Tag Archives: Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – I NOTICED …

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… something very interesting this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are keeping a lose eye on the repairing of the medieval city walls round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, but I don’t think that I would have missed this.

Either they are intending to do a very throrough job of it or else they have had a calamity, because part of the wall down at the base looks as if it has collapsed and has left a gaping hole.

This is going to cause someone some rather difficult problems.

children's amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What else is going to be causeing someone else some severe problems is whatever is going on in the Square Maurice Marland.

When we had the previous Maire there was an anonymous blog (not one of mine, I hasten to add) doing the rounds criticising her for the state of the Square here

She wasn’t re-elected, which was probably the aim of the blog, but since we have had the new incumbent, not only has the Square deteriorated further, most of the kiddies’ amusements that were fenced off from use a few weeks ago have now been removed completely.

So there have certainly been several changes under the new Maire, but I wonder what our anonymous blogger is making of them all.

Last night I went to bed early with the intention of having a really decent sleep right the way through until 07:30, but as you might expect, that never happened.

I was tossing and turning for much of the night and having a couple of these severe night sweats that I need to record. And there were nocturnal voyages a-plenty too.

I started off by going on holiday with Nerina. We were going somewhere down to the south coast and we boarded a plane, one of these small 24-seater things. It took off and we were there in the queue talking about preparing to leave etc. The planes in this queue were going out one by one. Then we took off and ended up flying north from Crewe doing a big circle round over where Wardle Airfield is. I pointed out where my grandparents used to live (and they did, too). I asked her if she had ever met them. She said not, that Wardle didn’t ring any bells with her at all. She asked about a couple of buildings that were there, weren’t they something to do with the Women’s Institute? I replied that they were the original buildings from the airfield.

Later on, I can’t remember how it went but Nerina was living with someone else in squalid circumstances worse than ever I lived in the Auvergne. She had a few people round and was bottling some kind of milky drink so I gave her a hand and ended up bottling a banana smoothie for someone. I had to fill it with water. In the meantime she was inside the house talking to Claude and his wife, whatever her name was. I didn’t really want to go in to see them so I kept outside but I could hear the conversation. In the end something drew me in so I went in. They were both still in bed. They were also living in poor circumstances, not as poor as Nerina. She was getting on really well with them and I was just exchanging pleasantries, if you like, trying not to get too involved.

There was also something about me and a brand-new house that I’d owned somewhere, a 2-bedroomed house. The bedrooms were really small but I can’t remember anything particular about that.

Finally, I’d been out somewhere and not come back until late. I had to go into work so I’d gone to bed. It was my house in Winsford but that new house that I mentioned. Then I had to go out again to see Hans. He was talking about something. I explained that I’d only got in at 06:00 but I had to go to work so I wasn’t doing anything. I drove back home thinking that I was going to have another day off but then I thought that my time records were in such a state that I couldn’t do that kind of thing. It was another one of these “thinking about retiring from work” dreams that occur regularly.

On the way back from Hans’s house I was walking down the road at the back of Wardle Airfield towards my house. For some reason I couldn’t keep my feet and kept on falling over. A guy came out of a side road in a car, the guy who had the farm at the back of me at Les Guis, He asked me If I’d received his package but I couldn’t understand what he meant so I saif that I would check. I ended up back at my house and Claude and his wife were there. he handed me a package and I opened it. It was full of old tools so I had to think what these were. He said “that’s a good deal that you got for that battery”. I suddenly realised that Claude had given me a battery and I’d given it to that farmer, so I’ll go through these tools later and give a few of them to Claude that he might need.

This is a total of four or five different voyages, and not only were they so real that I was totally convinced that they were happening, I seemed to have been stepping in and out of dreams at various points and stepping right back into them round about where I left off, not once, but several times.

And then, of course, we have the recurring dream about me being in a mess at work and so planning to resign.

It’s all very eerie, this.

So after the medication, checking my messages and mails and the like, much of the day has been spent dealing with the radio project that I have in hand.

There is a huge pile of notes that I’ve written for distribution, I’ve spent some time on the phone with the co-ordinator and I’ve also been sending mails and making telephone calls to contacts.

What happens from here on is anyone’s guess but several people at the radio seem to be quite enthusiastic, and quite well-placed to push things forward.

We had the usual breaks – coffee, breakfast, lunch, and then the afternoon walk of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021You’re probably wondering why the photo of the beach looks different today from how it has been over the last few weeks.

You’ve probably guessed from the photos at the beginning that I haven’t gone around the headland this afternoon. Instead, I’m walking around the walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Monday we saw several things that seemed to be going on within the walls that piqued our interest and I mentioned that I would go round one day and check up.

peche a pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon

The weather was quite nice and we’re getting to the stage of having some really low tides right now, so most of the people down there in this photo and in the previous one seemed to be engaged in the pêche à pied, scavenging about amongst the rocks for shellfish.

And it looks as if the two people in this photo have made quite a substantial haul. There are limits to what one can take away from the beach, and I bet that they can’t be far off it.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2110/21100044.html”>fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There’s other fishing going on down there too.

As usual I was having a good look around out at sea and although there were none of the trawlers (or any other type of boat) out there in the bay this afternoon, there were two fishing boats way out off the headland.

Luckily the sea is quite a lot calmer than it was yesterday so they can have a better working day today. I really felt sorry for those in peril on the sea yesterday in that storm.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The most interesting (from my point of vies) part of the walk around the walls is the repair work that’s going on here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They’ve had this scaffolding – this magnificent work of art – up here for a few weeks now and they are slowly advancing up the hill, making good progress with the pointing as they do so.

But having seen the wind that we had yesterday, you can understand why they have it weighted down with 5 tonnes of water. It wouldn’t mast very long in the winds that we have without something to hold it down, and 5 pallet tanks fulll of water is a good place to start.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The last time that we looked over the wall, we saw them working about 6 or 8 feet below the top of the wall.

Today, we can see that they have practically worked their way up to the top at this end, and doubtlessly they’ll be working their way downhill to the end as time goes on.

It was round here that I was overwhelmed by a horde of brats.

There’s no school on Wednesday afternoons but there are plenty of activities for children whose parents have to work.

A bunch of 4 girls aged about 9-11 came swarming around me asking me if I’d noticed something. It turns out that they are one team of orienteers who were having a competition this afternoon around the old town, and were looking for a marker.

It’s a little-known fact that when I was 16 or 17, I competed in the North-West Schools orienteering championships, so I had a little chat with the kids for a minute or two.

Believe it or not, I actually like children round about that age. I think that they get a very raw deal from adults and have a lot to say for themselves, if only someone would listen to them.

There was also someone from the tourist board taking photos, and we had a little chat as well.

peche a pied medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From the Place du Marché aux Chevaus I went along the path underneath the walls.

Once more, plenty of people on the beach, including all those round by the Plat Gouseet in the medieval fish trap hunting for shellfish buried in the sand.

That’s not really the purpose of the fish trap. In medieval times, and even today if someone were to bother to maintain it correctly, it would retain water after the tide has done out, and which would slowly filter out between the gaps in the rocks.

This would leave a supply of fish behind, trapped by the stone walls, and the average medieval fishwife would wade in there and pull them out with her bare hands.

repair work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Plat Gousset has now been cleared of beach huts, as I mentioned last time.

And that’s probably just as well after the storms that we’ve just had. Instead of lifting them up with a crane, they could have moved them with a brush and shovel.

But there’s some kind of repair work going on down there at that blue and white building. I wonder if that’s anything to do with the storms that we have just had.

It actually looks quite peaceful and pleasant down there this afternoon. I bet that it wasn’t like that just now.

Anyway, I cleared off down the Square Maurice Marland, looking at the state (or otherwise) of the kiddies’ amusements as I passed.

tubes and pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I had a good peer to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will remember that yesterday, they hard started to put into the water the tubes that had been on the quayside for a week or two.

Today, by the looks of things, they seem to have put in all of them that I could see. It’s all looking very interesting and so I wonder what the next step is going to be.

And, furthermore, is the dredger that is in the chantier naval going to be playing any part in it all?

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there, I had a look at the quayside underneath the crane to see what was happening there.

Those galvanised sheets are still on the quayside, and they have now been joined by a few of these sacks of builders’ materials.

This would seem to indicate that we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in very soon.

And I’ll be surprised if it’s Normandy Trader because at the last update that I had, the skipper and his mate were somewhere between Lands End and John O’Groats on their bikes.

That reminds me of the famous record-breaking woman cyclist Br Barbara Moore who would either walk or cycle between Lands End and John O’Groats as the fancy took her.

On one occasion, having completed one of her rides, she was asked by a commentator what she planned to do next. She replied, in her thick Eastern European accent I vill strip – and overhaul my bicycle.

digging a trench rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What has actually brought us to this neck of the woods is the sign that we saw on Monday telling us that the Rue Cambernon is closed to traffic.

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be checked so I wandered round that way, and sure enough, they are digging a trench down the side of the street.

That’s something that is totally bewildering me because only about a year or so ago, or maybe even less, they dug it up to do something else. That’s pretty bad planning if they are now having to dig it up for something else so soon afterwards.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And that’s not the best of it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the winter (or what passes for winter around here) they’d dug up the Rue St Michel and replaced a pile of pipework, then relayed the street – in asphalt rather than cobbles, to my eternal dismay.

But now it seems that they will be coming back, as all of the hieroglyphics are back on the road surface.

Blue is for water, of course, but I’ve no idea which other colour represents anything else.

They aren’t doing too well with their planning, are they?

abandoned american car place du parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round by the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou, the American car from Connecticut is still here.

We first came across it on our return from North America 2 years ago, and it’s still here now, not having moved an inch since then.

Someone has liberated the front number-plate over time but the rear is still there.

Around the corner I was swept up in a swarm of people coming out of the church after a funeral and I had to fight my way through the mob in order to reach home.

After my coffee I carried on with my notes for my radio project, and even found time to update a couple of entries from the end of August by inserting the details of my nocturnal voyages in them.

And then I went for tea.

There was a couple of mushrooms looking sorry for themselves and 2 small potatoes that had seen better days so I heaved a small tin of chick peas in and made myself a quick curry. And it was delicious too.

So now I’m hoping for another early night, hopefully on through which I can sleep undisturbed. It’s high time I had a really good night’s sleep.

But at least – lying-in until 07:30 instead of rising at 06:00 means that crashing out during the day is only happening rarely these days. I’ve been wondering whether I should set the alarm to 07:00. What would happen then?

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Saturday 10th July 2021 – 265 DAYS …

players warming up us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we were last in the Stade Louis Dior to watch a football match, so I’m told.

And I nearly missed this one as well because the kick-off was at 16:00 and at 15:00 I was fast asleep, crashed out in my chair slumped over my desk. It was something of a scramble for me to make it to the stadium in time for the kick-off.

Up until that point it had been a reasonably good day as far as I was concerned. Once more I was up as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and although it was a struggle to gather my wits (which will be quite a surprise to everyone seeing as I have so few wits left these days) I gradually pulled myself round ready to face the day.

First task after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Noticing that the newspapers had arrived today we read them and we noticed that the group “White Spirit” was appearing somewhere. They had one of these young female singers so the two girls would have liked to have seen them. I ended up buying 4 tickets and I took a friend of mine and the 2 girls so the 4 of us went. The 2 of us decided that we didn’t really want to go so we’d wait outside the hall in the car. He’d had to paint the doors inside-out so the paint was one colour but I’d had the tin and taken a look inside it and it was the right lot so I thought that … indistinct … Anyway they wandered off. This girl was singing and at the end of the first song she came down the corridor and came out to us saying “I hope that you 2 are going to behave because I’m going to be coming out here afterwards to see you”. She stayed to chat to us for a while. She was sucking on a stick of rock and I thought that seeing as she has a stage performance to do she’s being extremely I couldn’t think of the word. But there was much more to it than this of course but I can’t now remember what it was. And never mind the guy – who were the 2 girls we took to the concert and who was the girl who came to see us? Yes, all these girls appearing during the night and I can’t remember who they are. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on I had to go to Manchester with a computer or PA or something so I got on the tram. Someone I knew was on there so I said “hello” to him. We set off and were well on our way when suddenly the tram came to a stop. I walked down towards the front past this guy again to see what was happening. There was some big accident in front of us so I got off the tram and started to wave the traffic through. All the traffic including this tram got through this obstruction. It all drove away and left me standing there so I had to hitch-hike. I had a lift with someone in a Mark I Cortina and it was an automatic with a bench seat in the front, or it might have been column change with a bench seat in the front. We were talking about something with these cars. I said something and he denied it but I knew that I was right but he wasn”t having any of this at all. In the end I took the rubber mat out of the front and emptied it out to make the car a bit tidier. He told me that I could drive on the way back. There was lots more to this dream as well but I can’t remember it now.

Having dealt with all of that, what remained was to bring up to date yesterday’s journal entries. Perhaps I should add at this point that although I said that I was going to have an early night last night, but in fact I became engrossed in the acoustic guitar and ended up playing for a couple of hours.

And I can’t do the slip-change from Chord C to Chord F and back again like I used to. I’m far too rusty.

Having organised the notes from yesterday I spent the rest of the morning organising the new laptop bag and making sure that it has everything that I need in it.

And then I packed the little suitcase that I’m taking with me, and sorted out the clothes that had been airing on the clothes airier on my windowsill since I can’t remember when.

While I was sorting things out I came across an old USB drive and a USB SD micro-card reader stuck in the pocket of an old abandoned bag.

And searching further I came across the missing audio cable for which I’ve been searching since I don’t know when. I must have taken it with me to Canada a few years ago so that I could couple up my old *.mp3 player to Strider’s audio input socket, and then forgotten to unpack it.

Here’s hoping that whatever new vehicle I might buy to replace Strider will have a USB socket. Yes, I was having a good look at a Subaru Forester estate car this afternoon while I was out.

After lunch I came in here to do some work on my photos but I soon crashed out on the chair. And then it was a rather desperate struggle up the hill.

moulin childrens roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out to the football ground I went past the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Saturday market.

Summer is in full swing here in Granville if you are a kid (except in the Square Maurice Marland of course) and the kiddies’ roundabout is in full swing with plenty of potential customers. I stayed to watch the proceedings for a minute while I caught my breath and then pushed on up the hill.

And it was a long, lonely climb up there and I had to stop four or five times to catch my breath. I’ve aged 20 years over this last couple of months and that has filled me full of dismay. But I eventually arrived at the Stadium Louis Dior.

players us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEn Avant Guingamp play in the French Second Division, but this was described as “A Team from EA Guingamp” which probably means that it contained triallists and players on the fringes of the first team rather than the first team itself.

And in an astonishing match, and in a game that Granville pretty much dominated, they somehow managed to lose the game 3-0. Threw it away completely and comprehensively.

Two goals they gave away by defenders going to sleep and there should have been a third as well except that the Guingamp player stood on the ball instead of kicking it. The third goal was a wonder strike of a curling free kick round the blind side of the defensive wall.

Granville had a bew player playing in the centre of defence – an older guy – and he certainly looked as if he had been around the block a few times. He was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He wasn’t a centre back from what I could see but more of a defensive midfielder distributing the ball out of defence. If he has signed for the club then things are looking up.

But once again, total defensive lapses and a bunch of forwards who couldn’t score in a brothel

2 players with n°33 us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here was something interesting that I have never seen before on a football pitch at this level.

Two players on the same team with the same number. And about 20 seconds after I had noticed, so did a few other people and the “older” n°33 was quickly withdrawn and replaced by another player. And he’d only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes too.

The younger n°33 took some time to warm up but once he got going he had a good game. He almost scored too, getting in on the end of a delicious cross to the far post but his shot was somehow scrambled off the line.

So after all of this I think that it’s going to be a long, hard season, if we manage to complete it.

no parking in town on Sundays Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way up towards the football ground I’d noticed the town centre covered with these signs.

There had been something in the local newspaper about shops opening all day on Sunday during the summer season but I hadn’t realised that parking will be banned in the town centre too. This makes for interesting opportunities if ever we have a summer here.

Actually it was quite warm now – the sun being out made a change from the damp, dreary start of the day, so I went for an ice cream. But my favourite ice cream parlour was surprisingly closed. I had to walk quite a way before I found another one with non-dairy options.

sale of fresh seafood closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I found myself on the quayside at the spot where the fresh fish seller sells his catch from his boat every Friday morning.

However he’s announced that he’s not operating until the middle, missing the entire summer season, which seemed rather strange to me. But then I noticed the photos of his boat, and that explained everything. Do you recognise it?

Anyway, clutching my ice cream I wandered off down the quayside to see what else was going on that I might have missed since I’ve last been on the quaysid.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s an old friend of ours riding the waves at her mooring here in the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past couple of weeks we’d been seeing the trawler Philcathane up on blocks in the chantier naval until she went missing, back into the water, at the end of the week.

By the looks of things she’s all finihsed now with her nice fresh coat of paint and she’ll be ready to go back to the fishing grounds on Monday.

And the interesting question now is “who has gone to replace her in the chantier naval?

tour du roc à la nage no parking at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that for a moment. Let’s turn our attnetion to the immediate present and what’s going to be going on in town.

It looks as if they are planning quite a pile of events to welcome the tourists to the town and this one is certainly a new one on me that I haven’t seen before.

It looks as if there is going to be some kind of swimming race from the port and around the Pointe du Roc to somewhere on the other side of the headland. So good luck to those who are attempting it.

And never mind “no parking”. They will probably need a good ambulance of two or three at the finishing line to take away the unlucky ones. Struggling with the tides and the currents in the sea won’t be as easy as some people might think.

helicopter hovering over port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the edge of the quayside I was overflown by a helicopter. Someone has hed their chopper out this afternoon.

The only camera that I had with me today was the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens (I’ve mentioned before that it passes amost unnoticed into sports grounds and the like where a large DSLP won’t) so I wasn’t able to take much of a photograph of it this afternoon.

Without the telephoto lens I can’t see if it’s the yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter, a drab olive military helicopter or a multi-coloured civilian chopper. But hs didn’t have any of his emergency lights on so whatever he was doing wasn’t anything urgent. I could press on without witnessing anything dramatic.

trawler galapagos chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo, did you all guess the significance of the photo to which I drew your attention earlier?

We’ve all … “well, one of us” – ed … been wondering who the big blue trawler is that’s appeared in the chantier naval the other day and now we know.

She’s called Galapagos and she belongs to the people who sell the fresh fish on the quayside. And now we also know why they aren’t going to be selling fish until the middle of September and we also have an indication of she’ll be back in the water.

There were some people with the yacht Rebelle. They weren’t very talkative but at least I know that she’ll be back in the water “shortly”.

joly france 1 ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was chatting to the people working on Rebelle we were disturbed by yet more activity – this time coming from the water.

Of course it’s the weekend, a Saturday evening in Summer zo the tourists are out in their hordes The Ile de Chausey is one of the places to be and so by the looks of things, there have been plenty of people out there.

This is when the two Joly France boats that work the ferry out there come into their own. This is the newer one of the two, Joly France 1 as you can tell by the windows in portrait mode, and she has quite a load of people on board today coming back from the island.

From the chantier naval I wended my weary way up the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers and made it back home. There was time to upload the photos to the computer and then I knocked off for tea.

There’s plenty of stuffing left over and also a pepper that won’t survive until next week so a stuffed pepper it was, followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And that reminds me – it’s been a while since I made a jam roly-poly. That will have to be the next dessert.

Back here to write up the journal today when I noticed that I’d performed 95% of my daily activity today. So never one to miss an opportunity, I took the NIKON D500, fitted the f1.8 50mm lens and went for a walk around the block.

midnight sun baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd who said “The Land Of The Midnight Sun” then?

This is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out of my apartment this evening. We’re situated at 48°50′ here and that’s far from being in The Land Of The Midnight Sun so imagine what it must be like somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

It did remind me of the nights that I was driving coaches on my Friday night run to Central Scotland and on one occasion one June-end it was so light that when I’d dropped off my passengers I drove to Stirling and parked up on a mountain top near there to watch the midnight sun and that’s 8° further North.

donville les bains rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at my little spec at the end of the car park I went over to look over the wall.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone on the beach this evening – as a matter of fact I couldn’t even see the beach – but I was more interested in what was going on along the coast, insofar as I could see it.

The Rue du Nord is quite well illuminated right now especially round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, and then carrying on to the left we have the lights of the houses on top of the cliffs at the Plat Gousset and then the lights of the waterfront reflecting into the sea down on the promenade at Donville les Bains.

rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack across the car park and along to the road now to see what’s going on here right now.

That is of course the Rue du Roc that leads to the headland where we find the lighthouse, the semaphore and the coastguard station – not that you can actually see any of those right now.

It’s very had to believe that a year ago I could run all the way down there to beyond the end of the street lights and then turn left and keep running all the way down to the top of the cliffs. The way I am these days, even just looking at the images makes me feel totally exhausted.

They were halcyon times, they were.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s the view in the opposite direction, looking towards the Port St Jean and the entrance to the medieval walled city.

And that shadow down there is the guy on whom I almost stepped in the dark because I hadn’t seen him. I must pay greater attention when I’m out and about in the dark. But at least he gives the photo some animation.

After all is said and done, the Porte St Jean all floodlit at night is one of my favourite photo objects and the shadow gives it something different.

Through the arch we can see the Rue St Jean illuminated by the street lights and in the foreground to the left is the car park for the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill 3 or 4% of my daily activity to perform in order to bring me up to my 100% and so I thought that I’d better go for a walk down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour and see what’s going on there.

And it wasn’t easy to find my way down there either tonight as this economy drive means that all of the streetlamps are switched off and I had to grope my way down there in the dark.

What was even worse was that the harbour was in darkness too. There were just a couple of isolated streetlights and that was really our lot. It was difficult to work out where I was or what I was photograpiong but somewhere down there in the shadows are Granville and Victor Hugo.

They are the two boats that in better times provided the ferry service between Normandy and the Channel Islands but the combined effects of Covid, Brexit and the tight-fistedness of the Channel Islands in refusing to pay a subsidy towards the reopening of the service is making the recommencement of the services more and more unlikely.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt least here at this end of the harbour the presence of a couple more street lights makes it slightly easier to see what’s going on.

Over to the right the ferry terminal is brightly illuminated by several lights but to no good purpose because there won’t be any of the ferries coming into port for quite a while yet.

To the left of the image, illuminated by two street lights are the port offices. They are open when the harbour gates are opened and there is movement in and out of the port.

But with thz harbour being in total darkness like this I don’t think that there will be much movement going on right now.

In the foreground, all wrapped up on the darkness of the night, is the fish processing plant and there isn’t much going on round there right now either.

tower of eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final photo before I toddle off back to the warmth and comfort of my own little apartment.

Just behind where I was standing to take those two photos of the harbour area is the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. part of it is obscured by the medieval city walls but the spire isn’t, and it’s illuminated tonight for a change. I can’t go back home without photographing that now, can I?

So back in my apartment I’ve accomplished 102% of my daily activity and been out for my first night-time walk for about 6 months too and taken some photos.

And I’ll have to go out again and take some more, only this time remembering to adjust the ISO from 800 to 6400 so that I can let in more light without straining the camera unnecessarily.

Brain of Britain has struck again, hasn’t he?

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Thursday 24th December 2020 – WOW!

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven though I say it myself, I’m quite impressed with this photo that I took this afternoon.

It’s not necessarily the quality of it because I still have a great deal of issues with that, but it’s the dramatic and stark effect of the colours here. Just as I lined up a shot of Cancale silhouetted on its clifftop across the Bay, the light gave me everything I wanted just at the correct moment and it’s come out exactly as I would have wished, with no post-processing at all.

It’s one of those very rare photographs where everything that you are trying to do suddenly does it itself with you having to try.

Another thing that I did without really having to try was to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. And I bet that that took you as much by surprise as it took me too. Mind you, I was only sitting on the edge of the bed is a dazed and weary state, not exactly running around like a headless chicken.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in the USA last night and Trump was giving a concert. He had someone playing banjo or mandolin or something and he was playing bass and singing, doing some kind of rap about how good he was, and everyone in the crowd was greeting him with stony silence. He was becoming all worked up on the stage and everyone was treating him with stony silence. When everyone left I had a look at the bass guitar. It was just a cheap $29 thing so I said to someone of the road crew “at least you might have got him a real guitar to play with”. They replied “he does have a real one but he was afraid he’d be all emotional”. Trump heard this conversation and came over, and started to have a bit of a go at me about it. I said “I’ll tell you what my life means to me. Come with me”. He couldn’t get the hang of what was going on but “come with me, come outside”. So we went outside and there was Caliburn. I opened the door to the back of Caliburn and there on the floor was a mattress and a sleeping bag and a few bits and pieces. I was living rough. And there at the side of the sleeping bag was the Gibson EB3. “That’s what my bass means to me” I said. “It’s all that I have here”.

The next thing was about the wife of my friend on the Wirral. She was telling me that she had been taken into a bedroom by an Indian guy to which I said “lucky her” and they spent 4 hours together so I said “even more lucky her” discussing some kind of new sales venture for some kind of product that she might have been interested in. There was much more to it than this but in the time it took me to grab hold of the dictaphone I forgot it.

The next hour or so was spent dealing with the arrears of work. I’ve been stuck in Chateau Gaillard for the last 2 weeks and I can’t seem to drag myself out of there. I seem to be bogged in there quite deeply at the moment.

That took me up to shower time and weigh time, and I’ve gained 1kilo in weight in this last week. But examining my body closely (and isn’t that a gruesome task?) I noticed that my feet and ankles are swollen. So it looks as if the water retention is back again and that will explain this weight issue.

crowds at seafood shop rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set to the shops for the groceries to see me through the Christmas period.

It’s the tradition in France for people to have oysters as a Christmas treat (which probably explains why so many babies are born here at the end of September) and there in the Rue Lecampion where there’s the fishmonger’s, with the butcher just down the road, it just looks like Poland as I remember it in the 1970s, or the UK after 6 months of Brexit.

But I was joking about the oysters and babies just now. Don’t you believe everything that you hear about oysters. I had 12 of them on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

christmas decorations place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s unlikely that I’m going to get down into town to see the Christmas lights this year. I’m not well and I know it, and I’m not going to tax my system too much.

But it didn’t prevent me from having a good mooch around for a look at the decorations in the Place Charles de Gaulle. And I was right about one thing, in that they aren’t very inspiring this year. It seems to be merely the same stuff that has been here for the last ever so many years, just arranged differently.

But anyway I pushed on to the Railway Station for my tickets for next week. The clerk in the office was on her own so I asked her about the trains next week. At the moment, they are still running as advertised. Whether it stays like that, we shall see.

bad parking bmw bus station railway station Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room on these pages.

Not so much recently – not (I hasten to add) because the situation has improved but because there is just so much of it that it’s become boring and even i’m fed up of it. But I couldn’t let a thing like this go by.

Right outside the railway station is the bus station. all of the long-distance buses (of which there are plenty) as well as the two service buses for the town come here and there are 4 bays. But this driver has decided that he’s allowed to park in one of them and the bus that goes in there can park elsewhere.

Of course, it’s a BMW and like Audi drivers, they consider that the rules of the road and of common courtesy don’t apply to them.

On the way up the hill I stuck my head in the newsagent’s. I’d heard that US Granville had made some club facemasks and the newsagent was selling them. These are tough times and we have to do what we can to help things along right now, and so I bought one to wear when I’m in Belgium.

At La Vie Claire they had Seitan slices so I bought two ridiculously expensive packs and then went round to LIDL for the shopping. I bought most of what I needed but shock! horror! no Brussels sprouts. How do you have Christmas without Brussels sprouts?

Luckily I still have some frozen ones for the meals on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but it’s going to be touch and go after that.

christmas market kddies roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back into town again I went past the Place Generale De Gaulle again.

There’s quite a lot going on in there now that wasn’t happening earlier. They seem to be setting up some kind of Christmas market in the Square, although that doesn’t look much like Christmas goodies to me.

But at least the kiddies’ roundabout was working and entertaining some clients. And that’s good news because Christmas is all about children anyway and they ought to be making the most of it while they are still young enough.

seafood stall rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a fresh seafood stall on the harbour every Friday morning selling the stuff that his boat has landed that morning. But with Friday being Christmas Day it looks as if he’s having his stall a day earlier to cash in on the Christmas trade.

And quite right too. Even though I don’t eat animal products, it’s up to others what they do and there is nothing at all quite like fresh food of any description.

So having caught my breath, for I was carrying some quite heavy shopping, I carried on back home where I had a slice of my fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate.

And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out good and proper on my chair. It was late-ish when I returned from the shops but even so, it was 13:30 when I awoke, feeling like total death yet again. This is what I meant earlier when I said that I wasn’t too good right now. It’s just not possible at the moment for me to live a normal life like this and it’s dismaying me very much.

So at lunch, I’d run out of bread so I set about making some more. Not the sourdough this time but a real loaf. I want to see how my technique is doing and to see if the fault about my sourdough not rising is because of me or the sourdough.

And so I bashed out a quick 500-gramme dough mix with yeast and several handfuls of sunflower seeds and left it on one side to see what it would do.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was walkies time so I set out into the wild blue yonder.

And wild was hardly the word either. The wind has shifted around and we now have a nor’easter instead of a sou’wester as we had yesterday. So if you thought that the Bay of Granville was turbulent yesterday, you ought to have seen it this afternoon. There hasn’t been anything quite like this for a considerable period of time and I bet that the boys in Thora and Normandy Trader are glad that they are tucked up safe and sound in the harbour in St Helier.

It was enough to make me want to join them but the journey across to Jersey would be extremely uncomfortable right now.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were hordes of people out there this afternoon, everyone having a pre-Christmas walk I reckon and making the most of the lack of rain (for the moment at least).

And if you are able to peer underneath the clouds, it was the kind of afternoon where the visibility was so impressive and you could see a very long great distance down the coast. Cap Frehel and its lighthouse were just about visible with the naked eye over to the right on this photo.

We’ve had some good shots of Cap Frehel in the past, better than this one of course, but it’s not every day that it’s visible with the naked eye

rainstorm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little earlier I taked about the lack of rain – “at the moment” – and I said that for a reason.

While I was scanning along the Brittany coast with the camera, I noticed a strange phenomenon out there in certain places so I photographed it for a closer look to see what it might be. And back here in the comfort and warmth of my apartment I determined that it was actually a rainstorm out there.

Of course, as I said earlier, the wind is blowing in the wrong direction for us to be bothered about it right now, but the wind is a highly volatile and uncertain beast and can change direction at any given moment.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving taken my photographs I walked off across the lawn and the car park (almost being squidged by a motorist reversing out of a parking place) down to the end of the headland.

Once more, there are no boats out there in the bay but we do have this beautiful sunset, an excellent example of which you have already seen. And here’s another really good view of Cancale across the Baie de Mont St Michel, lit up as if it was on a stage and they had switched on the spotlights.

Far too many people about for me to break into a run this afternoon so I walked off down the path instead.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw just now how churned up the sea was around the north side of the headland with this raging nor’easter.

Nothing could have been a greater contrast than the sea down on the southern side of the headland by the port. Whereas yesterday we had a raging storm with waves crashing over the sea wall, today the sea seems to be almost becalmed.

Actually, it isn’t but that was how it was looking this afternoon especially after yesterday.

But that was enough for me anyway, I had a peek in at the chantier navale to see that there was no change whatever there, and then carried on home for a hot coffee and a mince pie. And delicious, if a bit sweet and sickly.

And the bread had risen like a lift. I’d never had it go up quite like this before. It was so impressive. I gave it a good squeezing to let the gases out and then shaped it and put it in its bread mould, covering it with a damp tea-towel.

And now I have a little Christmas present for you all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my friend Liz and I produced a series of programmes for several local radio stations in the Auvergne under the “Radio Anglais” banner back in those days.

While I was looking around for something I came across one of the Christmas Specials that we did, so I’ve uploaded it to the internet FOR YOU ALL TO LISTEN TO OVER CHRISTMAS with much love and best wishes from me.

Don’t take too long in listening to it because I need the space on my server so I’ll be taking it down again after a week or so. So you’ll probably be better off downloading it onto your own machine. Or, if you make your next Amazon purchase via the links on the right and I receive a small commission on the deal, I can buy more space.

While I was at guitar practice I had the oven warming up and I slipped the loaf of bread in there at a suitable moment along with a potato and, later on, a slice of frozen home-made pie.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the guitar, it was time for evening walkies. And with the wind now blowing in the opposite direction from yesterday, it was the outward journey that caused me more problems than just a few.

In fact, I had to abort the trip along the Rue du Nord and seek shelter within the narrow streets of the old town by dodging down an alley way. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the Rue St Jean in our time but we haven’t seen one from this viewpoint. The Place Cambernon is just down there at the bottom and the Porte St Jean which we have photographed on several occasions is right down there at the end out of the picture.

And if you look up at the top you can see the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou all illuminated.

rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going that way. I’m going in this direction down towards the Place de l’Isthme.

We took a photo of the street from the Place de L’Isthme a few weeks ago and so I reckoned that I should take one back up to the place where I was at the time, just for the record. And then I set off for a run along there all the way to the end of the street.

As I emerged into the open square at the end I was hit by a huge blast of wind that brought me to a dead stop, and I’m not surprised because it was wild.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough to make me not want to hang around any longer out of doors – especially now that it had started to rain as well, And so I went down ste steps to the Place Maurice Marland and ran on home.

But up on the walls the night was looking so beautiful despite the rain, so I took a photo of the harbour, the Baie de Mont St Michel and all of the lights out there twinkling away on the Brittany coast. It was all looking quite magical tonight and I’ve no idea why.

But that’s enough of my waxing lyrical for the moment. It’s time I was at home tucking into the tea.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile my veg was cooking (endives, broccoli, leeks and carrots) I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen quite a lot while it was sitting for its second proofing, but in the oven it’s not done too much more. But as I took it out of its mould, part of it had stuck so I sampled it. And it was perfect, it really was. The best that I’ve made to date. There’s nothing wrong with my technique at all.

With the veg water I made a delicious gravy, and the whole lot was finished off with apple crumble with some soya dessert stuff. That was what I called a good tea.

So now it’s Christmas Day and I’ve written up my notes. I’m off to bed. A Merry Christmas to you all and I hope that Santa brings you lots of nice things, including, more important than presents, lots of love and good health. We’re living in hard times right now but at least we are living, and the joys of the internet mean that we can stay even closer all the same.

There’s our radio show to listen to and tomorrow night at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time, 15:00 Montreal and Toronto time etc, there’s my Christmas broadcast on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS. It’s a special live rock concert that I’ve spent some time preparing and I hope that you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed preparing it.

Best wishes from me.

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. Zero was there and she burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Friday 29th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hall… the photos of today’s calamity – and before you ask, NO, I haven’t been baking today – I can tell you about my day today.

It was another unsuccessful day in the “getting up before the third alarm” stakes and I’m as sick of doing it as you lot probably are of me telling you about it.

But then, it wasn’t actually an early night last night (although I have had much later nights than this and still been up before 06:20) so it’s my own fault right enough.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd according to my dictaphone, I’d been on my travels too.

There was a group of kids playing cricket in the street. There was on particular couple, a boy and a girl, they boy hit the ball and the young girl ran up the hill after it, got it and threw the ball back. It went over beyond the batsman and I caught it. I decided “right, I’ll bowl the ball back to her past the boy”. But the first one I got I dropped it short and it landed right in front of my feet and bounced up so I caught it. The next time my arm went over my head as I went to bowl and was caught up in some wires, telegraph wires or something like that. While this was going on there was some kind of news item going on about the cricket and about a big cricket score but I can’t remember what now.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all either.

Although there was nothing else on the dictaphone, I had an image going round in my mind of a situation where at some point during the night I was with a girl and i wish that I could remember who she was. We were in a relationship but she was having all kinds of personal problems which were causing her to want to put an end to our relationship, but I was equally determined not to let it end and I was having quite a discussion with her in my car – a British right-hand-drive car too.

so I don’t know about that one.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallWith not getting up until … errr … 07:35, which is no good at all, everything was running dreadfully late.

Breakfast wasn’t until about 09:00 which meant that I didn’t start work until about 09:35.

And at first glance, it doesn’t look as if I’ve done very much. I’ve amended one page off one website to bring it up to modern standards.

That took longer than it might have done because it needed a considerable amount of rewriting. Another one that was written in 2008 and which hasn’t been edited at all since.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd in connection with rewriting a page a day off the other site, I’m about three quarters of the way through doing that.

That’s a page from 2001 and which has had a little desultory editing over the years since then. However, it’s long been overtaken by all kinds of events of all natures and a total rewrite is long overdue.

Furthermore, it’s now grown to such a size that it’s practically unmanageable. I’m trying to keep my pages down to no more than 30kb (that’s about 18kb of text) but this one is already at 49kb and growing rapidly.

It’s going to have to be split, and that means resurrecting a project that I started in 2007 and stopped some time round about 2010 – a list of web pages and cross-references to other pages.

That’s because if I do split the page, some of the cross-references are going to be wrong.

There were a whole variety of interruptions too during the day.

Lunch was one of them, of course, and I do have to say that even though my bread looks strange, it was absolutely perfect – felt like bread, tasted like bread, everything. Even the correct number of airholes.

The truth though will be whether I can do a second one like it, or whether this one was just a flash in the pan.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallRound about 14:30 I went to fetch something from the living room.

And that was when I noticed, with a quick glance out of the window, that things aren’t what they were were supposed to be.

“What’s afoot?” I asked myself.
“About 30 centimetres” – ed

It seemed to me to be a good idea to go and make further enquiries

blue clear sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was an absolutely, stunningly beautiful afternoon and I’m glad that I nipped out for a quick walk around.

And I can safely say without any fear of contradiction that I have never in my life seen the sea as clear and as transparent as this. It’s the kind of colour that you always associate with the Mediterranean, and reminds me of the week that I spent WITH TRIXI ON A GREEK ISLAND called Agistri.

We’ve seen a few photos just recently of the Baie de Mont St Michel and how the sand looked a lot more evident than it has been at low tide, but this is something altogether different.

jet skis english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThere weren’t all that many people around this afternoon which is hardly surprising, given the acrid nature of the smoke.

But these people out here on jetskis were enjoying themselves. There were three of them altogether – the third one put in an appearance just after I had clicked the shutter. They looked as if they had come from the beach at Bréhal-Plage, that neck of the woods, but it wasn’t clear where exactly they were going to.

But as long as they were enjoying it, that was all that counts. They had the right kind of weather and I bet that the sea bed looked really good where they were.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a digger digging out years of accumulated sand out of the old tidal swimming pool.

And this is the result just here. You can see that it’s holding water – and holding it quite well too. And although there was no-one actually in it, there were several people loitering with intent around it.

As for the column of smoke, it was becoming thicker and thicker and we were being treated to several loud bangs too. “Oxygen cylinders” was my immediate thought.

But it wasn’t possible to see what was causing the smoke or where it was coming from. Too many houses in the way. But the sound of sirens from fire engines dashing to the scene told me that it was something major.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite having had my little walk around to check on the inferno, I still went out for my afternoon walk.

The tide was still well in and the fire was clearly still raging because the plume of smoke was thicker and there were fewer people around. Down on the rocks, though, it wasn’t too bad and this person here was quite unperturbed by all of the commotion going on around him

It did make me wonder whether he was fishing for herring. If so, and the wind veered round a few points to this direction, he’d finish with a lovely batch of kippers.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallHe wasn’t the only one out here getting his rod out.

My hat goes off to those two intrepid fishermen over there because there is no easy way of getting to that position. They must have scrambled over quite a few rocks and I hope that they will be able to scramble back.

And that reminds me. Yesterday’s emergency – nothing in the newspapers apart from a rescue of a couple of canoeists down near Carolles-Plage. I wonder if it was nothing but a training exercise.

But as for their canoeists -I wonder if they had been rescued because they lit a fire in their canoe. You have to know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

zodiac towing zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t as much maritime traffic today aswe have seen over the last few days and I’ve no idea why.

The fishing boats I can understand. They don’t want to end up with a hold full of kippers either. And it can’t have been much fun on that zodiac either, or the one being pulled along behind, if they’ve been round the corner in the smoke and fumes.

But we’ve not seen the yellow zodiac for a few days. It looks as if it’s departed as quickly and dramatically as it came here.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was interesting though.

The little baby cabin cruiser thing drifting around out there just offshore. And drifting too, because if you look very carefully, you’ll see that the propellor of the outboard motor as out of the water and one of the crew looks as if he’s calling on his mobile phone.

Normandy Trader was supposed to be coming over today too, with a pile of stuff that should have gone to St Malo. But I didn’t see her.

Subsequent information told me that she had actually been in, made a dramatically rapid turn-round and gone back out again.

photograph pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that one of the things that I enjoy doing is taking photos of people taking photos.

There have been a couple of occasions were photographers have brought models up here to pose for the camera and we’ve managed to snap them. And there was another one her today – a heavily-tattooed woman taking a few photos of a young woman.

They were clearly having a good time, although I hoped that the young woman had a good sense of balance. That’s a 100-foot drop to her left.

So back here to make a few enquiries and it turns out that it’s “la Sphère”, the recycling centre in Donville les Bains, that’s gone up like Joan of Arc. And the explosions that we heard were a couple of gas cyliners and several tons of vehicle batteries.

More news follows.

The music course lost me completely in week 2. We were working on major scales, minor scales, Ionian, Doric and Seventh scales. Basically, every note might played in a particular key except a flattened 2 and a flattened 6 which, apparently, are never played at all.

And it’s a tribute to the course that while I might not be technically able to keep up with the proceedings, at least I know what a flattened 2 and a flattened 6 is, which is something that I didn’t know before.

And when I translate it all onto the bass guitar as I did with my hour on the guitar between 18:00 and 19:00, with triads and minor 7ths or major 7ths, it all makes perfect sense. So for things like that, the course is fulfilling its purpose.

Tea was one of the bean burgers on a bap with a baked potato, followed by a slice of apple pie and the last of the soya coconut dessert. My pie really is excellent and I did well with that

buoys baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBack out for my evening runs tonight. There was a headwind but I pushed on regardless and made it all the way up to my breathing stop at the end of the hedge, and then down to the clifftop.

Around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was a huge line of these marker buoys going round almost in a circle. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single fishing boat anywhere that I could see

There were probably no more than half a dozen people out here too. The smoke was probably keeping them all away from this end of town

yacht riding at anchor chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t all that much pleasure traffic out there either.

This beautiful yacht caught my eye though. Just sitting there not doing all that much, out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel underneath the headland where the Chateau de la Crete is.

That’s what I call peaceful and relaxing and it made me quite envious. And I wonder if the person over there near the shore has anything to do with the yacht.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me all the way down the Boulevar Vaufleury and round the corner to my marker. And then i walked back to the harbour to see what was going on.

And the answer to that was “nothing”. There was nothing at all moving about. Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel island ferries, are still tied up over there. The local restauranteurs have been telling me that they are allowed to reopen on June 2nd, and so i was wondering if that means that the ferries to the Channel islands will resume on that date.

There was something to say that they had given all of their stocks of snacks and drinks to the local food bank.

cross eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallBecause of my extra little walk this afternoon, my fitbit was showing 89% of my day’s activities.

Keen to push on to the 100% I ran round and up to the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and did a lap around the church. There’s a square around the back of the church with this cross in it and I wondered if that square was where the medieval market took place.

Crosses in the market place were quite common. They were the local assembly point and where the news was read out and announcements made.

eroded statue eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallSo back round to the other side of the church.

And I hadn’t noticed this statue before. And you can see that it’s made of some material other than Chausey granite because there’s hardly a trace of erosion on the stone blocks, yet acid rain has really done for this statue.

When I was doing some research into an article that I was writing about CLEOPATRA’S NEEDLE, it was interesting to compare the different rates of erosion of the hieroglyphics on the different needles, due to the different levels of acid rain.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran on down to the Rue du Nord and the viewpoint there.

Nothing at all happening out at sea, although my picnickers were there again having a good time – and who can blame tham?

Nothing for me to hang about for so I ran on back to the apartment where I had to close all of the windows because the wind had indeed turned and the acrid smoke was now blowing right into my living room.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow and there’s a football match on the internet tomorrow after noon which I don’t want to miss

Mind you, if I don’t organise myself properly any time soon, I’ll probably still ba asleep at kick-off.

Monday 30th December 2019 – I BET …

tesla electric vehicle charging station gare de granville railway station manche normandy france… that when you first saw the photo of this car in this parking place, you thought to yourself “he’s off on this pathetic parking lark yet again!”

But not a bit of it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my perambulations around Paris two weeks or so ago and I featured one of the new electric vehicle charging points that are springing up like mushrooms all over the developed world (except of course in the UK, for obvious reasons).

Well, here’s another one. Or two, to be precise, right outside the railway station in Granville. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the world is racing ahead.

And quite right too. The EU is to phase out the production of the internal combustion engine by 2040. The biggest obstacle to electric vehicles is the lack of charging points, but this is changing quite rapidly.

Other things that I wish would change quite rapidly are my sleeping habits. What with one thing and another (and once you start, you’ll be surprised how many other things there are) it was about 01:45 when I eventually went to bed last night. 4:33 of sleep last night, of which 3:42 were classed as “restful”.

This is getting beyond a joke.

Even so, there was still plenty of time for me to go off a-voyaging. I had to get up early next morning and there was a bit of an issue. There were two girls at my house. One of them was part of my family but I can’t remember who she was and the other one was her friend who was staying with us. Round about 11:00 they got up and about 11:15 or 11:45 something like that they went out. That was the last we’d seen of them. We knew that they were going to a dance. There we were, sitting there, a big group of us, drumming our fingers on the table wondering where they hall they had got to. I thought that this is no good – I need the car. I have to get up in the morning and everything like that. Round about 02:30 they suddenly appeared back again. They’d been on a dance, off to a night club all this kind of thing and we were all making disparaging remarks about “WHAT time was it you went out this morning?” All of that kind of thing. These girls weren’t giving a straight answer because they were a bit embarrassed something like that about it. But the situation concerned one of my Cortinas. I’d been driving around in it and the MoT had expired a while ago. I remember thinking to myself that I ought to have this vehicle on two number plates so I can get two different MoTs which would overlap so that if one expired I’d just put the plates on it for the other MoT and run that for another few months and so on. I can’t remember what on earth that was all about but that was when I awoke for the first time – round about 04:00.
But later on there was something going on to do with the radio. Some young boy had been at the radio who was doing his stuff with very primitive equipment (something like I’m doing at the moment I suppose) and tired of being pushed to the bottom of the pile because of that he went out and bought some decent stuff which improved his quality and improved his output and annoyed all of his colleagues because he’d now got some superior kind of stuff.

It was something of a struggle for me to leave my stinking pit this morning, which should not be a surprise after the night that I had, but I did make it up before the 3rd alarm.

Having taken the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then went for breakfast once the medication had worked.

After breakfast I checked my communications and found that Alison had replied to me with her plans for the weekend when I’ll be at Castle Anthrax. And so I could go ahead with making my travel arrangements.

Thursday 9th January
09:00 – Granville to Paris Montparnasse, arriving 12:05 – and in the main arrivals hall too if my reading is correct.
13:15 – Paris Gare du Nord – Lille Flanders arriving 14:18
14:41 – Lille Europe – Bruxelles-Midi arriving 15:17
and then a local train to Leuven
Sunday 12th January
08:43 – Bruxelles-Midi – Paris Gare du Nord arriving 10:05
10:57 – Paris St Lazare – Caen arriving 12:58
14:10 – Caen – Granville arriving 15:44.

Of course, all of this is somewhat … errr … facultative. It’s all very dependent upon the availability of transport in the middle of a General Strike and I can see myself as having as many exciting adventures as did the Knights of King Arthur as they went to visit Castle Anthrax.

With booking my accommodation too, and my local train between Brussels and Leuven, it was quite late when I went for my shower.

And SHOCK! HORROR! – I’ve gained 2kgs since my last shower. That can’t possibly be right and seems to indicate that my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood count readings from Castle Anthrax.

Off I went into town and up to the railway station (and the electric vehicle charging point) to pick up my tickets. And there was quite a pantomime about getting them from the machine.

That’s why I always like to pick them up before I travel. There’s no-one in the ticket office at the time my train leaves so if the machine has a seizure on the morning of my travel then I really am cooked.

At LIDL I spent more money than I was expecting.

One thing that I said that I would do is to take more care of my living arrangements, and forgetting to change my bedding for weeks isn’t helping things. Today though at LIDL they had some flannelette sheets on offer so I bought a couple. A dark blue one to go with one bedding set and a light blue one to go with the other.

They weren’t very expensive for what they are and the quality isn’t brilliant but alternating them around more regularly means that they will last somewhat.

On the way back home I picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and then headed for home.

lorry emptying waste paper recycling place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAt the recycling centre across the road from my building the lorry had come to empty one of the containers.

Not being in any particular rush, I watched it for a while as it emptied the plastics bin. And then watched for a couple more minutes while the crew of the lorry went scampering around trying to catch the pieces of plastic that where Blowing In The Wind.

The moral of this story is – don’t empty the lightweight plastics containers in a gale-force wind.

Back at the apartment I had a few things to do that took me up to lunch, and once lunch was out of the way I had a little project to attend to.

My “recording sessions” take place at the moment using an external microphone with the dictaphone, and then plugging the dictaphone into the computer to download the files and then to enhance them etc with my sound editing program.

But there’s no reason whatever why I can’t plug the mike into the computer and then record directly and edit “on the fly”, which will save me a couple of steps in the process.

And so I had the computer out of its cubby hole and plugged the mike in, and then had a play.

The result was awful. The sound level was abysmal, even on max input, and there was a persistent hissing on the recording. It needed so much “enhancing” to remove the hissing that it sounded as if i was speaking with my head in a bucket.

And so it’s back to the dictaphone while I think of Plan B. I hadn’t really realised just what good quality I was getting from the dictaphone with an external mike.

But all was not lost. It gave me an opportunity to reroute a few cables that needed rerouting, even if I did plug the HDMI cable into the incorrect socket and spent 10 minutes wandering why I wasn’t receiving a signal at the screen.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThat was the signal for me to go for my afternoon walk.

And what a beautiful afternoon it was. We had glorious sunshine even if it was quite low down in the sky. There were plenty of people out, even walking along the beach today seeing as the tide was out.

And the wind had dropped dramatically from how it was earlier too. And that was very welcome news.

crowds pointe du roc boulevard vaufleury eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just around on the grassy field on the north side of the headland and on the beach that the crowds were massing.

Although they are the most popular places to be, they aren’t the only places. There were the hordes of people on the southern side by the big car park on the boulevard Vaufleury too.

They seemed to be admiring the harbour and the view across the Baie de Mont St Michel towards the Pointe de Carolles, as well as soaking up the best of the late afternoon sun.

joly france ferry port de granville harbour ile de chausey manche normandy franceWith the tide being right out, there wasn’t much action down in the outer tidal harbour. But there were a few things of interest though.

The other day we talked about NAABSA harbours – the “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” situation where ships are allowed to settle on the silt in tiday harbours where there isn’t enough water to keep them afloat.

Over there at the ferry terminal, Joly France is there, and as there is no water underneath her, she’s in a NAABSA state and it doesn’t seem to concern her owners at all.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy franceShe wasn’t the only one either.

In front of her, likewise in a NAABSA state, is Chausiais, the new freighter that the owners of the Ile de Chausey have bought, presumably to provide a freight service over to the island, even if I can’t see what would be going over that couldn’t be carried in the hold of one of the ferries.

Still, we shall see in due course, won’t we? I sense a Cunning Plan.

That was my cue to come home where, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out, leaving my coffee undrunk.

And if ever there was a moment where I really did feel like hauling myself off to bed to crash out definitively, then that was it. But I fought off the feeling, even if I did feel like death.

As a result, my plan to attack the dialogue for my next radio project fell flat without very much progress having been made. I need to finish that one off as well as do another one by the end of the week, although I’m not sure quite when I’ll fit it all in.

But whatever happens, I mustn’t fall behind otherwise I’ll never get back in front again.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with the stuffing left over from late last week. And I don’t know why, but it was the best one that I’ve ever made.

If anyone is interested in my stuffing mix, it’s as follows –
Start by boiling up some quinoa or bulghour with a little water and some really spicy chili powder, and leave it to simmer.
Meanwhile, dice up some onion, garlic (have to have garlic of course!), a tomato, mushrooms, olives and whatever else you might have lying around that is suitable, a handful or two of salted peanuts, and then some herbs. I use oregano, basil and tarragon, as well as ground black pepper.
Then, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a couple more of tomato sauce (not ketchup, of course!)
Mix it all up together and then add the bulghour or quinoa, which should by now be ready, and mix that well in too. You need your stuffing to be very moist, but not runny.
Cut round the stalk of the pepper and scoop out the core, the seeds and the pith. Then stuff it with your stuffing mix.
Into the microwave at medium-full (that’s 640 watts on mine) for 7 minutes 30 seconds while the rice and veg are cooking.
The when the rice is cooked and you’re rinsing it out with boiling water, give the pepper 90 seconds on max (that’s 800 watts on mine)

If you try it, let me know how it turns out, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make it differently. There’s a “contact me” link down at the bottom right corner of the screen.

channel islands ferries victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter that I went out for my evening walk in the freezing cold, because the temperature has dropped dramatically. I was the only one out there, which was no surprise.

But while I was out there, I checked and sure enough, Granville really is back in the harbour, tied up alongside Victor Hugo.

It looks like her a-roaming is over for a few days.

And so was mine. For tonight anyway, I headed for home. I managed to fit in my run, although I was dead by the time that I reached the ramp and only made four or five paces up it.

It’s really disappointing that I can’t seem to push on and run for longer. I remember when I went back running in the mid-90s, when after a few weeks I suddenly found my second wind and could run for miles. I can’t seem to break this barrier these days.

Mind you, I’m not sure what I’m expecting at my age. It’s not every OAP who goes out running late at night every night, especially one who is supposed to be on his death bed. I should be grateful for what I can do.

This evening I didn’t see Minette the old black cat but I saw her mum who was on the doorstep chatting to a couple of people. So I had a little chat, wished them the compliments of the season and came home.

Now I’ve written up my journal, I’m off to bed. 6.5 hours of sleep if I’m lucky. That’s a luxury these days so I need to make the most of it.

But not quite yet. I’ve been listening to No Smoke Without Fire by Wishbone Ash. It’s an album that I’ve owned for probably 30 years but I haven’t heard it for probably 29 years. And while it won’t ever be anything like as good as the first couple of albums, I’m astonished that I haven’t played it more often because some of it is really excellent.

And as that finished, onto the playlist came Fur by Jane Wiedlin. Not an album that you would normally associate with me but Janet Marsden played it to me late one night and there are a couple of tracks on it that are totally unexpected in their brilliance. They bring back a couple of memories of one particular night in Crewe, and how things could have been different had I been in a better place in my head back then.

Tuesday 24th December 2019 – CHRISTMAS JUST ISN’T CHRISTMAS …

home made mince pies granville manche normandy france… without any mince pies.

And so when you don’t have any and can’t obtain any, the only answer is to make a few yourself. And here are some I made earlier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my oven is somewhat “hit and miss” – in fact, it’s far more “miss” than “hit” so they haven’t turned out like they might do from the shop.

But they are still delicious and I should know because I had the oven-bottom for pudding tonight with the rest of the blackcurrant sorbet left over from the other day.

men having impromptu open air lunch Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceBut if you think that that was something of an impromptu or ad-hoc arrangement, you should have seen what was going on in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne at lunchtime.

A handful of guys had set up a picnic table on the pavement and they were having some kind of casual picnic lunch at the side of the road.

They were clearly having loads of fun so I wished them “bon appetit” and left them to get on with it.

Talking of having loads of fun, I wasn’t this morning. I had a totally streaming head cold and ached in places I didn’t even know I had places.

The three alarms went off but I was in no mood to get up so I turned over and closed my eyes. Shame as it is to say it, it was 08:30 when I next saw the light of day.

After the medication and breakfast I transcribed the dictaphone notes to see where I’d been during the night. And last night it was Christmas and there were groups of people wandering around the town. I was playing music, either a Creedence Clearwater Revival or Canned Heat song, ideal for people to walk to or march to and they were walking around the town to that kind of music. Some young woman and her baby and I can’t remember what happened to her but I know that one or two people didn’t like my choice of music until I explained to them exactly why I had chosen the songs that I had. Granville’s Christmas lights were involved in this as well like the little LEDs in a blanket overhead they were involved in it too.
A little later on I was in Montreal discussing car rentals and someone was saying that the only way to make car rentals work was to hire a decent car and hire an old banger as well. I was trying to work that one out. First of all I didn’t have a clue how you could hire an old banger anyway. I thought that I would have to look into this. I went wandering off, and I was looking for some kind of meeting place because I was supposed to be meeting someone. A group of people from Somalia who had taken over one of these water rafting concerns, doing all kinds of things like delivering lorry loads and so on. But they had gone bankrupt and the local press was giving them a bit of a hard time. I’d arranged for someone to accompany me, a bassist (why I would want a bassist to accompany me I really don’t know) so I ended up in this big room and all these Oriental people turned up. They were mostly taking groups around but in the end I finally found one who was expecting to be with someone all on his own. I thought that that was me. I buttonholed this guy and he said he’d done this kind of thing before with individual people. Just then a couple of other people turned up – obviously the people in charge – a young Oriental guy and girl dressed in black outer clothes and white shirts or blouses, so I went to check with them but I couldn’t really get a direct answer from them – they were busy trying to organise other things, not really taking too much notice of what I was trying to say. The girl who was there was talking “yes it will be absolutely great as long as you show me a good time”. I thought “what the hell is happening here?”
Next task – the final one in the latest backlog of things, was to deal with the blog entry for the Saturday when I went on the bus for the away cup match.

As you can see, that’s now all done and dusted too, and there are just the “normal” arrears now to tackle. First job is going to HAVE TO BE tacking the photos from the summer when I was away for four months on various ships etc.

What I’ll have to do is to look into this image-editing program that everyone talks about and see what benefits that can bring to me.

medieval walled city granville manche normandy franceBy now it was after midday so I had to go into town for my dejeunette and my special Christmas fig and raisin bread.

The tide was right out so the harbour gates were closed. That meant that I could walk over the pathway and down the far side of the harbour.

The weather was so beautiful and the city walls and the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou were looking splendid in the sunshine.

And in the centre of the photograph you can see where they have been repairing the city walls just recently.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn this beautiful weather even Marité was looking really nice.

What I’ll have to do is to overcome my scruples and make enquiries about going for a sail on her in the summer. It’s just that the people who are responsible for her are so disinterested in helping the public and have no idea about “customer service”.

Every question you ask, it’s always “it’s on the internet” and they go back to talking amongst themselves.

Now here’s a thing.

renault alaskan port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIf ever you wanted a pick-up in France it was always “Peugeot”. But Peugeot stopped making pickups after the 505 finished production.

In North Africa we did see a modern Peugeot pick-up but they aren’t sold in France, so that’s why I was really surprised to see this “Renault Alaskan”. Not the name that you associate at all with pickups.

I was going to say that I’ve never seen one of these before, but a close inspection is enough to convince me that I have, and plenty of them too. Next time you’re at your local Nissan agent …

bad parking rue lecampion granville manche normandy franceYou are all probably very fed up of me using these pages to go about bad parking.

But if you are, that’s rather too bad because here’s some more. If you look closely at the registration number of the vehicle just here, and then just have a look at the registration number of the reserved parking place at this apartment building, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

It beggars belief, doesn’t it?

At la Mie Caline I picked up my bread and then headed back to the apartment. The diners had cleared off so I came back in.

After lunch I made a start on Project 008 for the radio and assembled all of the music except for the closing track which I always leave until last when I can see how much time there is left.

And Rosemary rang up too and we had a nice long chat for well over an hour about nothing in particular.

flagpoles monument to the resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThat was the cue for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

When I was out in the dark last night I’d noticed that there was something new erected by the war memorial to the Resistance fighters, and I wondered what it was.

But it’s not one thing at all, but four things. Four flagpoles in fact, and the next question is “what flags will they be flying from there?”

spirit of conrad trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere had been something new in the Chantier Navale so I went to see what was going on there.

Spirit of Conrad is still in there up on her blocks but she now has a new neighbour. One of these short stubby trawlers that sail out of here.

But there was someone working on Spirit of Conrad this afternoon. Does this mean that she might be nearing completion and ready to take to the waves?

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was musing on that subject I was roused by my reverie by a siren going off in the outer harbour.

It looks as if Joly France – one of the ferries that does the trip out to the Ile de Chausey and back – has been out for a sail during the day.

She must have unloaded all of her passengers and is now heading into the inner harbour and her berth.

victor hugo joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd I was right.

Here she is, tied up at her berth just behind Granville and Victor Hugo on the far side of the harbour, right by where I went for my walk earlier in the day.

On that note, I headed back to the apartment.

Back here the first thing that I did was some tidying up. The old broken office chair and a few more cardboard boxes have gone into the back of Caliburn ready for the dechetterie at the weekend.

Afterwards I finished the music for Project 008 and then attacked the mince pies. There was enough pastry on the roll for four mince pies and enough left over to make a sort-of oven bottom thing to fill with mince filling.

The mince filling came from out of a jar so I must remember to order some more for when Liz and Terry come back from the UK.

Tea was a burger in a bap with baked potatoes and vegetables followed by my oven-bottom, and then my evening walk.

No-one about and nothing to photograph so I didn’t stay out long. I did my run and just about made it to the ramp before I gave up. Yes, clearly not well.

But that’s not going to stop me from going for a walk at 23:45 to see what’s happening in town this evening at midnight. Probably nothing, but it’s still worth going for a look, especially as it’s a bank holiday of course, so no alarm.

I’ll let you know what happens.

joly france port de granville harbour  manche normandy france
joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Sunday 16th June 2019 – IT’S SUNDAY …

… today, and that is of course a Day of Rest

So despite the very late night – about 02:30 when I went to bed – I was wide awake and covered in sweat with this fever thing round about 08:40. That was a shame. I’d been off on a voyage somewhere but I can’t remember anything about it now, totally disappeared from my memory which was a shame.
But I must have gone back to sleep afterwards for not very long because I was on a coach with two guys one of whom was Bill. We were sitting near the back and someone came along and put the vacuum cleaner in my hand “it’s your turn to vacuum up”. So I started to vacuum up but the machine was set on a wet wash thing so there was water going everywhere. But that was a good thing because on the rug that was there was all kinds of squashed tomato sauce with onion from a meal and I remembered that I had dropped something on the floor when I was sitting at that table a few days ago but no-one had cleaned up the coash. So I was vacuuming it with this wet-wash thing, around my keys that were on the floor and gradually working my way down the coach towards the front, vacuuming around where all of the people were sitting. Some said that we had been on the coach for three weeks and no-one had ever done that. I explained that I used to be a coach driver and used to do this kind of thing when I was driving coaches. Gradually working my way down the front and all of a sudden a whole pile of people boarded so it was rather confusing trying to do the vacuuming in that situation – I couldn’t do very much. The coach set off, went for 100 yards or so to a “T” junction, turned left and pulled in immediately on the right where a group of young people off our coach were waiting. Everyone started to moan about it – “why couldn’t they have walked up here (to where everyone else had boarded) and done this and done that?”

So with a rude awakening like that, it was something of a very short day today.

Not too short to attack the dictaphone notes and transcribe seven of those. That’s reduced the backlog somewhat, but there’s still 60-odd to go. It’s amazing just how quickly things back up when you are unwell.

Part of the first dream that I had forgotten came back to me later. I’d been in the post office with this tiny letter about 10mmx30mm that needed to be posted. I asked about a stamp and the woman replied that the postage was included in the money that I had just paid. I asked how they would know that postage would be paid, to which she went and too out a small postage stamp. But there was no room on the envelope for it so she ingeniously made an envelope out of to post-it notes stuck back-to-back with my envelope in between. Meanwhile I’d been looking at another letter that I needed to post. It was to either the water company or the electric company in Belgium complaining about a surplus charge and showing all of my calculations about how it’s all wrong, but I noticed that I had written it in English with a note “sorry but I have lost my French” – something that completely surprised me. I realised that I couldn’t send it at all like that and I would have to take it back, write it out in French and send it once that had been done.

Apart from that I had a little quiet Sunday relax without doing too much, and then went off out for a walk round about 15:00. It’s the Artists’ Fair today when all of the local painters exhibit their wares for sale.

And while the rices (those items that were priced, that is – many of them are not) were slightly more reasonable this year, there was still nothing that grabbed my attention

But it really does annoy me when people don’t fix their prices to their goods on sale. It’s as if they fix the prices depending on how well you are dressed and how well you speak, rather than them putting a value on their works.

While I was gazing over the town walls, a parade of about a dozen historic vehicles drove past below. And so I went to track them down.

Much to my surprise I managed to find them and I took some photos. Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll post a few pics of them.

The door to the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was open so I went inside to try out the low-light capabilities of the new Nikon D500 and I’ll post the results in due course.

Tea was another excellent example of a vegan pizza and then I went for a nice walk around the headland in the dusk.

So now I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m on my travels again and I need to be on form.

Tuesday 12th February 2019 – THE GOOD NEWS …

… today (because there has been some) is that my new passport arrived.

There was a telephone call this morning asking me if I would be here this afternoon because the courier intended to pass by.

And so having confirmed it, I received a second phone call at about 15:35 to ask me which was the door to my block of apartments. Instead, I went downstairs and a charming lady handed me a big yellow envelope.

So now, being all legal again, that’s one less thing to think about. That is – until I lose this one.

For some reason or other, I was still awake and working at 01:30 last night. That’s usually a recipe for disaster but then again there’s no point in going to bed when I’m not tired and when I can carry on working.

Despite that, I managed to wake up when the alarm went off and I was out of bed comparatively early.

A comparatively early breakfast and then I settled down to work. And by the time that I had finished, I’d finished the blog back as far as 1st January 2019. And it’s not as easy as it might be either because until I fathomed out the depths of this new blog upgrade, the blog was itself inserting all kinds of redundant and surplus *.html code that bears little or no resemblance to the coding that I use.

It all has to be stripped out and while I have a computer program that does that, it strips out everything, including the coding that I want leaving in. And so I have to start again.

As far as the text database goes, I’m now back almost to the beginning of December. That was, by the way, a heavy month for photos so it’s going to take longer than it otherwise might.

british range rover discovery unloading furniture rue st jean granville manche normandy franceI went out and about for my walk this afternoon as usual.

And was treated to the delightful sight of a group of British people blocking off the rue St Jean while they unloaded a trailer of furniture – because they were too lazy to carry the furniture 50 metres from the car park around the corner.

It’s this kind of thing that I hate, because it gives all of us a very bad name when they treat the locals with contempt like this.

beach donville les bains brehal plage granville manche normandy franceHowever, leaving aside a really good rant for the moment, the weather this afternoon was beautiful.

It was sunny and warm (for the time of year) and the sky was quite clear. There was a beautiful view of the coastline all the way along from Donville les Bains down to Bréhal-Plage.

On the right of the image is of course that old hotel where I saw that miserable apartment that was to let.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd hardly surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the beautiful weather;

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s school holiday so there were crowds out there strolling along the Plat Gousset and walking along the beach.

No-one actually in the water, though. And I can’t blame them. It wasn’t that warm out there.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd not only that, there was some activity in the port too. Our old friend Thora was in the harbour this afternoon tied up at her berth by the dockyard crane.

I could see that she was loaded up with a dozen or so of these enormous gravel bags, but whether or not there was gravel in them I couldn’t really say.

But whatever there is in there, it’ll all be off to Jersey in early course.

place d'armes granville manche normandy francehaving been up on the top of the walls at the back of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou to take a photo of Thora, there was a really good view of my apartment building.

It’s the building on the right there, part of an old military barracks with the parade ground in the middle.

Part of the old parade ground is closed off and is our private parking. You can see Caliburn in his little parking space just there.

The building in the background is now the College Malraux – the local secondary school. Their playground is the old military sports ground at the back of the College.

Back here, I had the usual strum on the guitar followed by a coffee. No Christmas Cake because I finished that off on Sunday. And then I started work again;

But not for long though. I was soon tucked up in bed under the covers fast asleep. And there I stayed for about 90 minutes. I wasn’t asleep for all of that time but it’s difficult for me to tear myself out of bed.

There was some of that potato and lentil curry left over from the other day. So I added half a leek and some sweetcorn to it to lengthen it.

And followed by tinned fruit salad and that soya cream stuff (almond this week, not coconut) it was thoroughly delicious.

night trawler pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceLater on after tea I went out for my evening walk. Around the headland tonight, looking at the trawlers coming in with their catch.

And I tried a little experiment. The photos that I’m taking of various things at night are sometimes coming out poorly because I’m struggling to set the exposure correctly to stop pinpoints of light being too bright and distorting the image.

So tonight what I did was to set the exposure to where I would ordinarily have set it, and then reduced the ISO by one stop and increased the exposure by a couple of stops.

And it’s coming out much clearer – but there’s still room to go.

trawlers baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a large collection of lights just outside the entrance to the harbour. It looked as if it might have been a gravel boat such as Neptune standing off and hove to, waiting for the tidal gates to open.

But with the photo being much better and clearer than usual now, I could see that it was actually a couple of trawlers having stopped to have a little chat before they came in and tied up to unload.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut the harbour was really quite busy tonight.

There must have been eight or nine fishing boats in the outer harbour either tied up unloading or waiting for an empty berth. And half a dozen more here or hereabouts on their way in.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … I would have loved to have been here in the heyday of the port when it would have been packed with Newfie trawlers.

So now I’m going to try to have an early night. I probably won’t sleep, what with having crashed out this afternoon, but I ought to make an effort.

I can’t keep on going like this.
people on beach granville manche normandy france
people on beach granville manche normandy france

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france
beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france
thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france

rue st jean granville manche normandy france
rue st jean granville manche normandy france

night trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
night trawler ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Sunday 4th November – SO THERE I WAS …

… standing in the foyer of this really impressive hotel. Big and magnificent, with as many luxury floors below ground as above. And how I was looking forward to the guided tour that I had been promised. And just as the guide appeared to see me and head my way, the blasted alarm went off and awoke me.

I’d forgotten that last Sunday I’d had the alarm working. So serve me right.

Anyway, no chance of me leaving my stinking pit at 06:00. I turned over and went back to sleep. 09:15 is much more like it for waking up.

And 09:50 is even better for leaving the bed of course, and 10:30 is much more like a decent time for a Sunday breakfast.

The temperature outside was 8°C and in here it was 10°C. A signal to put on the central heating. Can’t leave it too long without heating and then freeze to death.

With being up-to-date with the important stuff (but still plenty of less-important stuff to do) I had a whack at the trip to the High Arctic and did another 2000 words.

But the funny thing is that I don’t appear to be much further forward either. I don’t know where it all goes, this stuff that I write.

And talking of writing, I find that I’ve overlooked a couple of e-mails that I received while I was away with the fairies. I replied to one of them, and have another two to do tomorrow. As well as replying to a letter that I have forgotten.

I had a late lunch and then went out. Union Sportive des Mouettes de Donville were playing AS Gavray and as it was a beautiful afternoon, a spell at a football pitch right by the sea sounded ideal.

But when I got there, the cupboard was bare. No idea what had happened there.

But US St Pairaise were playing at home against EC Tessy Moyon Sports so I thrashed around the ring road to the Stade Croissant.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceI was somewhat late arriving of course, about 7 minutes after kick-off. But according to some of the locals I hadn’t missed anything exciting.

So I settled down in the grandstand with a coffee out of the flask (because there’s no pie hut at Donville) and watched the game.

St Pair is the team in orange and black, and Tessy Moyon in the yellow and red.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceUS St Pairaise are second in the table and Tessy-Moyon are adrift at the foot, so I was expecting something of a comfortable passage for the home side.

But that wasn’t how it was turning out for the first thirty minutes. It’s true to say that St Pairaise were the better-disciplined and organised side, but Tessy-Moyon were in there slugging it out and defending quite well.

It looked as it St Pairaise was going to make hard work of it.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceIn fact, there was some very good and thoughtful football played out there.

It didn’t come off as often as the players would have liked, which isn’t really a surprise at this level of football, but it was impressive to see the players trying.

And it didn’t ‘arf look impressive when it worked out.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceWhat changed things was a substitution that the St Pairaise trainer made after about 30 minutes.

He brought on a new attacker – the n°12 – and he immediately ignited the game.

And scored with probably his first real kick – a delightful scissor-kick volley from a corner, right into the top corner of the net.

I bet that he wouldn’t ever do that again in a million years.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceAnd so we continued in the same vein for the second half.

An evenly-matched contest between the two teams with US St Pairaise having marginally the better of the game, but then the n°12 suddenly getting to grips with the game again.

And things then moved up a gear.

stade croissant US St Pairaise EC Tessy Moyon Sports football manche normandy franceSure enough, with about 10 minutes to go, US St Pairaise scored a second goal.

A good header from a cross – the keeper really had no chance with that.

And EC Tessy-Moyon can feel aggrieved with the result. They weren’t maybe as good as Us St Pairaise, but St Pairaise weren’t two goals better. It’s hard to see, on this performance, how it is that EC Tessy Moyon are adrift in the basement.

And interesting as it might seem, not a single yellow card today, never mind any red one. That’s something to celebrate.

On the way back, I had a real surprise in Granville. A 1960s Van Hool-bodied coach came driving round the town. Immaculate condition, clearly recently restored and very impressive.

When I finally returned to my apartment (which wasn’t easy seeing as I was stuck behind yet another grockle admiring the seagulls) I went off to see if I could find it.

humorous sign square de l'arsenal granville manche normandy franceNo such luck though. It wasn’t on the coach park down the road, which was the obvious place to look.

But what I did see was a classic example of what can happen when you put some street furniture in the wrong place.

So “Bottoms Up” to the Town Council of Granville, hey?

gymnase jean galfione granville manche normandy franceOn the way round, it did occur to me that I have never yet taken a photo of the sports ground just down the road here.

This is the Gymnase Jean Galfione, whoever he was when he was at home, if he ever had been … “he won the Olympic Gold in the pole vault for France in 1996” – ed.

There’s a running track there and a sports field, used by the school.

If the coach wasn’t on the coach park, it might well have been on the mobile home park, so I went for a look around there.

caravanette laika mobile home granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t there either, but this interesting vehicle caught my eye.

With Polish plates it was bound to be different, and indeed it is. A “Laika” caravanette, named for the Russian dog that was the first living creature to orbit the earth in a spacecraft – 61 years ago to the day as it happens.

I’ve never seen one of these previously

place d'armes eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceSo being totally unsuccessful, I headed back for home.

And the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou looking so interesting, I took a photo of that too. I’ve not taken a photo of it from this angle before.

Back here, Lili brought me back my dish from yesterday evening, and then I did the photographs from today.

Tea tonight was a vegan pizza, and very nice it was too. They are improving, although the oven still isn’t hot enough.

But now I’ve left it rather late for bed. I could have done with an early night for a change and I bet that I’ll regret this in the morning.

Tuesday 21st August 2018 – I’VE BEEN OFF …

… on my travels yet again today.

And it started at about 04:00 when I had to leave my stinking pit for a ride on the porcelain horse, and fell AoT over something in the way, rattling the entire building. All in all it was another bad night.

mont st michel manche normandy franceAfter breakfast, I had a shower and then we headed off through the town and through all of the grockles admiring the seagulls.

The destination for today was, as you might expect, the Mont St Michel. Despite its reputation, it’s one of those places that everyone has to visit whenever they come to Brittany or Normandy just to say that they were there.

And it was another day when the visibility wasn’t up to much, unfortunately.

restaurant prices la mere poulard mont st michel manche normandy franceI mentioned the prices of the food in the restaurants on the island. And seeing as many people expressed their surprise I decided to take a photograph of a typical menu.

Vegetable soup is on offer at €16:00, and a basic omelette starts at €34:00. If you want a three-course meal you can have one here at €58:00.

A sandwich from the sandwich bar across the street will cost you at least €8:50. And so it’s no surprise that most of the tourists who visit the island bring their own picnic lunch

walking parties genets mont st michel manche normandy franceWe’d come here in Caliburn of course, prepared to pay the extortionate car-parking prices, but had I been in better health I would have come another way.

Today is another day when the tidal coefficient is so small that it’s possible to walk over the sands from Genets. And there were quite a few parties coming over the sands.

That is something that you can’t do on your own without a guide. Apart from the treacherous watercourses, there’s quite a lot of soft sand out there which yu can sink into if you aren’t careful.

helicopter carrying building materials mont st michel manche normandy franceWe went for a good walk around the walls again, our conversation being continually interrupted by a helicopter flying overhead.

There were building works going on somewhere on the island and they were conveying the material to the site by helicopter, in a basket slung underneath the machine.

We were having all kinds of flights of imagination, picturing the helicopter coming to a dead halt and the momentum of the basket underneath swinging into the walls of the Abbey and demolishing them.

technamm tracked fire engine granville manche normandy franceWhen I was here the other week with Alison I had seen an exciting tracked machine away in the distance. It had excited my curiosity and so today we went down to look at it.

It’s a fire engine apparently, and it’s tracked so that it can climb up and down the steps in the city.

It has a trailer too. That is also tracked, and is also driven, with a prop shaft off the power take-off on the rear of the tractor. All in all, an impressive piece of kit.

mont st michel manche normandy franceMost of the tourists when they arrive enter by the main gate, go in over the drawbridge and past all of the tourist traps.

But there is another way in which misses the queues and congestion and goes up to the pathway that leads up to the walls on the western side of the site.

The way in is underneath that beautiful gated building down there and then up the hill towards where I’m standing. But I do have to say that I wouldn’t object at all to a little apartment in the building down there, despite all of the tourists.

brittany gate mont st michel manche normandy franceAlthough the access to the site today is from the southern, or Normandy side, there’s also a gateway on the western side facing what was Brittany in medieval times prior to the rerouting of the river that passes around here.

I was told an exciting story about how, in 1424 during the Hundred Years War, the English besieged the island from the Normandy side but they were unable to starve the garrison out.

This was because the people on the Breton side would send food and weapons over to the Brittany gate and by the time that the tide had gone out sufficiently to enable the English to attack the gate here, the island had been supplied and the Bretons safely back on their shore.

We left the island early in the afternoon and set off on our way home.

cancale pointe de grouin ile des landes brittany franceWe went again to the Cabane Vauban to see the view now that the weather had cleared slightly, and I took a couple of photos.

One of the ones that I took was right across the Baie de Mont St Michel over to the town of Cancale, the Pointe de Grouin and the Ile des Landes right across the bay and into Brittany.

It’s hard to believe that it’s all about 12 miles away.

cancale pierre de herpin st malo brittany franceThis is the second half of the above photograph, that I had cropped in two.

This one shows another one of the islands off Cancale, which I thought at first might have been a ship, and the lighthouse on the Pierre de Herpin over on the extreme right of the photograph.

Right away in the background is the Brittany coast all the way down almost to St Malo and that’s probably about 25 miles away.

three masted sailing ship manche normandy franceYou might have noticed in the previous photograph that there was something on the horizon between the coast and the lighthouse.

I’d been having a good play with the telephoto lens and doing some photo manipulation, what with having plans for going on a holiday in the near future. And so I cropped, enlarged and enhanced that part of the image.

And I’ve managed to bring out what, in my opinion, is a three-masted sailing ship, something like the Marité. That’s actually quite impressive, seeing as it’s at least 20 miles away in my opinion.

mont st michel manche normandy franceThe view southwards however is much more banal.

Mont St Michel is about 10 miles away as the crow flies, and in contrast to the other day when I was here with Alison and you could hardly see 100 yards, a little bit of “crop and paste” and image enhancement can bring out the abbey at Mont St Michel quite nicely.

To the right of the island are the white buildings of the hotel complex on the mainland. And I’m sure that this is what we have seen on a couple of occasions from Granville.

granville manche normandy franceTalking of Granville, we can actually see that today from here.

There’s the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou on the far right, and to the left of it are the public rooms and the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. To the left of that is the other block of apartments that they are renovating right now.

My building is out of sight behind there.

autogyro baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceBut that’s not all.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned an autogyro, but I wasn’t able to take a photograph of it. Today however, while we were here, the aforementioned went a-flying by overhead.

Luckily I had the camera ready and I was able to shoot off a photograph of it. It’s a modern machine, not one of the early ones from the 1920s and 30s.

baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceSo while you admire another photo of Mont St Michel – the one that the copped image above was taken, I can tell you that there are plenty of photos that I took at Mont St Michel that haven’t made it onto this page.

That’s because it’s my intention, one of these days in early course, to put them all up on a web page of their own.

And then you can admire them at your own convenience.

On the way back here we went to LeClerc. I needed some new bootlaces and Hans wanted to look at the recycled bags that they use here instead of plastic bags, and he took a few to analyse with him later.

Tea tonight was some taco wraps with a stuffing made of this couscous powder that I bought, some tomatoes, olives, onions, garlic and kidney beans, all in tomato sauce. With some spice rice it was delicious.

Having seen Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday last night, we watched a few Bulldog Drummond films on the DVD tonight. That took us nicely up to about 23:30 and then we turned in.

Hans is leaving to head off back to Germany tomorrow. I have a pile of tidying up to do and then I can start packing for my voyage, wherever it might be.

Sunday 15th July 2018 – 10:35 …

… is a much more civilised time to be waking up on a Sunday morning, isn’t it?

But what’s not so civilised is the fact that I was still up and about at 04:00 this morning.

For some reason I just wasn’t tired and at some silly time in the morning I was dealing with the hidden files that I told you about yesterday on the portable drive – passing them over to the master disk and then having to work out a way of deleting them from the drive because, for some reason, they had been installed in the system drive part.

In the end, a good old proprietary file shredder came to the rescue. The one that I have can reach into the parts of the computer that other file shredders can’t reach.

As a result of my late arousal, I had a very late breakfast. And I almost forgot my fig rolls too. But I had both of them, which meant that I didn’t have any lunch.

brocante haute ville granville manche normandy franceThe crowds out here wandering around told me that there was something afoot in the Medieval town. And so I grabbed a quick shower, but my nails, and went out hot-foot (or chaud-pied as they might say around here) to see.

Sure enough, we were having another brocante around the streets. And this time I managed to find something. A Michelin “Green Guide” of Normandy – a 1970-71 version in really good condition for all of €0:50.

There were lots of other things that I would have liked too, but I drew the line at paying €500 for a nice seascape or €220 for a nice model of a sailing ship.

The owner of the sailing ship told me of a secluded harbour in a wide bay where it could be kept, and he made it sound so good that I reckoned that his barque was worse than his bight.

photograph exposition haute ville granville manche normandy franceAnother thing that was going on up here was a photograph exposition in the open air.

It seems that someone has been out in an aeroplane or maybe one of these paraglider things and taken loads of photographs of Normandy from the air, and there were about 20 of them on display outside this afternoon.

Some of them were quite good too and there were one or two that made my quite envious. I wish that my photographs would turn out like his.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceI had another bit of good luck too this afternoon.

The church, the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was open to the public today.

That doesn’t happen all that often, and the last time that I noticed the open doors I didn’t have the camera with me. But today, I was properly equipped.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceThe origins of the church go back to 1113 when it is said that fishermen dragged up a statue of Mary from the sea, presumably from an earlier shipwreck.

In honour of this event, a chapel dedicated to her was erected in this vicinity.

But all of this changed during the latter stages of the Hundred Years War

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceAfter the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 the English occupied Normandy and the the Medieval City was created and the fortifications built.

In 1440 the construction of the current church began. The granite blocks that were used in its construction were brought over from quarries on the Ile de Chausey.

And from then on, after the recapture of the town, the church was continually enlarged, with the sacristy being added as recently as 1771.

eglise de notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceThere are plenty of very worn gravestones on the floor of the church. It seems that this was the place for the notables of the town to be buried back in those days.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to read the inscriptions on them now.

As an important historical edifice, the church was added to the list of Historical Monuments on 12th December 1930.

eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceWhile you admire another photo of the interior of the church, I headed for home.

Back here, shame as it is to admit it, after I returned I crashed out for a short while. And then I had to start to do some work.

There’s a possibility that I might be having at least three visits sometime over the next few months so I need to organise my diary, organise my appointments and make a few arrangements with others so that we all know what we are doing it – and, more importantly, when.

And that takes more time than you might imagine too. I don’t know where the time goes to these days.

With having had no lunch, I was ready for tea and with it being Sunday it’s pizza night. But surprisingly (or maybe not) I had a struggle to eat it. I’m definitely not doing too well, am I?

On the walk this evening I met Gribouille again and he came for a pick-up. And it seems that he has acquired a new younger brother, a little tabby, and he came for a pick-up and cuddle too.

peugeot 403 granville manche normandy franceAnd they weren’t the only things to see outside.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this car before. It’s a Peugeot 403, built between 1955 and 1966 and which replaced the legendary Peugeot 203.

1,200,000 or so of these cars were built and there are still several thousand driving around on the roads of France as daily drivers, never mind as voitures de collection.

So I’ll try for an early night tonight. The alarm goes on in the morning and I really must organise myself. There’s a lot to do.