Tag Archives: flagstaff

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Tuesday 22nd February 2022 – AT LEAST I DIDN’T …

… burn up during the night. The cold cream stuff seems to have done the trick but it’s going to take a good few months for my leg to heal up, even if I don’t make another mess of it in the near future

As well as that, I actually managed something of a better sleep last night. I was in bed at just after 23:00 and the first entry on the dictaphone was at 03:45, meaning that I must have had almost 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

But once I was off, I really was off too. With the situation going on in the Ukraine at the moment there were all kinds of things going on in the West. In Germany for example there were these mines of something special that were used in robotics that had to reopen. It meant that there was only one train per day up into the mountains and back again. In my case if I wanted to work on this train I had to take a pill every day so I mentioned it to a couple of my workmates . One of them asked me late one evening if I knew exactly what this pill was to which I said “no”. he said that one of his other colleagues knew pretty well and I ought to talk to him. I went over to the reception desk to ask if this other colleague was free. He said that he was so I went over to his cubicle to ask if we would come over to the reception desk to have a chat. He agreed but then the receptionist said that she had to go to type some kind of document so she wouldn’t be able to listen to the conversation

Later on there was another one of these dreams where I was at work. I was well past my retirement age. They were talking about rather large changes and I was thinking again that there was so much work building up that I wasn’t able to cope with so I was going to take retirement and walk away. part of my job involved checking up some kind of old house – stately home place. It seems that what had happened subsequently after this what had happened was that I’d gone down there to check on this house even though I was now retired but I seem to have stayed and become its curator 6 days per week. No-one knew that I was there and no-oen knew that I was being paid. Of course I had very little money because of not being paid so going to and from work was quite a struggle. In the end someone discovered me there and it led to some kind of enquiry as to how I was doing it and why, what my travel arrangements were. I said that I could simply walk out of this door and walk across the car park of a large petrol station and onto the main road. When I did it once there was some kind of thing with police and ambulances holding everyone up but they waved me through so that I could walk through to the main road. The next day that I came back someone had been making a pile of chelsea buns which seemed to be a regular thing but they never baked enough. When I arrived once they had all gone. However there were 3 or 4 extremely large ones on top of the oven that no-one had noticed so I took one. Someone said that it belonged to someone else, one of the senior people, but I didn’t care. I took it anyway. I could easily have cut it into 4 and just taken a quarter which would have been plenty but I was taking the whole thing. I went to sit down to eat it but these 2 women in the dining room were having a bit of a moan or complain about Gregory, whoever he was, and how come his chelsea bun had gone and what he was going to do. I can’t remember much more.

There was another huge, lengthy dream and I was dictating it but I suddenly realised that I didn’t have the dictaphone and when I picked it up I couldn’t remember anything about the dream that I was having so I’ll have to forget that one.

Finally I’d been round to Whitchurch to talk to some family whom I knew. Then I had to go somewhere north to see a friend of mine and then somewhere south so see another friend of mine. When I was leaving I went into the room where the daughter of the house was, she was about 15 or so, and was sewing or knitting or something, a small girl. She asked where I was going so I told her and in some kind of fit of bravado I said “why don’t you come with me?”. To my surprise she said that she would. She found her keys and we set off. Then it ended up that it was the school’s leaving year’s annual leaving do. A little while earlier another friend and I had been down in London and the school’s leaving year had turned up there. They were having a big day out, all of which was being filmed and we were around where some of the film was being shot. I was with this girl and we were seeing the film. There was a group of us together by this time and the two of us who had been down in London kept saying “they are bound to show us in a minute because we were there when all of this was going on”. We all then had to walk somewhere and it was in the snow. We walked along this road and I was with this girl of course. Quite a few people were very interested to see that we were together as a couple. As we walked down this road there was a big dog that we saw. One of the people with us who had been in London said “we saw that dog and it was on the film”. We kept on drifting out of this real-life situation with me and this girl and back into bits of this film. One moment it was me with this girl walking down this path through the snow and the next minute it was this film of the kids leaving party or whatever.

It was one of the nicest and most relaxing and most interesting nocturnal voyages that I’ve ever had, especially when I was with the girl, and I wish I knew who she was because I’d be quite happy to go off on another ramble with her at any time of day or night.

When the alarm went off I had another struggle to leave the bed and then after the medication I had a little project to do that took me all the way up to a rather late lunchtime

This afternoon the first thing that I did was to peel, dice and blanch a couple of kilos of carrots. They had another huge bag on special offer in LeClerc on Saturday at a price that was too good to pass by and I get through quite a lot of them.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual, I wandered off over to the wall at the end of the car park to see who was about down there. And there were plenty of people down there too this afternoon. This is just one shot of any dozen that I could have taken to illustrate the point.

These people down here look as if they are engaged in the peche à pied and there were a few others out there at the water’s edge at it too. But several others were just having what looked like an aimless amble about.

One of my neighbours was out there by the wall too and we had a little chat for a few minutes, not about anything important.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was out there this afternoon I had a look to see what was happening out at sea.

Despite the wind there was quite a mist in the distance but right out by the Ile de Chausey there was something moving around. I took a photo with the aim of enhancing it when I returned.

Back here I could see that it was a trawler although at this kind of range I couldn’t say which one it was. Nevertheless, it looks as if the fishermen have gone back out to sea after their enforced holiday over the last few days and that will be good news for local businesses.

The brats are of course back at school so there weren’t too many people around on the path this afternoon so I could have a nice leisurely walk around the headland all by myself.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago one of the storms that we had had had ripped one of the flagpoles here out if its concrete base.

flagpole base pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A few days ago we came across a workman concreting a new base and he told me that when it had cured he would come back and drill the mounting holes.

By the looks of things he had been back recently because the bolts for the flagpole have now been installed in the base. We’ll probably come back here some time within the next few days and found that the flagpole had been repositioned.

There was still no-one loitering around at the end of the headland, which was hardly a surprise given the weather and also the fact that there wasn’t anything to see out at sea, so I pushed on around the path to the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There’s something strange going on this afternoon down in the chantier naval.

Tiberiade is far from finished as we can see, but they have brought the portable boat lift over to her and she seems to be sitting in the cradle.

It would be very surprising if she were to go back into the water in this condition so they might just be moving her around. I’ll probably find out tomorrow when I go round for my walk.

The other two boats, Le Roc A La Mauve III and the unknown yacht, are still in here though and not looking as if they will be going for a while.

Back here I had my coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night to see where I’d been. And I wish that I knew who that girl was whom I met in Whitchurch.

Tea was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday and then Rosemary gave me a ring. Two hours we were chatting tonight. No wonder I’m running rather late.

But now I’m off to bed hoping for a good sleep and a good run out with pleasant companions during the night. I enjoyed that little trip last night and I wish that something like that would happen to me in real life.

Thursday 27th January – I FINALLY MADE IT …

work on flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… outside and off around for my afternoon walk around rhe headland – the fist time since a week last Sunday.

And there have been several changes since I was last out and about. There was a council workman over there by the base of the flagpoles having a ply around so while his back was turned I took a quick photo.

It looks as if things might at last be happening with the concrete base of the flagpole that was uprooted in the gales several weeks ago. So watch this space for further developments.

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Another thing that I wanted to do was to button-hole someone involved in the clearing-out of the bunker that they opened a few weeks ago.

Just my luck of course to find no-one in attendance this afternoon. Either they have finished what they were doing or they’ve cleared off early for home.

The skip has gone but there’s still plenty of rubbish in there that needs removing, including several empty bottles of wine and the like. But whether they are related to the war-time occupants or the modern cleaning crew I really couldn’t say.

However I do know that farther down the coast they’ve uncovered yet another bunker from the Atlantic Wall. The cliff there is in danger of slipping so they had a crew out there to clear it of all of the mass of overgrown vegetation so that they can erect a net to hold back the rocks.

And that’s when they found the bunker.

bottom mine pointe du rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But this is totally new. We haven’t seen it or even heard a whisper about it before.

One look at it will tell you what it is. It’s a bottom mine, as you can tell from the flat bottom. These are laid in or dropped into shallow water where they sink and sit on the silt on the sea bed until some marine craft activates them by passing overhead.

This one was actually found here in the harbour in Granville quite a while ago and has been floating around the town with no fixed abode ever since. They have apparently decided to locate it here as one of the sites of interest around the town.

My bed would have been a site of interest this morning because I was still in it until 10:00.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I just couldn’t drag myself out. And neither could I for the second alarm at 08:00, and so in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went back to sleep again. It’s really disappointing, especially as last night wasn’t even all that late.

When I eventually did come round into the land of the living it was something of a stagger around until I found my bearings. I’ve lost my marbles a long time ago of course and they won’t be ever found.

Once I was properly awake, the first task was to sit down and transcribe all of the dictaphone notes. I’d travelled miles yet again during the night. I started off with my Greek lady-friend. We’d started off by obtaining a TGV timetable for trains that went to Austria and Switzerland. Gradually our journey began to evolve – talk about everything that I was wanting to bo and she was wanting to do. Little by little we were adding little railway journeys in until finally we reached Greece. The question of swimming in the sea came up. She said that she’d been swimming in the sea while I’d been asleep. In the end I suggested Corinth because it’s a town that I knew and it’s still keeping away from Athens. We had a look on the map that I just happened to have handy and saw loads of holiday resorts and beaches etc all around Corinth. She thought that that wasn’t a particularly good idea. I said “it can be anywhere really al long as we can arrive by train and it has a sea. I mentioned Corinth because it happened to be somehere that I knew” so we started to have some kind of discussion about where in Greece we might go^

I was with a couple of people later on last night driving through the USA. The difficulty that I have with other people is that you can’t keep stopping to take photos and so on so I wasn’t really enjoying myself all that much. We came to a place where there was a stunning view across mountains and valleys so I indicated a place where I would like to stop to take photos but they just drove straight past it. We came to some place that was a kind of museum about some early locksmith who had come to the area so we parked and went in. I picked up a brochure as did these 2 people. Then they announced that it’s time that the museum was closing and everyone would have to leave. I said “there’s no objection really, is there, if we wander around the outside?”. They replied “oh yes, we’ve been told that we have to limit access to internet types like you”, something that totally astonished me. I’d never heard anything the like of that in my life. Of course it brought fits of laughter from my two friends and me but these people were apparently serious. Anyway, was they say, it’s all very well telling us something but how are you going to stop us? They certainly didn’t come round to try to stop me as I was wandering around on my way back to the car

And I stepped back into that dream again later .While we were at that museum there was something about a dog. We didn’t have a dog but I ended up taking this dog for a walk around the field thinking to myself “I’d like to see the people who run this museum try to stop me with this dog”.

Finally I was driving taxis again last night and there was a pick-up from halfway up Middlewich Street. I drove up there and there was an old man standing there at the end of the footpath. I asked him if he’d booked a taxi. He said yes but it wasn’t me, at least that’s what I understood because he had a terrible speech impediment. I radioed into the office. They said that it was some girls going somewhere or other. I waited around for a couple of minutes, they the guy got in. I really couldn’t understand where he wanted me to take him, whether it was the North Ward Club, somewhere like that. His speech impediment was awful.

After lunch I went to clean, dice and blanch 2kg of carrots. I was ony intending to buy 3 or four yesterday to see me through to the weekend but 1kg of loose carrots were €1:39 and a 2kg bag was €1:29. So what would you have done?

Where I’m going to fit them all is anyone’s guess but the freezer is bursting right now. Perhaps there will be more space when I take out the other half of the loaf on Monday, but that’s a long way off.

Definitely First-World problems, aren’t they?

seagull on windowledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022By now it was time to go off for walkies. “Now or never” I mused. It’s been ages since I’ve been out.

And there was someone just outside to greet me too. We’ve seen the seagull before, up on one of the window ledges by the other entrance to the building, and it’s here again to say hello as I walked past.

By the look of its plumage it’s one of the younger ones. Nevertheless, I would have expected them all to have found their feet a long time before this. But that’s the window with the toy bird on the other side looking out, so maybe the seagull here is trying to chat up the toy one with a view to starting a family.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been over to look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

Not much beach this afternoon. I’ve missed quite a few cycles of the tide of course. And there wasn’t anyone down there that I could see making the most of whatever beach there was.

Actually, I would have expected that there might have been some people out for a walk down there. It wasn’t a particularly nice day but 9°C out there is warm for January and the kind of weather that should usually bring out at least some of the crowds.

Mind you, with the way that Covid is going at the moment, I’m glad there weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon.

concrete flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so in the company of a couple of joggers I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

A little earlier I mentioned the Council’s builder. I had a little chat to him when he wasn’t doing anything. They’ve laid the concrete base as you can see, and now they are going to leave it to cure for a few days or so, and then they’ll drill it and replace the missing flagpole.

And so I wished him the best of luck. It wasn’t very windy at all this afternoon but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can have some devastating winds up here at the Pointe du Roc that’ll make short work of anything that’s not fastened down securely.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Passing by the bunker that we saw earlier I walked down the path towards the port.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the chantier naval so I was keen to see what was going on down there. And to my surprise, Gerlean is still in there, not having moved by the looks of things since I passed by here last, and a good few weeks before that too.

She has company too. The boat to her left is one that I don’t ever recall having seen before in port. And there’s a small one over on the right too.

Unfortunately I can’t read their names or registration numbers from here so I’m not able to identify them. I’ll have to try again tomorrow to have a better look.

crane on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, there’s so much more excitement going on over at the loading bay.

There’s a large lorry with an even bigger trailer, and then we have the huge portable crane that we see every so often here in the harbour that looks as if it’s just unloaded a rather large piece of machinery from the trailer – something with caterpillar tracks.

The other material on the quayside suggests that one of the Jersey freighters is going to be in port in the very near future so I wonder if the large machine is destined to be joining them and they’ll all be going out to Jersey together.

Quite possibly the machine is beyond the lifting capacity of the dockside crane, hence the portable crane.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Before I leave the dockside for home, I heard a familiar rattle from behind me so I turned to see what it was.

The harbour gates are closed right now but it seems as if it’s not going to be long before they open. This looks like the first trawler to make it back home ready to unload its catch, whenever it can come in to tie up.

Back here I made a coffee and then finally after much prevarication over the last week made another start on the big radio project. I actually finished one speech too, with all of the amendments. Only another 4 or 5 to do, so I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going tomorrow – including an early start.

Tea was some of those small soya fillets in breadcrumbs, and with some of those and some more veg gone I manage to squeeze in one bag of carrots to freeze. There’s another one to go in, but that wil have to wait for some other time.

And now I’ll try for an early night. High time that I had one, and had a decent sleep too. Nothing is being done around here and that’s driving me to distraction.

At least the afternoon’s walk has blown away a few cobwebs. But I wish that I knew what I had to do to dispose of the spiders that are crawling around inside me.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Tuesday 21st December 2021 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day when I’ve not accomplished anything like as much as I intended to today and I’m really going to have to snap out of this if I want to make any progress because it’s getting me down.

Going late to bed last night didn’t help matters too much and as usual it was difficult to haul myself out of bed. However, as I had things to do, there wasn’t any question about it.

No medication this morning because I don’t have time to wait for the side-effects to kick in. Instead I took the paper rubbish out to the paper bin, and I hadn’t realised just how much there was and how long it had been hanging around.

But of course, you couldn’t take a pile of paper outside with the winds that we have had just recently.

Back inside I actually tidied up the kitchen and the dining area and even vacuumed the floor and it’s a long time since I’ve done that.

Caliburn’s new brake discs had arrived, having been on order for several weeks, so I had to take him to the mender’s and drop him off so they can fix him. And it was freezing outside, really cold. Minus 0.3°C and that’s the coldest that it’s been so far this winter.

Laurent came to pick me up and bring me home where we had a coffee and then wandered off down the road to speak to Nadia.

She’s a costumier who lives down the road and makes all of the costumes for the Carnival. We’re starting a series pf programmes about the Carnival in February in the hope that it isn’t cancelled again, and she’s an ideal candidate to be interviewed to tell us about her life, her work and how the Carnival affects her.

After we’d finished Laurent went home and I came back here for another coffee and to crash out in front of the computer. Well, not exactly crash out because I was as compos mentis as I can be these days, but I certainly was in no mood to do anything.

After lunch I forced myself into work and began the arrangements for my Christmas programmes. –

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 11:00 –
An exclusive interview with Father Christmas and his Elves, direct from his workshop in a secret location

Friday 24th December 2021 and Saturday 25th December 2021 at 21:00
Christmas songs with your favourite rock stars

Friday 31st December 2021 and Saturday 1st January 2022 at 21:00
A New Years Eve live concert from Boston, MA,; USA recorded on 31st December 1975

These can be heard on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS


There’s also a special treat – while I was sorting out all of the old hard drives I came across many of the old radio programmes that we did in the old Radio Anglais days. So what I’ll be doing is on Christmas Eve at midnight I’ll upload it to my website and you can hear it AT THIS LINK – but not yet. You’ll have to wait until Christmas Eve.


And just a reminder …
All times are CET (French time)
For the UK, subtract one hour
For Toronto, subtract six hours
And you’ll have to work out the rest for yourself

peche à pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite everything there was still time for me to go out for my afternoon walk and with the aim of catching up with my old habits I went over to the wall at the end of the car park.

What took me by surprise was the number of people down there on the beach this afternoon. As I suspected, all of the holidaymakers and second-home owners have descended on the town and packed it out.

And there were many down there trying their luck at catching fresh oysters for their Christmas treat. Oysters is a big tradition in France on Christmas Day, rather like my Christmas cake is to me.

man in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021In fact there were so many people around roday that you had to be inventive if you wanted to have some peace and quiet.

Here’s someone out in the bay in his zodiac having a little relax. At first I thought that he might be fishing but having a closer look at his boat I couldn’t see any fishing equipment.

Just as I was standing here watching him, a neighbour of mine pulled up in her car and we had a chat for a quarter of an hour or so before I wandered off on my travels.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s coming up to Christmas for most of us, others are still out there working.

While I was looking out to sea I noticed two fishing boats heading slowly for home, presumably with a full catch after a hard day’s work.

And of you look very closely at the photo, to the upper left of the right-hand fishing boat you’ll see what looks like the Loch Ness Monster rearing its ugly head out of the water.

That took me rather by surprise. I’ve enlarged the photo and enhanced it and I still can’t make out what it is.

f-GSBV Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And how long is it since we’ve seen an aeroplane overflying us?

Today it’s the turn of F-GSBV – a Robin DR400-180 from the flying school here at Granville, flying past on its way home.

At least, I thought that she was on her way home but according to her flight plan, she took off at 16:06 and flew southwards before coming back, did a figure-of-eight over the airport heading northwards before coming home much later than when I saw her.

Someone clearly has a lot of flying hours to catch up.

base of flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regumar readers of this rubbish will recall that the Pointe du Roc was devasted by gusts of 136kph at the height of Storm Arwen.

One of the flagpoles was uprooted and I posted a photo of it leaning drunkenly against its neighbour.

It’s now been removed and the base has been cordoned off. Presumably in the New Year they’ll re-drill it and fit new anchor bolts and then re-erect the flagpole.

You can see the size of the anchor bolts in the concrete base as they seem to have left one behind. You can imagine the force of the wind that tore the others out of their concrete settling.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what I like about this time of the year are the magnificent sunsets that we have.

With the beautiful blue, clear sky that we had had today we were having another one and this has to be one of the best that we have seen for quite a while.

As I came up the path towards the lighthouse I noticed how nice it was looking, and as I walked across the car park I could see it in all its splendour. And one of the fishing boats that we had seen earlier had caught me up and you can see it silhouetted over on the right.

cabanon vauban woman on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And, just for a change just recently I wasn’t on my own admiring it.

As well as the crowds that were milling around on the car park and the footpath, there was someone down below on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland.

Whatever it was that she was doing, she seemed to be totally engrossed in it, so I left her alone and pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed … along the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At the chantier naval there was no change in the situation this afternoon. Aztec Lady was still there of course but that was about it.

Over at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France ferries in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) situation. She’s the older one of the two, as we can see because there’s no step in her stern.

There were a couple of people up on the sea wall making the most of the early evening sun sinking slowly down below the horizon, but my attention had also been caught by something in the water in the background, moving quite rapidly.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having done all of that I set out back to home, but I didn’t go far before I was distracted by the sound of Pink Floyd.

Further investigation revealed that there were a couple of workmen on a roof down in the Rue du Port, doing a re-roofing job by the looks of things. And I do have to say that I admired their choice of music.

Further along here, while walking on the path just above the port I fell in with another neighbour and we had another chat for a while – so much so that by the time I arrived home the coffee that I’d set in motion before coming out was now cold.

Having finished my radio notes I thought about tea. Stuffed pepper with veg and rice and it was delicious.

And while I was at it, I almost forgot the dictaphone too. We were all by a river somewhere in different positions. I wanted to attract someone’s attention so I built a mine and put it in the river to float it down there so that everyone else would see it. However I didn’t have any means of controlling it or directing it so it wasn’t as good an idea as it sounded. I was wishing, when I was halfway through making it, that I had some kind of radio control apparatus that I could make this thing work.

In actual fact, back in the 1960s my grandparents lived near a canal and it was the start of the pleasure boat cruise network in those days. A big marina had been built at Barbridge and there was a lot of traffic on the canal. My brother and I had the idea to build a replica “mine” complete with horns, like an old German contact-mine, and float it down the canal into the marina and watch the chaos and confusion from a discreet distance. However our parents, in a rare act of parenting, vetoed the idea quite firmly.

Later on we were at the side of a river waiting for something. The guy in charge of this expedition said that he had sent someone down with the sandwiches. They got down to where we were. As they approached the first person he dropped the lot onto the floor. Of course everyone mulled round to see what they could find but the sandwiches were all messed up in the mud and totally unfit to eat

I was also back with the taxis last night. My brother was driving and he had driven all night, all the previous evening until quite late and was back in again early next morning working. My mother mentioned that when he had taken her home at the end of the shift at the evening he’d fallen asleep a couple of times driving and she had to wake him up. That surprised him that he was back in early next morning working away again. There was something about a job going on from Underwood Lane to Audlem so I made sure that whoever it was had our ‘phone number so they could ring up and book it for the next evening

I’d been out somewhere and I had a pile of oranges and one of them was rotten and had leaked everywhere so I had to go upstairs and wash everything out. Some had fallen on my pillow so I’d rinsed everything off. My mother wanted something so I went into her room. She started to laugh about these oranges and I became extremely annoyed so I tipped the contents of the bag, rotten oranges and all, all over her bed and left them there with it all staining into her bedclothes.

There was something else about photocopying. There was a girl doing a pile of photocopying and she was saying something about how the photocopying companies said that it couldn’t be done but she could do it. I asked “is that recto-verso? Because I found the same”. She asked “how do you do your recto-versos?”. I had to think for a moment because it’s one of those automatic things that you do without even thinking about it. I had to think for a minute and then explain it to her but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right because I’d never really thought about it. She asked “did you write and tell the company?”. I answered “no. They told me that it couldn’t be done when I asked them and I had to work it out for myself so it’s nothing to do with the company. It’s something to do with me that I can do it. The company shouldn’t be profiting from my ideas”. She agreed to that.

And now, later than intended, which is no surprise after transcribing all of that, I’m off to bed. I’m baking bread tomorrow, making more hummus, peeling a pile of carrots and going to the physiotherapist. It’s all go around here and I’m exhausted.

Saturday 11th December 2021 – I’VE BEEN BUILDING …

… up to this for a couple of weeks now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but this morning I failed miserably to arise from my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30.

In fact, it was extremely difficult at 08:55 as well but somehow I managed to drag myself out. I’m not doing too well at all with this.

Not that I had a late night either. I was in bed at a respectable hour, time enough to give me the better part of 8 hours’ sleep but there were things going on during the night that I can’t explain.

I was interviewing someone at work last night but had to go over and see Aunt Mary so I wanted to complete this interview as quickly as possible. It was a rather wealthy woman whom I was interviewing and she was having some kind of financial issues. I mentioned that a big overseas insurance company had recently gone bankrupt and wondered whether that might have been anything to do with it. They couldn’t understand that so I had a close look at the papers and saw that I had misread the date. It was 1982. They were quite angry about this so I said that I would write a letter of apology. He dictated the address but I couldn’t make any sense of it because the names were all completely different when he read it back to me to what I’d written in the first place. This went on and eventually when they had gone I looked at the time. It was 18:10 and my bus was at 18:20. I had to pack up my desk and pack up everything, change my clothes and so on. First of all all the bathrooms were occupied etc so I decided to go as I was and change at her house. I had to stuff everything into my briefcase but there was far too much stuff. I couldn’t get it to close. I had to run downstairs. In the meantime someone told me that Aunt Mary had been assaulted by someone who had called her by name and said so that I’d sent them. It was obviously something to do with someone at work and I couldn’t understand that. I’d only said something about my plans to one or two people. I ran downstairs hoping to find a bus to take me tothe station to catch my train. A kind-of weird bus pulled up. When it pulled up it was being towed by a Land Rover. The Land Rover parked at the bus stop and then uncoupled itself and pulled away. I noticed that it had a sign for “Alba” in the window of the Land Rover and I couldn’t understand what was happening here either. I was going to be horribly late for this appointment with Aunt Mary and I hadn’t a clue what was going on about this attack that she’d had or anything. It was all a great big mess.

There was also something else happening to do with the medieval King of Ireland. Some of his journeys from written accounts had been plotted onto some kind of map. Again, it was something to do with me having to go over there to talk to him but I can’t remember any more about this part of the journey apart from what I’ve already said.

When I went back off to sleep I went back into this dream about Ireland again with the King of Ireland being stuck over there I had to go over to see him, everything like that but again I can’t remember anything. However it involved going on a lorry but the lorry was already full of people in the cab and in the back. I can’t remember anything else really.

Later in the night I had a couple of cats. One of them was a little grey and white one. They were all outside but this little grey and white one stayed close to home which was quite unusual for her. After Nerina had gone to work I went inside and lit the gas fire because it was cold. I’d make myself a cup of tea but I poured water into a colander, not a saucepan. In the end I managed to fill the coffee machine with water and make myself a coffee, but it was warm, not hot. I put some food down for the cats and some water for this grey and white one but one of the girls said “she wants to go out”. Why she couldn’t have let it out I don’t know. I had to cross the kitchen and open the door for it and let it out. I don’t know where this dream was going after that.

When I went off back into the arms of Morpheus I was back at work and had to interview the same woman whom I had interviewed earlier in the evening. And we had exactly the same encounter.. There was me, another person from work, this woman and her adviser. The first thing was that she was having difficulty obtaining a repayment. I said that there was no difficulty as far as our end goes. I showed him a letter or something where the instructions were clear but they actually referred to payment, not to refunds. I didn’t know exactly what he was saying so I wanted to find out some further information. Then he said that she was experiencing a lot of financial difficulties that she shouldn’t be experiencing. I had a look through his papers and saw that an insurance company to which she was a contributor had gone into liquidation. I pointed this out to him but he replied “that was 1982” so I had another look. Yes, I’d misread the date. He was rather annoyed about that so I agreed to send him a letter of apology. he told me the address and I wrote it down. When he read it back it was different. Each time I corrected it and he read it back it was different again. I wasn’t sure what on earth was happening here about this because nothing seemed to be making sense. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now but it may well have been the same that I experienced when I first dreamt it.

Later on I was with someone and we were at the fruit-picking farm at Shavington where we used to go as kids. We were talking about things that had happened there when we were kids and how things are completely different these days. Even the layout of the farm was different. We talked about the girl who was supposed to be picking blackberries but ended up picking raspberries claiming that they were unripe blackberries, and ended up being given the sack. We ended up in the potato fields there. They had quite a few mis-shapen potatoes. This girl went to fetch a spade. I asked why and she replied “I’m going to get some potatoes to take home to my mother”. I said “you want to be very cow because you can be overlooked from here”. Sure enough there were quite a few people going past who could easily see what she was trying to do. They were higher up on a hill on the main path that went between one farm and another.

Finally I was at Barlow’s scrapyard in Crewe but it was nothing like Barlow’s scrapyard that I ever saw. He was having a clear-out. I’d only popped in for something because I was on my way round to see my sister because I had a date at 19:30. We were talking and he was giving me a few little bits and pieces. He said “your girlfriend has a mini, doesn’t she?”. He came out with a pile of things like air filters, all this kind of thing, all new old stock and handed them to me. By this time Nerina had turned up so he brought her a toolbox and a whole pile of nuts and blots from minis he’d dismantled. We were having a whole pile of stuff given to us here. When I looked, not only was it late for me to go round to my sister’s, it was getting late for me to go on this date as well. Then he wheeled out something that was an astonishing machine. It was an ancient motorbike but as the tale unfurled it became something on three storeys like a racing car but you sat on the third storey in like a torpedo body with a tiny engine on that level. and then there was a pile of equipment underneath it, and another level underneath that which was where the wheels were. It was all belt-driven. he explained to me what it was and I’d vaguely heard the name but never seen one. It was a racing car from about 1910. even though how frail and unwieldly it looked it would do 200 mph when it was tuned up. He asked me if I wanted it. I thought “of course I want this. Who wouldn’t?”. My German friend was there too. He wasn’t the least bit impressed. My idea was that seeing as it was a kind of sectional thing I could take it to bits and take each section up to my apartment and renovate it in the kitchen then take it downstairs to reassemble when it’s done. But no-one could really understand what was so fantastic about it except me. I thought that it was a fantastic thing.

As you can see, it was probably one of the most turbulent nights that I’ve had and it’s no surprise that I was totally wasted this morning.

While I was lying in bed I set myself three tasks to perform before lunchtime.

The first was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I can’t do that on Sunday as I usually do because if things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I’m baking my Christmas cake. And that will be a labour of love

The second thing was to sort out the photos from last night’s festival, edit them and post them off to the person who is preparing the radio programme

Third thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. I knew that there would be plenty – but not quite as many as there were. That really was quite extraordinary.

To my surprise, I finished everything on time and then went to eat my butties for lunch.

After lunch there was football. Aberystwyth v Y Drenewydd from last night. Y Drenewydd ran out comfortable winners 4-2 due to Aberystwyth’s defence pushing too far up and not getting back quick enough to counter the speedy Drenewydd breakaways.

But here’s an interesting fact. I’ve often talked about Lifumpa Mwandwe of Drenewydd and how he’s far, far better than the average player in the Welsh Premier League. According to some statistician 150 could have been awarded in Newtown’s favour before thise match started, of which 50 of them were awarded for fouls on Mwandwe.

It seems that kicking him off the park isn’t just confined to TNS.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. And I didn’t want to, because it was teeming down outside.

Nevertheless I wasn’t the only person out there this afternoon. There were actually three brave souls down on the beach – one man with his dog who we have seen before, and another couple wandering about in the rain.

And then there was me, wandering around in the rain up here too. I wasn’t going to loiter around because I was becoming rather wet rather rapidly – not that that is any great news to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall it as my regular state of existence.

damaged flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that we have been battered quite severely just recently by a couple of really impressive storms.

As I was to find out when I arrived at the Memorial to the French Resistance up here on the lawn at the end of the headland. One of the flagpoles has taken a right battering.

And it has too. It’s anchored to a block of concrete by a set of heavy duty concrete anchor bolts and two of the three have been ripped right out of the concrete. And it takes some force to do that.

So having photographed it I wandered off to the end of the headland but there was no-one there – not that I expected there to be – and no-one out at sea either. everyone else had far more sense than me.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Although there wasn’t a great deal of wind there was a great deal of power in the wind still stored up from the storm the other day.

As I walked around the headland I could see the waves breaking onto the sea wall. They weren’t quite going over the top but some of them were really impressive nevertheless.

This wasn’t the best one that I’ve seen but usually it’s every seventh wave that’s the best and by the time three had gone round both the camera and I were soaked to the skin so I took this photo and cleared off quick, which was rather a shame but a practical necessity.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A few weeks ago I mentioned that I won’t be taking any more photos of the portable boat lift unless there was some change in the situation there.

Well, we certainly have that today. The last time that I took a photo of it, it was because the wheels had disappeared. Today, not only are they back but they are fitted onto the lift as well.

It looks as if the major overhaul that it’s been undergoing for the last couple of months is now drawing slowly to a close and the chantier naval may soon be back in business.

Back at the apartment I came in here to carry on with some work that needed doing, and then at 18:30 I set out again.

The purpose of my trip out was two-fold.

  1. to photograph the Christmas lights
  2. to do some work for the radio

Having taken a few photos on the way down we met at a restaurant in the Rue Couraye where I had a delicious but expensive salad while everyone else ate normally. And then off to the cinema to watch half a dozen short films of this “Fish and Films” Festival.

Our purpose wasn’t the films themselves but to interview the people who were leaving to ask their impressions of the films. We ended up with quite a mixed bag.

On the way home I photographed the rest of the Christmas lights in the town centre and that’s my task for tomorrow afternoon while my cake is baking – to edit and post the photos that I took.

But not now. It’s almost midnight and so I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I’ll need it to recover from the distance that I travelled during last night. I don’t think that I’ve ever travelled so far in one night before and it left me quite exhausted.

Tuesday 5th October 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… very strange communication today.

People have given up asking me about my family because we weren’t really a family at all – just a collection of strangers living under the same roof, a 20th Century version of the “Harleian Miscellany”. and as soon as we were able to do so, we did our imitation of the KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE and each went our separate ways.

Some event that took place several months ago seems to have focused some minds, so it seems, and today I had an e-mail from someone who last spoke to me over 20 years ago and never replied to a couple of mails that I sent him afterwards.

Now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m slowly dying of an incurable disease and I have no reason to suppose that “others” are unaware of this.

However, this mail spared us all the usual niceties about “how are you?”, “sorry to hear of your illness”, “is there anything that we can do to help you?” but it cut straight to the crux of the matter.

Yes, someone has found out that I have some things that they would like and the mail went “How are you making available ************ to the wider family? Could you include me in your circulation of such?”.

Seeing that no-one in “the wider family”, apart from my niece in Canada, has spoken to me in over 20 years, my reply was, quite naturally, “no-one in “the wider family” has ever asked me for it”.

Yes, because I have something that someone else wants, I’ve suddenly become popular.

Not that the lack of courtesy, politeness and concern ever bothered me – I’ve long-since given up expecting any of that. I simply admired the brass neck of it all

But anyway, returning to our moutons, as they say around here, as I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed … there isn’t really much point in going to bed early if I don’t go to sleep.

Last night, I was still tossing and turning in my bed long after 01:00 and so consequently even though I was lying in until 07:30, I was still half-dead when I crawled out of my bed when the alarm went off.

Much of the morning was spent hunting unsuccessfully for my notes from my Welsh lesson from last week, and it wasn’t until I’d written them out again that I finally found them.

And while I was reviewing the notes I … errr … closed my eyes for 10 minutes.

Armed with my coffee and one of my delicious fruit buns (and they really are delicious too) I went for my lesson. 150 minutes passed fairly quickly and it also passed quite well. Being tired was something of a drag but at least I didn’t fall asleep.

After my lunch, the first thing that I did was to book my stay in the hospital.

Surprisingly, all of the early TGVs were fully booked and I’ve ended up taking the 08:43 next Saturday from Brussels to Paris, and then I’m breaking new ground by going home via Caen. I’ve never been that way on a train before.

waves baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now it was time for me to go for my post-prandial perambulation around the Pointe so I headed off as usual across the car park.

It was a case of hanging onto my hat, and eventually taking it off and stuffing it in my pocket because there was a totally wild and wicked wind blowing around out there this afternoon.

Just one look at the whitecaps on the waves is enough to tell you all that you need to know. It was one of the wildest seas that we have had just recently, with the blowing round today from the north-east for a change.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021having made a note of that I went to look over the wall down onto the beach.

And to my surprise, there were quite a few people down there on the bsach this afternoon, despite the wind. Armed with buckets and spades, you might be forgiven for thinking that they are building sandcastles, but in fact they are scavenging for seafood amongst the rocks.

Into the teeth of the gale struggled Yours Truly, headig off on my walk along the path.

There was only me out there, which was no surprise. The wind really was taking away my breath and I had quite a struggle along the path.

le loup waves baie de mont st michel granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When I reached the lawn by the lighthouse, just like Bob Dylan, I didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

The sea was quite wild in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon and Le Loup, the marker light on the rock just by the harbour entrance, was being battered by the waves.

No cars on the car park, of course. There wasn’t anyone around at all.

You’ll notice the upright pole with the sign thereupon, just to the right of centre. They installed that a couple of years ago and laid a little path from the car park so that people could approach it. It took 2 workmen about a week to lay the path.

A year or so later, a few more workmen came past and dug up the path that they had laid, and laid the one that you see that leads up to the Monument to the Resistance Fighters.

That first path was a waste of time, effort and money, wasn’t it?

cherie d'amour fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021My walk takes me down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland

No-one on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban, as you might expect in this weather, but there were other forms of entertainment out there. A couple of fishing boats, one of which may well beCherie d’Amour, were battling with the waves out there in the bay.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my hat comes off to all of those in peril on the sea working in weather like this.

flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The wind was far too strong for me to stay there for long, so I moved off down the path on the other side

The wind here was, for a change, just as wicked and it seems to have been wreaking havoc with the flags on the poles at the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury.

The European Union flag has already gone and the French national flag is about to follow it, by the looks of things. The flags of Normandy and of the town also seem to have been taking quite a battering as well

What will remain of them tomorrow?

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Now that the chantier naval is empty (apart from the dredger of course) they have been tidying up.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a street cleaning machine down there hoovering up the debris. They have also put up the blocks on which they drop the ships, so does that mean that we might not be expecting any more boats in there in the near future?

However I’ve been quite wrong in the past about my predictions for boats down there, so I’m going to say nothing. I’ll just carry on with my walk down the path.

tubes in water port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that for the past couple of weeks there have been a pile of pipes and other equipment on the quayside.

Today, those pipes have moved, and some of them now seem to be in the water in the inner harbour. The rest are on the quayside looking as if they are about to take to the water.

It still defeats me exactly what the plan is for all of those, but I suppose that it will become more clear as time goes on.

Back here I had my coffee and then turned my attention to the dictaphone.

I was having a chat with my Scottish friend last night about loneliness, of all things. She was saying that she had a girl of 14 whom she took away and it taught her about relationships with other people, that kind of thing, and stopped her being lonely. She was thinking about becoming a Brownie leader. I explained that I lived on my own little world and occasionally came out to interact with other people but mostly, I was doing fine as I was. This discussion went on for ages but I can’t remember much.

There was some stuff from some previous days on there too so they have all been transcribed and are now on line in the relevant places.

Tea tonight was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from yesterday and it was delicious.

And now I’m off to bed, in the hope that I can have a good night’s sleep instead of what I went through last night. It’s high time that I had a good night.

Sunday 18th July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

boats heading to harbour baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what kind of weather we’ve had today by looking at this photo.

Piles of boats out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel heading back towards the Port de Plaisance before the gates close with the turn of the tide. It seems that everyone has been out to sea this afternoon.

And that’s really not a surprise at all because the temperature reached the upper 20s this afternoon and there was almost no wind and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to sat that

But I missed a lot of the day today because of course I was going to have a lie-in this morning to recover from my journey to Leuven.

And with the intention of having a lie-in, 07:20 is far too early for me to be thinking of leaving my stinking pit. Even 09:30 was far too early but because couldn’t go back to sleep I was up and about shortly afterwards.

My push for fewer medications seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of there being 7 pills and tablets to take every morning, there are now 9. So that didn’t work.

And what else didn’t work was relieving this fatigue either. I’ve spent most of the day trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to fall asleep.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was at the Grammar School last night and there was a meeting taking place of the School Committee – some teachers, some pupils. The door was in a position where from the top of the stairs I could take photos of people coming and going so that was what I was doing. I’d been talking to a few people whom I knew. Then a girl appeared. I know who she is but I just can’t put a name and I wish that I could remember her name, and she was wearing some kind of ridiculous plunging neckline top. From where I was on the top of the stairs I had a really good view. There was a lavatory block in the middle of the hall with the Gents on one side and the Ladies on the other and on one of the ends. For some unknown reason none of these were suitable so this girl asked me where else do the ladies go. So I told her about the loos next to the 5th form common room. She looked bewildered and I thought “well, I’ve not been in this school for so long. The 5th form common room is bound to have changed from where it was in my day” and I had to try to explain to her where it all was. They said “okay” they’ll go off and find it. So off they went in a kind-of completely different way to the way that I had told them to go so I’d no idea what was happening there.

Some time later I was round at a friend’s and he was in a couple with a girl who is in real life the wife of someone else. He was talking about going on holiday and he had a trailer coupled up to his car but he had just a piece of paper as the rear numberplate with a number written on it put over the top of the number of the trailer. I told him that he would be far better off getting a real numberplate and putting it on. He was convinced that he was doing things the right way so I left him to it. I told him that in Europe trailers were registered themselves with their own numbers, all that kind of thing. So the girl and I were there after he had gone and we were doing some things. There was something important that needed doing for which I needed her help but I can’t remember what it was now but she said “we’ll see how it goes” but then as time drew on she said “we’re going to have to do this scene with some vehicles on it” so reluctantly I agreed and anyway so something was getting on and there were a couple of lively cats and a small dog playing around and then she made a decision about having a cup of tea so I got up to make one. I put the tea bags in the pot and I was about to fill the pot and she said “no, don’t make a pot of tea because I won’t be drinking it” so I said “I won’t bring you tea in the morning then in that case” so I went off to I don’t know where.

But there was somewhere along the line that I’d been out in a car and we were going to somewhere near Aberystwyth. I was with Percy Penguin and we drove all the way out there to do something but in the end came across an auction where they were selling old motorbikes. There was one old British one in a terrible state but looked complete but there were no bids on it so the guy said “does anyone want it?”. I was feeling really bad because had we gone in Caliburn I could have brought that back without any trouble at all but instead we’d gone in an ordinary saloon car and there was no room in it for a thing like a motor bike. I was really upset by that, and not just when I was asleep either.

Before lunch I went and mixed three loads of dough – one for the pizza bases for the next three weeks, the second for the jam roly-poly and the third with wholemeal flour for the fruit bread. That was all mixed up and then I could go for my lunch.

This afternoon, in between bouts of sleep I tried to bring up to date Friday’s journal entry, but I have to say that I didn’t get very far with it and nothing has changed with the entry already so far on line.

Another thing was to give all of the dough a second kneading. The roly poly was flattened out square and spread with jam, and then rolled up rather like a swiss roll. I had to cut it in two to make it fit the baking tray.

The pizza dough was kneaded, divided into 3 and two of the lumps were rolled in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof.

To the wholemeal dough, I added a ripe banana, some desiccated coconut, dried fruit, sultanas and various assorted nuts ground into powder. That was all mixed up, kneaded, shaped and put in the smaller bread mould.

As well as all of that, I’ve been pairing off the music for the next radio programme bur I won’t be working on that this week because I have a full-time Welsh course stating at 11:00 on Monday

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between that I went off for my afternoon walk, not forgetting that I have to go to the beach to see what was happening there.

Across the car park I went and looked over the wall to see what was happening, and I was amazed by the crowds of people down there. And although there wasn’t very much beach to be on right now, the sea was pretty much full of people this afternoon.

It seems that every man and his dog has gone down to the beach to frolic about in the sea this afternoon. It would surprise me if there was enough room for everyone to find a little spot to sit down

man and woman on inflatable boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds of people either.

The sea was quite full as well with all kinds of craft out there this afternoon. There were several interesting boats but my vote for pride of place has to go to this inflatable zodiac thing that was paddling around offshore with a man and a woman on board doing the paddling.

And I particularly liked their version of a lifeboat that they were towing behind them. An inflatable rubber ring in the form of a car tyre that will be a great help if ever it were to be called upon to perform the task for which it was intended.

flags pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are four flagpoles by the Monument to the French Resistance, but one of them was taken away a few weeks ago.

While i was away it seems that they have done whatever it was that needed to be done to the flagpole and it’s resumed its place down by the lighthouse. So the German flag was once more flying quite happily by the American, French and British flags.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon, most of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the rising infection totals here in France. I still wear mine and in any case I did my best to keep my distance as I walked around the path.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path I noticed something moving out at sea. I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it whe I returned home.

Actually, I had a really good idea of what it might be and as I enlarged the image I could see that I was right too. It’s one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

She’s pretty much loaded up with passengers, either day trippers or holidaymakers coming back and presumably catching the evening train to Paris.

But back to our story, and I carried on down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t much going on there so I continued on down the path and round the other side.

f-bslf Robin DR-315 Petit Prince pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown by a light aircraft that had apparently just taken off from the airport.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before – F-BSLF, a Robin DR-315 “Petit Prince”. She’s not one of the Aero Club aeroplanes who we see on regular occasions.

In fact she only arrived this morning at the airport. Although she didn’t file a flight plan, she was picked up by radar at 08:51 somewhere near St Seglin heading towards the airport and disappeared off the radar near Mont St Michel, presumably to have a closer view as she came in to land.

And then she took off again at 16:13, when was when I saw her, and she flew south before disappearing off the radar again at Baulin near St Seglin. So it’s reasonable to suppose that she comes from somewhere around there.

l'alize 3 galapagos chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving disposed of the aeroplane I could continue on my way along the path towards the harbour and see what’s going on down there.

And there have been changes at the chantier naval while I’ve been away. We are down to just two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and Galapagos. The other two trawlers that were there, Black Pearl and Charles Marie II have gone back into the water. The latter boat wasn’t in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. They told me last time I was down there that she would be back in the water “shortly”, but they were clearly talking in Geological terms.

marite big wheel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the wall I could see down into the inner harbour.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity down there this afternoon. But our old friend Marité is still in there. It looks as if that trip that she was planning yesterday when all of those people were going aboard can’t have been going very far – probably just into the bay and back.

The big wheel is there of course, and it was actually working as well. There must have been plenty of people wanting to go for a ride. It’s not the thing for me though – I’m sure that I have a much better view from up here on top of the cliffs than I would on top of the wheel.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the inner harbour a siren from the ferry terminal brought me back to reality.

When I looked round I could see that Joly France was reversing out of the terminal – hence the siren – and heading back out to sea. There must be plenty more people out there on the island waiting to come back to the mainland, more than the other Joly France boat can handle.

But I couldn’t wait for the two boats to come back. I came on back home to carry on work and trying hard not to fall asleep.

Round about 18:00 I put on the oven and bunged in the fruit loaf followed a few minutes later by the jam roly poly. And when they were cooked I bunged in the pizza which I had been preparing.

vegan pizza jam roly poly fruit bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I took that out of the oven. And here it is with the jam roly poly and the fruit bread.

The pizza looks absolutely delicious and it tasted delicious too. As for the jam roly poly and the fruit bread, you’ll have to wait for a day or two before I can tell you what they are like.

Back in here, fighting off the fatigue yet again, I wrote up my notes for the day and posted them on line. And that’s all that I’m doing today. I’m completely exhausted and I have so much to do tomorrow, so I’m off for an early night in bed tonight.

And I can’t wait for that either. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good – I hope.

Wednesday 9th June 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

french flag, usa flag, german flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… infuriate every gammon for miles around, we can now see which of the four flagpoles was taken away earlier in the week.

The interesting thing about this is that the three nations whose flags are represented there have long-since given up fighting World Wat II and for the past 70 or so years have been working together to make the world a far better place in which we all can live (except when, of course, the Septics elect a Republican president).

There’s only one nation that is still fighting World War II and that’s the Brits. Still unable to live down the humiliation of throwing away their weapons and running away from the Germans and ever since then, clinging to the coat-tails of the Americans.

This inferiority complex was never better shown than on a few islands just in sight here on the horizon. The one part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in 1940, the liberation passed by the Channel Islands in July 1944 but because the Americans refused to let the British have the resources, the British were too afraid to confront the Germans on their own and left their own people to starve, cut off from supplies, until after the Armistice in May 1945.

The people in the Channel Islands have never forgotten this of course, although the British have, a long time ago. Humility and remorse is not something in the character of the average gammon.

What’s not in the average character of me right now is this getting-up-at-06:00 lark, although I’ve been doing it for long enough these days. Still, to my surprise, I hauled myself out of bed as the alarm sounded (well, maybe a minute or two later) and went off to sort out the medication, which takes far longer than it ought these days.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night. I was with a boy from school last night last night and somehow we had ended up being chased out of our accommodation. We had to walk and travel one stop on the train and we found another place where they were building some kind of armed camp to defend themselves against the authorities. We went to squat there. I asked him how he felt about seasick and he said that he wasn’t very good. We were in this room and I asked “what about your trip to Shearings? Are you still interested in going?”. He replied “yes” … (indistinct) … but instead he dressed and with about 12 minutes to spare I took him out and thought what was the matter with him … (I fell asleep here for a good few minutes) … I don’t know where I got to with that when I fell asleep dictating but we found some refuge in this place and then we got to the time when his pickup was ready so I asked him if he was still interested in going with Shearings, going on something that I had organised. He wanted to go with Shearings so I told him to get his things ready and I’ll see him on the bus somewhere. And the moral of this story is “never give up no matter how tempting the other alternatives are because you never know how good the profits of what you are planning are going to be” and what those last few words have to do with anything that has occurred I really have no idea.

And once more, apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) for doubting her when she complained that I snored when I was asleep.

Most of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with plenty of comfort breaks, coffee and hot chocolate breaks, lunch breaks and even a couple of work breaks when I updated a couple of the Leuven pages (but don’t ask me which they were – you’ll have to go back and find out for yourself). And I made an appointment to visit the doctor tomorrow too.

My Welsh exam took place at 16:00 and by 16:15 it was all over. Although I made a couple of basic errors, I think that overall I might have done OK.

Luckily I’d found tucked away in the revision section of the course book 50 standard questions that might go with one part and 50 keywords that would go with another part so I spent a couple of hours working over different answers to the standard questions, and then inventing questions to fit the 50 keywords.

And I’m glad that I did that because while not many of the actual questions or keywords came up in the test, question patterns were pretty much the same. That will make up for me saying ‘sgynno fo on a couple of occasions when I should have said ‘sgynny hi. And that’s an important distinction. If only I’d stuck to “mae gan Caroline …”.

Anyway, about half an hour late, I went out for my afternoon walk.

volvo skip lorry collecting skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right outside the front door we have yet more activity. And had I come out at my normal time I would have missed all of it.

The other day we saw a skip lorry drop off a skip and drive away empty. Today we’ve seen the reverse of the operation. An empty skip lorry has pulled up and he’s now reversing into position where he can lift up a skip onto the back of his lorry and drive away with it.

They were out working until quite late last night, judging by the times that the dumper came past here while I was writing up my notes. It’s not like French workmen to do overtime. There must be a penalty clause somewhere about to come into operation, hence the rush.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is my custom, my next stop is to go and look at the beach to see what activity there is going on there right now.

Off I strolled across the car park over to the wall at the end where I can stick my head over the top to see what gives down there. And the answer is “not all that much”. There’s more beach than yesterday because the tide isn’t as far in, and it’s also a nice day considering what we have had just recently.

And so I was surprised to see only one couple down there on the beach, as far as I could see. And they are either preparing to go into the water or else they have just come out. It’s not all that clear. But it is a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are off this afternoon. So why aren’t there crowds of kids swarming about down there this afternoon?

Maybe they are all in the swimming baths at the Cité des Sports – it’s opened this afternoon for the first time since a long time ago.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And I hadn’t moved all that far away from where the people were down on the beach before there was yet more excitement this afternoon – this time, there’s Something In The Air as Thunderclap Newman would have said.

The other day I pontificated on the fact that we hadn’t seen the Bird-men of Alcatraz for quite a while, and so immediately there was one who took to the air. He must have been out there for a trial run and to report back to the other boys in the band, because this afternoon there were at least four of them out there enjoying themselves and probably a few more than that besides.

But for some reason they didn’t bother me all that much. I was able to walk faster than they could fly and so they never caught me up as I walked off along the path.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have been doing recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to look at what’s going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if the fishermen from Granville are exploiting it.

And so I walked past the flags, that you saw earlier, across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see if there were any trawlers out there this afternoon. And sure enough, there were quite a few of them out there today.

Right down at the bottom of the bay right up against the Brittany coast are three of them working hard. And they were just three of a dozen that I could have photographed. But they will do because they were quite close together rather than spread out across the bay.

And look how clear the Brittany coast is this afternoon. That’s somewhere near Cherrueix which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.

trawler hera rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the port I could see quite a lot of activity going on there and in the chantier navale today, which makes a nice change.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her still in the portable boat lift yesterday. But now, they have put her up on blocks, so it would seem to be more than a five-minute job that they will be doing on her.

The trawler Hera is still in there of course, but the question to which I’m more interested in knowing the answer is “what happened to that hulk that was in there for a few days?”. To my untrained eye that looked as if it needed much more work to make her seaworthy than the time that they spent on her.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you can tell that it’s coming up to that time of day when the tide will be well in.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago that they dug out a deep channel a couple of years ago at the quayside under the Fish Processing Plant so that it would fill very quickly when the tide started to come in.

There’s already some water in that channel and there are a few of the inshore shellfish boats with a very low draught that have been able to come in and unload. The larger boats will have to wait until there is more water.

And doesn’t that yellow one resemble the one that was out in the Baie de Granville yesterday?

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOooh! Look who’s moored up in the inner harbour underneath the loading crane?

It’s one of our old friends from the Channel Islands. This is Thora, one of the little coastal freighters that plies her trade between here and Jersey. At one time, a long time ago, she used to be a car ferry working between the island of Bressay and the “Mainland” of Shetland. That’s a comparatively sheltered water so I bet she and her crew know all about conditions in the English Channel between Jersey and here when the going gets tough.

She still occasionally doubles as a car ferry. At the time that the lockdown was at its height and the big ferries weren’t running, people being repatriated had to come over on Thora and regular readers of this rubbish saw more than one or two cars lifted out of her by the big crane.

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo we’ve seen a bit of almost everything today. So what remains to be seen that we haven’t seen as yet? I know! How about an aeroplane?

Sure enough. Almost as soon as I’d said it one of the little light aircraft came flying by. I must have made a pact with the devil, I reckon.

This one is F-GORN, a machine that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR400/120 Dauphin and she seems to have spent a lot of her time today flying around in circles not too far from the airport. Not that that should come as any surprise to anyone because she is actually owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is used either for instructing or solo flying by club members.

autobianchi stellina place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey say that you should always leave the best until last and so how about this one? It’s this kind of thing that made it all worthwhile going out late for my walk.

And so I’ll tell you that you have undoubtedly never ever seen one of these before, and you undoubtedly will never ever see one again, and that’s because there were only ever 502 of these made, and that was 55 or so years ago.

The first ever Italian car to have a fibreglass body and powered by FIAT’s water-cooled 767cc engine, it’s an Autobianchi Stellina and just what it’s doing here I really don’t know. These would be as rare as hen’s teeth in Italy, never mind here.

Back here I cut myself a big slice of Liz’s ginger cake as a reward for my efforts and made myself a nice hot coffee. And then I came back into my little office where I promptly fell asleep. About 2 hours I was away with the fairies and so the guitar practice, when I finally came round, was short and horrible.

Tea was a burger in a bap, and then seeing that I had no pudding I made something that I haven’t made for ages – viz. a baked apple with hot custard. And wasn’t that delicious too?

But now I’m off to make some bread dough, and then I’m goig to bed. I’ve had enough of today. it was only seeing that Autobianchi that cheered me up.

Tuesday 8th June 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

boats in passage ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many boats in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc all at once.

It goes to show just how busy the place is and how many boats there are operating out of the port. But we’re coming to the time when the harbour gates are going to be open and there will be enough water in the outer tidal harbour so that the smaller boats will be able to tie up to the quay at the fish processing plant and unload their catch.

And talking of the number of boats in the harbour, there’s going to be another one very soon. The company that owns the Joly France boats are about to take delivery of a new one that has been built in Turkey. Business must be booming.

men fishing from boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just the commercial boats streaming back towards the harbour this afternoon that caught my attention.

As you might expect, we’ve had the sports fishermen out there in numbers again today. This is just three of the dozen or so little boats that were out there stationary in the water today. A couple of zodiacs and a small cabin cruiser full of men casting their rods and line into the sea.

As to whether they caught anything, I couldn’t really say because I didn’t hang around for very long. That was because this afternoon, I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon … “and quite right. Disgusting habit” – ed … and I wanted to be home without too much delay.

The problem actually began last night when I didn’t go to bed until 00:30 after everything that I had to do. And when you don’t go to bed until that time and you have to get up at 06:00 it’s a recipe for disaster. And awakening at about 02:30 in a cold sweat is another reason to be wary about how the events of the day would unfold.

Nevertheless I leapt out of bed as the alarm rang and went off to take my medication. Armed with a coffee I came back in here afterwards to make a start on revising my Welsh for the lesson today.

And that didn’t pass very well because firstly whatever I had read just wouldn’t stick in my head. and secondly I had to fight off waves of sleep.

When it came to the lesson I took my hot chocolate and slice of fruit bread over to the portable computer (there’s no microphone or webcam on this big machine) in the dining area. And there I had the misfortune to fall asleep twice in the middle of the lesson.

And once again, nothing at all seemed to stick. I need to be doing better than this if I’m to make good progress.

After lunch the tutor offered us a mock exam. Mine was at 15:00 and although I didn’t feel as if it was good, the tutor seemed to think that I’ll have no problem tomorrow afternoon.

Despite all of the other pressures under which I have been wilting today I didn’t forget to go out for my afternoon walk today, as you have probably noticed.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual, the first port of call was the beach to see what was going on down there, so I took myself off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach.

Just as yesterday, there wasn’t all that much room down there with the tide coming in quite rapidly but these two people have managed to find somewhere to loiter. And they are busy looking in the sand to see if they can pull any shellfish out of one of the little rivulets.

But they aren’t particularly equipped for scavenging on the beach. No bucket and no grattoir to scrape the sand or pull the oysters off the rocks. They won’t go far without those.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking over the wall down onto the beach, I was also looking around to see what was going on out at sea as well.

This boat out here looks familiar, doesn’t it? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a boat exactly like this up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while a couple of months ago having some work done on her.

It’s very hard to mistake that bright yellow colour, especially as it’s similar to the colour of Caliburn.

But whether she is the same boat of not, she doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to go home right now like the other boats in the vicinity.

f-bxjq Robin HR-200-100 Club pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I moved off along the path at the top of the cliffs I was overflown by yet another light aeroplane that apparently had taken off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

She’s another aeroplane that we haven’t seen before. She’s F-BXJQ, a Robin HR-200-100 Club aeroplane and the 71st of her type to be built. She’s powered by an Avco Lycoming O-320-D2A air-cooled flat-four piston engine with an output of 119 kW, or 60 hp.

Unfortunately I’ve no idea where she’s going because she hadn’t filed a flight plan and she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere. In fact the last radar plot that I can find for her is over Belgium somewhere a while ago.

swathe cut through long glass pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me along the cliffs to the lawn, which they have left uncut for the last while and even planted a sign there to tell everyone that this area will not be cut so that it will encourage biodiversity, birds and bees and all of that.

And so I’m totally bewildered to see that they have been past here today and cut a great big, wide swathe right the way through the middle of it all. How this will promote diversity I really have no idea.

It was bad enough when someone came past with that lawn mower when they made a labyrinth in the long grass. But this swathe today is just inexplicable, especially as it’s right by the sign.

fixing flags to flagpoles pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the start of work being undertaken to remove the base of one of the four flagpoles that were installed near the Monument to the Resistance.

Today we have a couple of workmen here with a cherry picker and so I worked my way round to a good vantage point where I could take a good photograph of them without causing a disturbance.

It seems that they are attaching flags to the flagpoles which is rather late, seeing as D-Day was on Sunday. They have already fixed the flag of the USA and are in the process of attaching the French flag. And that’s a strange decision too. I would have expected them to have fixed the French flag first.

And whose flag will be on the third flagpole?

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier in my walk around we’d seen all of the boats heading back towards the harbour. But one or two of them are well ahead of the game and have already arrived.

This trawler here just off the south side of the headland near the harbour entrance looks as if it will be first into the inner harbour, although it’s going to have a long wait, for while there’s some water by the Fish Processing Plant there still isn’t enough water in the outer harbour for them to open the gates to the inner harbour.

There seemed to be no-one fishing in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon so I cleared off along the headland on the path as far down as the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

trawler hera yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the chantier navale today there has been yet more movement of boats.

The trawler Hera is still in dock, up on her blocks, but the wooden hulk that we saw over the last few days has now gone. Instead there’s another yacht, called Rebelle down there on the portable boat lift and it isn’t clear to me as to whether she’s coming or going. I don’t like to speculate these days , having had a couple of spectacular failures just now.

Instead I pushed on home for my coffee and some of Liz’s ginger cake. And when I awoke at 18:00 the coffee was by my side, stone cold.

During that 90 minutes during which I was stark out, I’d been a-travelling. I was round at a girl’s house – I can’t remember whose house but it was a girl from school. She was asking me how I was and where I’d been so I replied but I also noticed some vegan cooking on the oven. Then I noticed that she had my notebook open. I said that I was grateful for all of the help and the hospitality that I had received, and I added “and the vegan meals”. She laughed and explained that she wanted to see what I needed and how she could help. She asked if I’d picked up any ordnance while I’d been out. “Not even from Verdun” I added. I didn’t want to tell her about the ordnance ie the automatic pistol loaded and in working order that I’d found elsewhere.

Guitar practice was depressing as you might expect with me being half-asleep tonight. Another dismal failure because I just can’t keep awake these days. But I remained awake enough to make tea – one of the last of the curries that were in the freezer followed by the last of the apple crumble and custard.

Having written up my notes, I’m off to bed. And I can’t say that I’m sorry about it. I’m totally exhausted and I’m not going to be any better. A good sleep would do me good so that I can be in good form for my Welsh exam.

Monday 12th October 2020 – PHEW!

Looking back through the reams of rubbish that I regularly write, I recall on a couple of occasions spending almost an entire week not so long ago preparing one radio programme.

Since I last wrote up my notes yesterday, in a space of just 16 hours, of which 7.5 hours was spent either sleeping, eating or doing other things, I have prepared not one but two. It just goes to show that I can do it when I really try.

But as Margaret Thatcher once said, “anyone can do a good day’s work when they really want to. But the secret is to do a good day’s work when you don’t want to” and I’m a long way from that.

It all started after I’d finished writing my notes last night. Having had a decent night’s sleep last night and a crash-out in the afternoon I wasn’t in any way really tired and ready for bed. During the day I’d been listening to a concert that I intended to edit down for my monthly “live” concert and I’d an idea which tracks I wanted to use so it was a case of splitting the concert and selecting the tracks, and then transferring them to a holding directory.

That didn’t really take all that long, which was a surprise because it’s the kind of thing that sometimes can take forever. And much to my surprise, and probably yours too, I ended up with 58:24 of music without any messing about. That’s the kind of thing that never ever happens and I can spend hours and hours editing live concert tracks and still have a substantial shortfall.

It then needed to be joined seamlessly and that’s usually a long, complicated process which sometimes can take hours because you don’t only have to make the beat and the rhythm fit in, you also have to control the sound balance so that it sounds like a smooth, flowing concert. But for another reason that I don’t understand it snapped together almost perfectly. There was only one join that was in any way complicated.

At that point I’d ended up with 58:21 of music which meant that there was just 1:39 of introduction – a big change from the usual 3:30 or something when I’m scratching round for things to say and how I wish that I could mix more concerts like this one.

On that note I went to bed. It had taken quite a while to do all of that and I was tired.

Much to my surprise, and probably yours too, I beat the third alarm to my feet. How did that happen after my late night?

Sensing that this might be my day, first thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone. I was doing some work over the weekend or an evening or something and I had to be ready for work later that morning. I didn’t have time really to take it round to the person I was going to see so I was wondering if Zero, who used to accompany me regularly on my nocturnal rambles but hasn’t put in an appearance for a while, so hello to you again at last – would do it for me or if she had to see it I can’t remember but for some reason I had to make her see it. I was thinking that maybe I could post it somewhere and send her a mail for her to link to have a look at it. But there was much more to it than this that I can’t now remember, and some more that I can but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you any discomfort.

Next task was to attack the notes for the live concert. Having done some research I sat down and dashed off an introduction. And by the time I’d finished it, uploaded it to the computer and edited it down, I ended up with 1:46 of notes. 7 seconds over which makes a change from either being 30 seconds over or a minute short, but as there is a lengthy applause lead-in to the concert, I simply overdubbed it and ended up with my hour programme just like that.

It wasn’t yet 08:30 so I decided while I was at it, I’d make a start on the programme for the following week, a standard one with 11 tracks, a speech from my special guest and an introduction to each track. And by the time that I was ready to go for my afternoon walk at 15:40, it was all done and dusted and complete, despite the usual break for lunch. I don’t think that I’ve ever done any standard programme that quick.

Erecting Scaffolding College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter all of that I was ready for my break.

But once I went outside, I didn’t get very far. regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they had a cherry picker up at the College Malraux the other day after Storm Alex, with some people apparently checking the roof and the guttering. Today, they are erecting some scaffolding outside against the walls of the College.

There’s a little compound there so I went to have a closer look at it. There was a huge pile of laths there, and a section that was empty but labelled ardoises – “slates”. So it looks as if the College is going to be having a new roof in the very near future.

Yacht English Channel Breville sur Mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I wandered off to the sea wall to have a look at what might be going on there.

The tide is well in now so there’s no beach to speak of for anyone to be on, but over in the English Channel by Breville-sur-Mer there’s a yacht that looks as if it’s anchored. “Probably fishing” I mused to myself. That’s the usual reason for boats to be anchored out there.

But it shows you how the weather has calmed down now. A week or ten days ago at the height of Storm Alex there were no boats out at all and even a hardy fishing skipper would be thinking twice about it. But you can see in the background that it’s raining over there. Less windy it might be, but the weather is still depressing.

Monument French Resistance Flagpoles Point du Roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were a few people out there this afternoon – the weather wasn’t that nice – but there was nothing else going on out at sea that I could see except a yacht way over by the Ile de Chausey.

But there’s been a change at the Monument to the French Resistance here at the Pointe du Roc. It seems that it’s not just the leaves that come off the trees at autumn, the flags in the flagpoles do as well.

And if you look very closely at the photograph, you’ll notice that we have only three flagpoles there today. The fourth one seems to be missing. So I’ve no idea what’s going on there. It’s something on which I’ll have to keep an eye as I go on my rounds here and there.

There was no change in inhabitant in the chantier navale today so I pushed on along the path.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking is something that takes up a lot of pages in these notes, and as I went past the Rue Saint Pierre that leads up to the College there were the usual suspects parked with wheels on the kerb blocking the path for the pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Parking at No Waiting Sign Boulevard Vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThinking that you are probably fed up of seeing it, I resolved not to take a photo today, but here’s a photo that I couldn’t help but take.

Parking is prohibited here in the layby in the Boulevard Vaufleury from 08:00 today for the next few days so that they can trim the trees, but this hasn’t deterred this motorist and a couple of others from parking here.

And by the look of things the seagulls didn’t think very much of this “no waiting” sign either

Having taken my photo I turned for home. I’ve plenty of work to do and can’t afford to spend the time hanging around aimlessly.

While I was sorting through the photos I had a listen to the two programmes that I’d done today. And I’m quite pleased with them. They’ve come out well.

There was the usual hour on the guitar but for some reason I couldn’t get into it and I don’t know why. I’m not quite sure what’s going on right now but this isn’t like me at all.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg followed by more blackberry pie and soya coconut dessert.

Place Marechal Foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis evening I almost didnt go out for my walk and runs. The rain was teeming down.

Nevertheless I did, and here’s the photo to prove it- a photo of the Place Marechal Foch in the rain and the only reason I took it was to prove that I’d been out. My footpath under the walls was totally waterlogged so it wasn’t possible to have my evening run down there. However I did manage to improvise something and at least made the distance.

Apart from me, there were just two other people out tonight in the distance, walking dogs, and that was your lot. I didn’t stay out there too long either in this weather. I came home quite quickly.

Having finished the notes, I’m off to bed. I deserve an early night after this. Just my Welsh revision tomorrow and then my Welsh course, and all my programmed work will have been completed by Tuesday lunchtime. Hopefully I can then push on and catch up with some arrears. I’ve done a pile of photos from July 2020 and I’m now deep in Switzerland.

There’s just about 20 more to do and then I can turn my attention to those for August 2020. There’s about 120 of those but they will take some finding

Tuesday 6th September 2016 – “WELL ON THE WAY …

… to the Land of Nod” I said, didn’t I? And at 21:45 too.

And there I stayed until almost 04:00 before i had to disappear off down the corridor. Over 6 hours of continuous sleep is a miracle these days and I’m well-pleased with that. It’s been ages since I’ve been like that – it just tells you how tired I really was.

And that’s not all either. I got back into bed and I was gone again for another hour or so too – and quite right too if you ask me.

First downstairs for breakfast again, and then back up here to do some work, as well as a long chat with a friend on the laptop. The internet is a marvellous tool for this kind of thing and I wonder however we managed without it.

All of this took me until about 10:40 and I had to finish then because there was a shuttle that someone had ordered to take them back to the airport and I had hitched a ride on it. It wasn’t as if I was working to a timetable and so it wasn’t worth ordering one just for myself, even if it is a free service. And so off we set and it doesn’t take long to reach there from here.

And it looks as if the Societe de Transports de Montreal has been spending its money too. In the past, the 747 – the bus that connects the airport to the city centre – was just an ordinary service bus. But now, we have some big six-wheeled Prevost tour buses doing the runs and that’s certainly progress.

Of a sort anyway, because the legendary 25-minute white knuckle ride into the city is over.

rotten concrete urban motorway environment montreal canada september septembre 2016In the 60s, 70s and 80s there was a massive investment in the infrastructure of Montreal. But the work was blighted by problems of overspending, over-time and, shame as it is to say it, all kinds of corruption. All of the concrete work that was done in those days is falling apart as you can see in this photo and this is by no means the worst example – just one that was clearly visible right by where the bus happened to stop.

As a result, huge sections of the overhead motorway network have been taken out of service to be repaired and in some cases it looks as if some sections have been demolished. And that means that our journey took about three times as long as it would otherwise have done.

I’m glad now that I didn’t rely on public transport to bring me into the city early tomorrow morning. As a long-distance traveller I’ve always believed in being as close to my destination as possible as early as possible, and you can understand why.

So here I am at the bus station, and there’s a left-luggage place here. It’s $10 to leave an item here for 24 hours but I’m not going all around the city lugging the giant suitcase around with me and I certainly don’t want to be staggering around with it at 05:00 tomorrow morning. Here it stays.

I didn’t stay though. I headed off to the Galeries Desjardins in the rue Sainte Catherine – and for several reasons too.

  1. there’s a Subway in the basement and I’m hungry. What with the delay on the bus it’s lunchtime already and my stomach feels as if my throat has been cut. I managed to eat this one too without dropping it on the floor.
  2. it’s steaming hot again and there’s a sorbet store just across the road. The coconut milk sorbet was beautiful although they were a bit stingy with it, but the chocloate sorbet was disgusting and it was all that I could do to finish it. I won’t be having that again.
  3. there’s a metro station down in the bowels of the place and this is where I want. I’m on the move again.

The metro takes me to the terminus right out at Honore-Beaugrand and there I leap aboard a 28 bus that pulls up right on cue. This is going to take me out to the rue Jarry Est and my storage locker. My credit card expired a few weeks ago and a payment has been missed and I don’t want them to foreclose on contents of it.

It’s a nice drive out through the outer suburbs of the city and then round across the motorway to the industrial section of the east end. The friendly driver shows me where my stop is but I recognised it anyway.

And now we have another problem – and that is that my UK credit card – which is in credit as always when I go off on a wander – has been blocked. "Unusual spending patterns" probably, which is just an excuse for saying that they don’t want me to spend any money so that the bank can keep it. I mean – it’s not an unusual spending pattern at all, is it? Every year at this time of the year I come here.

Still, I’ve been expecting this ever since I was stranded in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2002. I make sure that I have other cards with me and I’ve even opened an account in a Canadian bank. We can soon resolve this issue – but it’s darned annoying all the same.

Back outside to the bus stop on the other side of the road and it’s the same driver on the return run. We both recognised each other and we had a little chat. That passes the time of day and we’re soon back at Honore-Beaugrand, just in time to be swamped by schoolchildren. It must be chucking-out time already. But then again, we did go a long way out of the city.

hotel bon accueil 1601 Rue St-Hubert, Montréal, QC H2L 3Z3 canada september septembre 2016I alight at Berri-UQAM and head round to the rue Saint Hubert and the Hotel Bon Accueil.

It’s quite a modern building – dating from the 80s I reckon – but I bet that the rooms haven’t seen a lick of paint since then – it’s quite down-at-heel. But the place is spotlessly clean, there’s air-conditioning, a fridge and the bed feels oh! So comfortable! So much so in fact that I’m well-away with the fairies for an hour or so. And quite right too.

But I can’t stay here for ever no matter how nice it feels. I need to be on my way.

place emilie gamelin montreal canada september septembre 2016Another advantage of the hotel is that right at the end of the street is the Place Emilie Gamelin.

She was a nun who had a convent here but that was demolished to become the site of the Berri-UQAM metro station and underneath all of the grass and greenery is a concrete pad which is actually the roof of the station.

If I do decide to come back to the hotel here, this place would be nice to come to sit to with a book and a cold drink if I don’t feel up to going for a wander around the city. It’s nice to have a garden close by

But I don’t have time to stop here and enjoy the sun this afternoon. We have things to do.

gare viger canadian pacific railway terminus montreal canada september septembre 2016Our next stop is what is for me the most beautiful building in Montreal – the Gare Viger, which was formerly the old Canadian Pacific Railway terminus.

Canadian Pacific abandoned all of its operations east of Montreal back in the 1980s (hence the reason that I’m obliged to leave the city on the coach) and this majestic building was left to decay. At one time there was even talk at one time of demolishing it, but it seems that good aesthetic taste has prevailed and they are actually doing something with it. And just as well too because it would be a disaster if this place fell by the wayside.

Down to the river next to see if there’s anything loading or unloading at the grain terminals. Montreal’s fortunes were built on the grain that was brought in from the Prairies by the railway and shipped out to Europe down the Saint Lawrence.

manitoba great lakes laker port of montreal canada september septembre 2016And we’re in luck. Not the best Ship of the Day but the first one so far. It’s so far away that I can’t read its name from here (yes I can if I enlarge the image – she’s the Manitoba, or Personitoba as I suppose we have to say these days).

She’s an old laker, as you can tell from the bridge that is right on the bows of the ship. These ships sail around the Great Lakes and through the canals as far as here, and the reason that the bridge is so far forward is that the captain can have a good view of the entry to the locks into which the ship must sail.

And I do mean "old", by the way. As in 1967 as it happens and that’s an extraordinary age for a cargo ship. She’s a bulk carrier of 10902 tonnes, registered in Hamilton on the shores of Lake Ontario and, for a period up to 2011, was known as the Maritime Trader.

According to her manifests, she seems to spend a great deal of time travelling between Port Colborne on Lake Erie and Port Cartier down the Gulf of St Lawrence which we visited in 2012. It looks as if she’s in the ore business then.

pont jacques cartier st lawrence river montreal canada september septembre 2016Seeing as how we were talking of bridges just now … "well, one of us was" – ed … how about this for a bridge?

It’s the custom, as we know, for important geographical features to be named after their discoverer, and so I wonder what Jacques Cartier said when he sailed up the St Lawrence to here on 2nd October 1535 and saw this magnificent bridge spanning the river. He must have been so impressed, just as I was the first time that I saw it.

belveders ile sainte helene st lawrence river montreal canada september septembre 2016It’s a beautiful evening and not cooling down very much so I go for another stroll along the riverside.

Over there is where I should have been yesterday had that music concert not interrupted my plans. That’s the Ile Sainte Helene and that’s the belvedere where there’s an excellent view of the city at night when everywhere is all lit up. I’ll manage without a photo from there though for this year. You never know – I might be back in Montreal yet again if I can continue to fight off this illness.

But just a few words about the island. During World War II it was the site of a prisoner-of-war camp that earned something of an evil reputation due to the severe fashion that the German soldiers were treated in there. It later it became the site of the 1967 World’s Fair – Expo ’67, which, seeing as this was the the period of a considerable amount of major Quebecois terrorism, was known throughout the world as Explo ’67.

grosse ile goelette montreal canada september septembre 2016Further around the waterfront in the old docks is another ship.

Actuallly she’s a goelette, the Grosse Ile and she claims to be the last working goelette on the Saint Lawrence. She was bought as something not too far removed from a rotting hulk in 1992 and it took 20 years to restore.

Her work these days seems to be nothing more than taking tourists for a couple of laps around the harbour, and I could have been tempted, but I didn’t have the Crown Jewels with me so I let the opportunity pass me by.

Now I bet that you are all dying to know what a goelette is, aren’t you? And so you need to cast your minds back 50 years and more. In those days, most of the settlements along the banks of the St Lawrence were either fishing villages or lumber camps, and there was no road connection between them. Instead, there were the goelettes that sailed along the river from a railhead and worked a chain of these isolated communities, dropping off supplies and picking up the fish or whatever.

There are still several isolated communities like that these days and you may remember coming with me in May 2012 on an icebreaker, smashing our way through the pack-ice out to an isolated island down in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

From here I trudged wearily, because I’m in wearily trudging mode by now, to the metro. It’s my last night in Montreal so I’m going to have a big blow-out.

Quite literally too, because there’s a superb Indian restaurant right by the Snowdon metro station and that’s where I’m heading. Vegetable samosas followed by a potato, spinach and mint curry with boiled rice and a naam bread and that was me well-and-truly stuffed. As I have said before, it’s the best Indian meal that I have ever had outside Stoke-on-Trent.

Another one of the advantages of being in a hotel in the city centre is that travelling time is so much less. Instead of 20:45 it was more like 20:15 when I was home. This meant that I was all done and dusted, in and out of the shower and all tucked up in a comfortable bed by 20:45.

And if I’m going to have to be up tomorrow at 05:00, then I need to be, too. I’m not looking forward to this one little bit.

Tuesday 24th December 2013 – TOTALLY ASTONISHING!

Yes, I should say so. The wind here has been such today that I’ve had more wind energy in the last 24 hours than I’ve had in the preceding 12 months. According to the anenometer on the barn, we had gusts of up to 52mph. I was in the barn as a little of this was going on, a quick glance at the wattmeter attached to the ageing 400-watt Air 403 that I bought from Southwest Wind Power in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2002 was showing that at that particular moment I was receiving 280.3 watts of power and I have never before seen anything even approaching that amount of power.

And even as I type, I can hear the hollow tube of the turbine mount whining away, which means that the wind turbine is still churning it out. All in all I’m overwhelmed with this and I do wish that I could have this amount of wind every day.

shelving unit upstairs lean-to les guis virlet puy de dome franceMeanwhile, back at the ranch, the shelving unit is finished – or, at least, it’s finished as far as it will be for the next few days and I’ll add the doors and siding in due course.

It took me about 4 hours to finish it off and to screw it down, and the hardest job was to set it all in tension. It’s not just a floppy old wobbly shelf unit but something quite structural.

The shelving planks are a little warped but firstly, it’s cheap concrete shuttering that I buy at Brico Depot. Rough and ready, very solid, very thick, and very cheap. And secondly, of course, it’ll straighten itself out when it has some weight on it. I don’t mind it being like this at all – it’s not as if it’s for the inside of the house, of course.

When I finished it, I started to load it up, but called a halt for lunch – rather later than usual but I was enjoying myself.

After lunch and a brief siesta (I really don’t know what’s up with me these days) I went round to Liz and Terry’s with their Christmas presents, and they very kindly fed me and also loaded me up with a pile of goodies too, more of which tomorrow.

And now I’m back here. All of the alarms are switched off and I don’t intend to be doing anything for the foreseeable future. After the year that I’ve just had, I deserve a really long break.

Thursday 26th January 2012 – I DON’T SEEM …

… to have done very much today.

Mind you, that’s not very much of a surprise considering that I managed to sleep through all of the alarms in here this morning and was … errr … somewhat late in raising myself from the dead.

In fact, much of the morning was spent sorting out the wood that is leaning against the end wall of the barn, and then sawing up a dozen or so lengths.

two storey wood shed les guis virlet puy de dome franceThe strange thing is that while the woodpile is slowly increasing, the number of lengths of uncut wood standing up against the wall doesn’t seem to have decreased.

Perhaps I have hit upon the secret of the self-reproducing wood supply – something that reminded me of the story of the Irishman, granted two wishes by his fairy godmother, asked for a bottle of Guinness that refilled itself every time he poured some out of it.
“And your second wish?” enquired the fairy godmother.
“I’ll have another one of those bottles”.

LED light 12 volt domestic circuit electric wiring les guis virlet puy de dome franceThis afternoon I carried on with the wiring in the upstairs of the lean-to.

Most of that time was spent looking for equipment of course, but I now have two lights and two pairs of 12-volt power sockets. They are all wired up, but they aren’t wired into the circuit of course – I need to drill a 40mm hole right through the stone wall into the house to do that, and that’s something that is going to have to wait for a bit.

I’ve a drill that will do it – a 1050-watt SDS drill, but with the current that it draws, you need a brilliantly sunny day. And while a strange golden thing did pop out from behind a cloud for 5 minutes, it’s been about 9 days since we have seen the sun.

It shows just how lucky I was with that little dry spell earlier in the month that enabled me to do the roof of the lean-to.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its several predecessor forms will recall that I bought 2 x 400-watt wind turbines from the manufacturers in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2002. One of them flies proudly above the barn but the other one is in the back of the barn because the blades on these turbines are rather brittle and I’ve ended up having to make up one set out of the two that I had originally. And the manufacturers never ever replied to any of my mails asking about buying s new set of replacement blades.

So a couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and contacted a company in the USA that makes parts for home-build wind turbines, and I’ve bought a set of blades from them, complete with hub, to fit on the other wind turbine.

In what was left of my working day, I’ve assembled the blades onto the hub unit and what I intend to do tomorrow is to resurrect the abandoned wind turbine and stick the blade and hub assembly onto it, and then shove it onto a pole somewhere where it will catch the wind.

These blades have the lowest drag co-efficient of any after-market wind turbine blades and so I’ll be interested to see just how they perform.