Tag Archives: dashcam

Sunday 1st August 2021 – THERE ARE LOTS …

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … of photos today for you to admire.

After all, today is one of the most important days, apart from Carnaval, in the whole of Granville’s annual calendar.

Every last Sunday of the month of July (and yes, I do realise that it’s the 1st of August and I wonder why the organisers haven’t) it’s Granville’s annual Pardon.

“And what is a Pardon?” you may well ask, as I’m sure that you are doing even as I speak.

musicians and singer 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while a singer and some kind of orchestra entertain you with religious songs, let me explain.

The presence of an altar and someone in religious dress should give you a big clue. It’s a religious ceremony that is predominantly Breton in origin – in fact when I was in Brittany in 1978 I stumbled across several.

The significance of the date is that it was Sunday 31st July 1944 that Granville was finally liberated from Occupation and so they decided to have some kind of event to celebrate. This year is the 72nd Pardon.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the religious singing from the woman and her orchestra was far too much for some people.

With a hoot on her siren to warn anyone who might be coming into the harbour, the older Joly France boat, the one with the rectangular windows in landscape format, reversed from her berth at the ferry terminal.

She had quite a full load of people on board who had also quite clearly had enough of the religious singing too, and they all set out for a cruise off to the Ile de Chausey. And by the looks of things there is plenty of luggage because Chausiaise has moved from her berth while I was watching what was going on.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was sitting on my wall overlooking the harbour, a couple of neighbours fell in with me.

One of them is dog-sitting his sister’s corgi while she is away and he was taking it for a walk. The other one was my friend from the third floor and we sat together and watched events unfold down below.

She has an Apple phone and she’d been trying to download the Government’s AntiCovid application onto it, without much success. And so I had a try and I didn’t have too much luck either with it. I couldn’t even find the App in the Apple Store.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and concentrated on the activities down below.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat’s involved is that there’s a procession from somewhere in the town – from where I do not know – and people are either in it or follow on behind as befits their case.

All of the various trades and professions, like guilds I suppose, have their own flags and banners and they march in their respective order through the town until they reach the car park of the Fish Processing Plant where the ceremony takes place, along with representatives of the various churches and religious orders.

And I’m not sure if that’s a good place to hold the ceremony though. I don’t think that the odour would contribute much to the ambience of the festival, although a really good priest would just have to bring 5 loaves here if the congregation were to develop an appetite.

microlight aircraft ulm 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGiven the amount of times that I’ve been overflown by an aircraft of some description just recently, it goes without saying that I’m overflown again today while I’m sitting on the cliff edge.

it’s our old friend the red microlight powered hang-glider thing or whatever it is, come to have a close look at the events from up above in the air.

But the religious singing can’t have done him much good either because instead of circling around above to have a good view of the events, he took one look at the events and cleared off into the distance.

lifeboatmen 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, I mentioned that the various trades and professions had the right to take part in the parade.

Those guys down there in the orange jackets are the lifeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer, and their emblem seems to be an old rowing boat of some description.

It’s quite appropriate for the lifeboatmen to be here in the procession because their lifeboat is called Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, and she, Our Lady of Cap Lihou, is the patron saint to whom the Pardon is dedicated.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt doesn’t take long for the place to fill up and then the religious ceremony and the blessing of the flags and banners begins.

That’s the cue for me to make myself scarce because I don’t think that organised ceremonies and this “holier than thou” public profession of one’s faith is what Christianity is all about. This bit about graven images and all of that.

Religion is a personal issue between you and whoever your maker is, and no business of anyone else.

And in any case, on a more temporal basis, I’ve not had my medication yet and I need to deal with this before too long.

That’s because I didn’t awaken until about 09:30 this morning and the events kicked off at 10:00 so I couldn’t aford to hang around.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce the harbour gates open, there’s a procession of boats all around the headland and back again before the gates close.

Most of the local boats, such as our old friend La Granvillaise, recognisable by the “G90” on her bow, and this other boat whom we all know and whose name escapes me for the moment but which i’ll remember as soon as I press “send”, take part in the procession.

So while you admire all of the boats as they take part in the procession I can get back to doing what I was doing a couple of minutes ago and talking about my day so far, because it’s been a busy day today.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone to bed quite early last night, seeing as I was quite tired, I awoke a few times during the early morning, like at 07:20 as I remember.

But there’s no chance of my leaving my stinking pit at that time of morning. 09:30 is pretty early for a Sunday but with the Pardon to consider, I had to leave the comfort and warmth of my bed and take some decisive action.

Grabbing a nice ripe peach, I put on my clothes and finding the camera, headed outside for a cosy spec on the wall on the clifftop overlooking the ceremony – “a seat in the circle”, you might well say.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the photo of our lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and our new ferry Belle France, I was back in my apartment taking all of my medication.

And then, back in the bedroom where my office is, I downloaded all of the video files from the dashcam relating to my trip out. And I can see a couple of serious issues about this dashcam because about 90 minutes of driving used up 15GB.

This means that my 32GB memory cards are going to be fairly redundant at this rate and it’ll be 64GB memory cards in future, and a lot of them too if I go off on a long trip, which is unlikely these days, the way things are.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNext up was to look at the dictaphone to see what was on there.

There are in fact plenty of files on there and so I uploaded them to the computer with the aim of transcribing them.

Something was going on with some company or other so we all decided that we were going to picket so we all went out into the fields somewhere in this village then we all ended up going home. I can’t remember who I was with now but I asked what was on TV and they replied “nothing”. I asked “what about the cricket?”. They couldn’t find the cricket. Next day we went out and came back for the cricket again and England were like 125 behind and one of the batsmen, Jack Hampshire, had just been dismissed for making a noise. Apparently it’s a new regulation that if a batsman makes a noise he can be sent off. In the meantime we were back with this shelf-filling exercise – all shelves in supermarkets abroad are not filled but not in the UK and I don’t remember anything else but I was having one of the worst feverish sweats that I’d had for ages.

It was early afternoon, we were running the taxi business and I had a young guy driving. We were getting pretty busy and Mari rang up for a taxi to take her to the launderette. We added this onto the guy’s list. He went off to take her. Then we came back here and I had to go out to do a couple more jobs and Mari rang up for a taxi back. Nerina said that we were busy and she’d have to wait but I took the opportunity and said “oh no I’ll go and take Mari” so I went out in EBF, picked her up and brought her home. Then I got talking to the other taxi driver. He was saying that when he turned 14 he had four periods one after another so I laughed and said “you’re turning into a woman. He said “a bit” because he really was making medical history, this. We drove back and Nerina had made some soup and bread. I don’t know what was in it but it was very tasty and we all ate it. But there was another part of this dream that I don’t remember very much about me living in Gainsborough Road and having all of my old Cortinas there. There was some talk that the council was going to issue me with an enforcement notice telling me to dispose of all the Cortinas – another part of this recurring dream where I had Cortinas tied up in a garage and all kinds of different places all over Crewe.

I was walking through Shavington, down Chestnut Avenue. There were loads of people dressed in costumes, ballerinas and so on coming up the hill. I tripped over a pile of ballet shoes and got them all out of order and I had to throw one in the pile and hope that that one wasn’t important. Just then a steam locomotive roared past, a big 9F going like the clappers backwards up the hill followed by a couple of smaller ones. took a photo of one or two of them. There were loads of old buses, everything so I asked “is there a carnival going on here?”. The replied “yes – on Saturday”. I thought that if I come up from Audlem I can park my car out by the Elephant and Castle, walk into the village and watch the procession with the steam trains and buses because I’d seen a few old buses as well. It’s going to be really good. So I walked around to a place where they were doing food. There was some kind of activity taking place in which I took part. There was something like a half-marathon going on too. After the activity I wanted to take a shower but they were strange showers. Instead of being above you and pouring the water down they were below you and pouring the water up. I went to take a shower but got talking to this old woman. There were a few people there teasing each other about everything. This woman seemed to be quite active. she said “I’ll take you to the dance with me on Thursday night for the old people. I thought “old people!”. Then I suddenly realised that this carnival would be taking place and I don’t want to miss that so I had to make my excuses. Then I went to have a shower again but they were busy dismantling it so I had to shout at them to stop them dismantling it so that I could finish my shower in peace with everything ready.

marité yachts  trawler cabin cruiser 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was out there, being her usual anti-social self, and I was being my usual anti-social self inside.

The notes from yesterday needed updating to add in the photos but there were also a couple of events that had been recorded on the dashcam that needed checking.

One of them, to my extreme dismay, that had happened at Lidl yesterday didn’t work out at all but two others weren’t too bad. I had to produce a couple of stills from the recorded video and you’ll get to see them when I get round to adding in the photos of yesterday, whenever that might be.

speedcraft 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn one of the earlier photos, I’d seen some kind of speedcraft rapidly going past the procession – in rather bad taste, I thought.

But there he goes now, flat out, full speed ahead on his way over to the Ile de Chausey and I’ve no idea why he would want to go that fast over there on a Sunday during what is supposed to be a religious parade.

In the meantime, I was busy editing the photos from yesterday and taking dashcam stills, and then I had things to do. By now the harbour gates would be well open and I wanted to see the procession of boats.

yacht rebelle trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey had long-since gone out of the harbour by the time I reached the viewpoint, and so I turned my attention to the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there, as is the trawler Charlevy over there at the back. The two unidentified trawlers (still unidentified, by the way) are still there too but we’ve had a new arrival that is parked in between them.

She’s one of the inshore shell-fishers, as you can tell by the roof over the storage area that stops the seagulls pinching the catch as the boats return to harbour with their full loads.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s good for the town to have a busy and effective chantier naval.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter looking at the chantier naval I walked off down the path and around the headland, in the reverse direction to normal, just for a change.

To my surprise, there weren’t all that many people out here watching the events – probably no more than a couple of hundred. The actual Pardon wasn’t particularly well-attended either. On the wall looking down onto the affair there can’t have been more than about a dozen of us.

It’s not at all like the Carnaval and I remember seeing the Pardon and the procession when I first came here, when you couldn’t move for people milling around.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the north side of the headland I found a convenient spec, without any difficulty at all, to watch the boats go past me.

That was the spec from where I had taken all of the previous photos of the the boats going past me.

As the last few disappeared off around the headland, I took another photograph of them and then walked back across the car park to the south side of the headland.

That was where all of the action was going to be for the next while

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right on cue, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and Belle France came into view, neck-and-neck in the lead apart from the speedboat that was cheating on the outside.

As for the rest of the procession, I had to leave them to it and head back towards home because I have plenty to do. And so I retraced my steps along the path on the north side of the headland.

“This will do for my daily walk” I said to myself and joined everyone else who was busy deserting the scene, probably for Sunday lunch although there were a few picnickers here and there.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was still out there though.

She had no intention of joining in the procession by the looks of things, which was a shame. She had other business that needed attention, presumably taking a load of passengers out for a tour around the bay.

There was other business that needed my attention too – like lunch, for example. I’d had nothing to eat at all so far today except that peach and my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After my lunch I made a start on the bread and I kneaded it using the lessons that I had learnt from Liz on Thursday. It took an age but eventually the dough behaved just as she told me that it would and ended up being probably the best dough that I’ve ever made.

So I dumped it back in the bowl to let it proof for a while.

Back in the office I sat down to deal with the photos but to my dismay I crashed out for about an hour. And that put me behind just about everything that I was hoping to do.

But the bread had gone up like a lift so I gently shaped it and dropped it into the bread mould to carry on with its proofing. Then I kneaded the pizza dough that I’d taken from the frezer earlier, rolled it out and put it on its tray so that that could proof as well.

When the time was right, I turned on the oven and when it was hot enough I stuck the bread in to bake.

home made bread vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime I began to assemble the pizza.

And for once just recently, I had all of the ingredients to hand so it was quite straightforward this week.

When the bread was ready I took it out and put in the pizza and left that to cook. And here are the finished product. And doesn’t that loaf look really good?

No pudding of course because there’s plenty of pineapple upside-down cake to be going at for the next week or so. And as I don’t have much coconut soya stuff to go on it and I couldn’t find any yesterday, I have plenty of milk to make custard.

But not tonight though. I have no room for any pudding right now after that pizza

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Later on, I went out again.

It was rather late in the evening and I was lucky enough to see the sun at one of its lowest points just about to disappear below the horizon behind the Ile de Chausey.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the sunset over the sea. In the old days before Covid I was out every night at about 21:00 and I’dseen the sun set on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall

These days though I just don’t have the time and I wish that I did. i have far too much going on to be able to relax as I used to.

police vehicle blocking port st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner and down the street and there’s a road block at the Porte St Jean stopping the traffic entering the medieval walled city.

There’s something going on in the old town tonight and while it’s not a subject that interests me all that much, we have to note it for the record.

Policemen know everything, even if they are merely “Police Municipal” rather than the National Police or the Gendarmes. And so I made “certain enquiries” and the bobby pointed me in the right direction. and so off I jolly well set.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this is why I’ve come out this evening – and I’m bang on time which is quite amazing. THey are just going across the drawbridge into the old walled town.

There’s a religious ceremony taking place in the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and everyone has come up from the Fish Processing Plant in a procession as they did around the town this morning.

And those two guys in front had better get a move on because their handbags are on fire.

Unless they are these incense things that they wave about distributing perfume. And seeing as they have just come up from the fish processing plant, that’s not a bad idea.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind those two guys swinging their censers or whatever they are called, come the madding crowds. Everyone who was there this morning is coming this way this evening carrying some kind of lanterns, candles in a special holder that doesn’t look all that fireproof to me..

They are all carrying their banners and emblems, presumably taking them to the church to be blessed again after this morning’s service. And I’ve no idea why they would want to do that twice on the same day.

Some people might think that involving the children in carrying the emblems and whatever might be a good idea but that little kid at the back is having a bit of a rough time carrying that ship.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind the couple carrying the ship comes almost everyone else.

There’s another one of these white ships coming on behind. This one is carried by two kids and I bet that they know all about the climb up the Rue des Juifs carrying that. It’s not as easy as you might think carrying something like that.

Behind the kids come all of the banners belinging to the different organisations and corporations of the town. And I wish that I knew exactly what they represented because I can’t decipher anything from what I can see on them.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo pirzes for guessing who these people are

In their orange jackets and pushing the rowing boat that we saw earlier this morning, they can only be the lfeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer. And here’s something that I don’t understand, which is “why haven’t they painted their bot arange and green, the same colour as their lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

And I bet that they know all about dragging that up the hill as well. It’s not as if it’s light. Mind you, if they had any sense, there would be some kind of motor under that blue canopy.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBrining up the rear are the religious dignitaries from the region.

The one with the pointed hat is a bishop, I reckon, but I don’t know who the other one is. But if he’s a bishop and needs a good crook, I’m within beckoning distance. There’s no better crook than me.

So they are off to the church, shepherding the stragglers along with the bishop’s crook, I suppose and so I clear off too back home. I still have plenty of work to do.

Things are taking a lot longer than I anticipated which is a shame, and I need my beauty sleep as I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Wednesday 7th July 2021 – I’M FED UP …

… of this perishing weather.

rainstorm place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I didn’t have the chance to go out for my afternoon walk because it was raining like it had never rained before.

Even in all my wet-weather gear I wasn’t going to set foot outside the building in all of this. Torrential rain had nothing whatever on what was coming down when I wanted to go for my walk.

The irony of it all was that there was a Welsh conversation on-line tonight and I was bent on joining it. And while we were chatting, the sun came out and there was some blue sky too. But the moment the chat finished, down came the rain, right on cue, and that was that.

Last night was another rather late night because something came up on the Old-Time Radio – an Agatha Christie play concerning Hercule Poirot – so I stayed up and listened to it. If it meant for a bad night and following morning, that’s rather a shame but for me I ought to be having some pleasure out of life somewhere.

As a result it was rather a struggle for me to raise myself from the bed when the first alarm went off, and some time after I’d taken my medication and come back in here I’d crashed out, sitting on my chair. And for about an hour and a half too. I must have been tired.

When I’d recovered I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d bought some item of clothing and it was going to be for me only and it was very special. I was living at Coleridge Way at Nerina’s. Somehow this thing was picked up in her washing and washed along with everything else and hung out on the airing trolley things. I was wondering how on earth I was going to get it back. I had to wait for a moment when everyone was out of the house. I waited for a period of over a couple of days until everyone had gone and I went downstairs and into the living room where all of these clothes were on airers. There had been a bed made up on the sofa. I crept over there to see and it was an empty bed. I thought that with the bed being on the sofa there was something strange going to happen and so I slowly made my way round to where this article was. Then I heard voices in the house so I waited thinking that the way to distract these people whose voice this was would be to leap out and startle them, and that way to forget what it was that was going on. That was what I did, and it turned out that it was my youngest sister and someone else, another female of our family. They’d both been involved in a car accident so I immediately went to console them both and tell them “it doesn’t matter – it’s only metal” and so on. Another guy was there. he was trying his best to console them as well. All the time this article that I wanted was still up on the clothes airers and I was in a very great danger of actually losing it again to someone else who wasn’t going to be careful about what they packed up and what they put away.

Tater on there was another long and rambling dream that went on and one and on. What I can remember was that some girl was having to have lessons. My brother had been giving her lessons but was unable to do so so I was now having to do it. We were living on the Wistaston Green estate and I had to find out where to go. They said that on Saturdays she lived at home but on Sundays she stayed at someone else’s house. On the Saturday it was somewhere on the Wistaston Green estate but no-one actually knew where. We knew where to go and where to park the car ans one of my sisters thought that she knew which house it was but every time I asked for the number it was “oh you just go there and park your car” and so on. The Sunday was a little clearer because I remember taking the phone call when she was changing it to her relative’s house. I could vaguely remember something about that. But there was tons to this and it just went on and on and I can’t rememner any of it.

While I was asleep on the chair though I was working in an office in Stoke on Trent. They had come along and cleared all of the files in the store room and sent them off to a central repository, which I thought was the strangest decision that I’d ever heard. Every time someone rang up or wrote in a letter you had to write to the central repository to get back the file before you could deal with their query. I’d had something to do with one particular case which I’d been working quite regularly but the file wasn’t there so in the end I went into the basement, couldn’t find this file there so a guy whom I used to know and I went off to the central repository which was in Stoke on Trent. He said that he knew his way around so off he went. I ended up just sitting there for a couple of hours and I was totally fed yp so I decided to go back home again. Back to the van was past a compound with all of these big Bentley 3-litres in it. Then there was a place wirh 4 or 5 Isetta bubble cars all mangled, it was that kind of place. Just as I was getting into Caliburn to go back, he appeared. He said that he couldn’t find the file but he’d found one of his big old buckets that he’d had before and went to empty it over the edge of this drop so that he could take it back but he almost ended up going over the drop with all of the rubbish that was in this bucket thing before he could stop himself.

It must have been a really deep sleep on the chair if I’d wandered off like that.

So having organised myself and grabbed my breakfast much of the morning up until lunchtime was spent dealing with the photos of Greenland in August 2019. I’m not about to go for a wander in a zodiac to look at the icebergs in the Davis Strait and Disco Bay just off Ilulissat. And this, I remember, is the day that I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me.

But one thing about editing these photos – it makes me want to go North again.

My work this morning was interrupted by a couple of things. Firstly, I crashed out yet again for half an hour or so, and secondly, I had a visit from the postie. The first of the deliveries from my mega-Amazon order. And so immediately after lunch I went into unpacking-mode.

A pair of batteries for each of the NIKON D500 and NIKON 1 J5 cameras. And I bet that I still end up down the street with flat batteries too at some point or another.

But interestingly, the new generation of chargers work off 5-volt USB connectors rather than the mains current. So that means less gadgets to haul around with me

The new Dashcam came too, and that took ages to work out how to initialise it, and the new multi-caddy that I’ll be using for back-up storage. The memory is here too, as is the new USB 3.0 multi-connector but that’s all a job for next weekend after I come back from Leuven when hopefully, the two new hard drives for the computer will be here.

rainstorm rue du roc foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go for a walk but the lousy weather put the brakes on that, as I told you earlier.

Going back upstairs I stuck the camera out of the rear window overlooking the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs to take a photo of the weather out there as well. I wasn’t going to end up being soaked just for the sake of a couple of photos.

Instead, I came back here and did some more work on my trip down the coast on board Spirit of Conrad last year. This is a pretty slow process because there’s about 400 photos and I don’t really know what to write about most of them – although that has never stopped me in the past of course.

There was a Welsh chat on Zoom this evening so I wanted to join, but the tutor had sent me the wrong link so it took a while for me to be connected. But a couple of things that I noticed, namely

  1. this particular tutor is a lot more disorganised than the two that we have had so far
  2. this was a mixture of people from several groups and the people from our group were much more confident than the people from the other groups

Tea tonight was chips with burger and baked beans followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya stuff. I’ll be back to making chocolate sauce for the next few days now.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow of course, if I don’t fall asleep, and there might even be more toys from Amazon. Won’t that be nice?

Wednesday 31st March 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day when I missed most of the afternoon due to crashing out on the chair in the office. And I’ve no idea why because I had the usual amount of sleep last night and I have to say that I slept quite soundly until the alarm went off.

When the first alarm went off, I leapt out of bed quite rapidly too, so it can’t have been a lack of sleep.

First task today after the medication was to begin the photos for August 2019. The actual preparation took a great deal of time before I could actually start on the editing. And then I couldn’t find the dashcam files for my trip around northern USA.

That actually wasn’t as desperate as it might sound because it led to a sorting out of the files on the big back-up disk. There were plenty of duplicate files and in the end by the time I’d had them properly filed (which took much more time than you might think), the amount of free space on the drive had increased to 1.18TB.

So finally having set up all of the base files and the like and created the directories I set off to start the editing. I was intending to do 30 before I stopped and I stuck at it until it was done, even if it meant a rather late lunch.

There were quite a few photos that would be of interest to various Groups on my Social Network so I had to prepare them for publication, and I also had A LOT OF FUN WITH A FEW OF THEM.

By the time that I knocked off for lunch, I was standing in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota. That’s the last resting place of all kinds of famous people such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as a few other people whose deaths WERE EXTREMELY INTERESTING.

After lunch I came back into the office to carry on with my work but to my surprise I crashed out. And it was a long, deep crashing out as well, right up to the point where I missed my afternoon walk. I was about an hour late setting out for my trip around the headland.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen you see these people here in the water you are probably thinking that we were having a nice warm day.

In fact it was rather warm and there was little wind, but I wouldn’t have said that it was warm enough for people to take to the waters. You wouldn’t catch me going into the water at this time of year, but then again, I’m pretty well-known for being nesh when it comes to things like this.

And so having looked up and down the beach for anything interesting and finding nothing at all going on, I cleared off along the path on the top of the cliffs towards the headland.

marker light english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the previous photo you couldn’t see the mist that was shrouding the area this afternoon, but here it is.

You can just about make out the Ile de Chausey on the horizon over there but you couldn’t see very much further beyond that. There was no chance of seeing any boats or anything else further out there, and the Brittany coast was quite obscured.

In the foreground is a marker light for the rocks at the foot of the cliffs. I say that it’s a marker light but I’ve often been out there at night as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I’ve never seen it lit. It looks as if it might probably be redundant.

From there I passed over the lawn and the car park towards the end of the headland.

peche à pied le loup mechanical diggers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t actually make the end of the headland straight away because the action going on out at Le Loup caught my eye.

There were the people – crowds of them today – at the peche à pied seeing as the tide is so far out this afternoon, but I was much more interested in the two mechanical diggers that had made their way out there to Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour.

If you examine the photo closely you’ll see that there is a pipeline that runs between them. That’s the one that we saw them laying the other day. And I know what it is now. I’m told that it’s to “evacuate the waste from the harbour”. What that actually means, I’m really not so sure but it doesn’t look very healthy to me.

Down at the headland there were a few people wandering around but nothing going on out at sea, so I carried on for my walk along the path on top of the headland towards the docks.

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I had a good look down into the chantier navale.

No change in occupancy in there this afternoon but there was a frenzy of work being undertaken on Hermes 1. The top deck is swathed in a tarpaulin and there’s something going on underneath. There’s a compressor going off and making quite a racket and if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see a cloud of either steam or water vapour coming out of a gap in the tarpaulin.

Her hull is masked off in brown paper presumably for a painting spree some time in the near future. There has been a great deal of work being undertaken on her and she’s having a thorough going-over.

komatsu digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it’s after 17:00 and it’s knocking-off time for most of the workers right now.

That presumably applies to the workers down in the harbour too. Here’s one of the diggers heading up the ramp at the outer harbour where the diggers park up overnight and at high tide so I reckon that he is knocking off for the night right now.

The guy down there carrying the baguettes seems to be quite interested in whatever is going on down there, because there is plenty of work going on in the outer harbour that we can’t see in this photo

workmen digger laying chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe need to look at this photo to see what has caught the eye of the man with the baguettes.

One of the diggers might be knocking off but the other one was working away quite hard this afternoon, along with the two men who are in attendance.

What they are actually doing is to sink into the silt some concrete blocks to which they will be attaching some heavy chains to which the boats will tie up when the tide is in.

And if you look closely at the photo here, you’ll see the heavy chain that they will be using. Having been out on the Spirit of Conrad I have seen them fish for a sunken mooring chain with a boat hook, pull it up onto the deck, tie the mooring rope to it and then drop the chain back overboard.

Having had a good walk I came back and the first thing that I did after making my coffee was to listen to the dictaphone, something that I had forgotten to do this morning. Last night we were talking about the work that I used to do, wandering around the town making notes. I’d been looking at some adverts in the newspaper for cars. I was making notes for cars for sale. It turned out that one of my colleagues owned a few of the cars that were advertised and he turned round and said “come on, what’s your price for these?”. I relied “I don’t really have a clue. I have to see them first for if they are white they are no good for what I want. We started talking about minicabs again, the firms that were based in Smallthorne. I was talking about two that came up, one opposite the camping shop and the other one a bit further down. Someone was saying “yes, they’ve changed a lot of their cars recently. They have a lot of new cars”. I said that I’d have to go out on the prowl like I used to. I told them the story of the time that I brought a coachload of people in to drop off in Hanley and how while I was waiting for them I was wandering around the town making notes of what was going on. I was talking to the guy who had taken over from me after I had left. He was saying “you only seem to be working one of your cases”. I replied “I’m not there any more am I?”. He replied “yes, there’s only one of your cases still working. The others are sitting there and there’s one that seems to be totally abandoned. There again, there was nothing owing in that particular respect. It was going to be a ‘nil’ case anyway”.

After that I did some work on the 2020 trip around Central Europe before knocking off to have my hour on the guitar. That was quite enjoyable and passed quite quickly.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta with vegetables followed by my apple crumble with soya coconut dessert stuff.

But now that my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping in the morning so I expect that I’ll probably be totally exhausted tomorrow as well. But at least I’m making progress, even if it isn’t as quick as I would like.

Friday 16th October 2020 – SOMEONE ELSE …

Helicopter Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… has had his chopper out today, so it seems.

We’re used to seeing a helicopter flying around here but it’s usually the Eurocopter one that the Air-Sea Rescue uses. In fact we saw that one out and about the other night. But today it’s a new one that I don’t recall having seen before.

It looks as if it’s a private helicopter, not one belonging to a Government department or organisation. And it makes a change from the autogyro that we usually see flying around here in the afternoon.

And if it had been flying around here when the third alarm went off, I would have missed it because, once again, I failed to make it out of bed at the appropriate time and that has filled me with dismay.

And it’s not as if I had a late night either – well, not as late as some have been.

And I didn’t really go all that far during the night either. I’m not sure what was happening here but it was in lockdown and no-one was allowed out. There was one group or orchestra practising in a shipping container that was floating on the sea. But the container suddenly nose-dived and anyone in it was taken below the water. There were a lot of people appealing to the Ministry to allow people back out onto the beaches to avoid another tragedy

And later on, after many struggles Wales finally had its own navy although no-one ever called it out for very much. It wasn’t safe to go out in the ruler’s boat too far because of all kinds of different complications but we certainly had a navy by now.

It’s certainly interesting, the things that I get up to during the night.

All of the morning has been spent dealing with the photos from August 2020. And that took an age as well because the system that I tried, of dictating my notes out loud so that the recorder on the Dashcam would pick it up, was also a dismal failure.

In the end, I had to follow on the Dashcam the route that I took, look for road signs that I could decipher (which was not easy with the bright sunlight shining into the windscreen) and then timing the difference between two photos.

That’s complicated enough when it has to be done in German, but when you are dealing with notices, adverts and signs written in Czech, Slovak and Hungarian, it’s another thing entirely. It took me all the morning to do about 30, and there’s still plenty more to go at.

After lunch, I had to go out. Caliburn is now a teenager, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and for his birthday he’s having a makeover as I promised him. So basically I had to drive to Gavray where we repeated the process that we has done several months ago, and now he’s booked in for a week from 27th October.

There’s plenty of life left in him, that’s for sure, but his bodywork is looking his age and the MoT examiner made a few comments about it. It’s going to cost me an arm and a leg, and I really do mean that, but buying a new vehicle will cost me 10 times that. And if I get a second-hand vehicle, who knows what I’ll end up with?

And the repair will come with a 5-year guarantee, which is about all the life that I have left in me if I’m lucky, according to the doctor’s. They gave me a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years, and we’ve entered that period now.

Crowds On Beach Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving returned from my rather pointless drive from Gavray, I went for my afternoon walk.

And at least I had very good weather for it. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon. A little cold and windy but really sunny outside. There were quite a few people down ther eon the beach making the most of the mid-October sunshine.

However, on the way out of town, I’d seen people carrying buckets and rakes and all kinds of things off onto the beach, so I wonder if it’s another Grand Marée when they’ll be swarming onto the beach for the shellfish in the public area.

Antea English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was other activity going on out to sea too.

The white boat that we saw away in the distance in the English Channel is still there, only now a bit closer to the Ile de Chausey. A look on the live plotter of the Fleet Monitor that I have (regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I host in my apartment the AIS receiver and antenna for the port) tells me that the research ship Antea is still out there.

That leads me to the conclusion that she is in fact none other than the aforementioned. The next question of course is “what is she researching?”

Children Orienteering Pointe Du Roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out there on foot today wandering around in the good weather.

And the brats were out there again today, with their orienteering project. I’m not quite sure what it is that they are actually supposed to be doing because when I was walking past, one of the monitors was sending them off in pairs to stand by the control points.

It seems to me that one of these days I shall have to grab hold of a brat and interrogate it to find out what they are up to out here.

Fishing Boats Returning Home to Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo off past the lawn to the Point of the headland to see what’s going on there.

Even though it’s the same time as yesterday more or less, the tide is about 35 or so minutes slower so it’s not deep enough in the tidal harbour for the fishing boats to come in to unload. But they are streaming back from their stations in droves and I counted probably 8 or 9 that I could see with the naked eye.

Here are a couple of them – a trawler-type on the left and an inshore shellfish fisher (and try saying that with someone else’s teeth in) heading back to port.

Le Loup Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was another one of these strange lighting effects today too.

There wasn’t a rainstorm today but there was plenty of cloud obscuring the sun in places. And every now and again the sun would pop out to say hello and there would be this extraordinary floodlighting effect, just like over there in the fields at the back of Kairon-Plage

Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour is nevertheless all in the shade and the guy fishing on the rocks in the bottom-left is nothing but a shadow.

Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking at the live plotter of the Fleet Monitor, I noticed that there had been a change in the boats in the harbour.

Victor Hugo, the older one of the two Jersey Ferries, the one that’s blue, is no longer shown as being present in the harbour. So while I was out I went for a look and sure enough, there’s only Granville, the newer one of the two present.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the ferries to the Channel Islands have stopped for the time being as the Channel Islands have closed their borders, and both of them were moored here. So why, at about 06:20 this morning did Victor Hugo suddenly pull up sticks and head off – to Cherbourg as it happens?

And of course Normandy Trader has cleared off too. Out on the early morning tide on her run back to St Helier.

There was the hour on the guitar with the same lack of enthusiasm, and then tea. I added a small tin of kidney beans to the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday and had taco rolls. That was followed by the third of those desserts, and there’s one left for tomorrow.

Eglise St Paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my evening walk and runs. 5 more runs, to be precise. I’m stepping up my fitness activity as much as I can.

And it’s just as well, because I was all alone tonight and I had the old walled city to myself. There was nothing much going on worth photographing so I settled for a photo of the Eglise St Paul – on eof the world’s first modern concrete buildings.

However in 1999, not even 100 years old, it was found to be in a deplorable condition and was closed. Bits of concrete drop off without notice so parking at the side of it is forbidden. A project of renovation has been considered, but at a cost of €7,000,000 which is considered to be beyond the budget of any interested party.

Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow, here’s a thing.

A short while ago, I mentioned that Victor Hugo had left port early this morning and that Granville was there all on her todd. But after I’d finished my run across the Square Maurice Marland and looked down onto the port, I noticed that she had disappeared too.

At 16:53 to be precise according to my live tracker, not long after I came in. Or, in other words, as soon as the harbour gates opened. And she’s also in Cherbourg now apparently, so the crew who took her sister out there earlier must have come back by train and gone straight back out again.

It looks as if the ferries have now finished for the season if they’ve gone into winter quarters already. It was a pretty lean year for them, then.

Tuesday 4th August 2020 – STRAWBERRY MOOSE …

strawberry moose caliburn kyjov 348 15 Zadní Chodov czech republic eric hall… has Czeched in to his latest accommodation.

It’s not the first tile that Strawberry Moose and Caliburn have visited the Czech Republic. We were here IN MAY 2015 when we took the short cut from East Germany and Colditz Castle to Munich.

This time, we’re going to spend a few days exploring the town of Karlovy Vary, or Carlsbad as it was called in its days as a city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

We’re installed in our hotel already but we haven’t had a chance to visit the town yet because after the horrible night that I had had last night, I crashed out as soon as I sat down on my bed.

But returning to the beginning, having crashed out earlier yesterday evening, I awoke at about 23:00 and then I couldn’t go back to sleep again for hours. I remember seeing 02:30 come round, and probably a few other times as well.

Nevertheless, I was up at something reasonable, like 06:30, feeling like death again.

There was a pile of paperwork to do, such as transcribe the notes off the dictaphone

There was something going on like an exhibition or a fete or something. I was wandering around somewhere and i’d come across some old shoes of children and I’d stacked them somewhere to hide while I attended this fete. On the way back it was dark and I had awful difficulty finding them. In the end I found them and walked on home. It was a really steep slope and I walked up with someone else. A third person said something like “this is the right place to be to give yourself an alibi. They hadn’t known that I had only just got there. I said “no” and something about how I know people here so I could get down the front. I walked up this really steep slope with this woman. In the dark I had to grope around and eventually found the pile of shoes that I’d hidden. I walked on through this village and this guy accosted me and said “where are your shoes? Why haven’t you your shoes on?” I though to myself “God, is that the only thing he’s noticed?” I felt like giving him a right mouthful then I suddenly realised that I’d dropped some of this pile of shoes so I had to go back and get them. I walked back and retraced my steps and eventually found them. Then I put on some trousers and started to walk back thinking that I’d put on my trousers but I’m not putting on my shoes just for him. If he asks anything I’ll show him these shoes that I have in my hand that I’d now found all of. I also had a box and it was a matching mother and daughter swimsuit that I was going to give to someone. When I got to where I was supposed to be going with all these things they looked at this box and said “God I hope that they can get that in their luggage”. I was thinking that they could always undo the box and take the things out, can’t they?

Next task was to download the files off the dashcam. For some unknown reason the data cable wouldn’t work and I had to dismantle the machine to take out the SD card and insert it in the laptop. It took so long that I ended up with the hotel cleaner banging on the door.

Eventually I found myself back on the road again, heading north.

My first port of call was at Thomann’s at Burgebrach. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my acoustic guitar is a cheap and nasty £25:00 cheap thing and after trying to play it at home more regularly than ever I used to, I’ve decided that I want a new, decent one.

Thomann’s is usually said to be the place to go but actually it was something of a disappointment. They didn’t have available what I wanted and the labelling and pricing system of the guitars on display is such that you need to be a contortionist with a magnifying glass to read the prices.

Furthermore, the stock isn’t labelled to tell you what kind of guitar it is.

As for the staff, they seem to be another lot of minimum-wage shelf fillers rather than assistants and have no idea how to engage with the customers. No-one seemed to be interested in talking to me and when I finally grabbed hold of a sales person, he didn’t seem in the least bit interested in my story.

In the end, having driven all the way there, I drove away empty handed, full of disappointment.

At Burgebrach I’m only about 180 kms or so from the Czech border. At the moment the borders are still open but they won’t be for long, so Strawberry and I went for a drive. It’s been five years since we’ve been there.

And despite the short distance, it took an age to get there. The roads are narrow, steep and winding and full of lorries and tractors trying to negotiate them. At one stage we passed a speed indicator that showed that we were travelling at all of 12 kph.

When we arrived at the border we found it unmanned so we just drove straight through. Unfortunately there was nowhere to stop to take a photo of the border sign. We had to drive on to the first village before we could stop.

kyjov 348 15 Zadní Chodov, czech republic eric hallThe village where I stopped was called Kyjov.

It’s not to be confused with the town of the same name that’s to be found in the centre of the country. This is a small village about 6 or 7 kilometres from the frontier with Germany, not too far from Planá in the region that used to be the Sudetenland.

The contrast between the rich West and the poor East is very apparent as soon as we cross over. It brings back all kinds of memories of times past when I used to come over what was the Iron Curtain 30 and 40 years ago. The modernisation of Eastern Europe is a very slow process.

The fuel in Caliburn started to run low so I took a deviation into the town of Marienbad, nowadays called Mariánské Lázne, and fuelled up there, seeing as fuel was cheaper here than in the West.

tatra lorry Becov nad Teplou czech republic eric hallFrom Marienbad I pushed on to the north-east and ended up in the town of Becov nad Teplou.

This was a very interesting place to stop, and for several reasons too, one of which was this gorgeous Tatra lorry. Eastern European vehicles have always held a fascination for me but unfortunately these days it’s very rare to see one running around. Everyone seems to prefer Western vehicles.

Eastern vehicles were heavy, primitive and rather difficult to drive but they were built to last for ever and easy to maintain. There would still be swarms of them on the road today had they not become unfashionable after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

ruined abandoned house hotel central Becov nad Teplou czech republic eric hallit wasn’t just the Tatra lorry that caused me to stop here at Becov nad Teplou. This magnificent building is enough to stop anyone in their tracks.

This is the Hotel Central and looking at it, it’s very hard to believe that at one time it was a luxury hotel. It was built for someone called Georg Rohm in 1876 and sold to a Maria Schmidt in 1892. She sold it on to someone called Franz Bachmann in 1901.

At the end of World War II Bachmann and his family, being of German origin, were expelled from Czechoslovakia and it was used as barracks by Red Army soldiers. After they left it was used as a barracks for miners and they stayed here until the mid-50s.

After being empty for a while it was restored by volunteers and became a Post Office and cafe but the economic situation in the country after the end of Communism meant that there was no money to maintain the buiding and it deteriorated rapidly until it reached the state in which it currently is.

And that’s a tragedy because it’s a beautiful Art Nouveau building with some wonderful features.

Over the road from the hotel is the local railway station. It’s on the line between Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázne (the old Marienbad) and I was lucky to find a pile of railway equipment hanging around there.

CSD Class M 152.0 multiple unit train Becov nad Teplou czech republic eric hallOver on the far side of the station were these two diesel multiple units with notices that they will be travelling to Mariánské Lázne.

Not knowing all that much about Czech trains, I reckon that these are two CSD class M 152.0 units coupled together. And if so, although they don’t look like it, these are quite elderly, having been built between 1976 and 1982 by Vagonka Studénka, a company which these days is part of Skoda.

They have undergone two series of modernisations, the latest being 2018, so it looks as if Czech railways is planning to have another 15 years of use at least out of these.

CSD Class M 152.0 multiple unit train Becov nad Teplou czech republic eric hallAnd this is another one of the CSD Class M 152.0 multiple units, all on its own this time.

This one is in the livery of Czech Railways rather than in the livery of a private operator and carries the logo “Regio Mouse” which is a marketing name given to these little trains running on the small local lines of the Czech Republic.

It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to go over and look inside them to see the interior. However I have seen a photograph of the inside of an unmodernised unit and they are quite primitive and basic, very 1970s in fact. I wouldn’t fancy the idea of going on a long-distance journey on one of these. They remind me of Crosville buses from the 1960s.

It made me wonder what the interior of a modernised unit would be like.

siemens dueweg regio sprinter AŽD 654 multiple unit Becov nad Teplou czech republic eric hallThis multiple unit is a much more modern unit.

It’s a Siemens Dueweg Regio Sprinter of the type that was built in Germany between 1995 and 1998. They are quite lightweight and were designed to replace trams and city buses on longer tram routes, and are a great favourite in Europe to run on reopened railway lines.

And it’s for that reason that the Czech Railways have bought some, and called them the AŽD 654 . A large number of railway routes were closed to passengers due to the financial crisis of the early 1990s and a few of them have been subsequently reopened, some being worked by these train sets.

Back in Caliburn I set off from here into the mountains for my destination, Karlovy Vary. A town better known to travellers of 130 years ago as Carlsbad, it was the place to be back in those days, the principal spa town of the Austro-Hungarian Empire where all of the rich and famous “came to take the waters”.

My hotel is a few miles outside the town in the small town of Brezova.

And don’t be fooled that it’s only shown in the advertisements as a short distance away from Karlovy Vary. That distance is measured in a straight line. But in actual fact to reach Karlovy Vary from here you have to go in a tortuous winding direction following the path that the River Tepla has carved through the mountains.

hotel st michael Hamerská 27, 360 01 Brezová, Czech republic eric hallAnd here’s my hotel – the Hotel St Michael here in Brezova.

It’s quite a beautiful hotel but it’s seen better days, that’s for sure. It would have been splendid back in the days of glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but like everywhere else, it’s rather tired these days, just like me in fact.

After my rather busy day I’m quite exhausted and tired. I’ve smuggled my food and slow cooker into the hotel and made myself some tea, and then crashed out for a while. Now that I’m awake, I’m off to bed for a really good sleep, I hope. Tomorrow morning I shall go for an explore of Karlovy Vary.

Friday 31st July 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what happened yesterday. It was rather strange.

Having crashed out really early and woken up to find the radio still playing, I settled back down to sleep and missed all 3 alarms.

snow in alps lech austria eric hall07:30 when I awoke and I couldn’t hang about long as breakfast had already started, so I dashed downstairs.

Downstairs, I couldn’t let pass the opportunity to stick my head out of the door to see if there was any snow around. And I wasn’t to be disappointed because up on the top of the mountains, sure enough, there were some traces of the stuff.

Not enough and not low enough down the mountain to be interesting, unfortunately, but snow nevertheless.

lech austria eric hallWhile you admire a few more photos of the view from the front door of the hotel, I was sitting down having my breakfast.

And a good breakfast it was too. I had fruit salad and bread – nice German bread – with jam, but I could have had almost anything. And the coffee was really good too.

After breakfast, I went back upstairs. There was plenty of work to do but not as much as I was hoping as there isn’t enough processing power in this laptop to convert my dashcam files to * mp4. That will have to wait a while until I’m home, I reckon.

houses on hillside lech austria eric hallBut with all of the sleep that I had, it’s hardly a surprise that I went off for quite a wander during the night.

We were at a ferry port last night and I was working for a coach company. We were putting passengers on board this ferry and waiting for the next one to come so that we could unload them again. The trips out were really busy and there was a lot of work to be done which meant running around here and there. Coming back, there was hardly anything on the ships coming back. The ships going out were proper cross-channel ferries and the ones coming back were more like lighters with half a dozen cars and a pile of machinery on there. I’d been working for this company for a few years and wasn’t particularly successful – I hadn’t had too many promotions so i was still doing some of the labouring, donkey work about getting these things loaded up while others were doing the more glamorous stuff. When this next ship came in it had about half a dozen cars on it and some heavy machinery. They made a few remarks about the machinery and told me to go down to get it off. I walked down and ended up being stuck in this queue with these people who were climbing off it. To climb off it you had to go down and then up and then there was a gangplank that walked all the way down again. These girls were talking to me about the voyage and asked if I’d sailed on it which of course I hadn’t done but I had to go and supervise the unloading of the machinery

church lech austria eric hallLater on I was with a friend of mine and we were discussing schooldays. I asked him about his A levels and he said that he was expelled from school so he never did them. I asked about where did he do them. Did he go to Dane Bank or somewhere like that. He said no, he just didn’t do them. I thought “how did he get into University?” but he didn’t say too much about that. We were cooking something and it was turning into a bit of a mess. The scene drifted on here and I was with a family, a large family of youngish people really I suppose or at least very active people. We’d been wandering around London or at least what I took to be London south of the city and we ended up in a pub. We were chatting away there about all kinds of different things and the scene suddenly changed to the Shropshire moors round by Prees Heath aerodrome was. We were having to clamber our way through this series of walks and wondering how they were getting the cars onto these car parks because it seemed to be like all rows of steps and you had to drive down these rows of steps that didn’t seem right to me. In the air at one point were some helicopters and some balloons. I mentioned the word “balloonatics”. We were talking about breaking wind. I said that if anyone cornered the market my brother would have done that a long time ago because of the amount he produces. Someone else said “oh yes I can get a big cardboard box and can fill it quite easily”

cable car lift alps lech austria eric hallLater on in the morning after I’d finished my work I went for a nice long walk.

The street where the hotel is situated is a dead end – I’ve driven down it a few times looking for hotels. That’s not my hotel but another one. What’s interesting me is the cable car wires in the background.

The valley here is quite steep at the sides and to walk up to the top is something not for the average hiker. And of course, we have all of the winter sports. This area is not one of the more famous ski areas but it is nevertheless very well-regarded and counts the Dutch Royal Family among its more famous visitors.

covered bridge river lech austria eric hallDown into town I walked, to see what has been going on here.

There are plenty of artefacts to remind us of the area’s glorious past, such as this one here. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been to see a great number of covered bridges in the past, mainly in Eastern North America, but very occasionally in Europe too.

Lech has its own covered bridge just here. There’s the new modern bridge beside it but the covered bridge is still in fairly good condition and we can walk through it. According to the plaque, if I’ve read it correctly, it was built in 1665 and taken out of use in 1976

post coach lech austria eric hallHere’s another artefact, one that I don’t remember seeing before.

Just like every other country in Europe there was a thriving postal network in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the 19th Century and of course the nature of the terrain rendered railway traffic rather difficult, if not impossible, in many places.

Until the arrival of the internal combustion engine in sufficient numbers, the postal horse-carriage was really the only way for people and mail to move around

This one has the dates 1900-1925 written on it, suggesting that it was one of the final ones to be issued before the motor vehicle took over.

the fastest lorry in the world blower bentley 4.5 litre eric hallWhile I was out on my travels, I came across this impressive machine.

This is not unfortunately one of the fastest lorries in the world as described, with some derision, by no less a person than Ettore Bugatti. This is something much more exciting than that.

Bentley’s “fastest lorry in the world”, the Bentley 3-litre, was replaced by a 4.5 litre version in 1927. Walter Bentley was a great believer in increasing engine capacity to increase power.

His opinion wasn’t shared by everyone. Certain people such as Tim Birkin believed that a lighter vehicle fitted with a supercharger would be much more successful. There had been experiments with a supercharged 3 litre engine but Birkin carried out developments with fitting a Roots Supercharger to the 4.5 litre engine.

Only 55 were built because, while they were fast, they weren’t reliable enough to finish races such as the Le Mans 24-hour race, in which the normally-aspirated engines were more successful. Nevertheless they are of tremendous interest and value and Birkin’s car was sold at auction in June 2012 for over £5,000,000.

Finding a Blower Bentley here in Austria is quite astonishing.

Church of St Nikolaus river lech austria eric hallThe church is the Church of St Nikolaus and dates from round about the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th Century – a date of about 1380 has been mentioned.

It’s quite a beautiful building that I have admired on many occasions, but each time that I’ve been here in the past, THE CHURCH WAS SWATHED IN SCAFFOLDING – even when Nerina and I came here in 1988.

Today though, I was in luck. All of the scaffolding has gone. But unfortunately, I’m still not able to go for a look around inside. However I was told that the interior dates from the 1790s but if I were to look carefully, I’d find some frescoes even older than that.

building site lech austria eric hallDespite being a rather touristy old-world town, it’s the kind of place where there is always redevelopment taking place.

When I WAS HERE LAST, IN 2018 I have a vague recollection of some building work going on in the town centre but I didn’t pay too much attention to it at the time. This time though, I went to make further enquiries and there was a handy chink on the fencing for me to post the lens of my camera.

We have a nice big hole in the ground that looks as if it might become a subterranean car park and also a cement silo at the side. It’ll be interesting to come past here next time and see what’s grown up on the spot.

river lech austria eric hallSeeing as it was almost lunchtime I went to the local supermarket and picked up slice of melon and went for a walk at the side of the river

The effect of the altitude and the effects of the heat were telling on me, that’s for sure, because I was struggling for breath. I couldn’t get far out of the town along the river before I had to sit down for a rest. This seemed like a pretty good place to have my lunch.

It was a good job that I’d bought a can of energy drink too while I was in the shop because that went down a treat too. I needed that right now.

alps river lech austria eric hallThe river that runs through the town is called, unsuprisingly, the River Lech.

And it’s quite true to say that the town is named after the river because in the historical past it was known as Tannberg. Its name evolved into Tannberg am Lech, then into Lech and today the town is officially known as Lech am Arlberg.

There’s no record of any habitation here prior to the 14th Century although, on looking around, I could easily imagine that Transhumance practices would have taken place here.

alps river lech austria eric hallTranshumance is the name of a farming activity that was, and still is in certain circumstances and locations, practised in these areas.

In the winter, all of the animals would be taken down to the lowest valleys and in the worst weather, housed indoors. As the Spring advanced and the snows melted higher up the mountains the animals would be taken up to the fresh grass and would basically follow the snow line. A herdsman would live with the animals in the mountains, bringing them back down as the weather closed in later in the year.

A similiar practice is undertaken in fishing communities like Coastal Labrador where families would follow the spawning salmon to the sea and then stay on the coast for the season to harvest the cod.

river lech ski drag austria eric hallBut returning to Lech, its modern importance is due to the Winter Sports activities that take place here. Several World Cup skiing events have taken place here.

Combined with the neighbouring villages of Zurs, St Christoph; St Anton and several others, it has one of the largest interconnected ski areas in Europe, all accessible by ski lift and ski drag, one of which we can see in the background.

In the summer, it’s host to the hordes of tourists, Yours Truly included, who come here to take the mountain air and to relax. I first came here in 1988 with Nerina and I’ve been back ON SEVERAL SUBSEQUENT OCCASIONS.

In the end, the fatigue got the better of me and I came back to the hotel and sat in the sun with the rest of my melon and a good book to enjoy the atmosphere. However it wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed with sleep so I went to my room to sit down for a while.

Next thing that I knew, it was 17:00 and the afternoon had gone just like that. I did some more work, seeing as it was rather too mate to go for a walk in the hills as I had intended.

For tea it was another session with the slow cooker. Pasta, veg and chick peas, followed by soya dessert.

But having crashed out so decisively earlier, now I can’t sleep again. It’s going to be another long night for me.

Sunday 21st June 2020 – HAPPY SOLSTICE!

Yes, that six months from winter went pretty quickly, didn’t it? It’s all downhill now until the end of the year

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz entertaining the crowds with his daredevil stunts, let me tell you something of my day today.

And it all started off on the wrong foot as usual, when I found myself wide-awake at 07:40.

And if anyone thinks that I’m going to be heaving myself out of my stinking pit at that time of a morning on a Sunday, especially as I didn’t go to bed until 01:30, then they have another think coming.

hang glider lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall09:30 is a much more reasonable time for me to see the light of day on a Sunday.

It’s a day of rest of course and I allow myself one day a week when I can do nothing at all if I so choose and not feel guilty about it.

First task after the medication was one that I had forgotten to do. The dashcam is almost full and the files need downloading onto the computer.

It had to be done quickly because otherwise I’d be tempted to drive off somewhere and forget to take it with me.

26.7GB of files on there, and they all need converting to *.mp4 one of these days whenever I find a moment. There’s masses of them all told.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut while I was doing that, I forgot to do something else – and that was to check the dictaphone.

Well, rather, I did check it, saw that there was a voice file on there (so I must have been somewhere during the night) but said to myself that when I unplug the dashcam I can plug it in.

And then I forgot.

However I did subsequently remember.

There were a couple of little girls who were having some kind of wrestling fight. There had been three of them, one a little older than the other two. This worked its way round to me being in Belgium and having to come home. I had to do it with a whole series of buses and I had plotted out this route and then forgotten it. All I knew was that I had to be at the Gare du Midi at 09:00. It was 08:45 and I had to get back to the hotel, get all of my stuff, check on this route, arrange – make sure that I got on this bus, book a hotel, all this kind of thing. So I was running back to the hotel but the hotel seemed to get further and further away.Eventually I got there, got my stuff together but there wasn’t enough time to look for a hotel. I realised that I was going to be stranded in the middle of the country somewhere in a small town and if there wasn’t a room at that hotel I was going to be stuck for the night. So I ran out of the hotel and ended up in the company of a friend and she was looking at old derelict houses that another friend had told us about. I was trying to push on to this bus station and she was still looking at these houses. In the end I was looking at cars to see if there were any cars that I could buy just to go there. They were old wrecked lorries the kind that even the Africans wouldn’t touch. We ended up looking at this really depressing single-storey building in a really rough area. She went inside and I thought “God at last I can push on”. She came out and I thought that she had finished but ohh no “can you pass me this tape measure?”. God, I thought all my chances of getting this bus have just totally evaporated now.

Next task was to look for the paper from the controle technique where the guy pointed out a few things about Caliburn that needed attention

That ended up being a massive paper-filing job … “at long last” – ed … and general tidy-up, but there was no trace of it. So I grabbed the new door mirror glass for Caliburn that finally came a few weeks ago, the dashcam and the insurance certificate for the coming year to take down to Caliburn because I was going to search in there for the papers.

However, I stuck my nose out of the door and changed my mind. There was a torrential downpour going on out there.

Back up here I carried on with the tidying up. This time the medication in the bathroom needed arranging to see what I have in stock and what I need from Leuven.

That reminded me – I needed to book my travel to Leuven and my accommodation while I am there. So that was the next task.

Mind you, I don’t know why I might need accommodation. I noted that my appointment is for 16:00 and not at the Outpatients department either but at the main entrance. For a 5-hour process that’s not going to be possible in a department that closes at 17:30.

Do they mean to keep me in, I wonder?

By now the rain had stopped so I went to pick up the stuff to take to Caliburn and there, on the windowsill right underneath where I’d put the stuff was the note from the controle technique.

Anyway, all of that is now in Caliburn and he has his new mirror glass. Let’s see how long this one lasts.

There was no hummus for my lunchtime sandwiches (I’d done all of that this morning!) so I went to make some more.

By the time that i’d finished, I had two batches. One with olives and cumin and the other with dried tomato and herbs. Both with plenty of garlic, pepper and sea salt of course.

As for the olive and cumin, I dunno about that but the dried tomato and herbs is wicked, it really is. No danger of any werewolves and vampires coming around anywhere near me tonight.

crowds lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith it being Sunday, that’s the day for me to go for my walk down into town for my vegan ice cream.

There were hordes of people out there today. We’ve seen the Birdmen of Alcatraz swarming around like Nazguls after a Hobbit, but there were a darn sight more than 9 walkers out there on the paths.

And on the narrow path around the headland we were jammed shoulder to shoulder in places. I don’t think that social distancing was much in evidence today.

crowds fishing from rocks granville manche normandy france eric hallThese people over there are certainly respecting their social distancing though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen countless fishermen perched on rocks at the water’s edge casting their lines into the sea and with the tide being right out just now, they have gone right out with it.

And as I have said before – I have yet to see anyone ever catch anything.

silt around new pontoon ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being out the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the path over the top to the other side.

What was interesting me was the pontoons at the ferry terminal. With the tide being out, I wanted to see how they were holding up. And the answer to that question is “not very well”.

Either the silt is building up quickly around them, or else the pontoons are slowly sinking into the mud. My money is on the latter and I wonder how long it will be before they have to send a few diggers in to dig the pontoons out again

brocante place Général de Gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallNot much else was happening at all around the harbour so I went into town to pick up my ice cream. The guy in the shop recognises me now and that’s bad news.

On into town and life here is definitely back to normal, as the monthly brocante is in full swing.

They aren’t anything like the brocantes that we used to have in the Auvergne which is a shame.

Over there it would be private people clearing out stuff that they no longer wanted or needed. Here, it’s professionals trying to make a living and so the stuff is basically banal rubbish sold at 10 times what it’s worth and probably 100 times what they paid for it in a deceased person’s house clearance.

brocante cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallJust out of interest I had a wander round to see what there was.

A book on the History of Normandy looked interesting, but not €8:00 worth of interesting by any means. And a nice looking work bench with built-in vice and clamp caught my eye, as did the price of €250:00. Free woodwork thrown in – or burrowed in more likely.

So at that point I abandoned my stroll around and headed for home.

fishing boat yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather might have been quite nice, warm and sunny but there was quite a rolling sea out there this afternoon.

The yacht was quite obviously enjoying the windy weather but the fishing boat was making quite heavy weather of it all. Towing a dinghy behind it can’t have helped much either.

All of this windy weather is making me very nostalgic for the sea and a maritime voyage so somewhere – anywhere in fact. I need to stretch my sea legs at some point pretty soon.

Back here I had a bake-in.

First task was to make a pile of pizza dough. Just like bread dough but wit a little oil in the base. 400 grammes of flour is enough for three bases, and having mixed it and got it really nice, i left it on one side.

Next stop was some pastry. 250 grammes of flour and 125 grammes of vegan margarine makes a decent-side pie. Knead it all together for about 10 minutes until it’s thoroughly mixed through, and then add a couple of spoons of water and mix that until it reaches the right texture.

Take 2/3rds of it, roll it out and put it in a greased pie dish.
Peel, core and slice a couple of large apples and fill in the pie base.
Desiccated coconut, sultanas, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg go nicely in there too.
Trim off the excess pastry, and damp the edges of the pie with some milk.
Add the trimmed-off pastry back to the 1/3 of pastry, roll it out and stick it over the top, pushing the edges down with a fork onto the dampened edges of the pastry base to seal it in and then trim off the excess.
Brush the top with milk, dust with brown sugar, pierce a few holes to let out the steam, and bung into a hot oven.

With the excess pastry that you trimmed off, roll it out into a square, add some of the apple and the other interesting bits, dampen the edges with milk, fold it over and squeeze together, brush with milk, dust with sugar, pierce some steam holes and stick that in as well.

By now the pizza dough will have risen so divide into three.
Lightly dust two of them in oil, wrap in greaseproof paper, put in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer.

home made pizza apple pie apple turnover granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the third one, roll it out to size and stick it in a greased pizza tray. brush with tomato sauce, add your toppings and herbs, then cover with your grated cheese.
Then stick your pizza in with the pie and the turnover.

“And here is one I made earlier” – not out of a toilet roll holder and sticky-backed plastic as we used to do with Peter Pervert, John Dope and Valerie Simpleton.

Well, actually, this is the finished product. Today’s culinary offering. The pizza was delicious but I don’t know about the pie because I wasn’t that hungry so I didn’t try any of it.

van converted into mobile home pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run tonight was painful – really painful – but I pushed on al the same and did it all.

But we have a new visitor on the car park by the lighthouse. Not exactly new – in fact he’s been there for two evenings now.

It’s an old rescue van from the fire service and you can still see where the vinyl writing used to be on it. But now it seems to have been converted into a mobile home of some description.

co-equipiere wanted granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I couldn’t help but admire his optimism when I read this notice.

He’s looking for a female companion to accompany him on his travels “in search of the sun” and he plans to be gone a long time.

Judging by the dampness in the plastic and the faded writing, the sign has been up for a long time too so he’s not been having much luck in that respect.

And I can’t say that I’m surprised either.

le tiberiade le loup baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on around the headland to the other side.

There was a strong wind that was blowing and we were having a really rough sea this evening. This fishing boat, which at first I thought was our old favourite Coelacanthe but is in fact her sister la Tiberiade was really making heavy weather of it.

She’s only just out of harbour too – hasn’t even passed le Loup – the light and marker for the big rock that is out there and the entrance light for the harbour itself

fighting seagulls boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down to my first resting place.

And there I was entertained by an interesting spectacle on the roof of one of the buildings in the Boulevard de Terreneuviers. A group of seagulls were having a fight over something, although I don’t know what.

It was a nasty fight too. They chased one away but he kept on circling and coming back for more. This battle went on for quite some time abd the seagull didn’t seem to have any attention of giving up easily.

fishing from rock plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down on my elongated run right to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

No picnickers again, but that was hardly a surprise because there was only a couple of feet of beach here right now. The tide is well and truly in. there was a fisherman here on the rocks, so I hope that for his sake the tide was on its way out.

If on the other hand it’s on its way in, he’ll find himself stranded if he’s not very careful

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe sunset tonight was a little much – a little too bright to be able to reproduce a good effect.

This is the best of several photos that I took and it’s still not what I would like to see, which is a shame.

So after a couple of minutes and no sign of improvement I ran on home to write up my notes.

Back to work tomorrow and there’s plenty to do. A live concert for a start, followed by my Welsh homework.

We’ll see how far we get with all of that but right now I’m off to bed.

Tuesday 6th August 2019 – GUESS WHO …

… has been a busy boy today.

Started off with a reasonable night’s sleep with just a little tossing and turning here and there, but it was a struggle to leave the bed, I can tell you.

So medicine, another shower and clean-up, followed by breakfast, and then uploading all of the … gulp … 180 photos from yesterday onto the laptop.

And then uploading the dictaphone note and the dashcam stuff too. I was exhausted after that.

There should have been an early start but I ended up chatting to mine host and wife for quite some time in exchange for a coffee.

Up the road, first to Decker where I photographed a lot of the mining installations there. Much of it is open-cast but there is evidence of what is suggestive of a deep mine.

Onwards then to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud where I spent a couple of hours wandering about the part of the battlefield that is on public land (and there’s not so much of that).

But the battle itself is very interesting, if not crucial. General Crook, whose adventures we have followed in the past thanks to John Bourke’s brilliant On The Border With Crook has been discussed in these pages many times, was on his way to join up with Custer and Co when his over-stretched and over-tired column, resting on the Rosebud, was hit by a large party of native Americans.

Although Crooks troops pushed them off, they were so battered that they had to retreat to their camp at Goose Creek (near present-day Sheridan) to regroup and resupply.

And so they never joined up with Custer.

So imagine how different the battle of the Little Big Horn would have been had Custer had an extra 1100 troops at his disposal (although whether he would have welcomed them was another matter – he had turned down two regiments of infantry and a Gatling gun brigade on the grounds that they would slow him down).

From there I passed by Little Big Horn again (still wondering why the cavalry dismounted. On foot they were useless. At least mounted, they could have gone for an “arrowhead” charge to try to break out, rather than be butchered on the ground) and through to the Crow Agency where I stopped for fuel.

And that wasn’t a good idea. I ended up being stuck for about 20 minutes in a roadworks queue and then another 20 minutes at a level crossing as a mile-long coal train inched its way by.

A good run into the Big Horn mountains brought ;e to the head of the Bozeman Trail. Here after much binding in the marsh I found where the “Hayfield Fight” had been, but finding Fort CF Smith was rather different. I knew the GPS location which I knew was a private field, so from the field’s edge on both sides I tried to find anything at all.

There were some vague outlines in the field but really they could be anything. Trying to find the remains of adobe buildings that had been abandoned and burnt in 1868 was expecting too much.

There was no sign or anything acknowledging its existence so I had to go by where I would have put the fort had I been in charge.

On the way back I found a car upside-down in a ditch, and then a very long drive all the way back to the outskirts of Sheridan.

At Ranchester I found the site of the “Battle of Tongue River” where General Connor’s troops attacked a sleeping Arapaho village and killed mainly non-combatant women, children and the elderly.

Incidentally, have you always noticed that it’s a “battle” whenever the white men attacked native civilians, yet it’s a “massacre” whenever the natives returned the compliment?

I carried on then down the Bozeman Trail looking for the sites relating to Fort Phil Kearny. I found the wagon-hill fight site and the “6th December” fight, but not the site of the death of French Pete which rather annoyed me.

Buffalo is on the limit of the Sturgis Festival travel zone so finding a motel was difficult. A friendly motel owner rang a few friends and now I’m in a cabin on the edge of town.

I was rather dubious at first, as the smell of wet dog in the reception put me off and the scrap car and general air of neglect didn’t help, but it’s very deceptive as the cabins are beautiful inside.

I’ve had my soup, and I’m not going out. I shall enjoy my little cabin while I can.

Friday 2nd August 2019 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I can’t sleep tonight and I don’t know why.

So effectively I’ve given up and I’m back working again. But for how long I don’t really know.

Just for another change, I slept the Sleep Of The Dead last night with just the odd tossing and turning until the alarm went off. After the medication I had yet another shower and then pressed on with a pile of work, including doing some tidying up.

The soup bowl that the landlady lent me came in useful yet again because I made my porridge in it, and at last I had some decent breakfast.

Eventually I hit the road and headed off northwards along the Powder River. I managed to identify on the map by virtue of the text in the old histories the sites of two of the engagements between the US Cavalry and the Native Americans (the others are impossible to locate) in the earlier Powder River Wars but accessing them is something else completely. We know about the Americans’ mania for private property and guns.

One site I could pick out (just about) with the telephoto lens but you’ll have to take my word for the other.

And damn and blast if I didn’t have a puncture. Another tyre on a hire car ruined on a dirt road. Luckily everything was much more accessible on this car than the old Dodge and it didn’t take too long, even though the jack and wheelbrace were the usual cheap rubbish.

Space saver tyre too, and how I hate those with a vengeance.

So in the wilderness miles from anywhere on a dusty dirt road. And to the three motorists who stopped and asked if I needed help (after I had almost finished), many thanks again.

And to the three people who drove on by without stopping, you aren’t Christians at all. Just the worst kind of hypocrites. I would never leave anyone standing by the side of the road in those conditions.

But that’s just USA Christians, isn’t it? Total hypocrites. Pro-life when it comes to someone else’s body and personal issues, yet carry guns to blow away intruders and clamour for the death penalty when it’s their own affairs. They aren’t pro-life then.

Hell is full of hypocrites like them

So back into town where I have just come from, and 1 hour later and $115 lighter (no second-hand tyres to be had) I can set off again.

Down another dirt road, all 70 miles of it this time, and I find quite easily the site of the Powder River Battle of the 1876 campaign. Although the US Army inflicted some damage on the Cheyenne, it simply drove them into the arms of the Hunkpapa and Ogallala Sioux and when the US Cavalry caught up with them again, the combined numbers of Native Americans was sufficient to inflict Little Big Horn upon them.

But the drive along the Powder River is one of the most beautiful in the whole of the USA and I would gladly come here again. I enjoyed the drive considerably.

Back on Highway 14 in the sweltering heat (I have a lovely photo of a couple of diesel locomotive shimmering in the heat haze like in a spaghetti western) I found a nice shady nook under a few trees behind an abandoned corn silo to eat my sandwiches. And they were very welcome.

But I was disturbed as two railway locomotives travelling light rattled within about 20 yards of where I was parked.

Onwards pressed I and after a couple of hours driving I ended up at Fort Phil Kearny about which I shall talk tomorrow. 5000 feet up in the Rockies and it’s beautiful here. And the Ranger there put me in touch with the local motel in Story – the only one in the neighbourhood.

They had a sot-of room left, the emergency room. And if they keep this room aside for emergencies the main rooms must be wonderful. It’s the most expensive place yet, but once more it’s right where I need to be (right in the battle zone with one of the conflicts just down the road a few hundred yards) and it really would be worth the money.

For some reason she couldn’t make my Canadian debit card work so to end all issues I paid cash. Now I need more funds.

So having sorted out loads of things, charged everything up, dealt with the dashcam and programmed it properly, and showered (again!) and washed the dust off the clothes from the tyre incident, I called it an early night,

But now I’m still up. I’m hungry but I can’t go out to the car as there’s a bear outside in the yard at night and he doesn’t recognise my smell yet (s if he would want to). So I’ll just carry on.

Thursday 1st August 2019 – HERE I AM …

… holed up in a dusty motel at a dusty crossroads in a dusty town in Montana called Broadus. Yes, I’m in another State that I had yet to visit although I did cross over a corner of Wyoming (which I visited in 2002, whenever that was.

All this dust explains very well why this area is called the “Powder River” country. Because of all the dust in it, the river is said to be “too thick to drink, but too thin to plough”.

Last night was a beautiful night’s sleep. I went to bed, thoroughly exhausted, before even 20:00 and despite awakening on several occasions during the night, I didn’t finally show a leg until the alarms went off.

There was plenty of time to do everything, including a shower and general spruce-up. Make myself look nice. I even managed breakfast too.

So then packed and off into the sunset looking for the Walmart that I glimpsed yesterday evening. And that took some finding too.

‘Twas a good idea for a good clean-up because the lady at the check-out told me “ohhh do talk some more. I just LOVE your accent”. She didn’t knock anything off the bill though.

At a suitable petrol station in the vicinity I fuelled up the Kia. And it’s not as economical as you might think – 11 US gallons (about 40 litres) to travel about 610 kms.

It had been cloudy and overcast earlier but as I headed into the Black Hills it started to rain. Not enough to dampen my spirits (I was in surprisingly good form today and I’ve no idea why) but rain nevertheless. It didn’t detract from the journey and the beauty and I even wired up the dashcam so that you can see it later.

Round about midday I arrived at Deadwood and headed for Mount Moriah cemetery up in the hills. There I found, lying side by side, the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. And listened excruciatingly as a Septic tourist guide explained to his tourists slowly, in words of one syllable (and they were Septics too) that he is NOT the same person as Buffalo Bill.

I despair.

After a while looking around the cemetery and the scenic viewpoint there I headed into town where I was waylaid. This time by a motorcycle restorer who allowed me to catalogue his exhibits.

Pride of place without any doubt at all must go to the Indian 4-cylinder in-line from 1939. Rare as hen’s teeth, which is hardly a surprise as the torque on that motor rotating in the same direction and the heat at the rear cylinder would have made for a very brief riding experience.

Nevertheless I would have taken it home in a heartbeat.

Main Street was nothing to write home about. The parking fee was horrendous so I didn’t stop. I filmed it instead for posterity. Nothing of the original seems to remain. The place has been swept by fire on several occasions since the Gold Rush.

For the first time since Toronto (whenever that was) I had lunch. A butty with hummus and bread followed by a banana. And then I pushed on for almost 140 miles in the now-glorious sunshine across the corner of Wyoming and into Montana.

Reaching Broadus I found a motel. And I’m glad that I did because it’s here that I need to be. It’s in the Powder River Valley and all long here for 50 miles north and south are the sites of skirmishes and fully-fledged battles between the Native Americans and the US Military farces.

Everything about this motel is very 50s, except the landlady who looks old enough and stern enough to have fought the Indians out of this plot of land single-handedly back in the 1880s and, of course, the prices, which are very 21st-Century.

But there’s no other motel for at least 60 miles and it’s right slap-bang where I want to be so it’s not all bad news.

My neighbour is friendly too. Another motorcyclist on his way to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. We had a good long chat about bikes and all sorts of things.

The filter on the air conditioner hasn’t been cleaned in donkey’s yonks though, and having let it run for a couple of hours, my room now smells just like my socks did before I washed them earlier. Yes, I’ve done the laundry, and washed myself at the same time.

Two showers in a day! Whatever next?

The landlady lent me a soup bowl so I’ve had tomato soup (with some pasta) and bread for tea. Three meals today. I hope that it’ll stay in today. And plenty of vitamin drink to keep up the health even though I’m not eating much.

Tomorrow I’m off on the war path so now I’m off to bed. Another night like last night will do me the world of good.

Monday 13th May 2019 – I DON’T KNOW …

Yesterday, I’d seen my neighbours doing some cleaning up of the concrete platform at the side of the building. And so I went to see what was going on.

I’m not quite sure what this is that they have erected, and I’ve no idea as to its purpose. But I’m sure that I’ll find out in early course.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy franceThere weren’t all that many people out on land, but the seas were pretty crowded today.

There were all kind sof things out there this afternoon, including this beautiful trawler heading in towards the harbour.

The sea was absolutely beautiful this afternoon.

zodiac fishing rod and line granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just trawlers out there either;

There were a few smaller boats out there with two or three people in them, fishing with rod and line. Just like these two here in this zodiac.

I spent some time out there watching them, but they didn’t seem to be catching anything. It’s clearly not everyone’s lucky day.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy franceWhile I was looking at a couple of boats out to sea off the Brittany coast near St Malo, I could see something moving on the horizon.

Thinking that it might be a ship heading into port at St Malo I photographed it and back here, I cropped and enlarged it.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a ship at all. It was just a boat with a rather large sail. The sail doesn’t look very yacht-like, so it might nevertheless be something interesting.

yachts baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceWhile I was out admiring the shipping in the Baie de Mont St Michel, I fell in with a couple of tourists.

Having established that I was from the area, they asked me several questions about the town and the fishing industry here. And luckily, I was able to help them out.

It all brings back many happy memories of a previous existence when I did this for a living.

Back here? i decided to start on the notes for 2016 and, as it happens, I can’t find them anywhere.

I know that I must have copied them out somewhere because I have already written several web pages about events on that voyage.

But where they might be, I don’t have the least clue.

Tea was the falafel with steamed vegetables and cheese sauce followed by the last of the apple pie.

cherry picker evening beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course, I went for my evening walk as usual, and there was no-one about at all except for a solitary girl smoking a cigarette and a couple of people carrying spotlights out of the theatre.

A couple of people were enjoying the late evening sun on the beach at Plat Gousset and I don’t blame them because it really was a nice evening.

There were a few youngsters too hanging around by the cherry-picker. I must really make an effort to see what that is being used for.

But that’s for another time, I reckon. Tonight I’m going to try to have an early night and a decent sleep.

fishing rod and linegranville manche normandy france eric hall
fishing rod and line granville manche normandy france

fishing rod and line granville manche normandy france
fishing rod and line granville manche normandy france

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france
fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 24th April 2019 – WHAT A DAY!

Half of the day I’ve spent running around doing stuff, and the second half of the day I’ve spent the day recovering, lying in bed underneath the quilt for a good four hours.

Definitely what you might call a bad day.

With having to leave my bed early this morning, I had a really bad night’s sleep. I couldn’t get off at all and spent most of the night tossing and turning. I did manage to go a-voyaging and when I organise the dictaphone I can tell you all about it.

But up and about quite early and by 07:30 I was back on the road in the driving rainstorm that was going on.

Round by the docks, where Thora was moored at the quayside. She had obviously crept in on the morning tide because I didn’t see her there yesterday.

There was plenty of free parking at the cinema opposite the railway station.

medieval tower city walls st lo manche normandy franceBy 08:45 I was in St-Lô. And Then a 10-minute walk up the hill (past plenty of empty free parking spaces which wouldn’t have been there had I been relying on them).

And also past the medieval city walls and fortifications, or what’s left of them. The city was pretty much devastated during the battles of early July 1944.

The walls are fairly complete though to the eastern side of the city and my route to the Prefecture took me through one of the remaining gates.

I arrived at the Prefecture at 09:00 expecting to have to fight my way past the hordes of disgruntled British immigrants laying siege to the building, but there was no-one about at all, except for a security guard leaning on a wall smoking a cigarette.

The receptionist showed me the way upstairs to the waiting room where there was a water fountain for the thirsty (I couldn’t see a coffee machine but there’s a café on the corner across the road).

One other couple in front of me and they were dealt with and gone by 09:45, and I was called straight away, 15 minutes early for my appointment.

Constance, the girl who saw me, was very nice and friendly and chatted away throughout the meeting. Very nice indeed – she can put her stamp on my dossier any day of the week.

Ohhh yes, I can still chase after the women at my age. I just can’t remember why!

I had two folders, one with original documents that I’d been collecting over the last 9 months recording all the details of my life over the last 6 years and one with the copies, arranged in the order in which they were listed on the application form.

She only seemed to be interested in the copies that I gave her – not so much the originals – except for the passport of course.

ONLY THING MISSING – because I’ve moved house since I came to France, I need a Certificat de Domicile from my current Mairie. But that’s no problem. Constance gave me her e-mail address and I can send it to her by mail.

She took my fingerprints and a specimen signature, and that was that. She promised me a Permanent Resident Card valuable for 10 years, and said that it would be ready in three to four weeks. All I can say is that I admire her optimism.

So there you are, people, totally painless. A journey that started at the beginning of October has finally reached its destination and I hope to be fully registered in France in due course.

All of this Brexit nonsense has been putting me through an enormous amount of stress as you can imagine, but once I have my card in my sweaty little mitt, the silly, stupid xenophobic Brits can go to hell in a handcart.

eglise notre dame st lo manche normandy franceAfter my meeting I was intending to go sight-seeing around the town. But the rain put paid to much of that though.

However, I didn’t have to go far to encounter the Eglise Notre Dame de St Lo. It’s just around the corner.

You will probably notice the plain block wall between the two towers and think that it’s completely out of place. In fact, the church was badly-damaged by the American bombers and the medieval wall that had been there completely disappeared in the blast.

That was a temporary wall, and we all know that there’s nothing at all quite as permanent as a temporary solution.

war memorial prison gates entrance st lo manche normandy franceBut at least there is something still there.

These ruins were part of the entrance gates to the fortified prison that was here. This housed a great many prisoners of the Germans and many were killed when the building suffered a direct hit during the American bombing.

Today it’s a memorial to the civilians who lost their lives during the German occupation and the American attacks.

medieval tower city walls st lo manche normandy franceAt this point the rain got the better of me so I headed back to Caliburn.

I did however notice a really good view of the tower that I had noticed earlier, and I managed to take a photo of it from a better angle.

On the way back home, I called into the “Action” shop in Coutances and picked up another cheap dashcam. I have a little project in mind for that. And then to LeClerc for a couple of bits and pieces.

Back here, I noticed that Thora had gone from her mooring. That was a very quick turnround, which might explain why I went for so long without seeing her.

And so I had lunch and then crashed out in bed for four hours. I felt awful.

An energy drink perked me up a little and then I made tea – an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from 9th April 2018. That’s the last one of those now so next week I’ll have to make some more.

My new camera bag arrived today. The cheap ones were on offer at Amazon so I treated myself to one – the first part of my mega-spending session to arrive.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd then I went out for my evening walk outside.

Having had the heavy rainstorms of today, there were still plenty of heavy clouds around. But they were blowing away quite rapidly and we were treated to this glorious spectacle of a beautiful sunset over the Ile de Chausey

The couple of trawlers silhouetted against the sea gave the photo some kind of ethereal quality.

rainbow granville manche normandy franceWhile I was out there, I was lucky enough to see a rainbow.

Round by the car park in the boulevard Vaufleury, I noticed it away in the sky round by Villedieu-les-Poeles, somewhere like that.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in the past I’ve taken several photos of rainbows, but the colours have never come out quite as well as they have done tonight. The red, orange, yellow and green are particularly startling.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m still not feeling so good so an early night will do me good. I might even sleep too.

Monday 11th March 2019 – FOR THE FIRST …

… time since the football over two weeks ago, I had a mug of coffee – when I was at Liz and Terry’s. In fact I had two.

And that probably explains why I was still wide awake working on the computer this morning at 02:30, unable to sleep.

Eventually, I did manage to go to bed. And a short while later I did actually go to sleep.

When the alarms went off at 06:00,06:10 and 06:20 there was absolutely no danger of my leaving my little bed. 09:05 was mush more of a respectable time given the circumstances.

As a result, we can almost dismiss the morning as a write-off. by the time I settled down to do some work it was 12:20.

One thing that I had done was to get on the phone to my web hosts. My domain names need renewal and for some reason the direct debiting wasn’t working.

After several attempts I was connected to the French helpline where the formalities were completed. And I was struck by the accent of the girl to whom I was speaking. it turns out that not only was she a French speaker from Acadie in New Brunswick, she was actually there, and my call had been diverted to Canada.

a little later I nipped out to Caliburn. the memory card in the dashcam in Caliburn had filled up yesterday so I’d brought it in with me. This morning I uploaded all of the media onto the hard drive and then took the empty card back down to keep as a spare.

One of my neighbours was out there so we had a chat. But freezing in the howling wind, I came in quickly.

Lunch was as usual, and then I set to work with the shredder. Another huge mound of paper has gone to meet its maker and another day or two will see the rest of it on its way. And then there’s more to attack, to keep me out of mischief for the next 6 months.

armor charles marie la granvillaise chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis afternoon I braved the hurricane and went outside, bumping into another neighbour on the way.

Nothing much happening out there, except at the chantier navale where Armor, Charles-Marie and La Granvillaise were receiving attention.

But the funfair seems to have gone, and so does Neptune. She set off at 06:08 on her way to Whitstable.

chocolate birthday cake liz terry messenger granville manche normandy franceBack here, I opened my birthday present from Liz and Terry. A gorgeous chocolate cake.

It won’t keep for too long and seeing as I’m off to Belgium on Thursday half of it went straight into the fridge.

But I also cut myself off a slice to taste. And it’s delicious, as you might expect. As I have now run out of apple pie, I’ll be having a slice here and there for pudding with my coconut-flavoured soya cream.

Rosemary rang me up later and we had quite a chat – 1:33 of it, to be precise. She’s back now in France and here she intends to stay.

Tea was the pizza that I should have had yesterday, followed by the last slice of apple pie.

moonlight night ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd then the walk around the walls.

There was only a thin sliver of moon but with the clear sky there was a beautiful reflection on the sea.

The wind had dropped and it was cold, but there was no-one around at all, apart from a new black cat that came for a stroke.

So now I’m going to bed. Nice and early. I want to have an early start tomorrow as I have a lot to do.

But before I go, spare a thought for my niece’s eldest daughter. Her boyfriend was seriously ill and his chances of survival were slight. He had proposed marriage to her and they tied the knot on Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately their time together was short. He passed away on Saturday morning.

Poor Zoe.

Friday 9th November 2018 – I HAD A SURPRISE …

… lie-in this morning.

Apparently my phone decided to do an upgrade in the middle of the night and it was waiting for me to switch it back on.

It’s twice now that this has happened so I’ll have to think about having some kind of back-up in case it ever becomes a crucial issue, because I can see this one day ending in tears.

So with a late start this morning and a late breakfast I was getting a little behind in my work. And seeing as I’m now getting to some kind of crucial point in my journey in the High Arctic then I’m going to be doing an awful lot of research just now.

And as a result I had only done half of what I intended to do with Day Three of my blog by lunchtime. That’s not going to be back on-line anything like as quickly as I might have hoped.

Lunch was taken indoors today. It looks as if the outdoors eating is over now, especially given the wind.

This afternoon I did some tidying up – not as much as I would have liked of course but I’m finding it difficult right now to keep up with things.

rock pool crustacean fishing granville manche normandy franceThat took me nicely up to my afternoon walk, when I braved the hurricane and set off around the headland.

And despite the wind, I wasn’t the only person out there.

We had some more pool-dippers down on the beach looking for crustaceans and the like in the tidal rock-pools. And whatever they find, they share with their friends because, as I have told you … “and on many occasions too” – ed … you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

new stone crazy paving granville manche normandy franceRemember a couple of weeks ago when I showed you a photo of the workmen digging away at the side of the car park at the Pointe du Roc?

It’s quite clear now what they have done, but even though I’m now better-informed, I’m still none-the-wiser because I can’t understand why they have done it.

I suppose that all will be revealed in due course.

With the wind pushing me one step forward and two steps back, I eventually made it back here.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
Cold telephone canvasser – “I would like to introduce you to Madame Klara, astrologist …”
Our Hero – “Well she’s not much good, is she?”
CTC – “How do you mean?”
OH – “Well, if she had been any good at foretelling the future, she would have known that I would tell you to !*à# off!”

Once I’d dealt with that, then back on with updating the blog entry.

Not very far though because Rosemary rang up. And we had a good chat for all of, would you believe, one hour and forty minutes. We had a lot to talk about.

Tea was a delicious steamed vegetable mix with vegan sausages and cheese sauce. That really was nice too.

The evening walk was round the walls, but even though it wasn’t too far off high tide, the sea round by the Plat Gousset was in the lee of the old town so that the sea wasn’t all that rough. No waves crashing up over onto the promenade.

But once round by the Place Maurice Marland I got the whole lot again, with rain and plagues of locusts too. If anything, the hurricane is blowing even stronger.

Gribouille had been rather stand-offish this afternoon but this evening Minette was sitting on her windowsill and being quite friendly.

There’s a little bit of a problem too. The dashcam was full so While I was out for a walk I set it to download all of the films onto the storage device. But for some reason or other the dashcam has reset its date so all of the films are out of order.

Not much that I can do about that, but at least I can reset the date. And this proves that the stand-by battery that will power the dashcam when the ignition is switched off works perfectly.

So now I’ll go for an early night again.

And hope that I get up at the right time tomorrow morning.