Tag Archives: english channel

Saturday 11th September 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of those days where anyone who can possible get out to sea had been out there today.

We started off today with Marité having a really good sail around the Baie de Granville, in company with a pile of other yachts, some of which you can see in this photograph.

She was quite far out at sea this morning and I didn’t really have the time to wait for her to come back closer to the shore. But never mind. Read on …

armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out there in the bay, right out beyond Jersey, is another ship – a huge one this time.

At first I thought that it might be the high-speed Condor Voyager, which I know to to be out there somewhere, but then I had another think.

Another car ferry, a full-size one, left St Malo about 100 minutes ago and on blowing up my image (which I can do, despite modern terrorist legislation) she has a superstructure that is much more like a full-size ship.

And when I saw that the ship was the Brittany Ferries’ Armorica and compared a shot of her stern with my photo, then I’m now pretty certain that that’s who she is.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another large ship heading the other way, towards St Malo.

Just one quick glance at her was enough to tell me exactly who she is, without even checking the radar or the port arrivals.

Her colour scheme is that of Condor Ferries and so she must be Commodore Goodwill, their big ferry that takes cars and commercial freight between the UK, the Channel Islands and St Malo

In fact, I did check, and she did arrive in St Malo about 50 minutes after I took this photo.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Also out there this morning on the right of this image is a ship with a very familiar set of masts and rigging.

At first glance you might be forgiven that she is La Granvillaise but actually, it isn’t.

She actually has a sister boat, a near-identical twin that operates from Cancale on the other side of the bay and is called, surprisingly enough, La Cancalaise, and that’s who she is. I’m pretty certain of that.

As for who the other one is, she could be any one of a couple of hundred yachts that were out there early this morning.

We haven’t finished yet with the maritime activities, but I thought that I would give you all a break from the excitement and give you a chance to recover your breath.

When the alarm went off this morning, I was actually already awake. I’d awoken blot-upright for some unknown reason at 05:47 and there isn’t really much point in going back to sleep then.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I had been on a bus. I had to go and pick up my youngest sister from School. She was at a school called Pebble Brook which was in Shavington (which of course it isn’t). I had to catch the bus and I asked for Dodd’s Bank. The bus drove into Shavington and went clean past Dodd’s Bank so I had to press the button myself and have it stop. The conductor asked “how pressed the button?” I replied “I did. I should have alighted at Dodd’s Bank”. He asked where I was going and I replied “the Primary School”. He chuntered a bit but anyway I alighted, walked through the track alongside the brook and ended up at school. All the kids were milling around and I could see her there, except that she was more like Roxanne by now. I took her by the hand and we set off. I asked her if she had ever been to see any of the houses where we lived when we were kids. She replied “no. Where are they?”. I said “we’re here” because 61 Osbourne Grove is just around the corner from the school. I showed her that house. of course it’s nothing like the heap that it was when we lived there. It’s all been modernised and 2 houses have been knocked into 1. The people inside could hear me talking about what it was like but they never came out which was a shame so we set off to go round the corner and down the street to Vine Tree avenue.

While I was at it, with not going to the shops today I had a couple of hours to spare so I paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I may as well get ahead of myself just for a very rare change and it will give me some free time on Sunday.

Then there was some tidying up to do because I was going to have visitors. and sure enough, Liz and Terry came round. Terry gave me back my 3/4″ drive heavy duty ratchet and socket set, and I gave him back his computer that I’d been fixing.

Liz gave me a few old towels that she was planning to throw away. I have nothing here for mopping up heavy spillages, protecting surfaces or anything like that and half a dozen decrepit towels are ideal for this kind of thing.

A coffee at La Rafale was next on the agenda so we headed off out that way, checking out the ships in the Baie de Granville as we went past the viewpoint.

diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After our coffee we went for a good walk around the old medieval walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be interested in the photo just here because if you compare it with THIS ONE taken from the same viewpoint yesterday, this will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is when it’s right in.

You can just about make out the crown of the diving platform, and even a seagull that is photobombing me.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned Marité, about how she was quite far out in the bay, and I told you to “read on”.

We’d spent quite a time in La Rafale and on our walk but even so, It was quite a surprise to see Marité just here in front of us as we came round the corner.

She’s done her morning lap around the Baie de Granville and it now looks as if she’s going to be doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel before coming back home before the harbour gates close.

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And we haven’t finished yet either.

There was another boat that seemed to be doing a lap or two around the inner harbour with a load of passengers.

She’s the Charles-Marie of course and this is one of the very rare occasions when we’ve actually seen her with her sails unfurled.

When we returned to the apartment Liz and Terry went to their car and headed off into the sunset – well, not exactly the sunset but you know what I mean – and I came in here because it was almost lunchtime and my nice fresh bread awaited.

After lunch, I had a couple of other things to do, such as carrying on sorting some images – a project that I started ages ago when I merged together all of my hard drives into one large one.

What had restarted my enthusiasm (such as it is) for this particular project was the other day when I spent half a day looking for a couple of photographs and couldn’t find them. I decided that I ought to be more organised and not let things drift as I seem to be doing right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me up tp the time to go on my afternoon walk around the headland, and as usual, the first port of call was the beach.

Looking over the wall at the end of the car park I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people making the most of it.

There were even a few people who had taken to the water, which was no surprise because although it had been quite cool this morning, as the day went on it warmed up quite dramatically and after the miserable summer that we had, it looks as if it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a while.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out with Liz and Terry this morning there had been quite a lot of aerial traffic. Ordinarily I would have photographed some of it but you can’t really do things like that in company.

One of the aircraft that had gone by overhead was the red powered hang-glider, and I was lucky while I was out this afternoon because as I was watching the beach she came by again.

This time of course there were no hang-ups, if you pardon the expression, and I could take quite a nice photo of her as she roared by over my head. Unfortunately, from this position I couldn’t see who was in her.

50sa aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021and that was by no means all of the aerial activity. There was plenty more to go at yet.

Something else that went by overhead almost immediately was one of the little aeroplanes that seem to have a serial number range all of their own that I have yet to decipher.

This one is 50SA, whatever or whoever she might be. I keep on meaning to go one of these days over to the airfield and have a good look around, make a few suitable enquiries and maybe even blag myself a flight in the yellow autogyro. Who knows?

hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And had I been out a few minutes earlier, I might even have witnessed some more aerial activity too.

But when I arrived at the lawn by the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc, I could see that a couple of the Birdmen of Alcatraz had come to grief. It looks as if their Nazguls have given up the ghost, the wind has dropped or else Legolas has shot them down with his arrow in the dark.

Now, the riders are lounging around presumably waiting for someone with a car to come and rescue them from their peril and take them back home.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But for the last few minutes I’ve been digressing.

While I was watching the beach and watching the air, my third eye was casting around out at sea to see if there was anything exciting going on out there.

Earlier this morning, I posted a photo of La Cancalaise out there in the English Channel. And when I went out for my afternoon walk I noticed that she was still out there, with a couple of smaller boats to keep her company.

It would seem that they don’t have the same issues with the tides at Cancale as we do here

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It goes without saying that if there is going to be all this much marine activity, there are bound to be some fishermen somewhere.

What was surprising though was that despite the dozens of boats milling around, there was only this zodiac that looked as it it had any fishermen in it.

So I left them to it and pushed off on the path along the clifftop past the downed Nazguls and across the car park to see what was happening out in the bay.

To my surprise, the answer was “nothing”. It looked as if the crowds that we had seen out there this morning had all gone home. No point in my loitering around. I’ll head for my home too.

saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path along the top of the cliff on the far side of the headland takes me past the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

From here, there’s a really good view down into the chantier naval and I was right yesterday when I thought that I could only make out four boats down there.

We have the blue and black one whose name I haven’t yet discovered, and facing her is Saint Andrews. The white blue and red one is Catherine Philippe and to her right is the shellfishing boat L’Omerta .

Nothing else has come in this morning to fill the empty places.

stalls and marquees parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury are a pile of marquees and the like.

Ordinarily I would have gone for a nosey about to see what was happening but it’s a sign of how ill I am that I couldn’t face the extra few hundred yards to go and check.

What I’ll do is to go home now, and if they are still there tomorrow I can give them the once-over without having to take too much of a diversion.

But these health issues are really depressing me and no mistake.

Back here there was football on the internet and for once, the broadcasters had picked a match of two teams that are down at the wrong end of the table, Aberystwyth Town versus Cardiff Metropolitan.

Despite the lack of skill compared to the more successful clubs this was an exciting match as the action raged from one penalty area to the other. Aberystwyth played soe really attractive football but the Met were more direct and began to take control the longer the gamae went on.

They were unlucky to find Aberystwyth’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Under-21 International Gregor Zabret, in stunning form and he kept them out right until the end when a wicked deflection off one of his own defenders sent him the wrong way.

Aberystwyth are now third-bottom in the table but surely, on this performance, they’ll finish higher up the table than this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a lie-in. I have more visitors in the afternoon so I want to be at my best and maybe even tidy the apartment a little. It does need it.

Saturday 14th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

public indoor market Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… do my important shopping in the indoor market in the town centre this morning.

There wasn’t all that much that I needed today – just some mushrooms and some fruit, so it wasn’t worth taking Caliburn and going all the way out to the shops on the edge of town. A nice brisk walk to the market and back will do just as well.

Mind you, the prices are quite expensive – much more than you might think – and the quality isn’t as good either which is rather a surprise.

But at least I now have the mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow evening.

It makes a change not to go out to the supermarket on a Saturday – it means that I’m not in so much of a rush in the morning.

Not that I had a lie-in, of course. I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00

After the medication I came back into my nice tidy bedroom to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I started off with a great big rambling dream about boats, things like yachts and sailing ships defending the bay against all kinds of things coming in here but it was long and complicated and I can’t remember any of it now which is a shame.

A little later on I was tidying my apartment. It started off as being a real mess but I was fed up and so I began to make a start on it. By the time that I’d finished it was looking a lot better, and i’d actually found four shillings and sixpence so it was quite a profitable venture. The only thing that worried me was whether I could keep it like that. Tidying up my bedroom yesterday has clearly traumatised me beyond belief, hasn’t it? There was my family of course and they were due to come round. I was asking about where they lived and they lived in a white building with blue paintwork and so on. It was a block of flats, a nice building so I thought “what is my family doing living in a place like that?”. They were going through the members of the family and there was a guy called Dhony and apparently he was one of the grandchildren’s boyfriends. He was a “Nene”. I was wondering what a “Nene” was and it turned out that it was another name for a refugee.

It was another morning where I took a good hour or two to get going after all of that. I might not actually have crashed out but it was as good as – I wasn’t able to do very much. In fact when I recovered I could barely find the energy to make a coffee.

Eventually it was time to go out. The tide will be well in by now, I reckon and in any case it’s as good a time as any to go to the shops.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking down to the sea wall this morning Icould see that we were going to be in for another excellent morning’s viewing today.

Out there at sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel are the two ships that are, I suppose, the stars of our port – la Granvillaise to the left and Marité to the right.

And the first thing that I noticed was that with the sun behind them shining through the sails, it looked as if the sails were illuminated, with the rest of the boats being in the shadows. It was quite an eerie effect.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I wasn’t allowed to go musing on that for too long.

While I’d been photographing the to ships I’d missed the departure of one of the Joly France ferries from the ferry terminal. But now she’s well on her way to the Ile de Chausey, sailing past Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance tot he harbour.

She has quite a crowd of people on board her this morning too. It looks as if it’s going to be a busy day over there on the Ile de Chausey, and they certainly have the weather for it.

artistic patterns in the water port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Joly France ferry wasn’t the only boat to be leaving harbour as I was watching the morning’s events unfold.

There was a group of people who had clambered into some kind of motor boat that was moored in the harbour and while I watched, they cast off and shot off for the wild blue yonder.

And in doing so they described a beautiful circle in the water. It was quite an impressive artistic design and lingered on for quite a while before the currents reacted and took it away.

Meanwhile, the need for mushrooms for tomorrow’s pizza took me away into the town centre and the market building.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way down the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I went past the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay at the port.

That which we saw yesterday down there is cetainly a grandstand of some description and the fact that there’s some kind of advertisement for a local media company facing it implies that there is some kind of live performance connected with it.

Now you are going to ask me what that square compound thing id behind the grandstand, aren’t you? Well unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that and I’m not even able to speculate.

helicopter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial craft. I was wondering when this might happen.

And having talked for two days consecutively about the yellow autogyro that flies overheard occasionally the sound of a pulsing motor filled me full of optimism..

Someone had indeed taken out his chopper for a bit of airing this morning but it’s not the one that we were expecting. It’s not the yellow autogyro at all but a civilian model with a twin-boom tail that I ought to recognise and probably will as soon as I’ve pressed “publish” on these notes.

Fighting my way through the throngs of people on the market I purchased what I needed and then headed back up the hill towards home.

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur two ships, La Granvillaise and Marité had now quite happily done their separate ways.

Marité, having done a couple of laps around the Baie de Mont St Michel was now going past the ferry terminal and the entrance to the port on her way out to the Baie de Granville and the open sea.

It’s not as if she’ll be going far though for with the harbour gates only being open for less than four hours at a time, she’ll need to be back home pretty quickly.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for the gates that guard the Port de Plaisance where la Granvillaise lives, I’ve no idea about their arrangements.

She seems to be happy enough today staying out in the Baie de Mont St Michel in the company of a couple of other smaller boats that are with her

These other boats will of course be looking for the good photo opportunities that the bigger ships can provide and that might be an idea for me to consider in the future, whenever that might be.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the big trawler Le Coelacanthe come into port and I suspected that her little sister Le Tiberiade wouldn’t be too far away

We weren’t lucky enough to see her come into port but this morning they are both there moored in their usual place at the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

When they are together like this, you can tell them apart. Le Coelacanthe has the boom on the roof of the bridge and there are wings to her bridge where her name is written. Apart from that and their size (Le Tiberiade is slightly smaller) they are pretty much identical.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that Marité has gone over to the other side, as it were, I wander off over there to check up on what she’s going.

And she really does make a beautiful photograph as she sails past my spec up here on the cliffs, with every square inch of sail fully extended to catch the breeze. I bet that she didn’t put that much canvas out in the Roaring Forties.

She has her little dinghy being towed behind, and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the dinghy wouldn’t be able take as many people in an emergency as she has on board right now.

brittany ferries armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind the Marité right now, there’s something much more exciting going on out at sea.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel there was a rather large blob moving about on the horizon so I took a photo of it to enhance when I returned home.

And it’s worked out so well (which makes a change when I enhance something at that distance) that we can actually read her owner’s name on the side of the hull.

The fact that she’s a Brittany Ferries ship makes it easier for me to check the register of ships leaving St Malo just now and so I can tell you that she’s Armorique of 30,000 tonnes and launched in 2009, on her way to Portsmouth.

She holds a very unique distinction, being to only Brittany Ferries ship to have visited all the ports from which the company operates.

condor voyager english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd meantime, my riving eye has picked out something else exciting away in the diatance, on the other (eastern) side of the Channel Islands.

This photo hasn’t enhanced so well, probably due to the extra distance, which is a shame, but there can’t be many things that big out there in the English Channel within a cockstride of the port of St Helier.

And sure enough, a quick review of the register of ships leaving St Helier tells me that at 09:17, just 20 (adjusted) minutes before this photo was taken, the superfast ferry Condor Voyager who we have seen quite a lot just recently, set out from the port on her way to Poole.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe skies were certainly clear enough this morning and the view stretched for miles.

Once more the colours on the Ile de Chausey were magnificent. The lighthouse was standing out really clearly today and we could see all of the individual houses that were scattered around the island could be seen quite clearly too.

And as for the water-borne traffic, how much of that would you like? You can’t move out to sea this morning because of all of the boats. part from the few in the foreground, there must be a couple of dozen floating away around the island.

training ship belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was out there today, I think that I might have solved one little mystery that’s been puzzling us for a few days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been seeing a mystery sailing ship out at sea and I’ve no been able to identify her clearly. It’s not easy, because for example even Marité is still described officially as a “fishing vessel” which was her former occupation.

But today’s clear weather gave us the best view yet of the mystery vessel out in the English Channel, and the fleet radar told me that on that very spot is the training vessel Belem, a 170-footer out of St Malo and whose shape bears a very similar resemblance to this one.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again.

Well, actually, I wasn’t, because the aeroplane here was too far out in the Baie de Granville – so far out in fact that I couldn’t even read the registration number on the side of her fuselage.

According to the flight log the only aeroplane that took off from the airfield at round about this time was F-GBAI but if this is she, then she must have undergone a dramatic re-paint job overnight since we saw her yesterday. So I’m reserving judgement on this.

english channel belle france armorique baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, I’d been holding my fire over a certain photo because there was a chance for some symbolism to creep into one of my pictures.

By now, Armorique is on the point of creeping behind the Ile de Chausey and just at that moment, a boat that I reckoned to be one of the Ile de Chausey ferries and which I later found out to be the very new Belle France sprung into view out of the shadow of the island.

The contrast between “little and large” ferries made for a nice photograph even if there wasn’t a great deal that I could do at that kind of distance.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was really ironic about all of this activity in the baie de Granville this morning, there was plenty of scope for irony.

Here, with all kinds of pleasure craft of every description whizzing past, a small fishing boat was actually out there working quite sedately, taking no notice whatsoever of what else was going on around him.

But now I was going to take no notice of anything else because I’d been out for so long and I wanted to go home for a coffee. I can only stand so much excitement in a morning.

Back in the apartment I brought my coffee into the nice tidy office and then sat down to plan out my day. And “plan” was about as far as I reached before it was time to stop for lunch.

After lunch, the early and energetic start finally caught up with me and I ended up being asleep on the chair for quite a while. That was followed by quite a lengthy session on the two guitars before it was time for me to sling my hook.

football us granville voltigeurs de chateaubriant stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was nice to be back at the football today for a competitive match after all of this time, and I’m also reassured to know that my vaccine digipass works too.

As for the football, the defence looked slightly more solid than it has done over the last couple of years, although Chateaubriant didn’t really put too much pressure on it. They had a very small, quick n°9 up front who was in a class of his own on the field, but there was no-one up there to support him.

As for Granville, going forward they were woeful. At long last they have a big centre-forward who they can’t shove off the ball, who puts himself about and who can hold up the ball, but he is totally wasted because the service he was getting was dreadful.

Not one of the other Granville players put a ball into the box with any accuracy or conviction and the Chateaubriand goalkeeper had probably the quietest 90 minutes that he will ever have.

0-0 the game finished, and both sides were lucky to get nil too. I can’t think if I’ve ever witnessed a more uneventful game than this

What dismayed me more than anything that despite virus infections being in the upper 20,000s, I was about the only person in the stadium wearing a mask, despite the frantic appeals of the announcer. No-one is ever going to be rid of this virus if they continue to be stupid about it like this.

It’s hard to believe the stupidity of some people.

nuit des artistes rue des juifs closed Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home I noticed that the Rue des Juifs is closed to vehicular traffic.

The street is full of small art galleries, most paintings of which are of dubious quality at an astronomic price and once a year they are open until quite late at night and people can wander around to their heart’s content in the middle of the street.

Right now my worries are reaching the top of it because I’m not as yound as I was an not as fit as I was even three months ago and thse days I have to stop a couple of times before reaching the top.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the places where I stopped to catch my breath was at the viewpoint overlooking Marité‘s mooring berth.

She’s now back at her mooring but my interest is centred for the moment on Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that springs up every summer at the Place Pelley.

In the winter it all lives in a shipping container somewhere and is brought here in late June to cater for the hordes of tourists who swarm around the town.

Not that there aren’t enough bars in the town, but it’s the outdoor terraces that are missing. Sitting on a couple of pallets in a car-parking space in the Rue Couraye doesn’t have quite the same effect.

fishermen in speedboat zodiac loitering outside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA day or two ago I was talking about what might happen if by some chance you were out at sea and missed the closing of the harbour gates or missed the tide.

This evening, there were several boats and yachts, including this speedboat and zodiac, loitering around outside the harbour area, presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they could come in and moor up.

I don’t suppose that there isn’t much alternative that to sit and wait.

Back here I didn’t even have time for tea before the next instalment of football.

Caernarfon v Haverfordwest in the Welsh Premier League. Haverforwest have signed a couple of good players in the close season but the Caernarfon team has changed quite a lot and they are lacking the old team spirit that took them so high in the table.

Oe or two of their new players struggled to make any impact, but Haverfordwest, despite having a resolute defence and a lively midfield, offered nothing up front. Eventually a Caernarfon free kick caught the Haverfordwest keeper by surprise and in the dying seconds of the game they scored a second.

haverfordwest can feel disappointed by this result but that what happens in football. Both clubs will have their work cut out this season.

But right now I’m off to bed. It’s too late to do anything else so I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Good night.

Friday 13th August 2021 – I WAS WRONG …

35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about it being the little yellow autogyro that would cast its shadow upon me from the air this afternoon.

A couple of planes about which I had completely forgotten are the little ones that seem to carry a “special series” number that, to date I have been unable to trace except by the most fortunate of circumstances.

This one, 35MA, has overflown me on several occasions and I’m still none-the-wiser. I’m not even better-informed either and so I’m going to have to wait for a more suitable moment to make further enquiries.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving aeroplanes overfly me when I can’t identify their numbers is one thing. Having them overfly me without any number at all on display is somethign else completely.

This machine overflew me at (adjusted) 17:06 going straight up the coast from south to north and as she didn’t make any effort to turn off as if to land at the airfield here at Granville then I’ve no idea who she is.

It’s this kind of thing that gets on my wick. It’s a legal requirement for an aeroplane to display a registration number, but it ought to be a legal requirement to display it where people can see it.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had much more luck with this aeroplane because we’ve seen her on numerous occasions, and her number is clearly displayed.

She’s F-GBAI from the Granville Aero club, one of the Robin DR400s that they have. This one is the 140B models.

She took off from the airfield at 10:38 and flew off out to sea, and then flying up the Rance estuary beyond St Malo, doing a lap around Mont St Michel and coming home for 11:23

My photo was taken at (adjusted) 11:19 so that’s about right.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we were in luck later on too, because we saw her as she went out for a run around later.

This time she was picked up on radar at 17:05, which corresponds with my (adjusted) time of 17:03 when I saw her, and according to my flight radar plot, she’s still airborne even now.

She headed out to sea, did a lap around the ile de Chausey and for the rest of her time has been cruising up and down the coast as someone clocks up the flying hours. I’ll have to check tomorrow to see what time she finally did land.

Breezer B600 D-EQDK baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s an aeroplane that we haven’t seen before.

At first glance I thought that she was an ME-262 fitted with a Junkers Jumo 210 engine as some of the earlier ones were, but in actual fact she’s a Breezer B600, registered D-EQDK and owned by the Aeroclub-Avranches.

She was first picked up on radar at 11:11 and must have done a few laps around before I picked her up at (adjusted) 11:22, and she disappeared off the radar near Avranches at 11:31

There are plenty of small airfields around here and on the basis of no other information I would imagine that they have their origins with the German Luftwaffe

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner TC-LLA Turkish airlines baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow this is much more like it. It’s been a good while since the skies have been clear enough to pick up full-size jets in mid-flight.

No prizes for guessing what this is – its distinctive shape gives the game away straight away. It can only be a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

And according to my radar, only one Dreamliner in the air in this vicinity when I took this photo. And that’s a Type 9, TC-LLA, owned by Turkish Airlines.

She took off last night from Miami and is taking Turkish Airlines Flight THY78C to Istanbul where she’s expected to arrive at 12:31, 26 minutes late.

She passed over me at 39,000 feet at 544 knots ground speed on a bearing of 098.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that was what I got wrong today. Why don’t we look at what I got right?

Like the fact that there’s much more activity in the morning at high tide than what I’ve been seeing on my afternoon walk, like La Grande Ancre heading out of port.

What exactly her rôle is, I haven’t quite worked out yet. One of the very first times that I encountered her, she had a tractor strapped to her deck and heading out to the Ile de Chausey. But most of the time she’s running here and there with fishing equipment like this morning.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone else having an early start today is one of the sailing schools.

Plenty of water in the bay of course, seeing as I’ve gone out round about high tide this morning, and so they are bringing out the little yachts to do a lap around, being towed out into open water.

There are quite a few other boats too, coming and going out there this morning, and even a couple of kayaks having a paddle around. It’s more-than-likely that there will be some fishermen too somewhere.

trawler le coelacanthe speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the subject of fishermen, here is one bunch of fishermen heading for home this morning after a night on the tiles.

It’s our old friend Le Coelacanthe , one of the larger trawlers to sail out of the port, and if she’s on her way home with her hold full of fish then her little sister Le Tiberiade can’t be all that far away somewhere because they keep quite close to each other more often than not.

And the people in that speedboat were in quite a devilish hurry too – with the feu dans les fesses as they say around here. I’ve no idea where she’s off to.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, it’s not Le Tiberiade that has come following Le Coelacanthe into the harbour, as it happens.

It’s one of the Joly France ferry boats that goes over to the Ile de Chausey and presumably she’s come back for a second load of passengers.

This boat is the one with the smaller upper deck superstructure and the rectangular windows in “portrait” format so that tells me that she’s the more modern of the two near-identical boats.

And having seen the older one and the very new Belle France yesterday, it means that we have all three running the service right now. Business must be booming.

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone else who seems to be having a booming business these days as well is the sailing ship Marité.

We’ve seen her out and about for the last few days, usually out in the English Channel or the Baie de Granville but here she is today going for a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel.

From what I can make out, she has quite a crowd of passengers on board, and I do sometimes wonder what would happen if they had an emergency and had to fit everyone in the little boat that she tows behind her.

But I suppose that there are always enough other boats loitering in the immediate vicinity everywhere she goes to deal with any issues.

yacht ile des rimains cancale brittany France Eric HallBut anyway, while I was out there, I noticed that the air was quite clear this morning and the view was really good.

A clear white sail right over underneath Cancale caught my eye so I took a photo of it. And when I enhanced it on returning home, I could see quite clearly the fort on the Ile de Rimains over there just offshore, to the left of centre.

When I was on board the Spirit of Conrad I took a few close-up photos of the fort and one of these days when I can, I’ll post them on line.

And on the right there’s a very good view of the church at Cancale – one of the best views that we have had from over here.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think that all of the action was taking place on the southern side of the headland this morning, you are mistaken. There’s plenty more going on out here on the north side too.

Most of these boats look to me as if they are fishing boats – I did say that there would probably be some fishermen out today. There were several groups of them, some inshore and others farther out in the bay.

But I bet that those just here don’t think all that much of what that rather fast craft just behind them is doing. That’s the kind of activity that will drive away all of the fish and it’s not as if they catch all that many to start with.

joly france la granvillaise ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd even more activity over towards the Ile de Chausey too this morning.

Apart from the dozens of smaller craft out there, bearing down upon us at a rather rapid rate of knots is one of the Ile de Chausey ferries and to my reckoning she is the older of the two Joly France boats likewise returning to this side of the bay.

Also over there, right up against the shore were some strange white objects and while I can’t see for sure what they are, they have the same shape as the sails on La Granvillaise

beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re here, we will of course have to have a look over the wall and see the beach to see what’s happening down there.

And as I expected, there isn’t any beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide is well and truly in, and that will account for all of the boats out there at sea.

Maybe I should come out here and look at what happens about 10 minutes before the harbour gates close. I imagine that there will be an almighty stampede for the harbour and the devil take the hindmost.

trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that was all of the water craft and aerial activity this morning.

Still afew other things going on that caught my attention this morning, like another lorry stranded at the Porte St Jean being unable to pass under the arch. That’s two now in two days.

No-one in attendance either so it looks as if the driver has gone off to seek further instructions. It’s really pleasant living in an environment like this, but it does have its drawbacks if you don’t happen to have a handcart handy.

mummy and baby seagull foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we are at it, yesterday we saw mummy seagull taking baby seagull for its maiden voyage over the cliffs.

There’s another mother and offspring here this morning siting on the roof of the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs, the hostel for young people, and baby is not at all enthusiastic as you can tell by looking at the photo.

It’s squawking at its mother in the most plaintive of tones and mummy, like most exasperated mothers, is taking absolutely no notice whatsoever. I find a lot of pleasure in watching the interaction between the young and their parents, whatever the species.

But like most things, I’m getting way ahead of myself these days. Let’s start with waking up, which I did about 20 minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

There were details of a voyage going round and round my head, details that were so miserable that I couldn’t even say them, let alone dictate them and transcribe them.

It’s very rare, very rare indeed that I have a voyage quite like this. Some have been really gruesome and they haven’t been much of an issue although I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to read them, but this was just unhappy, miserable and depressing. I’m glad in a way that it happened during the night and not during the day.

After the medication I came in here to start work but it took me a good couple of hours drifting in and out of a kind of trance before I was able to get myself going and then shock! Horror! I tidied up the bedroom.

You couldn’t move in here for stuff all over the floor, but now most (not all, just most) of it has been put away. I have plenty more to go at in here but I can only do so much before I wear myself out.

In the past the question of tidying up ( or the lack thereof) used to be because the Spirit was unwilling. But these days I have to contend with the flesh being weak as well.

Another thing that I did this morning was that when I was going through the files that I’d uploaded to this computer I came across three digital soundtracks of albums that I’d found but hadn’t yet split.

Two of those were quite straightforward, even if they are time-consuming, but the third should have had 8 tracks on it but somehow I ended up with at least 12, and one of them definitely didn’t sound like the singer whom it should have been.

All of that took some tracking down and it seems that I have somehow ended up with a master tape that includes several other tracks that were recorded for the sessions but were cut from the album.

These are as rare as hens’ teeth of course, these dropped tracks, and I have amassed quite a few here and there. They are good fun to broadcast on my radio programmes when probably no-one has ever heard of them.

After lunch I came in here and … errr … closed my eyes. And for only about half an hour too. A couple of years ago that would have filled me with dismay but these days it’s a sign of optimism – in that it’s not a couple of hours dead to the world as it has been just now.

Once I’d recovered, I had a coffee and had another go at the Greenland photos from 2019. Right now I’m on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR just about to get into a zodiac to go and visit the Eqi Sermia Glacier in Ataa Fjord, one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere.

At 15:00 I knocked off to have a go at the Spirit of Conrad notes and I’d actually written a cople of words too when the phone rang. It was Rosemary wanting a chat and she had one too – for 105 minutes as well.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough you’ve already seen over the wall and down onto the beach during my morning wanderings, no reason why we can’t go there and have another look.

This time, of course, the tide was way out and there were plenty of people down there this afternoon compared to how there have been in the past.

Dozens of people sunbathing on the beach, and plenty of hardy souls out there in the water too. Mind you, it was really nice out there this afternoon even if there was some wind. But I suppose that down there, they are out of the wind and it could be quite pleasant.

fishermen in zodiac speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier on, we saw plenty of what I took to be fishermen out there in the bay.

It looks as if a few of them are staying out until this evening’s tide comes back in because there were several boats still out there.

Those two boats out there look as if they have fishermen on board although they don’t seem to have their rods in the water right now. They are probably just having a sociable chat for a few minutes.

There’s a dark object in the water behind the boat on the left and I wonder if that’s the head of a swimmer maybe.

men fishing in zodiac man fishing from beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut these people here much closer inshore have definitely gone out there with the intention of fishing.

However the guy on the rocks doesn’t really look all that enthusiastic about it either, holding his rod at about 45° when the water is that shallow just where he is isn’t going to bring him very much much.

As for the four people in the zodiac, they look even less enthusiastic about the whole idea. Their rods are still perpendicular in their holders while they seem to be just sitting around chatting. I’m sure that they ought to be more eager than that if they hope to catch anything.

sailing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there spying out the land I saw a rather large sail out there on the horizon in the English Channel.

Being interested, I took myself off to the high point on top of the bunker at the end of the path for a better view. I took a photograph of it and when I was back at home I had a much closer look.

Rather disappointingly, it turned out to be something of an optical illusion. It’s a smaller boat closer into shore than I thought and it’s the spar of the mast that’s level with the horizon. I don’t think that it’s anything more than a rather large yacht.

men fishing from zodiac pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on that disappointing note I walked off down the path and across the car park to see what was going on at the end of the headland.

And we have a few more fishermen this afternoon. At first glance I thought that these people on this zodiac were musicians because one of them at least seemed as if he was holding a guitar.

In actual fact it is a fishing rod and he’s holding it with his arms extended. Two other people are fishing too but the fourth one just looks as if he’s passing the time. If I were out there, I’d need a really good book to help do that, along with some good music.

yacht being prepared for painting chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo leaving them to it, I pushed off down the path towards the port. And when I arrived at the chantier naval I asked myself “have I seen this before?”.

None of my earlier photos are conclusive but I’m sure that I would have noticed this had I seen it. It’s a medium-sized yacht and it’s been stripped and masked off for painting.

And if it has indeed only come out of the water this morning, then they have been moving at a hell of a pace and it’s a shame that all workmen around here can’t work at this kind of speed.

She’ll look really good when she’s finished, that’s for sure.

trawler on blocks chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mused about what might happen if the have to drop one of the seven trawlers that were here yesterday back into the water when the portable boat lift had a trawler in it.

It looks as if they have actually had to cope with this eventuality because they seem to have rigged up some kind of impromptu kind of blocking so that the trawler can be dropped from the lift.

The workmen have now clambered aboard her making a start and the boat lift has now gone back in its usual position over the drop into the harbour.

trawler charlevy trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this is the reason why there have been the changes.

Today there are only 6 tralwers down there. Charlevy, Trafalgar and four whose names I don’t know and which I’ll have to find out before they all go back into the water. There are plenty of workmen down there so they aren’t hanging around.

It looks as if the next one to be moved might be Charlevy because they seem to be well-advanced with her paint job and there are a couple of vans around her with men who look as if they are working.

marité grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne last thing to do is to check the inner port to see who is there.

We saw the big sail earlier, and even without enlarging the image I can say that it’s not Marité because she’s moored up in her little corner down there.

What has however caught my eye is the temporary grandstand at the loading bay. We had a concert down there a couple of weeks ago and so I wonder if they’ll be having another one this weekend.

Let’s hope that the Jersey freighters don’t want to come and drop off a load of freight.

Nack here there wasn’t time to do much before tea. Veggie balls, seeing as I have an endless supply thereof, followed by apple crumble.

Tomorrow is shopping day and I don’t need much with going to Leuven on Tuesday but I do need some fruit so I’ll see how I go.

And there’s football tomorrow, and about time too.

Saturday 12th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… good and productive morning today which was nice. And which was just as well because I had a pretty lousy afternoon.

But more of the afternoon anon. Let’s talk about the morning first.

As the alarm started to ring I leapt out of bed and wandered off for my medication. And then I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone.

And there was nothing on it from the night, which was a surprise because I had all sorts of vague ideas and images going around the margins of my mind when I awoke but they had all flown away as I had tried to grab hold of them.

There was however some stuff on the dictaphone from 30th and 31st May that needed transcribing and so I dealt with that and brought their pages in the journal up-to-date.

While I’d been doing that I’d been listening to music. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a week’s radio programmes was lost in some king of confusion and my records ended up being out of order for a week. And rearranging it meant that I had a blank week.

Without confusing things any more, I was rather stuck for what to do. But then yesterday I had an idea. I have a load of music that is waiting to be digitalised and even more than hasn’t yet been sorted. So I went through and sought out the groups who are debuting in my playlist.

The CDs that needed digitalising were then digitalised and I made up a playlist of albums where the groups and musicians were debuting in my lists.

And so today while all of this updating of the journal was going on, I was listening to music. I’d already been listening it last night and I’d selected a few tracks from it but by the time I’d finished the updating this morning I ended up with a nice collection.

And so I selected my tracks, edited them to cut out bits I didn’t want and to regulate the volume and then I combined them in pairs. So that’s the music sorted for that programme. On Monday I need to start by writing the music which is good because I have an appointment at lunchtime and I need to have the programme done by then.

When I’d finished what I’d been doing I grabbed a Louis de Funes sound file and chopped that up for more soundbites and I’m now accumulating a nice bunch of soundbites. And there are plenty more to go.

When I’d finished it, that was when it all started to go wrong, because I almost immediately crashed out. And a good and proper crashing out it was too. It was a very late lunch today because I didn’t come round until about 14:20. And then I was staggering around like a drunkard for a few minutes until I grabbed hold of my equilibrium.

The rest of the day has been spent cutting up albums (and there are still plenty to go at) and editing photos from August 2019. And I’m now actually at South Pass – at least where Highway 28 goes through it.

It didn’t look like the description that I had though and while things can change since 1845 they don’t change that much so what I did then was to go back to find a hotel and make further plans and do further research. So unless I am distracted tomorrow you might get to hear a little of my adventures.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did, as you might expect, is to interest myself in what is happening down on the beach today.

And so girding up my loins I headed for the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down from my viewpoint. And as we can see, there’s plenty of beach again today because the tide is well out again today. As I go out most days at roughly the same time, it’s interesting to see how the tide evolves over a complete cycle.

And while the weather is better today than it has been, warm with hardly any wind, there weren’t as many people down there as I was expecting to see. After all, it’s the holiday season and the place is swarming with Parisians right now bringing their viruses with them.

marite english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I was admiring the people on the beach my attention was caught by some kind of movement away on the horizon.

It was a ship – I was pretty sure of that. It couldn’t be anything else at that spot but with the naked eye it was far too far away for me to make out exactly what kind of ship. I was intrigued to see what it might be so I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can still do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation).

And so there you are. It’s a large sailing ship with at least two masts. And according to my shipping radar, Marité, the old fishing schooner that lives in the port, slipped her moorings at 07:53 this morning and headed off towards Bordeaux. And I can’t say any more than that about the ship out there.

microlight aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd its not just people on the beach and ships at sea that is attracting our attention right now. Try to do something serious and concentrate and your reverie is immediately interrupted by a buzzing noise overhead.

It’s not a mosquito or an insect like that, but it’s one of these microlight ULM powered hang-glider things. These kinds of things have their origins in the pou de ciel or “flying flea” microlights designed in the 1930s by the Frenchman Henri Mignet and popularised in many magazines, with plans being produced for home-builders.

Ever since then the French have had quite a reputation for building light aircraft of all shapes and sizes and regular readers will recall that we have seen quite a few different types of light aircraft flying over our heads when we’ve been out and about.

Cessna F182P Skylane F-GBTS pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand, is a real aeroplane and it makes a change to see one that not only was picked up on radar but is entered in the books of the airport at Granville.

She’s a Cessna F182P Skylane, a model that was introduced in October 1971 and powered by a Continental O-470 piston engine fitted with a carburettor and producing 230 HP, or 72 kW. With a range of over 1,000 miles, the models for the European market are quite often flown over from Wichita, crossing the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Baffin island, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

This one though was noted as being at Toulouse Airport this morning at 11:59 and was picked up by the radar near Balma at 13:21. And I could follow her route from there all the way to Granville where she landed at 16:15.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right now I haven’t finished with the air yet because there were other things going on too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have a local bird of prey that we have seen quite regularly. I’ve forgotten what breed he might be because the birdwatching lectures that I had from Nerina weren’t about this type of bird, but it hovers about the edge of the cliffs because there are many small animals, including a colony of rabbits, that have made their home there.

And to my surprise, I noticed today that it had a mate. Or, at least, there was a second one working the cliff edge farther along. It will be nice if we can have our own colony of vultures or whatever they are.

men fishing from zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLet’s turn our attention back to the sea now because there was still plenty going on out there too.

With it being Saturday,, then of course we can expect the local fishermen to be out in their droves this afternoon trying their luck from their boats just offshore at the foot of the cliffs. But doing my best not to make any tart remarks about their success rate, I pushed off along the path.

And the path was crowded with people today too. And despite the Préfet‘s instructions about masks being compulsory until the end of the month, many people were walking around maskless or with their mask tucked under their chin.

And seeing that many of them are holidaymakers from Paris, that will tell you all that you need to know about why the disease is so rampant in those places. And here they are, bringing their disease to us.

trawler beached port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed my way along the path all the way around the headland until I reached the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour from where I could see what was going on in the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have talked … “at great length” – ed … about trawlers left in the outer harbour to go aground when the tide goes out.

So here’s another one of them – one of the bigger ones too, tied up in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position to the harbour wall underneath the red marker light for the harbour entrance.

There’s definitely something fishy about this, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

gerlean l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut to put your minds at rest L’Omerta and its friend, which is called Gerlean, are still tied up at the fish processing plant and are sitting on the mud.

But it beats me why they are there because it can’t be very popular with the other little fishing boats. With those tow moored there, there’s less space for the others to tie up to unload and so they’ll have to queue for longer.

But anyway, that’s not my problem. There’s a hot coffee and some ginger cake waiting for me back at home so I headed that way, and ended up having quite a lengthy chat with one of my neighbours on the stairs. That’s not like me at all, is it?

Tea tonight was interesting. There was some stuffing left over so I lengthened it with stuff that needed using in the fridge, added some tomato sauce and had it with some pasta. And as an ad-hoc meal it was surprisingly good.

But now I’ve finished and I can hardly keep my eyes open, and so I’m off to bed. A nice Sunday lie-in tomorrow and won’t that do me the world of good?

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Wednesday 14th April 2021 – I AM NOW …

… a proper, legal, registered citizen of France.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago, with Brexit, we all had a mad scramble to assemble piles and piles of documentation to prove our status in France. That was pretty important because we had no clue as to what would happen once the UK left the EU

And having done so, we were eventually all issued with temporary residence cards.

The next problem was that the UK then abandoned us all to our fate, refusing to negotiate a residence position for us, with the result that we were once more left in limbo because our temporary residence cards became invalid and there was no recognised right of residence.

Consequently each EU member state was left to deal with the issue on its own terms, and some of us in France who had had residence cards under the previous system were luckier than others in France and elsewhere because it simply involved reregistering.

That was something that I did just after Christmas and a couple of weeks ago I was summoned to the Préfecture for an interview and to have my fingerprints taken.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the new card turned up in the post this morning. A 10-year card with the right to work. That caused me to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it’s only valid for France though. I can’t up sticks and move to another country as I was able to do prior to Brexit. I don’t think that people realise just how much we have been affected by Brexit. And I’m sure that if they did, they wouldn’t care

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat else turned up today – or, rather, turned up again today – were the fishing boats back in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not as many as there might have been though. The other day there were quite a few fishing around out there but yesterday there weren’t any at all out there. Today though, there were three of them out there fishing in the bay.

You can see two of them in this photo. One of them is away in the background close to the Brittany coast but another one of them is here in mid-channel.

In the background the church at Cancale is silhouetted in the sunshine on top of the cliffs. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other trawlers and fishing boats out and about in the vicinity too, as well as those in the Bay.

The very big fishing boat is out there having a good trawl about this afternoon in the English Channel. You can tell that by the fact that it is going from west to east rather than from north to south or south to north. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them working so close inshore.

Over there in the background to the left is one of the marker lights on one of the rocks just off the archipelago that makes up the Ile de Chausey. And in case you are wondering, that marker light is about 11 or 12 kilometres away from where I’m standing

buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we can see what it’s doing this afternoon. I think that this is another mystery that might be cleared up.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see a few buoys appearing rather miraculously in the Bay just here off the coast at Donville les Bains and Breville-sur-Mer. They have appeared again today, coincidentally more-or-less exactly in line with where the trawler is dragging.

If that’s the case, then we know why those buoys are out there, marking the lanes for the trawler to drag.

Another thing that was resolved today was the question of my mega-tour of Central Europe. Everything is now written out and on-line and you can see the start of it HERE. The page that took me most of the time to write was THIS ONE.

It’s not quite complete because all of the photos aren’t on line as yet. Most of them are there but my eyes glazed over before I reached the end. I’ll do the rest of them tomorrow if I can find the time.

Some of the stuff needs rewriting as well, and I’ll be attending to that in due course.

It surprises me that I managed to do as much as I did today because I had another difficult day. Once more, I was up and about just after the first alarm at 06:00 and by the time the third alarm went off I was already at the computer working.

Another batch of photos from August 2019 were dealt with this morning. I’m still on the Little Big Horn battlefield but I’m now more or less where Captain Keogh was cut down. There’s still a long way to go on this battlefield before I can move on..

Having finished my day’s photos I had a few other things to do and then I attacked the Central Europe trip and worked at it until it was finished and on line, along with most of the photos.

There were the usual breaks too – for my hot chocolate and sourdough, for my lunch of course and then for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being as nice as it was today I was expecting to see hordes of people out and about on the beach.

Accordingly I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end where I could look down and see what was going on. And to my surprise there were hardly any people down there. I had to have a good look around until I could see anyone down there.

And I do have to say that I admire the yellow wellingtons. They added some ambience to the environment.

There were very few people around on the footpath so I could wander around at my leisure along the clifftop. And no bird of prey either. I don’t know where everyone has gone.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the path by the lighthouse, I could see Le Loup, the marker light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance, winking at me.

From halfway along the path down to the car park a really good view of the light presented itself so I took a photograph of it, and then I pushed off along to the end of the headland.

We’ve seen what was going on at the end of the headland – the three fishing boats out there in the bay. But there was no-one disturbing the two buoys right close inshore where we saw that small boat the other day.

And no fishermen out there on the rocks either. They have probably had enough of spending all that time out there and catching nothing.

anakena hermes 1 nyx 3 notre dame du cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe mystery of the pleasure boat in the chantier navale is solved today too.

The boat is down there on her blocks with Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. She’s called Nyx III as you can see by the name on her stern. There was no-one there today obstructing the view. Those men are standing down there on the quayside this afternoon instead of on the stern platform.

Aztec Lady, the other big yacht that has graced the chantier navale for the last quite a while is still over there on the right-hand side. There’s a car parked alongside here and a couple of people who seem to be working on her, but they don’t seem to be particularly fired with enthusiasm.

trawler joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port there has been some kind of activity over the last 24 hours.

One of the Joly France boats is still moored up at the ferry terminal even though the tide is out. So it looks as if she has some work to do in the very near future running out and back to the Ile de Chausey. Her sister ship is parked up in the inner harbour right now so they don’t seem to have all that much work on the go.

But interestingly, there’s one of the fishing boats tied up at the ferry terminal too. Usually they would me moored at the new pontoons in the inner harbour so I’m wondering what the issue must be that means that so many of them are just tied up outside at the mercy of the tide.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day, we saw a huge pile of freight loaded up at the side of the quayside waiting for someone to come along and cart it away.

Today, we’ll notice that it’s all been removed. A message had reached me this morning that Normandy Trader had been on her travels during the night last night so it looks as if she’s been into port at some point and loaded up to take it all away. I’m not sure if she brought in any freight but there wasn’t anything on the quayside waiting for a lorry.

But at least we know where Chausiais is today. She’s moored up down at the bottom at the loading bay this afternoon so I’m wondering if she’s going to be running some freight out to the Ile de Chausey on the evening tide.

We’ll have to see where she’s moored tomorrow.

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something interesting going on at the new building at the roundabout at the Square Pelley le Pleville, with that cherry picker .

From this distance I couldn’t really see what it was but back here, having blown up the photograph (which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I can see that the cherry-picker has some men in it and they seem to be working on the mobile phone aerial on the roof.

Back in the apartment I had my mug of hot coffee and came back in here to carry on with the work. I knocked off with the Central Europe photos when it was time for guitar practice, and afterwards I had tea – a madras curry out of the freezer with rice followed by the last of the jam roly-poly. And what a success that was.

Somewhere along the way I’ve peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots too, so it really was a productive day.
I’ll be glad to get into bed now and have a rest because I reckon that I’ve deserved it

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – I HAVE JUST …

… seen a most extraordinary football match.

When you see a score something like Caernarfon 1 Connah’s Quay Nomads 6, you’ll be thinking that Caernarfon were the victims of a right spannering from a team that is, shall we say, not renowned for its goal-scoring record.

And when you find that then Nomads took off their two leading attackers after about 70 minutes you’ll be as bewildered as everyone else.

For the first half the match was quite level – although the Nomads were 2-1 up, Caernarfon were still well in touch. But in the second half, two things happened.

Playing in midfield for the Nomads was a player called Neil Danns. He’s had plenty of experience in the English pyramid, playing for a couple of seasons in the English Premiership and on the international stage for Guyana.

He’s been out of the game for a while and when I first saw him a few weeks ago he looked distinctly sluggish, out of form and out of fitness. But whatever it was that Andy Morrison put in his half-time cup of tea, I’ll have a drink of it too. In the second half we were treated to a Neil Danns masterclass.

The second thing was a player called Johnny Hunt. He’s played on a much higher stage than this too but he’s also been out of the game for a while. He came on as a substitute after about an hour or so playing at left-back and although for the first ten minutes he looked well off the pace, he picked up remarkably rapidly.

He covered so much ground that his fellow full-back Danny Davies could push up forward into the attack and he scored two of the goals, simply because Caernarfon ran out of players to mark him.

If Danns and Hunt continue to improve at this rate, we could be in for something quite impressive.

But going back to the half-time cuppa that they gave to Neil Danns, had I had some of that I would have had a much better day today because me rising out of the bed at the first alarm was something rather like Dracula raising himself from the Dead. It was something very much like an ungainly stagger to my feet when the alarm went off.

After the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone from the night, I had a bash at the photos from August 2019. By the time that I’d finished I’d left the deep ravine near Last Stand Hill and I’m now sheltering with the pack train at the far end of the Little Big Horn battlefield.

As I said a few days ago, I’m going to be here at Little Big Horn for quite a while.

Having done the photos I spent some time revising my Welsh and then, armed with my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson. And to my surprise, it all went very well. I wasn’t expecting that.

We have three new students who have joined our class for the new term. We’re now no longer beginners but intermediates and these three people have some previous experience in the language. I noticed particularly that one of the new students was speaking Archaic Welsh, the kind that I picked up from my grandmother and from the elderly coach driver with whom I worked at one time.

After lunch I came in here to carry on with my work but I … errr …. went to sleep. And a proper sleep too. It was rather embarrassing seeing as I have so much to do.

But this led me up to my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park here and look down on the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was quite a way out so there was plenty of room for people to be enjoying themselves and as the weather was reasonably warm and it was quite sunny, I was expecting to see the massed hordes of tourists down there sunning themselves.

But to my surprise I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of people down there this afternoon.

But anyway I pushed off along the path on my walk around the headland.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down on the beach I’d seen some movement in the water in the English Channel near Jersey so when I reached the high point of the path, I took a photo with the aim of cropping the photo and blowing it up (which I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) when I returned home.

What I was hoping to see was something like Normandy Trader or Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters coming over from the Channel Islands to take away the load of goods on the quayside on the loading bay. But instead I’ve captured a couple of they local trawlers heading for home.

And they are going to be having a long wait outside the harbour because the tide is well out and it will be a good while before it’s back in high enough for them to open the harbour gates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way around, I had a look at the roofing job that they are performing in the College Malraux.

As I was strolling along the path I’d heard all kinds of knocking as if people were hitting things with hammers and I reckoned that it was coming from the roof of the College. The workmen were up there this afternoon and with the two bays on the roof that they had stripped off, they were covering the roof with new laths ready for the new slates.

If they can finish the woodwork quite quickly, it shouldn’t take too long to put the slates on. And who knows? They might even finish the roof some time this year. They have taken long enough to reach this point.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this scene a couple of times just recently.

There’s been this buoy-type of thing that’s been bobbing up and down just off the Pointe du Roc every now and again, and today, it’s been joined by another one. Yesterday, we saw one of the little fishing boats doing something or other just off the headland with its lines out.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that this other buoy has appeared in the vicinity of where the boat was moored yesterday, and I imagine that it would confirm my suspicions that they are indeed markers for lobster pots or the like. But I still think that it’s a rather strange place to leave some lobster pots – on the rocks off the headland just there.

To my surprise, after all of the action that was going o out there yesterday, there was absolutely nothing happening today. And so I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

And to my surprise I wasn’t almost run down on the zebra crossing by ay motor vehicle today either.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou pleasure craft chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was however some action going on in the chantier navale this afternoon.

Having seen Lys Noir go back into the water the other day, Anakena, Hermes 1 and Notre Dame de Cap Lihou have now been joined by some kind of expensive pleasure craft. Unfortunately I’m not able to see the name of the boat because of the two guys standing on the platform at the stern obscuring it, so I’ll have to have anothr look tomorrow.

As an aside, Aztec Lady is still here in the chantier navale, out of shot on the far side to the right. There I was thinking when she first came into the place that she would only be there for a short period. She seems to have put down roots.

joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been some activity going on over at the ferry terminal too.

Yesterday we had two Joly France boats tied up over there as well as a fishing boat. But today, the fishing boat has gone off to somewhere that I don’t know and we have just one of the Joly France boats over there today, the other one being moored in the inner harbour this afternoon.

The pile of freight is still at the quayside in the inner harbour waiting for someone to take it away but I cleared off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee.

And then I came in here to make a start (or a finish) on my Central Europe trip and although I managed to do something, I fell asleep again and even missed my guitar practice.

However I did manage to wake up in time to have a quick tea of burger and pasta followed by jam roly poly and dashed in here to watch the football.

Tomorrow I have no plans whatsoever so I’m hoping for a good day’s work. But it’s much later now than it usually is and I’m still not in bed. I can see that I’ll need a mug of Andy Morrison’s half-time drink tomorrow if I’m to do any good at all.

It’s been a difficult couple of days just now. I’ve gone for 4 years being careful about what I do but over the last couple of days I’ve smashed a storage jar, a mug and today, one of my plates.

What with the big computer’s USB3 port, Caliburn’s door handle, the big NIKON D500‘s SD memory card slot and a few other things that I could mention, every thing that I seem to be touching is falling apart right now. I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

Monday 12th April 2021 – I WAS NOT …

… alone this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out this afternoon I was overflown yet again.

Whenever we’ve had clear days in the past it’s been aircraft, whether main-line stuff flying at impressive altitudes over my head or else it’s been light aircraft, autogyros and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who, incidentally, we haven’t seen for quite a while) going past at head height.

But none of that today. It was the local bird of prey, whatever species he (or she) might be, buzzing around over my head looking for food, and then swooping down to the ground to capture something, all of which takes place a darn sight quicker than I can follow it with my camera.

fishing boats brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was different this afternoon was the situation in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve been down there on the path to the end of the headland to look out across to the Brittany coast to see what was happening and, as Bob Dylan once famously sang on THE BASEMENT TAPES there was “too much of nothing”.

But today was rather different. We had the fleet of local inshore fishing boats out there in the bay doing what they are good at. There was probably about half a dozen of them all told presumably setting their traps and the like.

They rotate from one fishing area to another and it looks as if today is the turn of the inshore waters to receive their attention.

My attention this morning was focused hauling myself out of bed this morning. And seeing that I didn’t go to bed this morning until 01:30 that was rather a complicated matter. I’ve had worse mornings than this, but I can’t remember when.

First task after the medication was to deal with the radio programme on which I was going to work this morning. Having already chosen the music and paired it all off it was a simple matter of writing the text, recording it, editing it, cutting it into segments and using the segments to join together all of the pairs of songs.

Then I had to choose a closing song and write the text for it, edit that and then join it all together.

It ended up being 23 seconds over but in the speech that I write, there are all kinds of little bits that can be edited out and so weeding out 23 seconds of recorded superfluous speech is not as complicated as it might sound.

It was all done and dusted and up and running by 11:30.

That left me with plenty of time to book my transport and accommodation for my trip to Leuven next week. And while I can understand that there is only one train out of Granville per day when there’s a pandemic and movement is severely restricted, just WHY does it have to be at 05:55?

At least I’ll get into Leuven with plenty of spare time to recover from the voyage, but on the other hand it means that if there’s an issue with just one of the trains that I need to catch, I shall be well and truly up a gum tree.

After lunch (and my bread from yesterday is really delicious) I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and I’m now caught up with my plan of a minimum of 30 a day. I’m now patrolling the “south skirmish line” of last Stand Hill at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But while some might think that it’s a “south skirmish line” it look to be very much like the route of a panic -stricken flight to me. You don’t dig yourself in at the bottom of a steep ravine when the place to dig yourself in would be at the top of the slope where your adversary would have to struggle up towards you slowly and you’ve have plenty of time to fire at them to push them back.

The fact that there are so very few memorials to the Native Americans on this side of the battlefield when the whole area is littered with memorials to American soldiers tells its own story. My opinion is that the natives were firing into the backs of the fleeing soldiers rather than face-to-face in a firefight.

All of this took me up to the time for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do today was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there was plenty of beach to go at. And there were quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it. Not as many people as we have seen on occasion – no schools playing rounders or anything like that – but I would have thought that with all of the holidaymakers around right now, they would have been there.

After all, it was a pleasant, sunny day if you could find some shelter out of the wind, because once more we seem to be having a bucket-full of wind and I’m rather fed up of that right now.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as we all know, it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

There’s always going to be someone who would take advantage of it and we have one of those out here this afternoon – the yacht that’s out there somewhere between the Channel Islands and the French mainland.

At the distance that it was from here – probably about half-way across, I couldn’t make out whether it was coming or going and I know exactly how it feels after everything that I seem to be going through right now. And the whitecaps on top of some of the waves will indicate that it’s not having the best of it out there in this weather. The wind must be even stronger offshore.

unidentified ship st helier jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out at the yacht that I saw just now, I noticed something just offshore outside the harbour at St Helier so I took a photo of it to enlarge when I came back so that I cn see what it might be.

Having done that, I have to say that unfortunately, I’m still none-the-wiser. It’s big and white and my first thought was that it might be a cruise ship anchored outside the harbour. But there’s no trace of any large ship of this size anywhere in the vicinity so I’ve no idea what it might be.

But I’m impressed with the weather this afternoon because I can see St Helier so clearly this afternoon. We can even see the medieval tower that guards the entrance to St Helier harbour, never mind all of the other buildings there.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about now that the famous bird of prey flew past overhead.

It took up station, hovering around over the edge of the cliffs round about 50 yards from where I was standing. And then suddenly, as I looked it swopped off down to near the foot of the cliffs. Presumably it had seen something edible but it was so quick that I couldn’t see what it was.

At least it’s having more luck that the local fishermen.

So from there I set off along the path on top of the cliffs. The people were there on top of the bunker again clearing off the dirt and dust but I carried on past them. There weren’t too many people this afternoon to get in my way.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel once more

With the weather out to the Channel Islands being so good this afternoon, I was wondering how the view would be out along the Brittany coast. So I climbed up on top of one of the other bunkers where there’s a good view.

Once again, the lighthouse was clearly visible even with the naked eye and we could even see the headland behind the lighthouse today. It’s not every day that we can see that much of the coastline. I’ll really have to crack on and finish the notes of my trip around Central Europe so that I can get on and show you the photos of the Brittany coast that I took on board the Spirit of Conrad

Off along the path I went and then across the car park to the end of the headland.

fishing boat with nets out pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that just off the headland at the Pointe du Roc we’ve occasionally seen something that might be interpreted as a marker buoy for a lobster pot are something similar.

Seeing this boat here make me even more certain that it is a lobsterpot and its marker or something like that. If you look closely at this little boat you’ll see that it has its lines out on the starboard side so it’s possibly engaged in either lowering down or raising up a lobster pot.

However, as you can see, there are so many boats out here working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel, all over the place this afternoon.

From there I pushed off along the path towards the port.

panhard 24 2+2 rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrossing over the pedestrian crossing in the Rue du Cap Lihou I was almost squidged by a passing motorist.

But if I’m going to be run down by a passing motor vehicle, I wouldn’t mind so much it being one of these. This is a Panhard 24 2+2, one of the very last of the vehicles built by the Panhard Motor company before they closed their doors in 1967.

The Panhard 24 was the car that was designed to replace the famous Panhard 17 and was built between 1963 and 1967. It contained many features that were considered to be “luxury items” at the time such as 3-way adjustable seats, adjustable steering wheel and the like

They must be beautiful to drive but unfortunately I have never ever had the chance to find out.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was some kind of excitement going on over at the ferry terminal.

Both of the Joly France boats, the ones that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey, are over there this afternoon. The tide is well out so they are in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – situation over there.

This would seem to indicate that at the next high tide, probably later on towards the evening, they’ll be going back out to rescue the perishing wo are stranded out there right now.

We also have another fishing boat tied up over there too. It’s bewildering me why so many of them are no longer going into the inner harbour to tie up in there.

material on quayside port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path there’s a good view down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora tie up.

And have you ever seen such a large pile of freight lined up on the quayside waiting to be taken away? It’s enormous. They must be expecting one of the freighters to come in pretty soon because they wouldn’t otherwise leave all this much stuff lying around.

It’s no surprise that they are talking about buying a larger ship to deal with all of the freight. It’s quite an unexpected Brexit dividend that rather than having freight sent to and from the UK for onward trans-shipment to and from Europe, it’s sent directly to the European mainland

men inspecting harbour bed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the end of today’s excitement. either. We had some men rooting around in the outer harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had diggers out there working in the harbour dealing with the issues of installing more mooring chains. They are a long way from finishing, so I imagine that these men are either inspecting the work that has been done or else surveying it for further work.

But I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. With nothing else going on, I headed on for home and my mug of hot coffee. And I certainly needed it today because I’m still feeling quite cold.

Armed with my coffee I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was living with Nerina and we had the house at Gainsborough Road and all of the kids were living there as well. I kept on coming back from away and the place was an absolute mess so I started to tidy up the kitchen. I started to collect together all of the things for the microwave. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t use regularly so I thought that I’d take them to France so I put it on one side ad carried on emptying these boxes to see what there was in there and stacking it up. When I reached the final box it was full of water as it had been left out in the rain. There was one of my electric drills in there. I drained it off but the sound of the running water awoke Nerina as it was 02:00. It also disturbed someone walking down the side of the house so Nerina asked what was going on. I told her. She asked if I was going to take all this lot to the Cheshire Cat. I asked her what she meant and she said “to put it all in a line”. I replied “I’m not selling anything, I want to keep it all. I can keep some of it in my garage but I’ll have to find a place for the rest”. This was another dream where I had these imaginary lock-ups that I had but I couldn’t remember where they were.

Having done that, I did some Welsh revision but unfortunately I crashed out in the middle of it.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly and then I went for tea – veggie balls with steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by more of my really delicious jam roly-poly.

Now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and then I REALLY MUST deal with my Central Europe trip and finish it off. I’m fed up of it lying around like this. There’s plenty of other stuff that I need to be doing, even installing the kitchen that I bought before Christmas.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Friday 9th April 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a bad day today and I really don’t know why.

It all went wrong during the night when I spent most of it wracked with attacks of cramp and having to get up and walk about to ease it off. They say that the medication that I’m taking takes its time to work but I was expecting it to work quicker than this.

As a result I missed the first alarm this morning. Well, I didn’t because I did actually wake up, but I must have gone back to sleep because the second alarm brought me round properly. And then I spent the rest of the day fighting off the impulse to go back to sleep, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone to hear if, despite the disturbed night, I’d been on any travels anywhere during the night. There was a train that had pulled into a platform but had stopped short to allow a pilot engine to be coupled up with I so consequently getting to it was a bi of a problem. People were having to leap over some adjacent track and a bay platform in order to get to the train. 1 passenger made it and the crew of the train made it over with the help of someone. Then another passenger tried it. It looks as if he made it OK and he got into the train but apparently he hadn’t. Then a 4th couple tried it and made quite a mess of it all. Then the train took off and it was all swaying around quite dramatically. 1 person who had only just caught it was hanging on for dear life in between 2 carriages and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was derailed. That was when I had a wicked attack of cramp that forced me to get up and walk about.

Somewhere along here was the story of a guy and his 2 acquaintances who were rustlers and were knocking everyone off. They’d already had 2 off this particular train that we were talking about and I don’t know how many more they were intending to have before they did some real damage.

For much of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from August 2019. I’ve dealt with another big pile of those today and I’m well ahead today. I’m now at the site of the ghost town of Kooi north-east of Sheridan in Wyoming heading towards the site of the Battlefield of the Little Big Horn

As well as that, I’ve done some of my arrears of my trip around Central Europe and some of my revision for my Welsh course but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle of that and ended up dropping my papers all over the floor.

All in all, it’s not been a very successful day.

There was the afternoon walk around the headland, rather later than usual today, what with one thing and another.

man leaning on rock beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut time doesn’t seem to be an issue with this guy here on the beach.

The first thing that I did as usual was to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was going on down on the beach. There wasn’t much beach for anything to be going on this afternoon but the guy here managed to find a place to rest, leaning on a rather large rock as he admires the view of whatever was going out at sea.

But with the tide coming in quite rapidly, he’s chosen a good spot, at the foot of the steps up to the Rue du Nord to which he could make a hasty retreat without being cut off anywhere by the tide

Having seen the beach, I headed off along the top of the cliff towards the headland.

philcathane trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an endless stream of trawlers heading out of the fishing port this afternoon. One after the other they were coming around the headland.

There could have been any one of them that I could have photographed but the one that caught my eye particularly was the trawler Philcathane, on her way out to the fishing grounds in the English Channel.

We’ve had the opportunity to examine her in the past when she’s been up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while and ONE NIGHT LAST AUGUST when she was sailing around the harbour late at night.

So leaving the other trawlers to their fate, I carried on with my walk along the headland towards the end of the Pointe du Roc

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur friendly neighbourhood bird of prey is out there again this afternoon.

And I’m glad that it was too. With having seen people on the beach and people i.e. trawlers out at sea, all we needed now to make up our trilogy is is SOMETHING IN THE AIR, as Thunderclap Newman might have said.

You might have noticed in the photographs so far that we have really thick ten-tenths cloud which means that it’s impossible for us to see anything in the way of airliners and there was nothing going on in the way of light aircraft going to and from the airport. A bird of prey is just as good a substitute for an aeroplane in these circumstances.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a good look across the sports field to see how they were getting on with the roofing job on the College Malraux.

And they seem to have put a spurt on just recently. They’ve been working from right to left on this side of the roof so they have now done over half of the roof on this side. Give them another six months and they might actually finish the job. They’ve been at it long enough.

What’s surprising though is that they seem to have found enough scaffolding to go all the way down that side. When they were doing the other side they only had enough to do half of it and they had to dismantle it and move it down the side halfway through the job.

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the man on the beach, there was another man out there this afternoon down on the rocks.

My journey from the lawn takes me down the path by the war memorial to the Resistance and then across the car park. From there I can go down to the end of the headland and see what’s going on.

Having seen two guys the other day fishing off the rocks at the headland, they were both there this afternoon but today they were fishing off different rocks.

And once again, they didn’t actually catch anything while I was there. I’m at the stage where I’ve given up expecting to see someone haul a sea-bass out of the water, bad-tempered or not.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photograph of Philcathane I’d noticed something else out to sea heading our way from the Ile de Chausey.

Having seen Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey yesterday, today it’s the turn of one of the Joly France boats to make an appearance on these pages. We’ve seen both of them tied up at the ferry terminal and in the inner harbour and it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one riding the waves.

As she came on over across from the Ile de Chausey I wandered off along the path along the south side of the headland towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift loitering around above Lys Noir as if it was about to pick up the boat and take her to the water. Today, we can see that Lys Noir has now gone from the chantier navale back into the water.

That leaves us with just Anakena, Hermes 1, the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and, out of shot, Aztec Lady in there right now, with plenty of room for a couple of other boats to come in.

There’s plenty of activity going on at Anakena though right now with a couple of people standing on her deck talking. She is the boat that was marooned here when all of the ports in Northern Europe closed their doors to foreign boats. With Covid easing off now in several countries, it may be that she’s getting ready to leave port and continue with her journey.

Further on along the path I could see the boats that are still tied up at the fish processing plant.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTwo of our favourite trawlers are moored to the quayside over there. They haven’t followed all of the rest out to sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy to tell which one is Coelacanthe and which one is Tiberiade when you see them on their own, but when you see them together like this you’ll see that Coelacanthe is slightly bigger and has the raised sides of the hull to protect the bridge doors.

The inner harbour was fairly empty this afternoon. Normandy Trader has left the port, probably on the early morning tide today, so I wandered off home for my hot cup of coffee and try to summon up the energy to carry on with what I had been doing.

As usual I knocked off for my guitar practice and then went for tea. I had a curry out of the freezer tonight with some rice and veg, followed by some more jam roly-poly.

But I imagine that I’m going to have some nightmares tonight because the video that I was watching while I was eating was one of these spaghetti westerns in Italian where right in front of my eyes we had a real genuine scalping with plenty of blood followed by someone being devoured alive by lizards and bats and the like.

Not the kind of thing that I enjoy watching at any time, especially when I’m eating my tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I don’t know where the time goes. Tomorrow I’m off for my second vaccination for Covid. It’s a long way to go, and an early start so I need to be on good form for that. Here’s hoping that I’ll have a better night than last night.

Thursday 8th April 2021 – TODAY, I’VE HAD …

trawler yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… another one of those nautical days that we have every so often.

There has been so much traffic on the waters today that I’ve really been spoilt for choice when it came to taking photos because I could have taken 100 and still not done justice to everything that was going on out there at sea this afternoon.

When I went out there this afternoon for my little walk around the headland I was overwhelmed by the amount of nautical traffic that was bobbing up and down on the high seas, from the smallest plank-boarders to some of the larger trawlers and freighters that hang around the port.

marite unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just out at sea that we were having all of this excitement.

It was pretty busy in the harbour this morning too. One of or favourite boats, the little Jersey Freighter Normandy Trader has come into port on the overnight tide. She’s now tied up underneath the crane at the loading bay while the personnel of the Chamber of Commerce make ready to unload her.

You can see all of the material on the quayside already. I reckon that this is the load that she has to take back with her to St Helier. And you can see how busy she is with all of that load. No wonder her owners are talking about buying a larger boat

vna pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just at sea and in the port that we are extremely busy. Thee was quite a lot going on in the air today too.

The bright sunny weather has certainly brought out the aeroplanes this afternoon, like this one that overflew me as I walked my weary way around the headland. I’ve no idea what it is because I couldn’t see the registration properly. I can see the last three letters – VNA – of its registration.

Although I checked, there was nothing of that registration that had taken off from or landed at Granville Airport this afternoon. It’s probably frustrating me deliberately by not filing a flight plan so people like me can’t identify it.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the picture of the busy port this afternoon with the crowds of boats queueing up and the portable boat lift now tackling Lys Noir, I’ll tell you about my busy morning.

It was rather a late night, although not as late as it has been once or twice, so I was able to leap out of bed with alacrity when the alarm went off.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days seeing as I missed out on doing it yesterday. And if you now look at yesterday’s entry, you’ll see that that is now up-to-date with the entries for yesterday now incorporated. Now that those were out of the way I could turn my attention to last night’s travel.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people came round to my house, including an old friend of mine so I invited a girl to come along as well. I made all of the arrangements but just at the last moment when I was getting ready to receive my visitors I had a ‘phone call to say that this girl was having to go into work so she wouldn’t be able to come. I had a little morning’s entertainment with these people and just strode out and the followed me. They went their separate ways. I just happened to be walking past their house when a car pulled up and these 3 girls got out. 1 of them said “so-and-so will run you home” referring to her youngest sister. “She knows the trick about the car”. They parked up but then they saw me walking past and asked “Eric, are you coming in?”. I walked up the path towards the door to join them.

having dome that I turned my attention to the photos from August 2019 on my North American Adventure and managed a few of those before it was time for me to go off for my shower.

And having done that, I wandered off out on my way to the shops for my mid-week shopping trip.

pointing rampe de monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me past the top of the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are using the poor state of the medieval wall as a training ground for young apprentices.

And sure enough, there were about half a dozen there, a few of whom were females, something that is always nice to see. All of them with their trowels and mortar boards doing a nice rightward lead along all of the cracks. It brought back many happy memories of when I was POINTING THE WALLS AT MY HOUSE all those years ago.

having watched them for a while I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … down the steps and on into the town.

roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if they are getting ready for the summer season, such as it might be this year, in the town.

The other day when we were around the town we saw the candyfloss and sweet stand that had arrived in the town and was now parked up hear the harbour. Today I noticed that the kiddies’ roundabout has arrived and has now been set up in the Place Charles de Gaulle ready to entertain them for the next few months.

My next port of call was LIDL for the midweek session of my weekly shopping. I didn’t want all that much from there so I ended up with quite a light load. So not to waste the trip I stocked up with some soya milk and some tomato sauce because I can always use that sort of thing and I never seem to have enough.

roadworks road closed rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I had to go along the Rue Paul Poirier, and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been.

There were roadworks in the street today and it was closed to all traffic. Not for pedestrians though so I could make my way along there and while I was it it, I could see what they were trying to do.

They had half of the road dug up near the junction with the Rue Etoupefour but as for why, I didn’t have any idea. They were digging a small trench and one of the guys was relaying the cobbles where there is the 5-minute waiting spot, cutting a few of them with his stone cutter to make them fit into their spaces. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a few days after they have cleared off in order to see what they have been doing.

roadworks rue etoupefour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the other end of the street, having pushed my way through the roadworks, I crossed over the road and started to go up the Rue des Juifs where I glanced down at the junction of the Place des Corsaires and the Rue Etoupefour.

There was a man down there with some of the cobbles pulled up, chipping away at them. I’m sure that it can’t be a coincidence with people working like this at both ends of the street . They must be doing some kind of work in common so I suppose we’ll find our about that in due course too.

Anyway I carried on up the Rue des Juifs with my light load hardly impeding me at all. I wasn’t going to say that I ran up the street but it was a good climb up there with hardly a pause for breath.

unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an occasion to call for a pause halfway up the hill because there was something of interest going on at the docks.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that each of the Jersey freighters, Thora and Normandy Trader has started to carry a couple of small sealed containers, presumably with private freight, and this morning they were unloading one of them from the deck of Normandy Trader and putting it on the quayside ready to be taken away.

That was all of the excitement for the morning. I wandered off home for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread and to continue with my photo editing.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do too many because I crashed out on my chair. And crashed out completely too. I must have been out for about an hour and a half altogether. As a result I had a very late lunch.

After lunch, seeing as it was a nice sunny day with very little wind I went and attacked Caliburn’s door.

Trying to take off the door card was a contortionist’s delight and it took me an absolute age to free it off just so far that I could put my hand inside the door skin. And as for where the spring clip that holds on the window winder went, I have absolutely no idea.

Being able to put my hand inside the door skin was one thing. To actually open the door was something else and my hands ended up black and blue with cuts and bruises but with a great amount of force and inconvenience I finally managed spring the catch and open the door.

With the door open I could re-attach the bits that had fallen off and do the necessary adjustments and now the door will open from the outside as well as the inside. But I’m not putting the door card back on until I’m sure that it works.

seagull place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there working, I was not alone.

Yesterday we saw the seagull on the windowsill of one of the apartments on the other side of the building. And this time the bird is waiting at the correct window – the one where there is the plastic bird model on the inside. And you only have to look at the state of the window to see how often it is that the bird calls there.

But anyway, I went off inside to put away my tools and then came back outside to go for my afternoon walk in the sunshine.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing to do was to go to the wall at the end of the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach today.

The tide is quite well in this afternoon so thee wasn’t all that much beach to be on today but even so, there was still enough room for a few people to wander about. These two people were having a pile of fun leaping about from rock to rock down there and they will probably keep on doing it until the tide comes in and cuts off their only means of retreat.

There was no retreat for me today. I was continuing my walk along the path on top of the cliffs. And despite the really nice weather there was hardly anyone else about so I had the place pretty much to myself

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that there was quite a lot going on in the air and I mentioned the light aeroplane that flew by overhead.

We also had another regular visitor going past me overhead this afternoon someone whom we haven’t seen for quite some time. It’s the old yellow autogyro that we’ve seen in the past on several occasions. We saw a different one, a reddy-orange one, fly past us the other day and it made me wonder when we would be seeing this one again.

She was flying quite high over my head too, much higher than normal and he had a passenger too so they presumably are on one of these sightseeing trips that she does every now and again

The French have a saying jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, and that applied to the aircraft that I saw today.

EC-MVE Airbus A320-232 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact they may well have said “thirty-third” because there were so many in the sky this afternoon. Today’s choice of aircraft is an Airbus A320-232 that’s operated by Vueling Airlines, a Spanish low-cost airline and is operating their flight VY7826 /VLG7826 which is the 15:00 from Barcelona heading to Gatwick Airport.

Her registration number is EC-MVE and airframe number 8130 which means that she was built about three or so years ago and supplied new to the airline which means that she was supplied new to the airline in February 2018.

She wet past me over head at about 25,000 feet and 388 knots and had already started her descent down to the Gatwick flight path as I was watching her

chausiais yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have spent a great deal of time discussing Chausiais, the little freighter or barge that runs the freight between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

She’s usually been tied up at the ferry port or in the inner harbour but today I’ve actually been lucky enough to catch her on her travels, coming back from the ile de Chausey.

She’s down there now manoeuvring her way between a couple of yachts as she returns to the port after her little run out. I suppose that with all of the tourists and second-home owners being here fleeing the lockdown in Paris, she has plenty of work to do, ferrying the supplies out there to the island.

fishing boats waiting for port de Granville harbour to open Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I followed the rail of yachts Chausiais and all of the fishing boats towards the harbour.

The harbour gates into the inner harbour aren’t open as yet but the time can’t be that far off because the queue of trawlers around them waiting to go in was quite oppressive. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many loitering around the harbour gates. Chausiais had quite a struggle to fight her way into her berth.

Earlier on we saw the portable boat lift wrapping her slings around lys noir but I didn’t hang around long enough to see what they were going to be doing with her. Instead, I carried on along the path.

spirit of conrad charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around on the path above the harbour I’d noticed a sail being erected in the inner harbour. And earlier while I’d been fixing Caliburn’s door, I’d seen my neighbour Pierre who owns Spirit of Conrad in his working clothes leap into his car and drive off.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I assumed that it must be Spirit of Conrad that was having her sail hoisted, and it seems that I was quite right. It looks as if she’s being prepared for the sea again so I wonder where she might be going this time. We had fun on her when we were down the Brittany coast last summer.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then finished off the day’s photos from August 2019. I’m now on the Bozeman Trail at the site of the worst humiliation of the US Army at the hands of the native Americans prior to the battle of Little Big Horn where Colonel Fetterman and his entire troop of 79 soldiers and four civilian scouts were cut down by Red Cloud and his Sioux warriors.

Before guitar practice there was time for a little bit of the Central Europe trip and then I absorbed myself in music. And I didn’t really enjoy it al that much tonight. My heart wasn’t in it for some reason and I couldn’t really get going.

Tea was taco rolls and rice and veg, followed by some of my jam roly-poly and coconut dessert.

Tomorrow is going to be a Welsh revision day, I reckon, ready for the restart of my courses. I’m becoming far too rusty. I could do with an early night but I’m not going to get it today, that’s for sure. It’s late so I’m going straight to be. And I’m hoping to have pleasant dreams despite my new evening medicine which somehow has the effect of tranquilising me.

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon out there again this afternoon.

There was so much traffic out there at sea this afternoon that you wouldn’t believe it. Out there at sea is one of the local trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister Tiberiade heading out to the fishing grounds near to the Channel Islands now that the fishing agreement has been extended, being followed by an optimistic seagull or two.

There was a smaller boat out there too, heading back to port from I don’t know where because there isn’t any land out there in that direction for her to come from.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there in the Baie de Mont St Michel they had the sailing school as well. A pile of little tiny yachts and their tutor accompanying them in his little boat.

One of the students appears to be trying to get away from the others, so good luck to him.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my ambition to be out there with them one of these days. Having been to the school last Thursday I am now in possession of the literature to enable me to apply. All I need now is 10 minutes of my time to fill in the forms. But where I’m going to find that time at the moment I really do not know.

At least I made a start in the right direction this morning. Once more I managed to leap out of bed as the first alarm was ringing.

And after I’d had my medication I forgot to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Instead, I started straight away to attack the photos from August 2019. And by the time that I was bored enough to knock off and do something else, not only had I done the arrears, I’d done today’s supply and a few of tomorrow’s too. I have to get ahead because I’m not going to be here on Saturday.

kiwi and pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I’ve been up to today is to make another supply of kefir because I’m running low on stocks.

In the fruit and veg cupboard were several rather ripe kiwis (one of which was rather too ripe to use) so I whizzed up three of them with a ripe pear or two and strained them through the sieve into the big jug. The brewing kefir followed it in and I made a new batch in the big jar for next time.

The stuff in the jug was all mixed up and then poured through the filter stack and bottled in the flip-top bottles where they will fester away for a few days and ferment until I’m ready to use them, hoping that they won’t explode under pressure.

There was also time for a bash at the arrears from Central Europe last summer and I made some headway. Not as much as I would have hoped but I had an interruption, as you will find out as you read on.

Other interruptions of course were the morning break for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit cake, my lunch, and then my walk out around the headland this afternoon.

seagull window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside the building I was greeted by one of the regulars who hangs around the neighbourhood.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have often seen the seagull out here. He perches on the windowsill of one of the apartments at the other end of the building and I’m not sure why.

But there was quite a change today. Normally he’s on the windowsill chatting to the model bird on the shelf inside but today, for some reason that I don’t know, he was standing on a different windowsill chirping away to no-one in particular. No model birds for him to talk to there.

seagull street light place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone there either.

Sitting on a lamp-post just next to the building is one of the first-year juvenile seagulls. It’s clearly not very happy about the larger one on the window sill in front of it because it’s sitting there bleating away.

Eventually it became fed up of sitting on its perch because it took off and did a few laps of the car park before settling down on the wall at the end of the car park. It’s presumably waiting for daddy (or mummy) to move off the window sill so that it can follow on to the next port of call

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we saw a yellow zodiac flitting around in the water here and there.

We haven’t seen much of her since then, up until today. But here she is, moored in the English Channel just off the Pointe du Roc with a couple of guys in it casting out a line or two into the water. It looks as if the fishing season is now underway.

It seems that sea bass is the thing that they spend so much time trying to catch around here, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually catch anything while they have been fishing. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the end of the car park, I could look over the wall now that the baby seagull has gone and see what is going on down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon with the tide being a good way in but nevertheless some people had managed to find a secluded little spot down there for a little relaxation. The little kid running towards the sea seems to be enjoying himself but the others are more content with keeping quiet and keeping warm.

Winter coats and woolly bonnets abound down there and it’s no surprise because it really was cold this afternoon and there was a bitter wind. I was certainly wrapped up in my winter coat and wished that I had remembered to put on my woolly bonnet.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I said earlier, there was an enormous amount of activity going on out at sea this afternoon.

Right out in the English Channel halfway across to Jersey I managed to pick out a yacht that was sailing on its way to St Helier. It certainly had the right kind of wind to push it along in that direction this afternoon.

And as regular readers will recall, the last time that we saw Jersey we could only just about make out the island and that was our lot. Today, the sky is a little clearer and we can actually see the individual buildings at St Helier. That’s always a good sign.

So with just one or two people walking around on the headland this afternoon, I walked off along the path to the end of the headland to see what was going on.

With the really good view across the English Channel to Jersey this afternoon I went and stood on the roof of the bunker near the end of the headland to see how things were down the Brittany coast.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the first time for quite a while, we’re able to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel down the coast 70 kilometres away. And we can see it quite clearly too, just to the right of centre in this photograph.

When I’ve finished the story of my trip around Central Europe I’ll be starting on the notes of my trip in the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast, and you’ll be able to see exactly how the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel looks from close up, because we sailed right up to it while we were out there and I was able to take some good photos of it.

Climbing down from the roof of the building I made my wy round across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there on the rocks there were a couple of fishermen having a go at fishing from off the rocks at the foot of the headland.

A little earlier we saw a couple of fishermen fishing from the yellow zodiac and I mused that the fishing season might be under way now. These two guys here would certainly lend credence to that sort of thing.

But once again, despite all of the time that I spent watching them, they didn’t catch anything either. In the end I lost interest and headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on that side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I travelled particularly far because I came to another halt half-way along the path.

sailing school trawler pleasure cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the sailing school that we had seen earlier had regrouped and they were all performing their own version of a nautical danse macabre over there in the bay.

There was another trawler leaving the port too and heading for the fishing grounds. They seem to be leaving in dribs and drabs just now rather in the mass charge en flotte as has been the usual procedure up until very recently.

There was a nice little cabin cruiser following the trawler out of the port and I wondered where he might be going this afternoon.

While I was there I had a look down into the chantier navale to se what was happening there. There was no difference down there from yesterday – the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was still in there, with some paint now missing from her hull.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile there was some excitement going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

Thora, the little Jersey freighter, is in there this afternoon and as I watched , she was being loaded up with material destined for Jersey. Sneaked in on the tide, I reckoned.

With the heavy cloud this afternoon it was impossible to see what was going on above me in the air so I headed on home airless, as you might say. And first task was to collect up all of the rubbish that was lying around and taking it to the big waste disposal bins outside. They were rather overflowing.

Rosemary had rung me up while I was out so I phoned her back. And as a result I missed finishing off my Central Europe trip, missed my guitar practice and missed my evening meal too. In the end I banged a couple of potatoes and some beans into the microwave while I was doing something else.

But now I’ve finished and I’m off to bed. I’ve crashed out twice already while I’ve been typing this and I reckon that the third time will be a good one. Tomorrow is shopping and I need a few things as well. And I have to book my travel to Leuven too for the end of the month.

And to have a go at fixing Caliburn’s door if the wind will drop. I’m going for my second vaccination on Saturday morning and entering and leaving the van is pretty much essential.

Earlier the next morning I finally managed to sort out the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in France yesterday and I was in Granville. I still had Les Guis. It was a Friday evening and I had Caliburn completely emptied out so I popped into Caliburn and headed off back to Les Guis with the aim of throwing another load of stuff in the back of the van and setting off back to Normandy. I arrived there and made a start on a couple of things. As well as that I was organising the furniture in there – the stuff that I was keeping and the stuff that I was throwing away, that kind of thing. I started to write out a note and I was doing it on a piece of wood that was an old bed base. There was a ridge where two pieces were joined and a strengthening batten and I was having to write around that. I remembered that TOTGA lived just down the road from me in France near Virlet so I arranged that I ought to go along and see her. She had this great big trailer that I had borrowed and I might need it again for removing. But in any case I wanted to go to see her. I worked out where she lived and of course it was a Saturday morning by the time I’d arrive so I wondered if maybe she’d gone shopping or something like that or should I invite her to come shopping with me or something.

This dream continued later on. I was going into a café and there were 3 girls whom Î knew in there. They shouted out “what’s this about you going for a drink with someone’s secretary?”. The girl whom we knew, it was her secretary. I remember saying something in a bit of a jokey jest type of thing and I hadn’t reckoned on her taking it seriously but apparently she had. She had written out directions of where she was going to meet. I remember her being a sweet little kid, Anoushka, and she’d written out this letter for me and where to meet so I thought that I’d better do this because it sounds interesting. The 3 girls asked me what I was actually doing down here. I said that I’d driven through the night to get to Brussels and I was sleeping in that little lodge place down near St Jacobsplein in Leuven. June Wayland said “but they’ve closed that route that you use, haven’t they?” and I was trying to think of which route she meant because I’d been coming a different way just recently. One of the things that I do remember was that a game of cricket was taking place, England v Pakistan or India or someone and the match was taking place in the conconrse of the airport – the arrivals lounge or the departure lounge. I thought that that was a strange place to have a cricket match. But they were playing there, and I was watching for a few minutes and wandered away but I could hear the commentary. It came down to the final couple of overs and at a certain point England can’t possibly lose the match now. I had to go to the bathroom from my room in this lodge and there was an Indian guy actually standing in the doorway listening to this. I couldn’t make him move. I thought that he might have seen me but he didn’t so I waited until the math finished. Then he saw me and stepped out of the way so I could leave my room. Then I suddenly realised that I ‘d forgotten my towel so I went back for it. Then I’d forgotten something else and had to go back for that. I ended up at the bathroom but there was someone already there.

Tuesday 6th April 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

trawler heading out to sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering what the weather was like this afternoon when I was out for my afternoon walk, this photograph will tell you everything that you will need to know.

You can see the white caps on the waves as this trawler batters its way out to sea. Th wind from the north-east was probably about as strong as it has been for the last few weeks and despite, or maybe even because of the bright blue sky with barely a cloud visible, it was absolutely freezing out there. I was dressed in my winter clothing and I was absolutely perishing out there.

But let us turn to this morning, such as there was of it because having broken the habits of a lifetime and spent a Bank Holiday working, and with no Welsh lesson this morning, I had a lie-in instead.

And it was necessary too because it wasn’t until about 04:30 this morning that I felt myself dropping off to sleep.

Juqt for a change I’m not going to tell you what time I awoke because it’s rather embarrassing. But there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. So first thing after the medication was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s are now on line for those of you who missed them but as for this morning I was at work in a new office somewhere. We were talking about the training and so on that we were getting. Someone was talking about how in a previous job she had to answer the phone and it had taken her 6 months to learn how the switchboard operated. I explained about my job where i worked once and just put at the switchboard and told how to work it out. They all looked astonished and asked why. I explained that in that job you just basically did everything and they wouldn’t wait a minute on saving a penny to make sure that the fewest number of people did the most amount of work there. The work drifted on, talking, and I was watching a video of some people assembling some things. They were using soldering, electric TIG welding and a few other bits and pieces to do these jobs. I was soldering mine and I wasn’t much good at it. I thought that I’d have a go at TIG welding one of these days when I had a moment. This conversation was going on and this guy looked up and saw me soldering. He said “God! Soldering! Did you do that?” I replied “soldering? That’s nothing! Just wait until I bring a plasma cutter in here!”

After that I went for lunch – porridge and toast which was very nice, followed by hot chocolate again. And then I attacked the radio programme from yesterday. Now that’s corrected and all runs together pretty well. In fact it’s even better than it was before.

The rest of the day, such as it was, was spent dealing with the photos of August 2019. I’ve dealt with the photos that I should have done yesterday and half of today’s batch. I’ll hopefully do the other half tomorrow along with tomorrow’s batch.

Right now, I’ve been to the site of the Waggon Box Fight in Story, Wyoming, and I’m now pulling up at the gates of Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of a disaster that befell the US Army that was second only to the humiliation of Little Big Horn.

There was a break for my afternoon walk of course, and I actually made it outside on time too.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do was to look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below and to see what there was going on.

Actually, today there wasn’t all that much beach to look down upon. The tide was quite well in just now. Nevertheless there were a few people down there sitting on the rocks. But pretty soon there will be one person less down there because someone was making for the steps that lead back up to the Rue du Nord. He’s clearly had enough of the weather this afternoon.

And it won’t be long before the other people join him in climbing up to the street because the tide will be there in a very short space of time and they will need to make good their escape.

jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the bitter, wild wind this afternoon the views out to sea were terrific.

Away in the distance we could see the island of Jersey quite clearly. And it’s been a good few weeks since we’ve seen that. It wasn’t so clear that we could see the buildings of St Helier, something that we can do every now and again. We’ll need a better day than this in order to do that.

Once more, there were very few people around this afternoon on the path so I made my way quite freely along the top of the cliffs without anyone else getting in my way – quite a novelty for just recently.

trawler le coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going about my business along the path on top of the cliffs, around the corner of the headland another trawler came a-chugging.

From my viewpoint I could see that it was one of he trawlers whom we know very well, and on enlarging the photo when I returned home later I discovered that it’s our old friend Le Coelacanthe

In fact there were several trawlers heading out to sea today, not just the two that we have seen so far. It seems that the Easter break is now over and with the ink now dry on the agreement to prolong access to the Channel Islands fisheries for the local boats, they are all heading out that way to take advantage of the situation.

man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the other side of the headland we were in the shadow of the wind so it was reasonably warn there. This gave one or two people the opportunity to sit down on a bench and admire the view.

Not that there was very much of a view to admire right now because all of the trawlers that had set out from port had passed the headland and were now well out at sea, hidden from view by the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on in the bay and while the Brittany coast and Cancale might look really nice, it’s not exactly riveting over there.

To such an extent that I pushed off along the headland path towards the viewpoint over the port.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint I had a good look down to the chantier navale to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And we have a change in occupancy down there today.Hermes I, which I suspected was being prepared to go back into the water is still there up on her blocks along with Anakena, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady but they have now been joined by Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the local lifeboat.

While I was watching her they were revving up her engine and two guys down there were observing the smoke that was coming out of her exhaust. Another couple of men were spraying her hull with a pressure washer while a couple more were examining a part of her superstructure.

So what’s the matter with her then?

crane ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was even more activity going on over at the ferry port.

Chausiais is over there right up at the end of the quay but there are none of the Joly France boats were there. However the red crane is partially extended so it must be doing something interesting.

Just for a change just recently I wasn’t overflown by any aeroplanes this afternoon. I was able to come home quite tranquilly for my hot coffee and to carry on my work editing the photographs.

That took me up to guitar time where I had an enjoyable time working out the chords to Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore”. Of course I don’t have Sandy Denny here to help me, but this would be just the kind of thing that Castor would be able to do were she here.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice followed by a slice of my jam roly-poly and soya coconut dessert. And I’ll tell you something, and that is that the roly-poly is cooked to perfection and it tasted absolutely delicious. That was a good idea for dessert, that was.

Now that my notes are written, I’m off to bed. The alarm is set for the morning and I’m due to restart work properly so I need to have a really good sleep and be on top form.

That’s not going to be easy because if I can crash out like I did today after all of this sleep and a late start to the day, I can certainly do that with a 06:00 start, can’t I?

Wednesday 31st March 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

fisherman english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… something of a nautical day again today instead of the aviation day that we had at the weekend.

This guy out there in the English Channel in his little cabin cruiser with a couple of fishing roads hanging out over the back is just typical of what was going on out there this afternoon.

It’s quite possible that it has something to do with the arrival of the Parisians fleeing confinement at their main address and heading out to their second homes of whatever accommodation they have been able to hire at short notice, but the sea was absolutely heaving with people this afternoon in all kinds of water craft.

man plankboarding english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say “all kinds of water craft” I really do mean that because this is yet another example of what was going on down below me in the English Channel.

Someone has decided to go out for a paddle on his paddle board and if he has paddled like that all the way around the Pointe du Roc from the port de plaisance, then he’s been doing really well because that’s not going to be an easy paddle, even when the weather is calm and the sea is smooth.

Actually the weather was quite calm this afternoon and it was rather warm, although not that warm that taking off your shirt was ever going to be any kind of option as far as I was concerned.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is more like the kind of maritime activity that we are accustomed to see around here these days.

The tide is well in and the harbour gates are open so every now and again a trawler will set sail and head out to the open sea for another bout of fishing activity.

Regardless of the effects of Brexit to date, fishing is still continuing out there in the English Channel and the Bay of Granville although with relations between the UK and the EU deteriorating rapidly as the UK breaches Law after Law and Agreement after Agreement, how long this situation will continue is anyone’s guess.

This morning, I was up once more just after the first alarm went off and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been but to my surprise there was nothing at all on there. I must have slept soundly all the way through until the alarm.

With nothing to transcribe on the dictaphone I attacked the photos from July 2019. Right now I’m just pulling into the Travel Inn Motel in Lamoure, North Dakota, and there’s only about 90 to do now before the end of the month.

That’s only part of the problem though. For the month of August having made an initial run-through of the photos, there are 2091 of those that survived the first run-through so bearing in mind that many of them will produce two or even more images, we are looking at probably 2500 photos that will be done. And about 20 videos too.

There was the Welsh lesson this morning too. Having completed my day’s supply of photos I did some preparation for my course and then armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson.

In contrast to last week it went rather better although it’s sad that I have forgotten more than I seem to be remembering right now.

For the rest of the day I haven’t stopped for a meal as I started a project that is taking more time than ever I anticipated that it would and I can see the computer being left on all the time while I’m away in Leuven. I have a couple of computer drives that failed a while ago and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall I’ve been trying to get them to fire up.

A few weeks ago I managed to make one of them work and so this afternoon I started to access the sectors manually. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve done anything like this and while computers have speeded up dramatically in that time, using pseudo-DOS hasn’t and hard drives are measured in Terabytes these days not Megabytes.

Having started at about 14:30 this afternoon and it’s now 21:50 and it’s done 2.5%. I thought that it would be a slow, laborious process but not quite as slow as this. And that’s not to say that I’ll be able to salvage anything. If any individual item of the data has spread over a defective sector then that will not be recoverable for a start.

While the computer was doing what it could do on its own I nipped out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now because of the tide, it was proving to be quite popular this afternoon. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon with bright sunshine, bright blue sky and very few clouds in the sky.

There were plenty of people wandering around there on the paths too. Not much respect for social distancing and not as much respect for mask-wearing either. But I’m sure that you are fed up of me going on about all of this. It will become as obsessive as the pathetic parking that features on here when I’m having one of my moments.

Instead, I pushed off along the path down to the end by the lighthouse and across the lawn at the bottom.

police interaction rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I reached the end of the lawn by the car park I bounced into an enormous pile of excitement down there by the roundabout.

From this viewpoint I wasn’t able to understand exactly what was going on but there were a couple of police motorcyclists down there and they seem to have pulled over a motorcyclist and his female pillion passenger.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m not usually averse to going down and asking what is going on, there are moments when it is clearly inappropriate and this is one of them. I’m sure that they didn’t want me going down there intruding at a moment like this so I left them to it.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I concentrated on what else was going on all around me.

The most important thing that is happening right now is the reroofing that’s going on down at the College Malraux. As you can see, they seem to be making some reasonable progress since the last time that I had a good moan about it and they now have ripped off yet another bay on the roof.

They have almost finished putting the laths on there now too so it looks as if the fitting of the slates won’t be too far behind. It’ll be interesting to see where they will have reached when I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon, assuming that they let me out of Castle Anthrax.

zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier on I mentioned that there was all kinds of activity going on out at sea this afternoon and all types of water craft out there at sea this afternoon.

From my vantage point at the end of the headland I could see this zodiac roaring away into the bay down below. There didn’t seem to be any fishing rods on display but that isn’t to say that they are or aren’t fishermen. But the lifejacket that the passenger was wearing looked to be rather more substantial than you might expect for someone who would have to wield a fishing rod around.

Anyway they soon cleared off round the corner and out of sight towards the port so whatever it is that they were doing, they seems to have finished it and the tide has still a good while to go before the harbour is inaccessible.

While I was admiring the zodiac out in the bay I was overflown by a light aircraft. We’re having some aerial activity to day too.

f-bukk Wassmer WA54 Atlantic pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis aeroplane is F-BUKK, which tells me that it’s a Wassmer WA54 Atlantic, a design of aeroplane that dates from as far back as 1966. They have a special place in aviation history as they are the first aeroplanes built of composite materials.

They are actually probably the only type of true passenger aeroplanes that we have seen flying out of Granville airport as they have seats for three passengers as well as the pilot.

This one is a WA54 rather that a WA 50-something else because it has the larger 180hp Lycoming “O-360-A1LD” engine rather than the 150 hp Lycoming “O-320-E2A” engine. 55 of this model were built.

She had taken off from Granville and gone for a good flight down the Brittany coast almost as far as lannion where she turned round and came back to Granville again.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was a surprise waiting for me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the mobile boat lift hovering away over Hermes 1 and I speculated that it had come to load up the trawler and drop it back into the water at the following high tide.

Anyway, I don’t know what must have happened but Hermes 1 is still there and the mobile boat lift is back in its parking place. All that I can think of is that they needed to reposition her chocks so that she would sit in a different position so that they could work on another part of her hull.

unloading lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were things going on in the inner harbour this afternoon too. A large lorry seemed to be unloading its charge down by the loading bay.

Presumably this means that we are going to be having a visit from one or other or maybe even both of the two Jersey freighters in the course of the next couple of days.

From there I headed back to home and my hot mug of coffee and to see how my manual analysis of the disk was doing. And, as I said, it was very, very slowly. This is going to be a very long job.

While it was doing bits and pieces that I could leave it alone to do, I did a little more of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe and I’m now IN A HOTEL IN FÛRTH in Central Germany.

After the guitar practice I carried on with the disk analysis and then I wrote out my notes for the day. And now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Castle Anthrax and there’s a lot to do before I go.