Tag Archives: emptying caliburn

Friday 17th June 2022 – "THE MOVING FINGER"

“writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it”

So wrote Omar Khayyam in his famous Rubaiyat 900 years ago. But of course he was talking nonsense because a good rubber or a backspace key can erase as much as you like of anything that you have written.

What you cannot lure back to cancel, not even half a word, never mind half a line, is a word that you have spoken and how I’m regretting many of the words that I spoke, or, “mis-spoke”, to be more accurate, in my Welsh exam this afternoon.

Luckily, it’s a conversation exam so, as has been drummed into us on many occasions, they aren’t looking for perfection. Just whether you can hold a conversation that is intelligible and which flows.

The part of the exam which I feared the most, the “asking questions to fill in the gaps”, actually went quite well but the conversation was strewn with errors. However I managed to keep it going, he understood me, I understood his questions and he understood my replies.

Where it fell apart was when I had to interrogate him for a minute or two about his house. You’ve no idea how difficult it is to ask someone a barrage of questions for that length of time.

Yes, what wouldn’t I give for my moving tongue to wipe away whatever it was that I said so that I could start again?

But anyway there isn’t really anything that I can do about that now.

Let’s focus on the rest of the day instead.

southern liner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And how about this ship that appeared in port this morning?

The other day I mentioned that it looked as if we were expecting some interesting things happening in port but I wasn’t expecting anything quite like this.

She’s Southern Liner, a small bulk carrier of 1100 tonnes, registered in Panama, that for the last few weeks has been running a shuttle between St Malo and St Helier but for some reason or other has now come into port here.

Is this going to be the start of something important? I hope so, because we could do with some more trade coming into the harbour.

Not like some of the locals will like it. Having had a successful campaign against the Big Wheel that I mentioned a few weeks ago, they are now campaigning against the Bar Ephemère and are campaigning to close it down.

They seem to be determined to destroy everything that disturbs the peace and tranquility of their little world on the seafront and so I’m on record now as saying that if they don’t like the town and its entertainment I’ll help them pack and I’ll personally run them out of town.

At times I think that a great many people have forgotten that many years ago they were young people too. They need to get over themselves, grow up, and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

So once again I was awake early. Round about 06:45 as it happens. And when the alarm went off I was up and about quite quickly.

After the medication and checking my mails I spent the rest of the morning and the early part of the afternoon revising my Welsh, with the usual stops for a coffee, for breakfast and for lunch as well.

a little earlier I mentioned the exam. It should have been much better than it was but having to think on my feet and talk for more than five minutes is quite confusing. Still, too late to complain about it now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once the exam was over I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

It was no surprise to see crowds of people down there because it was the hottest day of the year today. It’s quite cool in my apartment with walls of solid stone 1.2 metres thick and even so I didn’t have a jumper on at all today.

Some of the people down there had taken to the water too and I can’t say that I blamed them. I was rather tempted myself – that tells you just how warm it was today.

marker lights ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was looking down onto the beach, my other eye was roving about out at sea to see what was going on there.

There was quite a haze out there this afternoon and a strange reflection from the water. In recent times when the tide has been out we’ve seen the really nice beaches down at the north end of the Ile de Chausey but today the haze had hidden all of that.

And as far as I could see, there wasn’t a single boat out there at all this afternoon and that was something of a surprise. Admittedly the tide was quite far out so there won’t be anyone on their way home but I was expecting to see something going on out there, regardless of the haze.

marker buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A few days ago we saw a beautiful flag out there in the bay, presumably indicating where someone has dropped off a lobster pot.

There were a few more out there in the bay this afternoon. By the looks of things the inshore fishing is intensifying, possibly because of the summer season and the tourists. They’ll all be asking for fresh lobster.

Mind you, I can tell you a story about “fresh lobster” from my days in tourism but this is not the time and the place, bearing in mind the peculiar way that calumnie works in France.

There weren’t too many people here on the path so I could wander round in comparative peace and quiet on my way around my circuit.

securite civile van pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But there had been something going on on the lawn here by one of the old bunkers and by the looks of things I had missed it.

That van there is a Securité Civile – Moyens Aeriens – “Civil Security by Aerial Means” and it is usually out and about wherever the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter is operating.

And so it looks as if they have had their chopper out around here performing a rescue. That’s cleared off, presumably to hospital with the rescuee and the van is on its way back to the depot with all of the climbing equipment and everything else that it carries.

And I was too late to catch it all in action.

That was enough excitement for the afternoon. There was no-one down on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland so I wandered off around the end of the headland and down the path on the other side towards the port.

l'alize 3 charles marie 2 wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we have yet another change in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Wavecat Express is still there but the catamaran that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water.

L’Alize III that we saw in there on Wednesday is still in there today and she has company. The blue and white trawler that’s come to join her is Charles Marie II..

And there’s a yacht in there too today. I wonder if it’s the same one that we saw the other day that was briefly in here but didn’t stick around.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again by the looks of things.

Yes, it’s L’Omerta back again, moored up to the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down into the silt.

There were quite a few cars down there on the lower level so it looks as if they are expecting a lot of the smaller shell-fishing boats coming into port to unload as soon as the tide turns.

On the way home I went to inspect Southern Liner and then back here I had a strawberry smoothie.

Next task was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something going on about learning French last night but I can’t remember anything at all about it. It all went out of my head the moment I grabbed hold of the dictaphone.

Later on I was in my white Passat estate going to Germany from Brussels. Leaving Brussels was a real mess because everywhere was in roadworks. I had to go a long way out out of my way. eventually I picked up a road to Liège and set off to go that way. This road disappeared into a tunnel with a black and white road surface. There was a load of slow-moving pedestrians in it (by now I was on foot) and I was running into these pedestrians, they were moving so slowly. We went round a corner in this tunnel and ended up in some kind of subterranean railway station. A train pulled in so we all slmabered aboard. I walked down to the rear of the train where I could look out of the windows at the back and down the line. I didn’t have a ticket, was just standing there watching. The train gradually filled up. In the end the last 2 seats were taken by a couple of men who were clearly under the weather. They were dressed in light blue tuxedos. It looked to me as if they had been on a night out in a casino or something like that, spent their money and had plenty to drink. They settled down in these last two seats so I was standing up by there. The train pulled away and that was that.

And regrettably I fell asleep at some point. The only time that I fell asleep today as well and again, only for about 15 minutes.

After I awoke and came back round into the land of the living I started to empty Caliburn.

At great personal expense I’ve brought up two of my four kitchen units. I can bring them across the yard on a trolley, carry them to the front door (just about) and then roll them in their boxes head over heels up the stairs. It’s back-breaking so I’m not going to do the other two until tomorrow.

What I am going to do later though, when I’ve recovered, is to go down and bring up a pile of the lighter stuff. It’ll be another job done.

Tea tonight was a curry made of leftover bits and pieces and it was delicious. So now I’m going to take it easy because tomorrow I have some cleaning up to do.

Wednesday 15th August 2018 – THERE’S NOT MUCH POINT …

… these days in my switching off the alarms to have a lie in.

Going to bed early, I was nevertheless wide awake, having been awoken bolt-upright at about 01:20 this morning, although I don’t know why. And it took me ages to go back to sleep.

And then I was awake again at about 06:00 and that was that. So much for any lie-in that I was planning.

After breakfast, there was some paperwork to deal with – quite a pile of that in fact – and then I tried to contact the medical laboratory to try to sort out a blood test. But despite the place being advertised as opening at 08:00, there was no reply throughout the morning.

But I soon found out the reason for that.

Liz came on line later. “I’m in Coutances. I’ve just been to do a few errands and everywhere is closed. I’ve forgotten that it’s a Bank Holiday”.

I hadn’t forgotten – I hadn’t even realised. But that explains why the laboratory is not answering its telephone.

Lunch was taken inside today. It was cloudy, windy, grey and miserable outside so I wasn’t going to brave the weather out there.

As for the work today, I’ve been unloading Caliburn. Half of the stuff that I brought here is now in the apartment. The CDs have been cleaned (because the boxes were filthy), sorted, shelves fitted in the units and the Cds stacked properly. It looks quite impressive.

Most of the books are up here too. They’ve been cleaned too – or rather, what’s left of them after the mice have had a good nibble. I suppose that the mice will be continuing to nibble the hundreds of books that I left behind. Whatever will they be like when I go back there again?

Some of the paperwork is in here too. It’s had an initial sorting, and there will be a much deeper sorting in due course.

While I was out there giving Gribouille a stroke, Bridgitte came by and we had a good chat for half an hour.

Tea was a delcious meal of baked potatoes, burger, vegetables and gravy.

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

It was a really beautiful sunset this evening. I was lucky enough to catch the sun sliding out of the clouds and disappearing down below the horizon over the Ile de Chausey.

Just the kind of spectacle for which you might pay good money, and here I am, getting it all for free.

evening sunset jersey granville manche normandy franceAnd surprisingly, there was also an exceptional view of Jersey and the Channel Islands this evening.

It’s not very often that you can see the island as clearly as this, especially in the evening, so I was particularly pleased with this.

There were lots of other things going on too, and quite a crowd out there watching it. But it isn’t half going dark early these days.

So I’ll see how I go with an early night again. I have the shops to visit tomorrow, as well as the laboratory and the shipping company offices. That will be quite a walk.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

fishermen zodiac granville manche normandy france
fishermen zodiac granville manche normandy france

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

evening sunset jersey granville manche normandy france
evening sunset jersey granville manche normandy france

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
la grande ancre baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 18th July 2018 – I’M WHACKED!

And it’s no surprise either. The last three pieces of furniture came up from Caliburn today, they are assembled, partly filled and now in place.

And what was funny was that when I was at IKEA and loading Caliburn with the two large cabinets, I couldn’t manage it and needed some help. But yet this morning I could pick one of them up with one hand and run up the stairs with it.

The big chest of drawers, well that was a different matter. That needed two trips as I expected. And at about 19:00 at the end of the day when I had to bring up the other large cabinet, it was something of a stagger.

Anyway, now they are all assembled and in position. The bedroom now actually looks like a bedroom-cum-office as it’s supposed to do. And not only that, I’ve even started to tidy up Caliburn.

Caliburn needs a good tidying out too because there needs to be room for the European Cardboard Box Mountain which is now totally out of control. All of that needs taking down and loading into Caliburn so that I can take it to the dechetterie when I’m out and about on my travels on Saturday.

And then I need to start to tidy up in here.

The problem with this illness is that I’m like a lithium battery in that I can work and work, and then just suddenly I hit the wall and all of my energy completely disappears and I’m fit for nothing. So there are paperwork, tools and everything around here and I’m too tired to put them away.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I did go to bed and some kind of early-ish night. But I lay awake for hours tossing and turning anf trying to make myself comfortable.

And when I finally did go off to sleep I was awoken at 05:45 by the lorry emptying the bins.

So all in all I didn’t have much sleep.

To treat myself I made a nice fresh load of muesli and had a nice breakfast, and then there were a few things to be done.

Once I’d organised that, I started to attack the furniture. That took a while, especially as I was interrupted on a couple of occasions.

Remember me saying yesterday that I needed to telephone Belgium? Well, they telephoned me. And what I reckoned might have been a really complicated procedure was resolved in three minutes flat, entirely to my satisfaction, for which I’m extremely grateful.

I first dealt with this company back in – I think – 2001 and despite all of the issues that have arisen, they have never yet let me down or disappointed me. So Chapeau to them.

Lunch was very late, and one of the lizards came for a chat which was nice. He seems to be quite tame right now.

But yet again I’ve gone without tea. It must be doing me some good – I’m not forcing myself to eat as I have a few kilos to lose, but I’ll be intrigued to see what my weight will be right now.

ferry ile de chausey marker light port de granville harbour manche normandy franceInstead, I went for my evening walk around the headland.

The tide was quite far out and so we could see the marker light for entry to the harbour. We saw it the other day when the tide was right in, with just the red bands out of the water.

The Ile de Chausey ferries here will give you some idea of how high the red bands are, and this how high the tide is when it comes right in.

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd even more interestingly, there was some kind of activity going on at the foot of the new harbour gates.

I’m not quite sure exactly what they are doing in those red boats but they seemed to be quite interested in something that was happening there.

And you can also see here too just how high the tide will rise here on the harbour wall.

But I can’t wait for that. I’ve not crashed out yet, much to my surprise but I’m going to have an early night. It’s LIDL tomorrow and then I have to start the tidying up.

My favourite occupation, I don’t think.

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

Saturday 14th July 2018 – EVERYONE KNOWS …

… that today is a Bank Holiday – or jour ferié in France.

It’s also the day 200 – odd years ago that the French stormed the Bastille – the fortified prison in the centre of Paris. The reason why they did this is probably because with it being a jour ferié all of the shops were closed and they had nothing else to do … “are you sure about this?” – ed.

I celebrated the jour ferié by switching off the alarm last night and having a lie-in. But 07:45 was far too early to leave my stinking pit so I turned over for five minutes. And then it was 08:55.

With the usual morning performance, and then I had a very late breakfast. And having reorganised things a little better in here just recently, I set up the coffee machine – only to find that I’ve almost run out of ground coffee.

That’s right – ground coffee. So if people tell me that my coffee tastes like mud I can tell them that it was ground only half an hour ago.

But with it being a jour ferié, I had a little treat – another fig roll. So I pulled that out – and then forgot to eat it. So I’ll have two tomorrow because although it might not be a jour ferié, it’s a Sunday.

First task today was the photos. 271 from my little adventure and I’d dealt with about half. So all through the rest of the morning and the early afternoon I edited them all and then uploaded them to the internet.

A very late lunch, so I made my butties and went to sit on the wall in the glorious sunshine where I was joined by not one but two lizards. This pear treat is becoming quite the thing, isn’t it? I’ll probably end up with a couple of dinosaurs.

On the way back to here i Went via Caliburn to bring another load of stuff up to the apartment, and was accosted by a weird neighbour who wanted to have a good chat – and not about all that much either but it’s amazing just how some people can spin it out.

When I eventually returned to here, I transferred all of the files from the portable laptop to the one that I use here and made sure that they were all deleted to save space.

It was then I noticed that the portable “Storex” drive that I take on my travels, despite being practically empty according to the File manager, had over 5gb of material on it.

Of course, finding “hidden” files on an “empty” hard drive is only the work of half an hour or so – good old T223, hey? – and they were all revealed. More stuff that I knew that I had and had subsequently lost. So they’ll be reignited and moved in due course too.

With the neighbour outside, I’d missed my afternoon walk, but I carried on with another task. when I was in IKEA in Caen before I went away, I’d bought three little units to store the CDs and DVDs but it wasn’t enough. However it was all that they had.

However at the IKEA in Munich they had two more so I bought those (cheaper than at Caen too!) and assembled them this evening. Yes – working at 20:30, and on a Bank Holiday too!

party gun mount atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut I didn’t miss my evening walk though.

It was a beautiful evening and there were crowds and crowds of people about, with a group of people having a party sitting on one of the old World War II gun mounts from the Atlantic Wall here on the Pointe du Roc.

And had I not had all of this work to do, I would have joined them too, so nice was the weather.

high tide baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceYou’ll remember the other day just how far out the tide had gone, with all of the people collecting shellfish offshore.

But this evening the tide was right in and you can see from the harbour marker light how far in the tide comes in and how high it reaches when it’s really high.

The tidal ranger here is one of the highest in Europe apparently.

fireworks port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was out on my walk I bumped into a friendly neighbourhood policewoman.

She told me that there would be a firework display this evening at about 23:00 or thereabouts down in the docks, so round about 22:30 I went back out again.

There was a huge crowd down on the quayside but not all that many up here.

fireworks port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd so I had a grandstand view of the proceedings, sitting on my wall.

We had to wait until about 23:30 before things got under way, and then the spectacle began.

It’s not usually my kind of thing, but I have to be sociable and take part in the local proceedings. And it was actually quite good – much better than I was thinking that it might be.

fireworks port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe crowds weren’t just on land either.

Just before the event started, a few boats pulled up outside the harbour and dropped anchor so that the people on board could watch the fireworks from offshore.

Nevertheless, I still reckon that I had the best view of the proceedings from up here.

fireworks port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe whole show went on for about half an hour, and the finale was certainly impressive.

It certainly lit up the harbour and probably the bay for miles around. And once it had finished all of the crowds and the boats drifted away.

I drifted off back home to my apartment for a relax, and then I’ll go to bed. And hopefully I’ll have another good sleep.

But when will my appetite come back?

baie de mont st michel ferry ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
baie de mont st michel ferry ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france
firework display port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Friday 13th July 2018 – I THINK THAT I WAS …

shellfish hunting low tide port de granville harbour manche normandy france… right last night about the tides. When I went out for my butties, the tide was as far out as I have ever seen it.

There were quite a few people out there too, presumably having a root around in the sand for the shellfish.

Which, they would presumably share with their friends because, as I have said before … "on many occasions" – ed … you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

Going to bed last night was at something of a much-more respectable hour, and I managed to sleep almost until the alarm went off, with a little hiccup at about 04:00 or something like that. I tried my best to ignore the alarm but I couldn’t go back off to sleep and it was about 07:00 when I left the bed.

We had the usual morning performance, but breakfast ended up being quite late. And I forgot my coffee too.

First task was to assemble the two small trolleys that I had bought from IKEA the other day. And now I have a vegetable trolley and a cooking utensil trolley and they are both very handy. And then I had a little tidy-up, much to my own surprise.

Lunch was quite late after all of that, and on the way back in I started to unload Caliburn. I’ve brought quite a bit of stuff up here now, but there’s still plenty to go. I reckon that tomorrow I’ll have to start to unpack things and do some washing.

Another thing that I did was to crack on with my 3D program that I have neglected of late. Especially as a few things that I wanted were in a “50% off” sale today only.

There was also a visit into town. The mixed dried fruit sold in the supermarkets that I frequent is pretty much rubbish but the Super U has some good stuff. I need it for my muesli so I went for a walk down there in the heat, and treated myself to a sorbet on the way back.

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back up the hill I observed all of the boats outside the harbour.

The tide was on its way in by now and the smaller craft could make their way to the quayside to unload their catch. The larger boats would have to wait for the tide to come further in before they could come in and unload.

But you can see the effect that dredging out that strip by the quay in the winter has had. Smaller ships can come in earlier to unload and this increases the available capacity at the fish processing plant.

No tea tonight either. My appetite seems to have disappeared. Not quite like it did over Christmas but nevertheless. But it’s not really a worry, because I have quite a bit of weight that I could do with losing, what with this water retention issue.

But it was a pleasant walk around the headland this evening anyway.

So back here and listening to Marillion again. I have a couple of tracks – The Web and Garden Party – going round on a continual loop for some reason. I can’t shift them out of my head.

Marillion is a magnificent band but they always send me into a deep depression and I’ve no idea why. Still, I’ve plenty of time to cheer myself up, haven’t I?

Saturday 23rd June 2018 – I’M NOT HERE

But then you knew that already – at least, in the sense that I’m not all here most of the time.

The morning started off with me being well and truly here – up and about again nice and early which makes a change two days on the run.

And once breakfast was over and I had had a little relax, I went and assembled the coffee table.

once the coffee table was assembled, I went downstairs to fetch the desk. And by elephants that was heavy. I really struggled to get that up the stairs.

Assembling it wasn’t easy either. It was quite a complicated piece of furniture and very heavy tomove about. To have it finished, in position, vacuumed up the stuff on the floor in the bedroom where I wanted it to be, that was a task of a couple of hours.

I can certainly now understand why “old” people have to sit down for a cup of tea so often.

There are still some things left in Caliburn but I can’t bring them up by myself. It’s going to have to be a job of opening the packets in Caliburn and bringing up the stuff in two or three trips like I did last time.

But not today. It wore me out just doing that. But at least the place looks as if someone lives hers, and that’s certainly progress. Although the European Cardboard Box Mountain is blocking just about everywhere.

I managed some tidying up, but not a lot, and then I began to lose interest.

Instead of putting the clean clothes away in the cupboard, I put them in my suitcase, grabbed a few other things and then Caliburn, Strawberry Moose and I hit the road.

First stop was the estate agent’s. The barrier here to the car park is broken so we are having a new one installed. But the remote controls need to be handed in to be reprogrammed.

After that, we didn’t come home, we carried on driving.

tinchebray normandy franceHaving a look at this sleepy little town here, you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s the back of beyond and there’s nothing whatever exciting about it.

And if you were to rely on the French Tourist Board and the French Ministry of the Interior, you’d still believe that.

Because there is absolutely nothing whatever to tell you that one of the most crucial moments in English history took place here at the town of Tinchebray.

tinchebray normandy franceWhile you admore some of the beautiful buildings and scenery here, let me tell you a little story.

And for this, you’ll have to turn your clock back 950 years.

William the Conqueror was Duke of Normandy prior to becoming King of England in 1066. And when he was King of England, he still retained his title to the Duchy of Normandy.

tinchebray normandy franceThis was only a temporary solution. He had three surviving sons and on his death, he bequeathed his Normandy lands to his eldest son Robert Curthose.

His Kingdom in England was bequeathed to his second son, William Rufus, or William II. His youngest son Henry Beauclerc was given a suM of money.

William Rufus died childless (and regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous incarnations will recall thatwe once visited the scene of his death) and Robert being the oldest son expected to add the Crown of England to his titles.

tinchebray normandy franceUnfortunately Henry beat him to it and had himself crowned as Henry I, much to Robert’s dismay.

He gathered up a small army and invaded England, but the population refused to rise up to support him and he was obliged to return to Normandy.

There were continual intrigues as each brother tried to undermine the other, and there had been several skirmishes in Normandy between Robert’s supporters and Henry’s supporters.

Henry had already led an army there in a campaign that had ended indecisively, but in the summer of 1106 he was back again.

possible site of Tinchebray castle normandy franceLate September saw him besieging the Castle here at Tinchebray.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no trace of the castle today. All that I know is that one contemporary report of the battle desribes the castle as “on a hill above the town”.

So if I were having to have a wild guess as to where “a hill above the town” might be, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, that is the most likely-looking “hill above the town”, over there.

battle of tinchebray normandy franceRobert led an army down from Falaise to try to break the siege, and the armies clashed on some flat land at the foot of the castle.

The site was constrained, and so the knights had to dismount and fight on foot, and if my guess is right as to the site of the castle, then the only constrained flat land at the foot would be that field there.

The result was a tragedy for Robert.

In less than an hour, his army was smashed and he was taken prisoner. He lived for the rest of his life, all 30 or so years of it, in captivity.

Normandy was united with the English crown and remained so until 1204.

And you won’t find a word of this anywhere in the town.

During the Royal Progress of Saint Louis, King Louis IX in April and May 1256 to consolidate his Kingdom, he is said by the Chronicler Eudes Rigaud, the Archbishiop of Rouen, to have visited the town.

This didn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere either, as far as I could see.

ford probe tinchebray normandy franceBut here’s something exciting.

When was the last time that you saw one of these?

I saw one in Leuven once but you won’t have seen on in the UK for a while because only 15,000 were ever sold there and the last time that I checked, there were only about 700 still on the road.

ford probe tinchebray normandy franceIt’s the Ford Probe of course, a badge-engineered Mazda that was intended to be the replacement for the Mustang and the Capri. But honestly, who would want to be seen in one of these?

That was the general Public’s response and the car bombed spectacularly. It was on sale for just three years – 1989-1992, and whereas the Capri was always in the Top 10 in the UK? this one was well stuck in the bottom 10.

Finding one on the roads today is something of a rarity.

So now I’m in a flea-pit in Alençon. When I’ve finished kicking out the bed bugs from between the sheets I’ll be hopping in.

I’m carrying on along the road tomorrow – I hope.

But I’ll just mention my tea, which was supposed to be chips with a tortilla wrap with nothing in it but vegetables.

And so the guy behind the counter thought it was funny to fill it with meat. He wasn’t laughing when I finished telling him what I thought of him.

It’s amazing how much French I know when I want to be offensive. Working for 15 years with a bunch of French-speaking chauffeurs did come in quite handy.

Friday 22nd June 2018 – GUESS WHAT …

NIKON 1 j5 box granville manche normandy france… arrived in this box at my apartment this morning in this box.

To give you some idea, the dimensions of the box are 50cms by 37cms by 17cms – in other words – it’s a pretty big box

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m expecting a clothing delivery (that also came this afternoon) but that was in a bigger, heavier box. This box was quite light.

nikon 1 j5 lens granville manche normandy franceThis is the answer.

Something else that I was expecting today was the repaired lens for the Nikon 1 J5 camera – the one that was repaired on a factory recall.

That lens is 3cms deep and has a diameter of 5.8cms, and sure enough, they had sent it back to me in that enormous box.

I really don’t know what must go through the minds of some people. I really don’t.

Just for a change just recently, I’d had a really good sleep and was awake bright-eyed and bushy-tailed long before the alarm. I even managed to beat the second alarm.

And after breakfast and a little relax, I made a start on unloading Caliburn.

But there were several interruptions.

learner driver place d'armes granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen several buses try to force their way through the tight corner into the Place d’Armes, but today we really touched rock-bottom.

The Place d’Armes now seems to be a destination to HGV learner-drivers. We had one of those here this morning doing his best to negotiated the very tight corner.

Luckily he made it without demolishing anything, but if this is goinf to become a learner-route, it won’t be long before the wall disappears underneath an errant lorry.

The second interruption was telephoning the bank. It took them a while to answer but not anything like 25 minutes. And the matter was resolved in minutes, although the person to whom I spoke had to put his head in the fridge to stop his ears burning.

And a series of e-mails has arrived that seems to indicate to me that the transfer has indeed taken place. So watch this space.

Once that was out of the way, I started to bring the furniture out of Caliburn and assemble it.

I now have a kitchen trolley for the kettle and coffee machine etc, a larger kitchen trolley for a work surface (the table can return to being a table), several shelf units for CDs and DVDs, a set of shelves in the bathroom and a cupboard underneath the sink.

The bedroom and office furniture isn’t unloaded yet, but I might have a go at some of that tomorrow morning if I can. This place is slowly looking like it might be a home.

marité port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis afternoon I went for my walk around the headland, and there was Marité, back in her berth in the harbour.

This photo here was taken with the repaired lens. I wanted to see if it’s working – and working properly ytoo, because it’s going to be playing a very important role in a little project that I have in mind.

It mustn’t fail when I’m off on my travels or I will be upset.

marité port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving taken a photo with the repaired lens, I took a photograph of the same scene with the telephoto lens.

It’s been cropped and enlarged to bring out the best in Marité.

But comparing the two different original photos taken with the different lenses will show me whether or not there’s a discrepancy between the images, but they look pretty good to me.

There is a difference, but it’s not big enough to worry me too much.

neighbour get together place d'armes granville manche normandy franceLater that evening, I was outside socialising. And that’s not like me is it?

A mysterious notice appeared on our door announcing a get-together for the inhabitants of the building, and I need to be much more sociable than I am.

So I made one of my lentil, onion and rice curries (not too spicy for the French palate of course) in the slow cooker while I had a chat to Rosemary on the phone. And then I went off downstairs with my food.

I was there for two hours too, and I wasn’t the first to leave. I’m definitely not feeling myself, am I? And just as well for it’s a disgusting habit anyway.

Now I really will have to have an early night. There’s so much to do tomorrow. So an early night is called for. I’ve not crashed out today, with being so busy.

But my apartment is starting to look nice now. It’s about time too.

Monday 16th October 2017 – I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO LAUGH.

There has been the most astonishing weather here today. In fact, pretty much the same as in the rest of Western Europe. Devastating high winds, pitch-black at 14:00, the sun a mere orangey thing somewhere behind a dark black cloud.

Loads of people have passed comment on it today, but it was all killed off by one poster who said “Everyone banging on about weird light and a strange orange glow in the sky clearly didn’t spend the 1970s in Teesside”.

It’s this Storm Ophelia that is doing it, a storm named after Ophelia, the daughter of that Labour politician Ed Balls, and I’ll bet that it will take you a minute or two to think about that.

He was famous for writing a speech for Gordon Clown, the-then Prime Minister, which prompted William Hague, leader of the Tory Party in Opposition, to rise from his seat and say “that sppech – typical Labour, it’s all Balls”.

The storm isn’t though. Half of BUT was closed off while they were dealing with something big and heavy that had come crashing down through the roof into the shop during the night.

During my night though, I went on my travels again. But I don’t remember where and it wasn’t for long because it was almost 02:00 before I ended up in bed. Jet-lag strikes again, I reckon.

The alarm went off at 06:00 but I was … errr … somewhat tardy in leaving my stinking pit.

LIDL was the first port of call for me today. And here I did the usual shopping, but plenty of it seeing as I’d let the stocks run down somewhat. It was the same story in Auchan.

In bewteen the two, I went to BUT, negotiating the debris in the store. The stuff in there was better quality and better price than in the Auchan and I was almost ready to sign on the dotted line.


I asked if they had a delivery service and installation service and if they took away the old appliances, which they did. But it’s not free.

“It’s €30:00” siad the guy in the shop.
“Per delivery?”
“No, per appliance”. And they are bringing in three and taking out two.

So “sodomisez ça pour un jeu de soldats” as they say around here. We need a Plan B.

But Plan B won’t be the Auchan as their stuff is rubbish.

And here’s a thing.

After months of hassling, the Bio-Coop is now starting to sell Vegan cheese. It’s not the best by any means, but it’s a start and it goes to show you the power of persuasion. You’ll remember that I did the same at Amaranthe in Montlucon.

So I bought some, and some sausages. And that also meant pizza for tea seeing as how I’d missed out on Sunday.

I half-unloaded Caliburn and then I had to go for a sit-down for … errr … a while. That meant a very late lunch. And a bit of desultory tidying up – not very much of that.

Right now I’m feeling the strain so it may well be an early night for me. I’ll be like this for a week or so until I find my rhythm.

Monday 8th May 2017 – SO THAT’S ME …

… selling my body on the streets of Granville from now on, after what I spent in the IKEA in Caen today.

About a third of what I need as well, so it’s going to be an ongoing process. But what I have already bought will make a huge difference, once I summon up the effort to unload it all out of Caliburn.

It goes without saying that I fell asleep mid-film last night. And I was off on my travels, ending up at a hotel where I was to be staying. I had a car full of stuff and told the people not to worry – I’ll just dump it all in the room that I usually have, totally overlooking the fact that it was still only 07:00 and there were probably people still asleep there, never mind the room being prepared and ready.

Back here though, I was wide awake at 06:30 and up and about breakfasting by about 07:15. I managed my shower too – which was really nice – and then I was all outside ready for Liz who was turning up at 08:30.

Driving through the pea-souper, we were at the IKEA at Caen just after 10:00 and went to the café for a coffee to gather our wits before launching the attack.

Just by way of a change, I was quite disorganised – although that’s more the fact that I’ve never done this kind of shopping in IKEA before. In fact, it took up until 14:30 to make the first pass for all of the bits and pieces.

But then I was made aware of this system whereby for just €25 extra, you can go from department to department, simply registering your requirements with the information desk there, paying at the express checkout,and then waiting for about 90 minutes for them to pick it up, load it onto the trolleys and push it out for you.

In other words, the first pass took about 4 hours. The second pass took less than an hour and then the 90-minute wait. And I had three big trolley-loads of stuff too.

There’s a service whereby they will send someone to help you load your car too, so while we were waiting, we started to load Caliburn ourselves. And we had him loaded up and gone before anyone came – that’s how efficient we were.

Back here, we just unloaded the essential and heavy items between us, and a very friendly passer-by grabbed hold of one end of the bed to help us upstairs too, which was very nice and neighbourly.

So now I’m completely exhausted. Too tired to make tea. I’d be going to bed too but the mattress has to wait 48 hours to uncurl itself before it’s possible to sleep on it.

And so it’s the sofa for another two nights anyway. And I’m not going to hang about.

Saturday 29th April 2017 – CALIBURN IS RUNNING MUCH BETTER …

… now that he’s empty. This morning I went up to the Place d’Armes and carried on emptying him of everything that was in there.

I’m not sure exactly how I managed to put some of the boxes into Caliburn, but I had a struggle to get them out and for three of them, I had to divide the load in half before I could move them up into the apartment.

caliburn unloaded place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut it’s all done now, Caliburn is empty and the apartment is full. It’s amazing just how much stuff was in there, and with all of that Caliburn was only half-full too.

And that’s not all of it that was in there either because there’s stuff in the bedroom and in the bathroom too.

What remains now is the difficult bit – to go off to IKEA and buy some furniture. I’ve seen what I want and so for the next week or two I’ll be selling my body around the streets of Granville.

I was awake early this morning – like 05:00 early. and couldn’t go back to sleep again. And so I was more than ready for breakfast. Afterwards I headed into Granville to do some shopping.

While I was driving down the hill, I noticed a place that gives music lessons, so I stopped there to see if anyone wanted a bass guitarist. I wasn’t surprised to receive a negative answer but at least I’m making myself known around the community and that’s the point.

There’s a football match this evening too – US Granville’s Ist XI at home to Vendée Fontenay Foot in the Championnat France Amateur and tickets were on sale in the Leclerc. I may as well go along and see what they are up to.

At lunchtime I stopped work and went with my butties to sit in the wind on top of the cliffs overlooking the bay.

cruise tour of the bay granville manche normandy franceI was disturbed by a loud-hailer out to sea and it turned out to be a cruise boat thing with loads of tourists being given a guided tour of the bay. Giving a guided tour to half of the Department as well judging by the volume of the boat’s PA system.

Mind you, he didn’t hang about long and disappeared back to where he came from on the other side of the headland. Which was just as well, because he was getting on my nerves and I hope that this isn’t a regular thing.

I carried on with the unloading and then crashed out for half an hour. and finished off the day by sitting quietly and reading a book. I reckon that I had deserved it.

stade louis dior us granville Vendée Fontenay Foot football manche normandy franceThe crowd at the football tonight was a bit dismal – just 560 people. and they missed an exciting match. US Granville went 1-0 up after about 10 minutes, and that after their keeper had pulled off two or three stunning saves (I’m quite impressed with this US Granville keeper).

But the goal was one of those that I have been predicting for years, as regular readers of this rubbish will remember. A back-pass to the keeper and instead of the keeper belting it upfield or out into touch, he hangs on to it and tries to be clever, with a couple of Granville forwards closing down on him. When he finally does decide to clear it, he miskicks and the ball hits a Granville forward in the stomach and bounces back into the net. And serve him right too.

The second goal that US Granville scored was a peach, and a candidate for “goal of the month” in any league you like. A ball won in the air by the big Granville centre forward who plays it out to the right winger (who was having a good game). He fizzes a cross along the ground right into the penalty area and a most audacious step-over from the centre-forward wrong-foots the entire Vendée Fontenay Foot defence. The left-winger running in from the far side has the simplest of tasks to side-foot the ball into the empty net.

So 2-0 up at half-time and going at a canter. I remember musing to myself “still 45 minutes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory” – and how I was to come to regret those words.

As seems to be the usual procedure these days in French football, US Granville were so far ahead that they imagined that they had the game won already, and in the second half they had switched right off and Vendée Fontenay Foot were pushing forward.

A free kick about 25 yards out to Vendée Fontenay Foot and a magnificent curling shot around the wall found the net right by the near post. And about a minute later, a goalmouth scramble in the US Granville penalty area saw a foot prod the ball into the net through a crowd of players.

panic stations after that and Vendée Fontenay Foot could easily have scored a third – and a fourth – and would have done with some better luck too. But US Granville hung on and almost scored a winner themselves in the dying minutes. Nevertheless, I bet that they were glad that the final whistle went when it did.

As for the football, this is CFA – Championnat France Amateur, part-time players playing what is about Conference North or Conference South equivalent. And I do have to say that the standard is pretty good for all that. The US Granville keeper and their centre-half could easily slot into a League 2 side in the UK and I would sign the keeper in a heartbeat. He reads the game well, is a good shot-stopper and has good distribution skills.

On the way home I found a pizza van, and I still have some vegan cheese left. So that was tea organised. It was a good pizza too and the guy was quite garrulous.

So now it’s bed-time. My last night here and I can’t say that I’m too sorry. It was the cheapest place in Normandy and you can’t win a coconut every time.

Friday 27th April 2017 – HAVING SEEN TWO …

… more ruins this morning, I have made an Executive Decision (and an Executive Decision is, as we all know, a decision that if it goes all wrong, the person making it is executed.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceI’d seen an interesting apartment not long after I came here and started to have a look around.

The building is out on the headland right by the old walled city and was formerly an army barracks. There are three of these buildings here and after having stood empty for many years they are being restored and converted into apartments.

And tastefully converted by people who clearly had a good idea about how a multi-occupancy building should be arranged.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThe apartment was 38m² and on the first floor, at the back unfortunately.

It’s those two windows just there, the right-hand one of which is just above the signs on the signpost there, and the small window around the side.

No balcony or terrace though, although there is private parking for Caliburn.

There’s a modern, heavy front door with al kinds of security fittings and an entryphone, which is really good.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut the steps up to the apartment itself are really impressive. Not very tall (of course people were much smaller in the 17th Century), very wide and made of solid stone. There are even carvings in them from the days when it was the French Army that was billeted here.

That’s my apartment from door right up there, on the first floor. There’s really two flights of stairs and a half-landing. There’s a lift too, but that goes from half-landing to half-landing and so that’s no good to me, is it?

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThere are two rooms here. One is a really big room that’s about 25m and tons of room to do just about anything I like in it. Within limits, of course, because it’s only to be used as a residential property.

It faces east and so it catches the sun in the morning, but not unfortunately in the afternoon. And that can’t be helped. And I do like the wooden floor

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThe kitchen is total rubbish, just like almost every apartment kitchen that I have seen in Granville. But it did manage to fire my imagination and I can do something with this for not very much money.

And look at the real stone facings on the wall. It’s a proper stone wall with insulation and plasterboard faced over the top. It reminds me of home and that’s another reason why it appealed to me.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThere’s a small bedroom, which is fine by me. I don’t want a bedroom except for sleeping in, and there’s only going to be me anyway so it doesn’t really matter all that much.

and I’m rather disappointed by the floor. I thought at first that it was a wooden floor but in actual fact it’s a false lamitate, and a cheap laminate at that too. But you can’t have everything (and believe me, I’ve tried)

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceHowever, another advantage of this place is that there’s a built-in wardrobe here, complete with shelves and a few hanging rails.

There isn’t much in the way of storage facilities, but I only have a few clothes these days anyway, so there is plenty of room left over to stock whatever else needs stocking and for which I’m not able to find any other place to keep it.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThe bathroom is the right size too, not too big and not too small. And it’s been refurbished quite nicely too.

I’m not impressed by the bath though. I would much rather have a shower so that I can use the extra space for something else, but I’m not prepared to argue about it.

There is plumbing for a washing machine though, and that’s quite useful.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThe toilet is separate too, but then that’s not going to be very much of an issue because of course there’s only going to be me in here.

But anyway, chatting to the estate agent, she told me that this place was still unlet although someone else had been to see it and quite liked it.

And it is I suppose the best that I’ve seen to date and the rental is within my budget, and being totally fed up of seeing more ruins, and living out of a suitcase in depressing surroundings, I took a decision and signed on the dotted line.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAfter all, it is right in the shadow of the city walls by one of the gates. And I do love the building – it really has the right kind of impressive style that I want.

I could move in straight away too, except that there’s no electric. And for that, I’ll have to wait until Friday next week for that. and that’s dismayed me.

But not as much as the question of the internet. There’s a two-week delay for that, and that’s going to be difficult for me.

However, I set to work and managed to unload half of Caliburn today, as well as going around the shops in town.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThere is in fact a sea view from the apartment if you are prepared to do a little bit of contortionism, but just around the corner 50 yards away is a very lovely public garden right at the top of the wall overlooking the harbour.

This looks like the ideal place for me to go and have my picnic every day when the weather is good, and being in the lee of the buildings it’s actually quite sheltered from the wind.

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceThere are a variety of ways down to the modern town and shopping facilities. Apart from the three roads, there are several sets of stairs and ramps that lead you off in all kinds of directions

I took one set of stairs only to discover that this seems to be the longest way round. There are several ways that are much shorter than this.

And if I’m feeling the strain of the climb back up the road with my shopping, there’s a bus service and the fare is €1:00

batiment vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceWhile you admire the view from the top of the stairs, i climbed down to the bottom and went into town.

I organised the internet, changed my bank over to the branch here, and went to the Post Office to complete a redirection service for all of my post.

Hopefully that will end all of this confusion that has taken place over the past 18 months with my mail. What with one thing and another I’ve not been getting it.

hang glider granville manche normandy franceThe whole of Granville seems to be built on cliffs and rocks, and while I was out on the promenade speaking to the guy at the Electricity Company, this person came flying by overhead.

It’s not something that I would recommend around here with the roofs and chimneys and rocky outcrops either, and luckily he didn’t have an “unfortunate encounter” – at least, while I was there watching him.

drawbridge pont levis granville manche normandy franceThe walk back up the hill to the old down took me along the walls that surround the place, and there I encountered a drawbridge, or pont lévis as they are called around here.

But as for me, I can well imagine that with my reputation they will start pulling up the drawbridge and running down the portcullis now that they know that I’m moving in to the vicinity. Sentries patrolling the walls too, I reckon.

So having worked myself to a frazzle with half of Caliburn unloaded I came back here for a coffee and to relax before tea.

and now it’s bedtime. And I’ll probably sleep for a week.

Sunday 19th March 2017 -THAT WAS SOMETHING …

… of a disturbed night’s sleep what with the livestock in the roof. And there I was, thinking along the lines of Marshall Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke, and “Sunday is the one day of the week a man can get up at noon and sit around with his boots off without anybody hollering at him about it”. First Sunday for almost 18 months that I hadn’t set an alarm, and there I was, wide awake and up and about at 07:30 in the morning. I’m hoping that this isn’t going to be a regular occurrence.

After breakfast, morning was quite steady – at first – and then round about 10:00 I sprung into action. By 12:00, everything not needed in the back of Caliburn had been taken out, and all of the food, clothing and other items that will be accompanying me on the next stage of my journey – because there is going to be a next stage on my journey – were all arranged neatly inside. It’s amazing, all of the space, once I managed to sort it out. And I counted almost 30 of those black plastic crates that I had systematically looted and pillaged from the rubbish bin at the supermarket in Leuven.

After all of that, I needed a sit-down. And having relaxed, made some butties and set off for the football. None at Pionsat of course, but there was a double-header at Le Quartier. Mind you, their ground was deserted at 13:00 so I went for a drive down to St Gervais d’Auvergne. Nothing going on there either so I had my butties by the lake.

Back at Le Quarter at 15:00 for the second match, but there was sill no-one there so I nipped up to Pionsat to see what was happening. Apart from a new Salle de Fêtes being built on the site of the old Maison Ducros- Maymat there was nothing going on there either.

And so back here, I checked on the internet and it seems that I have the dates incorrect. No matches this weekend – it’s next weekend when it’s all happening. D’ohhhh!

And so I made up my bed in the bedroom. even if it’s colder down there in the bedroom, I’ll snuggle up under the quilt and sleep in the quiet and in the comfort tonight. I deserve that at least. And while I was in there I began to pack away some clothes too. No time like the present.

Tea was a vegetable chili and rice, and now it’s bedtime. I’m hoping for a better night than last night.

Tuesday 17th May 2016 – I’VE BEEN OUT AND ABOUT TODAY

So having gone to bed quite early last night, I ended up chatting to Alison and Liz on the internet. And then, having dozed in and out of sleep for hours, it was midnight when I switched off the radio and finally settled down for the night.

I had quite a few trips down the corridor, what with one thing and another, but was wide awake by about 06:30, having been off to Stoke on Trent during the night. I’d bought a Land Rover chassis-cab with a crane or winch on the back. It was in good condition but a little scabby but down in the scrapyard we discovered two perfect doors (although of a slightly different colour) so we bought them and fitted them. The next task, as my friend explained to me, was the rear valance and he sorted out his angle grinder and wire brush to de-rust it so that we could paint it over. Zero came over for a chat too, which was very nice because it’s been a good few weeks since she’s appeared in one of my nocturnal rambles.

After breakfast I started to organise myself. I sorted out all of the washing into piles that will either go back home or come with me to Belgium, and then I sorted out the paperwork. I made an appointment with my doctor as I have some paperwork that she needs to see and I need a form signing. That’s for Thursday morning.

Once I’d organised that, I went off out and about.

first stop was the garage. It’s time for Caliburn’s Controle Technique on Thursday afternoon, so I’ve booked him in for a service and a visual check to make sure that there’s nothing about to drop off on the road.

The bank was next. There’s an important bill to pay and if I don’t pay it soon I’ll be transported for life or something so that was urgent. And then I went to the Intermarché for a bit of shopping.

Finally, I ended up back at my house where I dropped off a pile of stuff, stripped out the back of Caliburn and gave him a good brushing out, and now I’ve installed my temporary bed in there for when I go back to Belgium. I couldn’t find the OSB that I use and ended up having to use a sheet of plywood as a bed base. It’s not very satisfactory, bending and creaking in the middle, but it will have to do for now until I can think of something better.

But I’ll tell you something – and that is that I’m clearly not well. Two hours of working on Caliburn, and it wasn’t very hard labour that I was doing, and I was done for. I’ve no idea how I’m going to cope in the future if I can’t summon up the energy for this.

Instead of hanging out there to do more work, I ended up coming back here where I crashed out for three hours – really gone, I was. I’ll have to catch up back at home some other time.

Now that I’ve been to the shops and bought some garlic, I made one of my mega-curries tonight with mushrooms and lentils. But there’s plenty left for the next few days because I couldn’t summon up the appetite.

Now I’m off to bed again and to listen to the radio programmes for a while. I’m ready for a good sleep, even though I’ve already had a good sleep just now.

I can’t keep it up like I used to.

Monday 16th May 2016 – NOW, THAT’S MORE LIKE IT!

I crawled off to bed at something silly last night like 20:45 or thereabouts. I know that it was still light but I didn’t really care too much because all that I was intending to do was to listen to the radio programmes that I’ve downloaded onto my laptop.

Sometime shortly afterwards, I drifted off and apart from a couple of trips down the corridor during the night, I remember almost nothing until the alarm went off at 07:45. And I could have turned right over and gone back to sleep too. But that’s just the kind of sleep that I’ve been hoping to have for quite a while.

During the night, I was flying off to Canada too. A big wide-bodied jet and I was sitting in one of the seats in the middle,and next to me was quite an attractive lady with black hair and a black dress. She got up to use the facilities and a couple of minutes later, this big black dog (on an aeroplane!) came and sat on the empty seat next to me. I gave it a stroke but I was really hoping that it would go so that the woman would come back but the dog stayed and stayed, and that was that. On arrival in Canada we docked at gate 37, the very farthest gate away from the terminal, but we all ran to the immigration desk and found that we were the first people there. There were three desks, two of which had about 12 people each and the third which had just two or three. I was wondering about this – suppose that I went to the one with the fewest people there and found that it was reserved for something special and was turned away, I’d lose the benefit of having been one of the first to have arrived at the immigration desks.

I had a good day today too. It started off (and finished) by me cracking on with the blog. All of March 2011 is done, as is the bits of April 2011 that I seem to have missed at some time or other, and I’m well into May 2011. I’ll really be catching myself up soon at this rate.

I’ve also had a good go at Caliburn. The back has been emptied, tidied, a load of stuff consigned to the bin and then I’ve sorted out the stuff that I’m leaving behind and the stuff that I’m taking back. You might be wondering why I didn’t take the leaving stuff up to my house, but the answer to that is that it’s a Bank Holiday and there are other tasks that I need to perform that depend upon places being open so I’m combining all of the trips tomorrow.

But the amount of stuff that I’ve taken out of Caliburn means that he’ll go a good 5kph faster on the way back to Belgium on Saturday.

Another thing of note for recent times is that I managed not to crash out this afternoon. Despite the odd wave of fatigue I kept going for the whole day and so now I’m ready for a really early night. I’ll be listening to the radio again in bed until I fall asleep and then I’ll see where I end up tonight.

Monday 14th December 2015 – WELL …

… that didn’t work out quite as planned, did it?

I told you that I was going back home this afternoon to have a tidy-up, but it didn’t really work out quite like that. I did make it home with no problems but the first job was to unload Caliburn. There was all of the tiles in the back, as well as three big sacks of tile cement and grouting, a pane of glass, some floorboarding and a pile of other stuff too.

But although I moved all of the heavy stuff out of Caliburn, and one or two other bits too, but that was my lot, I’m afraid. It rather finished me off. I did manage a little later to make a door handle of sorts for the front door though, so my afternoon wasn’t completely wasted.

I blame a lot of it myself on what was going on through the night. I’d had an early night and started to watch a film, and that’s almost always guaranteed to send me off to sleep, just like it did last night.

And then I was on my travels again. With a fitful night, I don’t remember too much about it. But what I do remember was exciting enough. It concerns something like a vampire on the prowl over London and some kind of surgeon being implicated as the perpetrator. Doctor Watson was leaning out of the living room window at 221B Baker Street whilst musing to Holmes and recounting the 31 departments (are there 31? There were last night anyway!) in a modern Victorian hospital to which a surgeon might be attached. But I was exploring another avenue, a thread that led past a group of teenagers. I somehow managed to filter a message down to them with just enough information to provoke them, so as to see if it might smoke someone out of their cover. And sure enough, some girl rang me to thank me for the information which had helped them greatly. I tried to engage her in conversation, as part of my plan, but the line went dead – either we had been cut off, or (more probably) she had hung up. But I do remember being in my bedroom (wherever this might have been) which was a total tip (as usual) in a bed on wheels so that I could paddle it about the room. And I’d woken up at the usual time despite having had a late night but it was now in mid-afternoon and I was still in bed, not sure how I was going to manage to go back to sleep and also thinking that in five minutes I could have this room looking really tidy, so why wasn’t I doing it?

But that’s enough of that. I crawled myself out of my stinking pit at just before 08:00 and it wasn’t long before the nurse came. I had my injection and also my blood sample (and he burst out laughing when I told them how many goes they had had at the hospital to find my blood) and then I spent the rest of the morning working on the notes for my trip to Canada.

Coming back from home this evening I bumped (well, not literally) into Nicolette. She was taking their new dog Snowy (a younger version of Siroy who is unfortunately no longer with us). We had quite a chat and then I came back here, with Caliburn storming up the Font Nanaud, clearly enjoying being a quarter of a tonne lighter.

So tonight I’m watching Leicester against Chelsea and then I’m off to bed. I have the hospital in Montlucon tomorrow.