour gates have been open for a good few hours and they won’t be so far off closing. But here’s a fishing boat heading into harbour nevertheless.

There’s always someone who has to be last, no matter when they come in. Nothing wrong in that as long as he makes it in before the gates close. We’ve already seen one fishing boat stranded at the fish processing plant, caught by the receding tide.

school children atlantic wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt’s school holidays here in Granville right now. Most kids are at home or with grandparents but there are some poor kids who have to go on what is called classe découvert or “discovery class”.

It’s said to be a way of making children explore their environment, to see things in a different fashion than they would otherwise do and to learn about them in a different way.

But in fact, it’s more about putting the kids somewhere out of mischief because either there is no-one to look after them or the parents want a break themselves.

Mind you, knowing some parents as I do, perhaps a classe découvert is a good way for the kids to get some peace and quiet away from their parents, so don’t knock it.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallGoing past the top of the cliff I stuck my head over the top to see what was going on in the chantier navale

And we seem to have a change in there this afternoon too. There’s only one fishing boat in there now. The other one seems to have cleared off back into the water.

So I wonder who’s going to be next to arrive in the chantier navale. It would be nice to have something exciting in there for a change or perhaps from them to build a boat.

That would be interesting.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNo chance of getting to speak to Normandy Trader now this afternoon, because she isn’t there.

She must have sneaked out as soon as the harbour gates opened earlier this afternoon. And into the harbour has come Thora instead. I want to speak to her skipper too but if I can’t catch hold of them I’ll contact them in writing to maybe arrange an appojntment.

And there’s someone else I would like to talk to about this matter before I forget. I shall have to sit down one day and draw up some plans.

Back here I … err … had a little doze for a short while and then carried on with some other stuff that had been building up while I’d been stuck in this “work” mode just recently.

There’s plenty of that lying around and I shall be doing it bit by bit. But there are several things that need doing fairly quickly, so now that I’m free of any serious commitment until Saturday, I can tackle them tomorrow.

But I also have a party to attend on Friday night, here in the building. I don’t really have the time but it would be unsociable not to at least go for half an hour. I know that “sociable” isn’t like me at all but these are mu co-residents and I have to be polite.

Tea tonight was some of the lentil and tofu pie from the other day with potatoes, veg and gravy, followed by apple pie (also from the other day) with the last of the Alpro Soya Cream and chocolate sauce.

And it was absolutely delicious. I really am eating so well these days and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went out for my evening walk.

It was beautiful outside with a relatively clear sky and you could see for miles. The lights of Brehal-Plage were really bright tonight and came out so well.

If you look closely, you’ll see a small red light in the background. In the absence of any other candidate, I reckon that that’s the warning light for the wind turbine at the back of Gavray, about 20-25 kms from here. That’s how clear the night was

So now that I’ve written up my notes I can go to bed, and have more exciting dreams, I hope. And maybe if I’m lucky, actually leave the bed when i’m supposed to.

Shopping tomorrow, the dictaphone and the sound-file chopping, and then the rest of the day is my own. Plenty to do, though, and it won’t be done on its own that’s for sure. I have to get a wiggle on.

Tuesday 14th May 2019 – I HAD A …

much more productive day today;

Probably the decent sleep helped because I was out like a light and slept right the way through until about 05:20 when I awoke.

No chance of going back to sleep, so I was up well before the third alarm went off. And all things considered, it was an early start to the day.

And by the time I’d knocked off for tea, I’d almost finished the 2016 Canada notes. And by the time you read this I will probably have finished them too because I think that I might crack on tonight and early tomorrow morning and have it done.

And then I’ll have to start the 2017 notes.

As it’s Tuesday I had a shower, and just for a change just recently lunch was taken out on the wall overlooking the harbour.

ferry ile de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallGlorious sunshine but still rather windy for my liking.

But not for plenty of others though. I haven’t seen any lizards at all this year so far at my little spec, but there were crowds of people setting off on one of the ferries heading in the direction of the Ile de Chausey.

It makes me quite envious of them. But I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before I’m out there somewhere on the high seas on board a ship somewhere.

And while I was lunching, I was running a washing machine. With all of the windows open there was quite a current of air blowing through the apartment and with the washing on the airer on the window, it dried in a couple of hours.

clearance work place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallA day or two ago I posted a photo of some work that a neighbour had been doing on the concrete pad at the side of the building.

Underneath there are some storage units that had been converted from the underground water tanks but I’ve never seen anyone doing anything down there – until the other day.

For some reason or other they had been put out of use, but the other day there was someone pressure-washing the area. So I waited until today when there was no-one about, to take a photo of the work.

procession of boats granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon I had my walk around the Pointe du Roc – but I had to tear myself out of my chair first, where I’d been away with the fairies for 20 minutes. Beautiful, glorious weather but only about a dozen people out there. The rest of the population doesn’t know what it’s been missing.

But there was plenty of activity out at sea today. We had all kinds of boats out there. The sea was positively heaving with craft.

Here in the channel between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey we have a speedboat, a large trawler and a small trawler, as well as a couple of other craft.

nautical danse macabre trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallA few days ago I mentioned that there seems to be much more activity in the area involving fishing boats. And if anything, it’s increasing.

Here on the edge of the harbour I was treated to a delightful nautical danse macabre involving two of the larger trawlers that use the harbour and also a smaller trawler from the port.

The green and white one is heading out to sea and the black and white one and small pink and white one are coming in to unload

yachts baie de mont st michel chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThis is one of the nicest photos that I’ve taken for quite some time.

The sailing school at Granville is out in force today and all of their yachts are swirling around offshore in the bay just off the Pointe Gautier with a procession of speedboats navigating their way around them. We have the Chateau de la Crete, and what wouldn’t I give to have an apartment in there overlooking the sea?

But I do like the colours. They have come out really well in this photo

ile de chausey ferry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that surprised me was one of the Ile de Chausey ferries tied up at the quay right by the fish-processing plant. I’ve not seen one moored there before.

The reason for that, though, became evident. It seems to be changing over its gas bottles and that’s the most convenient place for a heavy vehicle and the ship to exchange loads.

It can’t do that at the Marine Terminal because the ramp is fairly inaccessible to lorries and is too steep. And in the harbour, it’ll need a crane to drop the bottles down to the ship.

There was another little break too. Now that I’ve properly configured the program that I use for recording CDs, I’ve done another four out of the backlog.

The sad thing though is that the automatic track detector doesn’t work for some reason so I have to add the track names manually and that takes some time.

It might well be that the albums are known by a slightly different name in France so the detector can’t pick them up. I shall have to play around with the country settings to se if that makes a difference.

And tea didn’t quite work out tonight. it should have been a stuffed pepper but the pepper had gone off – and from Saturday too. And so having prepared the stuffing already I went for the tacos, but they weren’t much better. In the end i had to invent something quick.

No apple pie, so it was pineapple slices and vegan coconut ice cream for dessert.

concrete floor house renovation rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I went for my evening walk around the walls.

First stop was at the house renovation at the rue du Nord to see what was going on. And I was right about the floor in the garage because they have concreted it over today. But then it didn’t take much of a guess to work out what they were going to do with it.

It’s really going to be something when it’s finished, and I wonder what their plans might be. I wonder if there will be any apartments to let.

guitarist lazing on a sunny afternoon granville manche normandy france eric hallI was totally alone out there again this evening except for some young guy.

He was sitting on a bench by the communal garden at the foot of the wall above the beachin the evening sun, playing the guitar and singing Sunny Afternoon. He was having a really good time out there and his enthusiasm was quite infectious.

So much so that when I returned home I piicked up the bass and worked out the bass lie to the song.

Liz was on line later so we had a little chat, and then rosemary appeared and we were chatting – not about anything in particular – for 75 minutes.

And do it’s a late night tonight, and I didn’t even finish what I was intending to do either.

But such is life. There is always tomorrow.

trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall
trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall

speedboat granville manche normandy france eric hall
speedboat granville manche normandy france eric hall

trawler yacht pleasure boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall
trawler yacht pleasure boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall

trawlers fishing baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hall
trawlers fishing baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hall

ile de chausey ferry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
ile de chausey ferry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

classe decouverte port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
classe decouverte port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

cherry picker beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall
cherry picker beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall

Tuesday 2nd April 2019 – WINTER IS …

… back again.

When I awoke this morning, it was raining. In fact it rained for most of the early part of the day and was still going at lunchtime. And so I ate my butties indoors.

This afternoon it stopped and the sun came out for a while. But this evening there is a dreadful gale howling around outside and it’s freezing cold. In fact, I only made a few hundred metres of my evening walk before I changed my mind and came back indoors.

This morning, much to my surprise, I was up and about by 06:20. And it’s been a long time since that’s happened too.

There was plenty of time to go on my travels too. Last night I was in New York with a group of people and we came across a taxi driver – a little middle-aged type of typical Brooklyner. We were talking about him and his business and his car. I crawled underneath his car to have a look. It was in reasonable condition with oil splattered around all underneath but the paint was coming off the underneath and the surface was rusty. I got him to come down and have a look underneath it, and I explained to him that if he were to to the underneath of this and touch up the bodywork there was no reason why this car couldn’t go on for ever. I was showing off a little I have to admit. He was looking at a kind of dirt guard that went underneath the car. One of the nuts had come off the studs so that’s why the car was making a noise from underneath, he said, with the dirt guard loose in once corner. We were chatting about another taxi driver friend of mine who worked from 18:00 Friday to 03:00 Saturday, from 12:00 Saturday to 03:00 Sunday and from 12:00 Sunday to 03:00 Monday. He made enough out of that to live off for the whole of the rest of the week. This guy was going “wow”. I then had to sit down and do his accounts but I had no idea what to do. I’d found an explanatory booklet so I’d sit down with this guy and work out some accounts. There was a girl there – it might even have been Nerina – who said that she needed her accounts doing too. I replied that once I had done this guy I would have more of an idea of how to do them. I could then sit down and do hers properly. But I seem to recall having been in this taxi with this guy going uphill and the car was coughing and spluttering a little. But going downhill again it picked up. He said that it was the spider that was always doing this when he goes uphill. What he was meaning were the plug leads, as I eventually worked out. Of course it would be a V8 under the bonnet

After breakfast I attacked the outstanding pile of work.

First problem was to untangle the mess in which my blog had ended up last night. I must have clicked inadvertantly on an “update now” link that must have popped up while I was working. My blog hung up for 20 minutes and when it finally reloaded, it had gone back to how it was when it uploaded to the previous version.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the fun and games that I had trying to configure it back then, and I was in no state to do it last night.

Last time, it took me a good few weeks to sort it out and it’s still not how I like it. This time I had to do it straight away and it took a good couple of hours before it was back to how it should be.

That was depressing.

I did a couple of test runs with a few blog entries, and it needed a further tweak or two.

Once I’d done that, I then had other work to do. A large amount of correspondence had built up so I spent much of the rest of the morning and the early part of the afternoon after lunch scanning a few documents, printing them out, and writing a few letters.

And then, of course, filing away the papers. I’m getting good at this now.

les bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOnce I’d done all of the letters and attachments, i went down into town.

In the harbour this afternoon was a boat that I didn’t recognise, and so fighting my way through a pack of schoolkids on a classe découverte, I went to see what it was.

It turns out that it’s Les Bouchots de Chausey, and we’ve seen her before in the harbour.

la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was there, I went to have a look at the big yacht that has been there for a few days in the berth usually occupied by Marité.

She is in fact displaying a nameboard to say that she’s La Granvillaise, and if that’s really the case, then all I can say is that they have done a really good job on her because I didn’t recognise her at all.

There were a few people loitering around her, and ordinarily I would have gone over to chat to them, but they seemed to be very busy working.

Leaving the port, I wandered over to the Post Office. A couple of my letters went straight into the letter box thanks to La Poste’s system of stamped envelopes. As for the rest, they needed to be weighed and stamped. Everything in there is now automatic, just as Alvin Tofler predicted in The Third Wave.

chantier de murs boulevard des 2eme et 202eme de ligne granville manche normandy franceOn the way back, I went to the Boulevard des 2eme et 202eme de ligne to inspect the chantier where they are repairing the wall that was closed off.

They are doing a good job with that and I’m reasonably impressed. But it brings back many happy memories when I spent a whole summer in 2012 doing that down on the farm.

So having admired the workings, I came back for a drink of hot chocolate.

i spent the next few hours doing a pile of dictaphone notes. That’s another lot gone into the great filing cabinet in the sky. I’ve reached the notes for my trip around the Somme battlefield now.

Tea was some taco wraps with stuffing, followed by apple crumble.

We had the half-walk this evening, but that’s enough. I came back in and did some more work. And now it’s time for an early night. I’ve had a long day and, much to my surprise, I managed not to crash out at all.

les bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france
les bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Thursday 28th March 2019 – IT WAS A …

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france… very busy day in the harbour today.

When I walked down to the town this morning, there in the harbour was Normandy Trader tied up to her berth.

She wasn’t in there last night, so she must have sneaked in on the early morning tide without my noticing her. and she looks pretty well loaded up too, so they must have been quick.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the reason why they were so quick became evident when I returned from LIDL.

Normandy Trader had cleared off into the sunset and in her place we had Thora tied up there in her place.

And she had only just arrived, that’s for sure, because there were a couple of civilian-types busily scrambling up the ladder onto the quayside. And one of them was a lady of the female sex too.

Last night I wasn’t as early in bed as I was expecting and despite that, I was wide-awake yet again at 03:45.

It took ages for me to go back to sleep, but when I did, I certainly did. Although I heard the alarms go off, it wasn’t until about 07:45 that I actually came into the land of the living.

Plenty of time therefore to go off on a little voyage or two. last night I was driving a bus from Chester to Crewe. One of the people on board this bus was George Scane – and what on earth is he doing in my nocturnal rambles? I was dropping off people at places all around Crewe – dropping them off in all kinds of strange directions and strange places in some kind of strange order. Going past the end of McCorquodale’s Printers in Catherine Street in Crewe and everyone was coming out of work – hordes of them. I was surprised that it was 12:00 Saturday lunchtime knocking-off time already, for I had a doctor’s appointment at 12:00 and I had a few other things to pick up from there too. We had to hurry. I was talking to this guy about women, saying that the only women I seem to find these days are women in their 90s and there was no interest in sex. He replied that I should make the most of it while I can and while it’s still offered, allthis kind of thing. He said that he was 103 – or else it was someone else he know who was 103 but he was quite old as well. This was all quite strange. Eventually we reached the doctor’s and I had to go in to ask about what I needed.
Apart from that, I had a very difficult voyage involving my father, and I’ll spare you all the details as you are probably eating your tea right now.
And I was also involved in some football match – Wales were playing Spain and I was out there on the field. Right from the very first touch of the ball at the kick-off one of the Spanish players had to leave the field. We thought that he had broken his ankle and the bench made themselves ready with a bucket of cold water, but in fact it was his boot that had broken. This ended with our team playing the Italians. They had just three people on the field – two men and a blonde-haired boy of about three. And somehow we didn’t have the will or the courage to press home our game decisively like we should have done.

As a result of all of that I was rather late organising myself and I didn’t do anything at all. After breakfast I had a shower, put a load of clothes in the washing machine, and then headed out for LIDL.

repairing city walls medieval town granville manche normandy franceThe other day I mentioned that they were working on the city walls just around the corner from here.

They had a mini-digger with a breaker attached and it was breaking up all of the rock at the foot of the walls. Why, I’m not quite sure but if it was that well-fixed that they needed a breaker, there seemed no point in moving it.

But he was having a load of fun doing it.

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything at all special today. There was tons of stuff and had I been back on the farm I would have had loads of stuff. But not here though.

fishing boats leaving harbour granville manche normandy franceOn the way back home, I was round by the port again.

It was a beautifully warm, sunny morning – really nice to be out. And I wasn’t the only one enjoying being out. A couple of trawlers were just setting out for the fishing grounds

It made actually a nice photograph

fishing boats granville manche normandy franceWith the Normandy trader having left the harbour I went back up to the apartment and sorted out the big Nikon D5000 and the telephoto lens to see what I could see.

There was some movement out on the horizon, hidden in the mist so I took a speculative photo of it to see what it might be.

It’s actually a couple of trawlers though.

normandy trader granville manche normandy franceSome more movement a little closer to the shore had me taking a photo to see what it might be.

But this time I was in luck. It is indeed Normandy Trader, heading off out into the English Channel in the direction of Jersey.

It didn’t take her too long to come in, turn round and go out again. I reckon that I must have missed dozens of visits by the ships.

la grande ancre granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all either.

There were a few more ships out there doing something or other. One of them was La Grande Ancre and judging by the buoys out there around her, she looks as if she might have some kind of fishing net out there.

I’m not quite sure what she’ll be catching just there, but I’ve seen a couple of boats round about that spot. Perhaps it’s some sunken treasure.

Gribouille and his mum were out there too so we had a bit of a chat.

Back here, I made a start on the photos for the last few days. But I wasn’t there for long because it was pretty soon lunchtime.

After lunch I finished off the photos and now the last couple of days have their photos appended.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd then it was walk-time around the headland.

Thora has already gone back out, and that was really quick. And in the chantier navale we have a coat of heavy primer now added to the large boat that they have been preparing this last few days.

It should look really good when it’s finished.

classe decouvert port de granville harbour manche normandy franceA little further on we have a group of school children around the edge of the old, abandoned dry dock.

It’s round about the time that they have the classes découvertes where groups of children come to town and stay in the Youth Hostel, and then go round looking at the fishing industry – or, rather, what’s left of it after the collapse of the cod industry in 1992.

You can see the remains of the deep-sea fishing industry all over the place around here

victor hugo ferry channel islands jersey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd although Thora has now sailed away, we have yet another visitor in the harbour.

Not exactly a visitor but more of a permanent resident, because it’s Victor Hugo, the older of the two boats that do the Channel Islands ferry to Jersey.

Ironically, they bought a new boat to replace her, but she’s nothing like as reliable as Victor Hugo.

Back here, I spent some time with the dictaphone notes, and then attacked tea.

leek and tofu pie place d'armes granville manche normandy franceMain course was really easy.

There’s some of the leek and tofu pie left over from the other day so I fetched a slice out of the freezer. I bunged that in the oven along with a couple of potatoes.

Real potatoes baked in the oven, with pie, veg and gravy.

apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut why I had the oven on is because I’ve been baking again.

This week’s effort is an apple crumble and although it’s not turned out as well as I hoped, it’s still delicious

Apple, grated coconut, raisins, brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Topped with a mixture of flour, oats and vegan margarine.

On my evening walk there was no-one around so I wasn’t out for long.

Back here I had a good chat with Alison, then Sue and almost immediately after, another chat to Rosemary. I seem to be in demand right now.

So as a result, it’s later than I wanted it to be. But it’s always good to talk to friends.

Tuesday 3rd April 2018 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out to visit an apartment today.

Not that I have all that much intention of buying anything, but when you see a one-bedroom duplex apartment with sea view and private parking for just €70,000, you have to go to look (at least, one of us does) otherwise I shall always be wondering about it.

It was on the edge of St Pair sur Mer so I met Liz in the town and we met up with the estate agent who took us on a scenic tour of the town until we found it.

And much to my surprise, it wasn’t as much of a ruin as some that I had seen at much more of a price. But it was small and inconvenient and there was no way that the accommodation could be rearranged to make a decent kitchen and fit the washing machine in. And so I politely declined.

Back at the Estate Agent’s office, we found that the Estate Agent had locked himself out so we left him to it and went for a coffee at the bar on the corner where we encountered France’s entry in the “World’s Worst Waiter” competition.

st pair sur mer manche normandy france The coffee was followed by a walk along the beach in and amongst the groups of schoolkids having their “classes découvertes”.

And there’s a lot more to St Pair-sur-Mer as I discovered as we walked along the beach. Although I’ve been here on many occasions this is the first time that I’ve walked along the beach, and I never knew that there was a river here.

Yes, I may be none-the-wiser but I’m certainly learning a lot.

And having made a conscious decision earlier today to take all of the old cardboard boxes to the dechetterie on the way back, I promptly forgot, and had to turn around halfway home to go back.

This morning it was a struggle to leave my bed at 06:30 and I failed to beat the second alarm. So a slow steady morning during which I caught up with some of the weekend’s undone work and assembled my new chair (which doesn’t seem to be as comfortable as it was in the shop). But then again what do you expect for €36:00?

Tea was stuffed peppers (with too much hot spice in the stuffing) and spicy rice, followed by my walk during which I was waylaid by the long-haired black cat.

So I need to organise myself so much better tomorrow. I have a lot to do and it won’t ever be done at the rate at which I seem to be working right now.

Thursday 22nd March 2018 – IT WAS BUSY …

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france… down in the harbour this morning.

First of all, we had the Normandy Trader in. She’s on one of her shuttle trips between Jersey and Normandy bringing in a load of scrap, and I couldn’t see what she was taking away.

That was because by the time that I had got down there, she had loaded up and gone out. She didn’t hang about at all.

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe reason for my delay was that another bit of movement in the harbour had caught my eye.

La Grande Ancre was just setting out on the tide – presumably heading towards the Iles de Chausey (she was back a short while later).

So despite her being registered in Cherbourg, it looks as if she’s now a permanent fixture here in Granville, and I’m all in favour of that as you know.

lys noir port de granville harour manche normandy franceAlso in the harbour today is a piece of history.

She’s the Lys Noir – the “Black Lily” and was built in 1914 in Arcachon as a pleasure yacht for a German prince. But on the outbreak of World War I she was confiscated by the French authorities as a prize of war and subsequently sold into private hands.

She was rebuilt here in Granville in the 1980s and now belongs to an Association to which she has given her name.

bornholm express port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn front of it is the ferry that goes to the Channel Islands – presumably being prepared for the season.

But my attention was caught by the name that has been painted out underneath. She is in fact the famous former “Bornholm Express”.

She was built in Singapore in 2006 and came to Denmark on the deck of a cargo ship. Her task was to operate a fast ferry service between Sweden and the island of Bornholm. But the ferry service was unsuccessful and closed down.

And this is where she has ended up – arriving in 2014.

So apart from that, last night was a better night’s sleep and I was off on my travels.

I was in fact at a football match – Altrincham v Morton. But at the ground the end where I usually stand was full of yellow-shirted Southport supporters. However, walking into the ground (there was no-one on the gate) I was just in time to see Morton’s second goal – and we hadn’t played 15 minutes yet. A beautiful shot from a narrow angle on the right wing across the keeper. I headed to an open spot on the far side and found myself in a group of about 50 Morton supporters who were clearly delighted by the result. I started to chat to a young girl there, with half an eye on the game, but a group of very tall men came and stood right in front of us. Despite me asking, they weren’t inclined to leave so we went down to the front – a wooden wicker fence to keep the crowds off the pitch, but there out view was obstructed by a concrete wall which was actually the support of a motorway flyover

We had the usual morning performance, and then the shower, shave and general tidy-up, and then it was shopping time.

And remember the roadworks by LIDL? There was a workman loitering in the vicinity so I went over to quiz him, but he saw me coming and walked away.

kangaroo meat LIDL granville manche normandy franceDid I mention that there’s a new line of product on sale at LIDL? I can’t remember.

But we have kangaroo meat now on offer, and I bet that you are hopping mad about that.

As for me, I didn’t buy anything out of the ordinary as such but they did have some of the Swedish vegan oatmeal biscuits on offer – the second box half-price – so two large boxes came home with me. And delicious they are too.

retaining supports rue saint gaud granville manche normandy franceOn the way back I stopped at the building site that we saw last week, to see what was going on.

They are still clearing the site at the moment, but I did notice that they have put some retaining supports in between the two houses on either side.

The are obviously worried about movement while there’s nothing in between them holding them up.

notaire house prices solicitor granville manche normandy franceThey say that Auvergnats have a reputation of being près de leurs sous, as they say around here. But Auvergnats have nothing on a Normandy Solicitor.

Solicitors in FRance are allowed to act as Estate Agents and their price calculation is worked out on the basis of the asking price for the client, plus 6% to cover the expenses of the transaction.

So have a close look at the price of this property for sale in a solicitor’s office.

shipping containers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was on the docks just now, another thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is the piles of shipping containers that arrived for the people rebuilding the harbour gates.

You can se what they have done with them – made two walls and put a roof of sorts over the top.

And I can’t say that I blame them either what with this weather that we have been having.

After lunch I had a few things to do, and then I went off for my afternoon walk.

first buds 2018 granville manche normandy franceAnd I was right yesterday about “Spring is Sprung”.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall me mentioning the topiary guy the other weeK. He’s been back and cut the bushes and this gave me an opportunity to inspect them.

And sure enough – the first buds of 2018 are out already, although you might not believe it given the weather that we have just been having.

There are also hundreds (and I am not joking either) of Primary School kids wandering around Granville at the moment in the company of dozens of adults. Being a firm believer in “if you want to know the answer, you have to ask the question” and so having buttonholed a teacher I was told that it’s “Classe de Découvert” – discovery class, and the kids (at least, those to whom i was talking) had come from Nancy for the week.

But when was the last time that you heard of British kids being sent halfway across the country for a week for a Discovery Class?

Tea was stuffed peppers and spicy rice again, and then my evening walk.

And now I’m off to bed – see where I end up tonight, hey?