Tag Archives: fury

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.

But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?

gare montparnasse rue du départ paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021And while we’re on the subject of photos and stories of my life, look at this photograph.

For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.

Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.

How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?

It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021It didn’t take me long to tidy everything up, make my sandwiches and pack, and I was on the road by 05:35

When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.

Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021And the work has now spread pout right onto the front of the station building.

They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.

In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.

08187 class 08 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium photo November 2021It was 05:55 when I set foot on the station platform.

Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.

Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.

Thalys PBKA 4306 gare du midi brussels Belgium photo November 2021Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.

The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.

It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.

Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.

There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.

By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As a result I couldn’t take a photo of my train – I’m not an octopus – and of course it had to be the rear of a two-trainset unit so I had to do the best that I could at Granville.

It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.

Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.

Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014

84567 84565 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having left Paris 40-odd minutes laten we were just over an hour late arriving in Granville and that filled me full of despair. I really could have done without that.

First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.

Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.

On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.

For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.

It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

marite belle france joly france philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We have Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the step in the back, moored together just down below.

Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.

And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.

boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way up the hill I noticed that the diversion signs had gone and the Rue Cambernon was open to traffic.

Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!

What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.

Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.

Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.

No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.

And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.

Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.

Wednesday 3rd September 2014 – WELL, I HAD AN EXCITING DAY TODAY.

And here is the result of my visits to places of historic interest along the lower part of the valley of the River Richelieu

The Museum of Fort St Jean – closed since yesterday for renovation and to be moved into a new building

Fort Lennox on the Ile aux Noix – open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

The blockhouse at St Paul de l’Ile aux Noix – closed since yesterday

The museum at Lacolle – open at weekends only.

Yes, I’m not having much luck at all with the Canadian Tourist season, am I?

I had better luck at Bell Telephones in St Jean sur Richelieu. Someone who actually knew what he was talking about had me conected in five minutes – at a price, mind you (we are talking about Bell Telephones of course) but I’m now connected. I’ve had to have a new number – it’s 740 6186 but the area code remains the same as before.

So off to the Fort St Jean and found that it was closed, but a helpful woman military person allowed me to wander around the barracks and to take photos, as long as I didn’t go inside any buildings.

world war II anti U boat homing torpedo fort st jean River Richelieu valley quebec canadaThere are lots of old military equipment there so I was in my element for a good hour or so. This is an anti-U-boat homing torpedo from World War II. It’s the type that was launched either from the air or from a ship.

It’s certainly quite an interesting artefact to see, especially as I’ve been spending a lot of time wading my way through Clay Blair’s rather polemic and viciously anti-British submarine book just recently.

There were lots of other stuff there – tanks and aeroplanes and so on – so I didn’t have a totally wasted morning.

anchor fury perry somerset island fort st jeanRiver Richelieu valley quebec canadaProbably the most important thing in the fort, at least from my point of view, were these anchors. They were discovered in Fury Bay on Somerset Island, which is in the High Arctic.

They are said to come from the ship – the Fury of William Parry (he after whom Parry Sound in the High Arctic is named) which was crushed in the ice one winter in the early 19th Century during one of his explorations to pass through the North-West passage.

fort lennox ile au noix River Richelieu valley quebec canadaSo at Fort Lennox I was disappointed. Not just by the fact that the fort was closed to visitors but the fact that the fort was situated on an island and there was no possible access to the island for even a wander around outside the fort.

There was someone from Parks Canada on site and so I bent his ear about the desperate tourism facilities on offer here. If you come here during the summer season you can’t find a campsite or a motel because they are full. If you come here outside the summer season you can’t find a campsite or a motel because they are closed.

You just can’t win.

Blockhouse st paul de l'ile aux noix River Richelieu valley quebec canadaThe blockhouse at the River Lacolle was also closed. It was part of the border fortifications controlling the access up the Richelieu valley and was built in 1778 after the American incursions of 1776.

Its claim to fame was that in March 1814 it held out against 4000 American soldiers bent on invading Canada, and in November 1838 it was the site of the last stand of the “Patriots”.

It’s the only blockhouse left in Quebec now, but regular readers of this rubbish will remember that we encountered one in Edmundston in New Brunswick a few years ago.

From there I went on to the town of Lacolle and with the museum closed, visited the site of the enigmatic “Battle of Lacolle Bridge”. Here in thick fog on 20th November 1812 the American forces prepared to attack the British forces but someone accidentally discharged a firearm.

This caused the Americans to start shooting, and ended up inflicting heavy casualties upon their own troops. This caused them to retreat in disarray without embarrassing the defenders at all.

d'antan magasin general hemmingford River Richelieu valley quebec canadaAt Hemmingford I encountered the “d’Antan magasin General”- a shop that was set out in the style of a shop of 100-odd years ago.

I had an interesting chat with the proprietor of the shop – I kept her away from her jam-bottling and sauce-making. We put the world to rights for a good half an hour and I ended up with a handful of traditional sweets and a cup of coffee so I’m not complaining and I’ll come back here again if ever I get the chance.

We then drove on for our usual confrontation with the American border farces down the road. I’m sure that there’s no real reason for them to be so … err … difficult with cross-border tourists and they would make tourists feel much more welcome if they would be a little less confrontational and a little more friendly. After all, it’s tourists like me that keep them in employment and if they chased everyone away from crossing the border they would all be out of a job.

I fuelled up just across the border and then set off down Highway 87 through the Adirondacks and the beautiful smell of fresh pine until I came across a welcome rest area where I’m settling down for the night.