Tag Archives: gravel

Friday 23rd September 2022 – THE END OF …

la soupape 1 philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… an era. And I’m not talking about anything to do with la Soupape I and Philcathane either.

What I’m talking about is what is – or more correctly, isn’t – behind them on the quayside.

In all of the excitement yesterday I omitted to notice that all of the equipment for the gravel boats has gone.

When we were on our travels on Wednesday we noticed a huge crane pull into the harbour but I forgot to go and check what was going on on Thursday and so I missed its removal.

It’s all been sold to the port of St Malo and they sent a lorry or two to pick it up and take it away. And that’s the end of the gravel boats coming into the port.

Presumably that’s going to underline the slow demise of the port as a cargo hub and I wonder how long it will be before the little freighters to Jersey move on. With the gravel trade going, the Chamber of Commerce who runs the port will have to think about how it’s going to finance all of the rest of the operations here.

le tiberiade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But there will be another time to worry about that. While you admire a few photos of Le Coelacanthe and Le Tibériade having fun and games out in the Baie de Mont St Michel, I shall tell you about my day today.

And although the night was rather later than it otherwise might have been I still leapt out of bed with alacrity (and you thought that I was on my own too!) at … errr … well, maybe not quite 07:30.

After the medication I spent some time slowly dragging myself to my feet, which was not easy today, and then I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And we started off the night at Zero’ house, and wasn’t that a nice surprise?. There was something going on there about books. I can’t remember what I was actually doing now but she was there. So was her father. Our mother had died. There was a handbook for a Ford van, an E83W vzn, of which my father had two, one after the other, when we were kids and I do actually own a handbook for one, would you believe?. This was being given now to my father so I had to write an inscription in the flyleaf. There was also an encyclopedia left to my mother by someone called “Red George”. That had to be gifted to my father as well so I wrote the dedication in the flyleaf for the workshop manual then I was hoping to disappear with that so that I could present it and the pen over to my brother so he’d write the second dedication then I could get off and see Zero but I had a feeling that this was something where there would be some kind of ceremony or something about and of course she would be long gone by the time that all of this ended.

And this situation with my family trying to spike my guns when I have something interesting going on has a very familiar ring about it, doesn’t it?<

le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This next one was another dream that didn’t really get going. It was all about how I write up my blog. How I list all the image files which I normally do and then copy them onto a blank page and then fill in the text all around it but for some reason I was copying and pasting into the wrong file at the wrong time at the wrong place and generally speaking I couldn’t really co-ordinate my movements at all. It ended up being something of quite a mess which was a shame. It should have been so simple but I was finding all these ways to complicate it and time was slipping away.

And that’s a regular occurrence too, isn’t it?

But later on, when I was in work. TOTGA turned up for the first time in God knows how long and that was quite nice too. It’s been a good while since she’s been around. We started to talk and I invited her out for a meal as it was lunchtime. She agreed but she told me that someone else had invited her out at lunch and she was thinking of going with them. I immediately downed tools and said “let’s go now ourselves”. I asked her if there was anywhere she didn’t want to go because of other people whom she might meet. I stood up and started to walk out but suddenly realised that I had to pay for the meal that I’d had a while ago. I had to find a waiter but it was the equivalent of LIDL in here. Everyone was queueing etc. In the end the guy with me (for I was now with a guy) muscled his way in to the front of the queue and started to prepare my bill for me as if he was a waiter here or someone like that so that I could leave.

le loup notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you look at the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou going out into the bay past le loup, I was in Virlet last night, taking stuff down to my house. I was doing it and there were one or two other people as well. Loads of other people came to join in. They were bringing stuff with them and putting it in my house as I was trying to sort through it to see what I had. Amongst the things that took me by surprise was a box that I thought was full of screws but when I looked underneath there were boxes of nuts and bolts etc, spark plugs and a condenser and set of points for the Cortina, all kinds of treasures, so I started to sort them out. Other people were bringing stuff. Someone pointed out a lorry fuel tank that was there. He was saying that when he put it there it was in good condition but someone had dropped something on it so it was now dented and useless. I was bringing a large plank with me. there were a couple of kids who were trying to get in my way by grabbing hold of the plank as I went past so I shouted at them. Some woman came past with some stuff that she had found that someone had apparently dropped. There was a fire burning in the grate even though the place had been empty for years. I asked if someone had lit a fire and they replied “yes”, not that I minded because it was cold. It was quite a little hive of business going on in there. At one point I had to find something. I remembered that it was in the fuel tank of my old CZ motorbike so we had to dismantle that but I couldn’t get my hand in to pick it out. I needed things like a long twig or something that I could push inside to dislodge this item. Everyone was really busy.

And apart from that, I’ve been doing stuff on the internet and not having a great deal of fun doing it either.

But there are moves of some description afoot to which I need to attend and they won’t be done if I sit on my derrière and do nothing.

Consequently I have had “arrangements” to make.

And as usual, half the people to whom you write or otherwise try to contact don’t reply to you. People talk about there being a recession and how hard it is to earn money these days. And here I am, with a desperate need to spend some of it and it’s far too much like hard work for anyone to do what is required to prise it out of me.

That was the cue for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It was like November today. Wet, windy, foggy and overcast so my hat comes off to these two people here, especially the one who looks as if she’s just this minute come out of the water.

Not quite à la Ursula Andress, but never mind, hey?

And as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach, and that won’t be a surprise to anyone who was out there this afternoon in this weather. I was in a sweater and a rain jacket in a vain attempt to keep myself dry.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Here are some people in a zodiac having a sail around offshore, as I noticed as I continued on my way.

I don’t know what they were doing but whatever it was, they were doing it with a loud-hailer for the rest of the day,

The kids were also out there again though, orienteering around on the lawn around the bunkers. One little girl had a little chat with me which was nice. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I competed in the North West England Schools Championship on one occasion.

As an aside, not long after I moved to Brussels I saw someone wandering around in sports gear carrying some orienteering equipment so I wandered over to him to ask him.

He was aghast. The moment I began to speak to him he took one step back and stuttered “On se connait?” – “do we know each other?”.

In the end, I ended up running around the streets of Schaerbeek and Evere at night on my own

notre dame de cap lihou le coelacanthe le tiberiade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You’ve seen already a few photos of Le Coelacanthe and Le Tiberiade and one of the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

At one particular moment we almost had one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek v Greek” moments and I thought that it was quite appropriate that the lifeboat was in the immediate vicinity.

From what I could see on their radar plots, they had both been fishing just offshore and were now considering whether or not to head for home. You saw Le Coelacanthe coming into the harbour in one of the earlier photos after she had made up her mind.

And on the AIS database she didn’t have a photograph. But now she does!

le poulbot chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With no-one at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, I pushed on towards the harbour on the other side of the headland.

And it’s “all systems go” at the chantier naval this afternoon. And about to go is Le Poulbot after her length stay in port.

She’s sitting in the cradle in the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come further in deep enough to drop her into the water.

Gerlean is still there though. You can just about make her out on the right. And L’Omerta is still there too, although you can’t see her.

suzanga black pearl briscard chant des sirenes le poulbot gerlean l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But also gone! And never called me “mother!” is Pierre de Jade. Her berth is looking quite empty now.

But someone stepped into Le Poulbot‘s shoes before she has even gone into the water. In her place is the pink Suzanga, one of the newest trawlers here in the port.

She’s been here not quite two years and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we “scooped” the local press by having her photographed and recorded here before they did.

So who is going to come along and claim the empty berth then?

calean la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, with both Gerlean and L’Omerta being in the chantier naval, we have other fish frying over at the Fish Processing Plant.

Moored there today, amongst several other boats were Calean and behind her, La Grande Ancre. And there are a couple of guys standing on the lower level by the van taking a great deal of interest in whatever is on the stern of La Grande Ancre.

Behind them, Le Coelacanthe had by now come in to unload. There was another boat too and waiting her turn to dock at the quayside was Le Tibériade.

It’s a shame that there are a few boats that habitually moor up at the wharf and prevent other ships from unloading quickly and having a rapid turnround.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So that was that and I headed for home and a coffee.

And I wasn’t the only one heading for home as around the corner towards port came Belle France from the Ile de Chausey with a crowd of passengers on board.

And I bet that they would far rather have been out there yesterday when there was everything going on in the bay. It was quite quiet and boring there this afternoon.

Armed with my coffee I carried on working and then knocked off for tea.

What I’d been doing, surprise surprise, is going through the Accounts of a football club in Wales to see if I could identify why they would want to allow themselves to be struck off the register at Companies House and compulsorily liquidated when they had assets of about £400,000.

That’s a saga that will run and run too.

Tea tonight was a Left-over Curry, delicious as usual, and then I had to run as I’d forgotten about the football this evening.

It’s this weird competition organised by the Scottish Football Association that includes the leading part-time clubs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. TNS were at home to Dundee tonight live on the internet.

Really, it was no competition. TNS had by far the lion’s share of possession but I don’t think that Dundee ever broke into a sweat. They just stepped up a gear when it mattered and made it look easy.

The difference between the “professional” clubs and the “amateur” club is the fitness.

You watch when a big team is playing against a minnow. For much of the game the teams can slug it out toe-to-toe but the danger periods are the first five minutes of each half when the lesser team is struggling to come up to the rhythm and the final 15 minutes when the steam has gone out of the lesser team.

And sure enough, Dundee rattled in two goals almost straight from the kick-off for the second half, and added another one right at the end. They were just in a completely different class to TNS.

Bed time now, and I wonder who’ll be waiting for me. Zero and TOTGA again? Or Castor? It’s about time she put in an appearance again. But my money will be on one of my family coming along to spike my guns.

Watch this space.

Wednesday 21st October 2020 – THE ONE THING …

… that I can say about Social Media is that it’s amazing, the things that come crawling out of there.

When I was an adolescent I went to school in Nantwich and had a few friends and contacts there, but lost touch with most people over the years.

The town has its own page on Social Media and I am a member. Occasionally I see the odd name here and there that I remember, so I have a little reminisce. But the other day, seeing the name of a company reminded me of someone I once knew with the same family name. So I asked the question on there – “is anyone in touch with … ?”.

The power of Social media is stunning because within half an hour I had three positive responses and three hours later I was chatting to the person concerned. And as a result, anyone who listens to one of my “live concerts” ON THE RADIO in a couple of months’ time will be treated to the rarest of rare.

There was a rock group from Nantwich that soared to fame for five minutes in the early 70s and then disappeared just as dramatically – totally forgotten by everyone. But I can still remember the names of the three musicians. And I work on the theory that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

And if you don’t make an effort you don’t get either so today I certainly did. I beat the third alarm by a good 30 seconds, I reckon, and that’s good enough for me these days.

So despite only having 5.5 hours sleep last night (I was reformatting the laptop after I’d finished my notes, a task that is still continuing by the way) I still managed to go walkabout.

I was playing football last night, would you believe? I’d gone to Gresty Road to see Crewe Alex play in the FA Cup but frankly it was a boring 0-0 spectacle and wasn’t really exciting me at all. On the next pitch a local Sunday afternoon side with a couple of players whom I knew, really only a scratch side, were playing against Hulll City on the Cup. They were hanging on for a 0-0 draw but of course as you might expect, it was all Hull City and very much a last-ditch defence kind of thing. So I went over to watch them. For some unknown reason I ended up as a substitute for them with about 30 minutes to go. I didn’t really do much but the team which by now had become Man City were attacking and attacking and attacking. On one occasion they worked their way down the left wing, cut back inside and a cross went to one of their players who hit this enormous volley straight at the goal. Of course with me being a goalkeeper my immediate reaction was to stick my hands up and divert it over the crossbar. An obvious penalty and an obvious sending off so I didn’t even wait for the referee to pull his card out. I just walked off the field. The referee took out his card and went to show it to another player. The other player was saying that it was him but of course I wasn’t any good so I might as well leave the field anyway. I said “no, no, it’s me, it’s me”. The referee, seeing that I’d already left the field and was walking up the field just showed me the red card. he didn’t even ask me for my name which was just as well because I didn’t even know which name I was playing under. I went back to Gresty Road and by now there was a torrential downpour, half the crowd had gone and there was no football. People were sitting around in the stands so I asked this woman and her little daughter who were sitting next to me “what’s happening now with the football?” She replied “I don’t know” but pointed to another guy and said “he’ll know. Why don’t you ask him?”. So I went over to ask him.

Later on, I was at a concert. It was something like The Grateful Dead taking place in Crewe market with all of the market stalls. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable because quite simply their music wasn’t loud enough, very very quiet and I was listening. I went over to the group’s mixing desk which was on a market stall in Crewe to tell them to turn it up. They basically shrugged it off and carried on. A little later they announced that tickets would be on sale for another concert, for $5:00 each with a reduction of $0:50 for everyone who had a Grateful Dead club membership, which cost $1:00. I thought “well I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. The sound might be better so I queued up. when it was my turn to get my tickets I said to the woman “I’m going to make myself very unpopular now with you”. She said “what note do you have? A $20?”. I replied “no, $100”. She sighed but I got the money out and handed it over. It was dated February this year. Anyway she took it and started to count out the money from the money that she had just been taking in from everyone else.

One of these days I’m going to review my journeys and review the amount of time I’ve lived in various places, and compare notes. I only lived in Crewe 1970-72, 1975, 1981-1992 yet it features the most by a country mile in my night-time travels whereas Brussels, where I lived the longest, rarely features at all. How bizarre is that?

After I’d been working for a good hour or so I suddenly realised that I had things to do. Thank heavens for my journal in which I write down what I need to do.

First thing was to peel and dice very finely a lump of ginger and put it into some cold water and bring it to the boil very gently.

Next was to prepare the dough for the bread. 500 grammes of cereal flour and rwo big handfuls of sunflower seeds with a couple of dessertspoons of salt. Some sugar was dissolved in 250 grammes of lukewarm water and then a sachet of yeast was added and shaken well in, and left until a nice foamy froth had formed.

Then it was all kneaded together and then left in the mixing bowl under a damp teatowel so that it might rise.

four lemons were next peeled and I took the pith off as well. This was all whizzed around in the whizzer so that the juice might separate. This was put in a cold sterilised bottle, and the rest was whizzed up further into a pulp and then added to the ginger in its water.

Having done the washing up, I then prepared the hummus
For any given quantity of hummus you need

  • 50% of that quantity in chick peas
  • 25% of that quantity in sesame seed paste
  • olive oil (this amount can vary depending on how you like the texture of your hummus)
  • chick pea juice (ditto)
  • Lots of garlic
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

You should end up with something like 95% of your given quantity.
All of this should be then put into the whizzer and whizzed around and around into a nice smooth purée. It takes quite a while.

And now you need your filling. I made two loads

  • one with olives
  • one with dried tomatoes

but really you can use what you like.

Dice up your filling into tiny bits and then add it to your hummus. Then GENTLY whizz it in. Too much will purée it and that’s not what you want. Not enough and it won’t be mixed in thoroughly.

And there’s your hummus.

By now the bread had risen sufficiently so I gave it its second kneading, shaped it, and put it in the mould that I use these says – a silicon cake mould. better than nothing. And then the damp teatowel put over the top.

The lemon and ginger was ready after having simmered gently for an hour or so. I took that off the heat, added two tablespoons of honey and then whizzed it around and around in the whizzer until it resemebled a nice syrup. That was then added to the lemon juice in the bottle, mixed well up, sealed and put in the fridge.

Home Made Bread Home Made Lemon and Ginger Cordial Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, after about half an hour or so, the bread was ready. So that went in a hot oven for 75 minutes. I fed the sourdough and then came in to edit a few photos and to hunt down some places where I’d taken them. And that wasn’t easy either.

And here’s one I made earlier. Yes, we have a loaf of bread here all nicely cooked and fresh out of the oven. Lemon and Ginger Cordial too, but not the hummus. Most of that is in the freezer and there’s only a small amount in the fridge right now.

And I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the fresh bread from the oven is delicious and my hummus is thoroughly wicked. I shall enjoy eating all of this and no mistake.

Home Made Pear Kefir Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch there was the kefir to see to.

There were two rather over-ripe pears so they were whizzed into oblivion. The resultant purée was pressed through a sieve to extract the juice into a big measuring jug, and the kefir that was brewing was filtered through my filter stack into the big jug. It was all then whizzed around and bottled.

This is something that I’ve never tried before so I’ve no idea how it works. I’ve seen a recipe for apple kefir but not for pear kefir, so I’m hoping that it’s going to work out fine.

Cherry Picker salles Communales Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been messing about I’d noticed some activity in the car park at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

There’s a cherry-picker in there and I wondered what it was doing, so when I went out for my afternoon walk I went to have a peek. And it looks as if they are going some pointing work to the building that is used as the Communal Rooms, where you can hire a room for an exhibition or a wedding reception or something like that.

It’s high time that they did something about it. The upper floors are empty and abandoned and need some repair work so that they can be occupied. I hope that this will be the start of the renovation.

Roofing Rue St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw them working on the roof of one of the houses in the Rue St Jean.

They seem to have made some very good progress since we last saw them. It looks as if all of the laths are now on the roof and they have started to trim off the overhang.

But I remain totally unconvinced by the flying scaffolding that they are using on the left-hand side of the house. I’ve worked in precarious positions in the past – in fact on my own house the rear was done with me working without scaffoding although I was wearing a safety harness.

And I’d feel much safer with that set-up rather that the set-up that they have.

Beach Art Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing yesterday was a group of people performing some beach art.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the beach I had a look down and I could seem them all again out there today having another go at some art. It looks quite pretty too today.

It’s a shame that the tide has to come in and wash away their hard work. Still, it gives them a clean canvas tomorrow for them to come up with another beautiful design. But it must be very said to see your previous gros oeuvre wiped out by the waves.

Kids Playing In Sea On Beach Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were plenty of people about on the cliffs today too. Far too many for me to go for a run along the path, so I had a nice pleasant walk instead.

Threre were plenty of squeals coming from the beach that distracted me as I was walking. And at the viewpoint I could see the reason for that. Despite it being late October and quite cool outside, a group of kids has decided that it would be fun to run into the sea.

There are certainly some hardy people around, but I’m not one of them. I left them to it and carried on with my walk.

Gravel Piles Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one around in the Square Maurice Marland so I took the opportunity to have a quick, impromptu run. And this was the view that I saw at the end of my run.

And this can only mean one thing. Lorries bringing in tonnes of gravel and diggers piling it up in heaps on the quayside. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a quarry not too far away where a really had and durable rock is found. It’s excellent when used with tarmac as roadstone and it’s bought by many people, including two road-making companies in the UK.

And we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for probably 6 months – a big 2,500-tonne bulk carrier – but it looks as if one of them is on its way to part for another load to take to Whitstable or Shoreham.

That’s good news as far as I’m concerned.

Workmen repairing electric light Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out for my afternoon perambulation I’d seen an Electricity Board van parked up at the side of the road.

So this is what they are doing. One of the floodlights that illuminates the Porte St Jean hasn’t been working, but today it’s receiving some care and attention. Presumably the silicone in the tube is to make a waterproof seal afterwards to prevent more water ingress.

While the workmen were occupied I took a quick photo and then came on home at a leisurely walk to carry on editing photos.

That’s another pile done, including the most difficult ones where I had to track down a road accident. Just 55 left now.

Another task that I had to do was to convert a pile of files into *.mp3 ready for a radio programme, and to carry on working with the laptop organising that too.

Then I could have my guitar practice. And that went much better today and I actually enjoyed it. I was playing a few Neil Young tracks on the bass – tracks like LIKE A HURRICANE – and I find to my surprise that I can actually sing them while playing bass too and that cheered me up no end.

As for the 6-string, I spent my half-hour working out the chords to MODERN TIMES by Al Stewart. And again, to my surprise, by the time that I’d finished my session, I’d even worked out half of the lead guitar solo at the end, and made a reasonable attempt at playing it.

Moon over Baie de Mont St Michel Brittany Coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis evening I had the streets to myself when I went out for my evening promenade.

My first run up the Rue du Roc and my second one down to the clifftop were quite comfortable. And when I got down to the clifftop I could see in the distance the new moon shining brightly over the Brittany coast, so I walked round to the end of the headland to take a photograph of it shining over the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Actually, in view of the clear skies and good views I’d been tempted at first to take the tripod with me. But there was far too much wind for that tonight, which was a shame.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I ran on along the path on the clifftop past the Chantier Navale. No change there, and the yacht in there isn’t the Spirit of Conrad.

It’s all go though at the fish processing plant. When I’d been running around the headland I’d seen probably a dozen fishing boats making their way in with their catch tonight. By the time I’d reached my breathing point they were all steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into harbour ready to unload.

There were a few of the kids on the car park again tonight so I didn’t stay long there. I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Victor Hugo Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving reached the end-point of this particular leg of my run, I walked back down to the viewpoint over the inner harbour.

That was because on my live fleet monitor this morning, I noticed that Victor Hugo was on her way back from Cherbourg, via the Channel Islands. And sure enough, there she is obscured by Granville who has also returned to the fold from her sojourn at Cherbourg.

It looks as if they had gone, just like Marité, because the harbour was to be drained. And they are back now. Although there isn’t much chance of them resuming their ferry runs for the rest of the year.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an even better view of the boats unloading at the fish processing plant from here.

We haven’t taken a photo in the dark of the view from here for quite some time so I reckoned that tonight would be as goos a night as any. I was rather late for watching them unload Les Bouchots de Chausey. There she is in the foreground, quite empty, and the tractor and trailer that takes away her load is rattling off down the streets.

So seeing as I was here I put in another run all the way to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd on the way back I actually encountered some people.

You will have noticed the electricians earlier fixing the light underneath the Porte St Jean that lights up the stonework and I wanted to take a photo of it. And sure enough, bang on cue, a couple of little kids ran into the shot to animate the scene. That adds a bit of colour to the scenery.

And from there I ran on home. I’d had a really good and athletic night out there again. I must be improving

While I was writing my notes, I tried my lemon and ginger cordial. And that reaches the parts that other cordials can’t reach. So now I’m off to bed, confident in the knowledge that A MAJOR INJUSTICE HAS BEEN PUT RIGHT. 90 minutes too late of course, and will probably be a very expensive 90 minutes at the end of the season. I’m still shaking my head in bewilderment and disbelief.

Tuesday 10th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT!

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt WAS a good idea to go out early this morning to have a look at the gravel boat that had arrived during the night to make sure that it was indeed Neptune that had honoured us with her presence.

As you can see, here she is all fully loaded and deep in the wtaer and all of the hatches are battened down. It’s round about 16:00 and she’s not even been in the harbour 24 hours.

This could well be one of the quickest turn-rounds that we have seen.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt something like 10:40 this morning when I was out and about to see what was going on, she was nothing at all like in the previous photo.

Loading hadn’t been on the go for long, as you can see. They’ve started loading from the stern and working down towards the bow, she’s well-down at the stern and the bow is quite high out of the water.

That’s a clear indication that they haven’t been going long and they have about 2200 tonnes of gravel to put in her.

This morning, to my surprise, i was awake at about 05:20. But not for long, though. I was soon back to sleep.

Even more surprisingly, I managed to beat the third alarm yet again. That shows a kind of courage and determination that I thought that I’d lost.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. And there was plenty to go at on there. I’d been a busy boy during the night.

At some point during the night I’d awoken to find myself telling a story about some kind of radio programme that I’d been doing that involved travelling on a ship. I was recounting this story and when I reached the end I suddenly found that the day was wrong. It wasn’t in fact going out on the day that I thought it was. The ship was going out some other day so I ended up having to retrace my steps and come back again. It was all extremely weird because it was all so lifelike while I was recounting this story.
Later on I was in some town in between Cologne and Frankfurt and had to go to meet either Jackie or Alison – I can’t remember who. The idea was that I would catch the TGV – there would be one quite regularly between the two, or was it Vienna? Might have been Vienna even I dunno. There would be some kind of TGV regularly between them. I had to start making enquiries but I found that the town where I was staying, there was no TGV. It didn’t stop. I had to go all the way back to Cologne or Stuttgart or somewhere to get onto the train. I thought “this can’t be right”. There must be some kind of local train between here and wherever the other person was. So I started to make enquiries. I found a little station where I could conceivably get a train back to Stuttgart and then get the TGV down there. So I started t think about doing this. Then I suddenly looked at my watch and it was 13:54 and I had to be down there for 17:00. I’d let all this time lapse so I thought that the only way that I was going to get down there is to drive down there. But then I had the problem of leaving my car ad that’s going to be extremely awkward. I was in a library while all this was going on and of course there were some books on display that I wanted to sit and read. In the meantime all kinds of things were going through my head about what would happen if I left my vehicle unattended wherever I was supposed to be and would it be painless about the parking, all that kind of thing. In the end I was totally overwhelmed by all this kind of thing
And at another stage of the proceedings I’d been with another friend of mine again, one who featured a short while ago. We’d been wandering around all the clubs. There was a snooker club place that we went to, a sports club and we went in there again and there was a TV. We thought about watching the football so he was flicking through the channels on the TV trying to find the football but we couldn’t seem to find it. There was some guy, a young guy, sitting there trying to watch something as well but he wasn’t finding anything so we ended up talking to him. He was a down-and-out kind of person. Again it was a case of time running out and we needed to be somewhere else.

There was more to it than that, but as you are probably eating your tea or something right now, I’ll spare you the gruesome details.

After breakfast I attacked the digital sound-file splitting. Two of them were straightforward – quite easy in fact. The third was more complicated as it contained more than it should have done. That involved tracking down through about 20 studio reference files until I found the reference to the version that I had.

But as for the fourth, it was a very obscure album to start with, from 1966 from a record company that has long-since disappeared featuring a couple of artists who have disowned their work from this period.

Reference to the album itself helped me unravel some of it but the rest was … well … not easy. I’ve managed to find a discography of the work of the artists and looking in the tracks for the phrases that represent the titles (it’s a good job that it wasn’t an instrumental) I reckon that I’ve managed to do it justice.

There’s still no clue as to what this master tape relates to, but I’ve now ended up with a very rare, and very special version of Julie Driscoll singing “This Wheel’s On Fire” long before Bob Dylan actually recorded it himself. That must be something.

fishing boats ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was the cue for me to go out and see what was going on down in the harbour.

The weather was, once again, completely miserable outside. It wasn’t actually raining but it wasn’t far off and there was haze out everywhere. The harbour gates can’t have long closed because the fleets of fishing boats were out ther eheading to their stations.

At least, I think they were fishing boats. I couldn’t see a thing in this claggy mist.

yacht english cnahhel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallA little closer towards the shore the view was slightly better. Not much, but at least I could see what I was supposed to be looking at.

That’s actually a yacht, heading out in the wind towards the Ile de Chausey in the wind, and good luck to him too. I must admit that it did make me feel rather envious seeing him out there.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m on a fitness thing right now. I’ve upped my daily walks from two to three, I’m doing two lengths of running, and my morning stroll into town for my dejeunette for lunch is the longest way possible

yachts english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThat means walking right down to the lighthouse and instead of cutting across the lawn, going down the steps and right round the headland where I came to grief last summer.

And as I tuened the corner right at the bottom, I was treated to the sight of three more yachts coming round in squadron formation.

It’s not very often that you see yachts out there in the middle of the week when it isn’t a school holiday, so I’ve no idea what is happening. There must be something special going on to attract them like this.

la granvillaise charles marie trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halland there’s more excitement round by the chantier navale

We saw the number of boats under repair dwindle down to none at the end of last week, and then yesterday we had a couple in there. But today, joining La Granvillaise and a fishing boat is another fishing boat and the yacht Charles-Marie.

So it’s All Systems Go down there right now, and that’s good news for the port. A thriving and successful chantier navale will encourage boat owners to keep their boats here and assure the success of the port.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being now on its way out, the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the top to the other side of the harbour to see what was happening with Neptune.

But first, that row of pontoons that I mentioned yesterday that looked as if it might be new. Unfortunately it isn’t. They must have been cleaning them, that’s all because it’s still the same old pontoons – just looking nicer.

So I went to see what was happening down at the other end of the harbour.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFor some unknown reason, they aren’t actually using the conveyors to load up the ship.

There’s a digger bringing the stuff out of the gravel bins and dumping it in a heap at the foot of one of the big cranes, and the crane is picking it up with a grab and dropping it into the hold of Neptune.

I”m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but there’s a quarry near Avranches that produces a very high-grade fine stone that is eminently suitable for mixing with asphalt.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere are two asphalt plants in the south of the UK, one near Shoreham and the other near Whitstable and they buy their stone from the quarry here at Avranches, and the gravel boats ferry it across.

And that, of course is a country that thinks that it’s all-powerful and can rule the world, yet it can’t even produce any gravel of its own from the rocks that exist on its own shores. It’s when you think about things like this that you realise just how much of a joke this Brexit really is.

As for Neptune herself, she was built in 1992 in Rosslau on the Elbe in Germany and, rarely these days, flies the British flag. And, surprisingly, she has ice-breaking capabilities.

pointing harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was down here I went to see if there was anythign going on with that scaffolding that they had installed at Marité’s berth.

There were two men working on it and from what I could see, which wasn’t very much I have to admit, it looked as if they might just be repointing the wall.

So on that note, I went to La Mie Caline to pick up my dejeunette and then wandered back slowly to my apartment.

First thing that I did back here was a little bit of tidying up to try to make the place a little more respectable, and then to sort out another pile of albums that need digitalising.

That was the cue then to finish off finding the rest of the music for Project 031 and organise all of that. That took me nicely up to lunchtime.

After lunch I started to write out the notes for the radio project, but had an interruption to go for my usual afternoon walk.

peche a pied grand maree harbour entrance light port de light granville manche normandy france eric hallNo pathetic parking to report – just one of the lowest tides of the year (the real lowest one is tomorrow).

We’ve seen plenty of photos of the marker light for the harbour entrance being submerged up beyond the top of the highest red band, but we very rarely get to see it completely out of the water and surrounded by sand and rocks as it is today.

It’s the time for the peche à pied too. Low water is below the level that is reserved for the commercial exploiters so the general public can go out to the unallocated parts below the traditional low water mark and help themselves.

And there are plenty of people out there too having a go, and there will be even more tomorrow with it being school half-day.

One of my neighbours was out there too so we had a little chat.

On the way back, I had something of a shock.

A gaggle of schoolkids and a couple of teachers went past me on a classe découverte and one of them was the absolute spitting image – and I really do mean that – of someone who has figured in our adventures, in one form or another, on numerous occasions.

It made me look twice to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating about this. It really was quite unsettling.

Back here I finished off my notes and then dictated them. But I didn’t finish editing them because I … errrr … closed my eyes for a little while. That’s the kind of thing that’s depressing me considerably.

Tea tonight was the leftover stuffing from yesterday mixed with a can of kidney beans and rolled into a couple of taco rolls, with rice and vegetables. Plenty of stuffing left over, so that’s a job for Friday night I recon and my “leftover curry”.

Pudding was apple pie and that coconut soya dessert stuff. And even though I say it myself, my apple pie is delicious and I’ll make some more like that. But I’ll remember to put the nutmeg and cinnamon in it too.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out for my evening walk, with my little NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens for company.

There was sole wid and low cloud, but apart from that, there was an impressive view and I could see for miles. That encouraged me to have a play around with the camera and the lens to see what it could do.

It was set on shutter priority at varying shutter speeds and I took several photos of the view across to Brehal-Plage from different points with diferent settings.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat with one thing and another, I wasn’t expecting it to do very much and a couple of examples were filed under CS as you might expect.

But given the limitations of what I’m doing and the equipment that I’m using, the results of those that survived the cull are not unacceptable. A blind man would be pleased to see them.

In between all of this, I managed to fit in a couple of runs down my normal track. The first along the north side of the walls and the second across the place Maurice Marland

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd to my surprise, I managed to run on for a fair distance too, well past my usual finishing post. even part-way up the ramp on run number two.

But at the top of the ramp I had a look across to the port to see if I could see neptune. But no. In probably one of the quickest turn-round times ever, the harbour gates are open and she’s been and gone already. She’s not there now, the ground’s all flat. And she’s on her way to Whitstable.

It really WAS a good job that I went to see her this morning and didn’t leave it until later.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the best photo of the bunch, taken at 1/20 second at f1.74 on ISO3200, I was feeling so enthusiastic (which is not like me at all) that I continued my walk a little and actually managed a third run down another one of my running tracks.

Yes, I’m keeping the pressure on and I’m determined to improve my basic health even if I can’t do much about my illness. Running 800-900 metres might be no big deal for some, but for someone my age who is slowly dying of a debilitating illness, it’s pretty good.

Back here, I’ve been writing up my notes and listening to music. But now I’m off to bed. I have important things to do tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Monday 9th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… about those piles of gravel that had been appearing over the last couple of days on the quayside down in the harbour.

This blurred and illisible photo (I still have a lot to learn about the NIKON 1 J5) shows a ship that I have every reason to believe is Neptune moored at the loading bay by the conveyors where they ship the gravel on board.

At long last we’ve had a gravel boat in the harbour and I shall go out tomorrow (and try to be early) just to confirm that it is indeed she. It would be just my luck for her to have a rapid turn-round and for me to miss her.

But here’s something else quite interesting.

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that bad parking is a regular topic in these pages, particularly in the boulevard Vaufleury which is on a service bus route, is just 50 metres from the High School and is an access road for the fleet of school buses that come in the opposite direction to the service buses.

Where Madame (it is indeed a Madame) is parked is
1) the wrong way round
2) half on the pavement
3) blocking the buses
4) at school chucking-out time
5) just about 20 FEET from a huge free car park
so finally, at long, long last, the local police are doing something about it and they are making her move her vehicle.

That is pretty much encouraging news.

What else is encouraging news is that I was awake before the first alarm went off, and I was out of bed before the final alarm. Crashing out half-way through last night’s entry and so giving up and going to bed was good news in that case.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone. Apparently I was in this labyrinth of a theatre complex last night all the way through this underground reception hall place with doors going off leading into theatre auditoriums and all kinds of things. There were all kinds of announcements about the place, many of them were out of date, 2011 I noticed. There were all kinds of things happening here. But I was just wandering through listening to the radio. They were talking about “hypocrites of the year” I suppose – some guy who was telling us all about how keen he was for this and how good he was going to be for that but while he was doing that he had increased all your library charges. Someone else was going on about how brilliant a cricketer he might have been, all this kind of thing, but he made one fatal mistake and that was heroin. I was drifting through this auditorium that had a couple of very faded leather chairs and the leather was worn out in certain places. Something to do with catching a London Underground train somewhere. There was a thing too about caring for your vans if you were on a limited income, like a hippy, and a warning that the supply of LDV vans even in scrapyards was drying up now – the van that was chosen for an example was a silver LDV M-reg.
A little later I was outside with someone who was supposed to be Liz’s husband but he was more like the father of a couple of friends of mine. He had Liz’s daughter with him. She’d been on a student exchange and she had a student back with them. He was saying “you’ll have to come round for a game of pinocle or something one of these days. We’ll have an evening of five people”. He indicated roughly a place in eastern Manchester, Hyde or that area Stalybridge where he was living but he didn’t go into any further details about that. I was wondering who this “five” was because I knew that he was on his own, the daughter had her friend and there was me, so who was the 5th? I couldn’t think.

After breakfast I had a look at the digital sound files. I managed to unsort three of them too. One of them however needs much more attention because for some unknown reason there’s a load of “additional music” which seems to be a mixture of selections of various tracks, so I’d like to know what was going on there.

It isn’t the first one like that that I had found either.

By now it was time to go for my shower and to clean myself up somewhat, and then head up into town.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot that I actually got very far before I was interrupted.

Remember yesterday when I photographed all of the pontoon-supporting pillars on the quayside and I mused that they might be assembling them in two rows of four?

Here’s the big floating pontoon travelling across the harbour with one of the pillars within its clutches almost at the place where one would expect to see it if we were going to have a fourth pillar in that row.

scaffolding port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the scaffolding too. We talked about that as well.

My attention was drawn from a distance that the masts of Marité were not where they would usually be. And that was strange because she doesn’t usually roam around the harbour but stays put in her habitual little corner.

But she’s definitely moved, and the reason for that is that they’ve put the scaffolding, complete with OSB wallboards, in her usual berth and there are a couple of guys down there doing something.

So at least I know that the scaffolding is actually a working platform for some kind of task.

la mascotte boulangerie rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I headed down into the town centre and up the rue Couraye towards LIDL.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago we watched them fit some kind of protective shuttering around the front of the boulangerie here and start to smash out the old window.

The protective shuttering has now gone and, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the new shop front is in glorious display. That’s quite a nice job that they’ve done there. It looks quite good.

Now for the first time ever in my whole life, I’ve seen every till open at the same time in a LIDL. And that will give you some kind of indication of just how busy it was in there today.

No cucumbers, which is a problem, and nothing else of any real interest as far as I was concerned. All in all, a little disappointing. 3-kilo bags of apples was about the closest that I was to a bargain. And they won’t last long now that I’m making my purées myself.

birnam wood dunsinane moving vegetation rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I headed to La Mie Caline for my dejeunette but i was held up outside the shop as Birnam Wood went past on its way to Dunsinane.

There was actually a tractor and trailer parked around the corner with several large plants stacked thereupon, and presumably this machine was busy distributing them around the town.

It’s certainly a different approach to beautifying the town. I’ve said often enough … “indeed” – ed … that there isn’t enough greenery in this town and we ought to have some more.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving picked up my dejeunette I headed back home again.

Only half-way up the rue des Juifs before I was distracted yet again. Not that I would know much about these things but they look pretty much like new pontoon supports and new pontoons over there on the west wall of the harbour.

What with one thing and another, I can see that I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow having a look at all of these things. But at least the harbour gates will be closed again by 09:30 or thereabouts so it doesn’t have to be an “early” early.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd in other news, there’s activity in the chantier navale today too.

It’s been quite busy in there up until very recently, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the boats have been going back into the water one by one until just now we had none whatever left.

But that’s all changed now. There are two boats in there now, one of which is a large yacht that might actually be La Granvillaise. I’ll go for a stroll over there this afternoon to check on that.

Back at my apartment I made myself a coffee and then split up a fourth music file. Pretty straightforward except that there were three extra tracks on it that aren’t on the LP that I have, so I had to track down which version of the master tape I had obtained so that I could identify the tracks.

There was still time before lunch to send off my project for this weekend and to start a new one to add to the stock.

After lunch, I carried on with the radio project but didn’t get too far before I was overwhelmed with a wave of fatigue. I didn’t quite crash out but for about 15-20 minutes I was teetering on the edge and didn’t actually do any work or anything while I was sitting there

trawler fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was raining outside when I went for my afternoon walk.

Neptune was due to come into port, that I knew, so when I saw an object the same colour as Neptune far out to sea in the English Channel I took a photo with the intention of enlarging it back in the apartment.

Which I did, and it wasn’t Neptue at all but one of the fishing boats heading back to the port. Neptune must still ne well out of range, which wouldn’t be a surprise because there’s a while yet before the harbour gates will open and she won’t want to sit around outside waiting.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallShe might not want to, but everyone else is.

The tide is well out and the little creek that leads up to the side of the fish-processing plant is only just starting to fill with water. It’ll be another half an hour or so before she’ll be deep enough to accept the fishing boats but they are all starting to congregate just outside.

There were at least 10 of them out there – maybe more but I had run out of fingers by this point and I wasn’t going to start taking off my shoes and socks. Mind you, had I had my hands in my pockets, I might have been able to count up to 11.

strange house rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was walking round across the lawn by the War memorial, I noticed this.

We haven’t had an earthquake or a landslide or anything. That house is actually built like that. It’s what they call a trompe l’oeil – “something that cheats the eye” and it’s the window thats aligned strangely to follow the contours of the roofs rather than being in the hotizontal/vertical plane.

What’s bewildering me right now though is why I never noticed that before. It’s not like me to miss out on something this.

la granvillais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, enough of this. I continued on my way around the headland to go to see what was going on in the chantier navale.

And I was right here too. It’s my lucky day, isn’t it? The “G90” painted on the side of the yacht tells us that it is indeed La Granvillaise down there on blocks.

Crowds of people milling round her too so there’s clearly something important going on with her. At least, I imagine that the people are there for her. It’s unlikely that a fishing boat would receive that much attention unless she had caught the Loch Ness Monster.

men in small boat baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, you’ll recall that we saw a couple of kayaks out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

And so when I saw something else quite small out there in that general direction, I reckoned that it might be another one so I took another photograph of it to examine back in the comfort and safety of my apartment.

But it wasn’t a kayak at all but one of the small flat-bottomed boats that they use for transporting the boxes of seafood to the quayside from boats that have for one reason or another not been able to moor at the fish-processing plant.

floating pontoon support pillar rue du port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd earlier this morning we saw the large flaoting pontoon carrying one of the pillars across the harbour.

A short while later the noise of the pile-driver started up and it’s been going on for most of the day. And so I had expected them to have made substantial progress, and I was quite right about that.

It’s been pounded quite well and quite deeply into the bed of the harbour and I imagine that they’ll be connecting up some pontoons to it in early course.

It’s certainly interesting.

And while I was musing on this, I witnessed the “police interaction” that I mentioned earlier.

Back here I did a little more to the radio project but ended up having an hour or so playing with the bass guitar and the 6-string electric/acoustic. It’s been a good while since I had a decent play about and I must work harder on this and make more of an effort.

Tea was a delicious stuffed pepper with rice, followed by some apple pie and coconut soya stuff. And despite the absence of spices, it was really nice. I’ll have to make a few more like that one of these days.

But I’m really going to have to buy a bigger fridge and a bigger freezer.

high winds storm plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I went to see what was going on with the winds.

The tide is well out now but the wind is still causing the waves to smash against the wall down on the Plat Gousset. I bet that they didn’t do much repair work on that wall today.

My two runs weren’t a problem, except that my first run had to be on a different course due to waterlogging. And then I went to have a look at Neptune.

Now i’m back here and ready for bed. I’ll finish (I hope) the radio project tomorrow and then I can deal with another outstanding matter.

However did I find the time to go to work?

Friday 6th March 2020 – SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!

Yes, I’ve had some good fortune today, and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. But that’s another story of course, the sea approaches to Kugluktuk not excepted.

In fact, I should really have started this entry yesterday because that was when it all kicked off. Only in my confused state – something that is a regular occurrence these days – I forgot to mention it.

So yesterday I had a letter from the Belgian Old-Age Pension Authorities. After only about a year or so since I made my application, they have finally agreed to grant me an old-age pension in respect of my time spent working for General Electric and for that other strange American company where I met Alison.

So, as of 1st March 2019, I am richer by the princely sum of … errr … €29:47 per month. Yes, I can really go wild with that, can’t I?

But it’s not actually the sum of money that is important. It’s what goes with it that matters. I haven’t yet looked closely into it but there are things like free eye care, free dental treatment and the like. I’m not quite sure what, but believe me, I shall be looking closely into it over the course of the next few days.

And that’s not all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to go to the Bank today to pick up this blasted form. Three weeks since I handed it in, just for a simple stamp to be stamped upon it, and it took until today for it to be completed.

The guy to whom I spoke – he was as bewildered as I was as to why no-one there could have done it on the spot. he suggested that, the next time, I speak to him directly when I need something like this.

But then the subject turned round to the question of my money there. Not that there’s a great deal, but even so, he reckons that I could be doing so much better with it. And he worked out a little plan.

“You have your contents insurance with us” he said “but if you had other insurances, you’d get an even better deal”.
“But I do!” I insisted. “I have my motor insurance, my legal protection insurance (yes, I had a very mis-spent youth and who knows what’s bubbling away somewhere?) and the insurance on Virlet with you”
“No you don’t” he retorted.
“Yes I do” I insisted. “Have a look at my July outgoings”
And so he did. And there were my three annual payments
“But these are with the Credit Agricole Centre-France” he said. “That’s a different organisation”
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the fun and games we had when I moved here and tried to have my bank accounts set up and transferred over. I thought, that after much ado about nothing and all of the time that it took, the situation had been resolved. But apparently not.

Anyway, he picked up the ‘phone and did it all on the spot so that at long last, all of my banking details are under the same roof in France.

“And I have some good news for you” he said. “This is a cheaper area for insurance than the Puy-De-Dome. You’ll be saving on your insurances with us.”

So he’s going to look at them more closely and get back to me with some revised propositions. And, hopefully, some money back too.

This morning I was ever so close to beating the alarms. I failed by a matter of seconds and that was very sad news.

But still, an early start (just about) and after the medication, I looked at the dictaphone. Strawberry Moose starred in last night’s entertainment. he was out somewhere and there was a football match going on with all different people, women and girls just kicking around playing. He was on the sidelines cheering and they were talking about him. Someone was saying, some woman saying that she’d been out for 30 years but had had to go back to work and was working as a typist and was taking Strawberry Moose with her to do some kind of reporting. I said “he’s going to be extremely busy then because tomorrow he’s going to the swimming baths and he has another football match to go to tomorrow afternoon”. I was busy trying to fit a dressing-up costume on him but his paws were too big to go through the sleeve holes and so on. This was another one with a lot lore to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

So that was the best that I could do during the night, and I went for breakfast instead.

Once breakfast was out of the way I had a look at a few digital tracks. No problems with any of them this morning although a couple of them ended up being far longer than I was expecting, and one of them many more tracks than there ought to be. I wonder if this is a “lost studio master” with the discarded tracks left on it. Who knows?

gravel lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll of that took me up to about 11:30, believe it or not, and then it was time to go out for my dejeunette.

And one part of me wished that I hadn’t because I’ve never seen a rainstorm like it. I was drenched before I’d gone 100 yards. But another part of me was pleased that I went because I caught a gravel lorry just finishing tipping its load on the quayside and then reversing into a gravel bay to turn round.

And you can tell about the rain from just looking at the photo.

concrete drainage channels parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down past the car park that they are fitting out on the quayside on the rue du Port.

And I believe that I made some kind of sarcastic comment about the roller-coaster concrete track that they had laid in the middle of it.

But it’s quite clear now why they have done it like that, and I’m off to eat some humble pie instead. They’ve fitted some concrete guttering on the concrete strip that they laid, and the dips now have drainage grids installed in them.

So they are obviously like a roller-coaster in order to channel away the water. So I’ll shut up.

Having picked up my bread at La Mie Caline I came back here and as there was still plenty of time before lunch I finished off the editing of the sound file for Project 030.

For lunch I had more of the mushroom, leek and potato soup and it’s even more delicious. Tomorrow will be the last load and then I’ll be back on the hummus butties. Must take some hummus out of the freezer.

after lunch I went down into town for my appointment with the Credit Agricole, as I mentioned earlier.

toffee apples candy floss stall granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I decided to go for a little walk around to see what was happening.

The fete foraine – the funfair – has cleared off as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But not all of it has gone. The candu floss and toffee apple stall is still here.

Does that mean that it’s going to stay here for the summer? That will be quite interesting if it does. It will all add to life’s great pageant down here on the coast for the season.

pile of gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s exciting, isn’t it?

There’s certainly something going on here because the pile of gravel by the conveyor is getting bigger and bigger so there’s clearly something about to happen.

And I’m afraid that curiosity got the better of me when I returned home. I had a look at the shipping AIS map and, sure enough, the bulk carrier Neptune that comes in here sometimes for the gravel in in the English Channel and it’s heading in this direction.

Of course, it’s too early to say what it’s doing and where it’s going, but it’s optimistic.

pontoon port de granville granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the installation of these three large grey pillars in the harbour and my theory about that they are for.

And it looks as if I’m right on that score too, because down there they are installing some pontoons heading our perpendicularly to the quayside and anchored to the posts.

Incidentally, I had a look to see how the pontoons are fastened to the mounting brackets. They are on rollers in grooves so that they will float up and down as the water level changes.

Unless they have a puncture, which is always possible I suppose.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me back around the long way in order to clock up the percentages on the fitbit.

And look who’s coming into harbour right now! It’s our old friend Thora coming in from Jersey on the afternoon tide. So hello to Thora.

As for me, I made it back and cracked on with the Project 030. I joined it all up and found a final track to finish it off, and then dictated the notes for it.

Just for a change, I ended up being four seconds short so I had to dictate a little extra to let into the proceedings. But that’s now all done and dusted and it doesn’t sound too bad.

What makes a difference is that there’s less talking from me.

Tea tonight was a burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by apple crumble and the last of the Alpro Soya Dessert (note to buy some more).

And while I was eating, I was musing over my breakfast. Home-made muesli (well, home-mixed, should I say because the individual items were brought in), home-made apple and pear purée and home-made apple and pear cordial.

That’s all pretty impressive stuff, I have to say.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I took the little NIKON 1 J5 with me, fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens.

You can see the image that I took with it tonight. That’s darkened four stops on the Exposure Compensation function. Still far too bright. And far too blurred.

What I’ll have to do is to set the camera to shutter priority and use a faster speed to eliminate the blurring, and then give it all some further thought.

Despite the howling gale I managed my two runs, although the first was not where I usually go. The wind blew me out of there.

The football was weird. TNS sprinted into a 2-goal lead in minutes and never ever looked like they were in trouble. Barry Town were pretty poor and the possession – 62%-38% and the corners 8-2 tell their own story.

And if it could speak, the Barry Town woodwork would have a few things to say. It’s no exaggeration that TNS could have had half a dozen against a very poor Barry Town side by half-time.

But football is a funny game, as we all know. After about 55 minutes the Barry Town right-back floated in a speculative cross to the TNS penalty area from the right wing. Everyone, including the TNS goalkeeper Paul Harrison, stood and watched as it floated aimless into the area and be picked up by the slightest breeze that drifted it onto the far post and rebounded into the net.

Deep into injury time Barry Town won their second corner of the game. The high cross was headed by a Barry Town attacker towards the outstretched arms of Paul Harrison,, only for it to hit one of his own players and take a wicked deflection into the net.

So probably the most astonishing 2-2 draw that i’ve ever seen. And I bet that the crowd is still shaking its head over this result because I know that I am.

Shopping tomorrow, and if I’m early, I’m going on a little expedition. “Spend, spend, spend!” as I said earlier.

Wednesday 5th March 2020 – YOU’RE PROBABLY SITTING …

night time long exposure granville manche normandy france eric hall… there wondering why on earth I’m posting a dreadful photo like this in my journal tonight – and giving it pride of place as well.

The fact is that I’m totally surprised by this too.

This evening I went out with just the NIKON 1 J5 to see what damage I could do with it in the dark.

Adn dark it was too – about one-third moon and you could hardly see anything at all out there. Mind you the howling gale was telling us a story all of its own with the sound of the waves pounding down into the surf.

So, I tried to focus. Nothing whatever enough light for it to find a focal point so I set it to “automatic exposure”, focused on a street light an equivalent distance away, swivelled round in the direction that I wanted to face, and pressed the shutter more in hope than expectation.

And frankly I wasn’t expecting anything at all, so no-one was more surprised than me to produce an image as bright as this one.

The automatic settings were f1.74, ISO6400 at 3 seconds exposure, and it’s produced an image as bright as this. That’s impressive.

Of course, I’m going to need a tripod if ever I do it again, and then I’ll have the issue of focusing on a dummy point and then swivelling the camera around.

But I could use the exposure compensation mechanism to darken the image somewhat and speed up the exposure time. But it isn’t half interesting nevertheless.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the storm that has been raging all day and the waves that it’s been producing, let me tell you something about my day, because it’s been another disappointment.

Once more, I failed to beat the alarms and it was 06:30 when I finally pulled myself together and left the bed.

After the medication, I had a look on the dictaphone to see where I’d been. As well as the notes from yesterday afternoon, which I’ll add in in early course, there were a couple of files from during the night that needed attention.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on in the street like a gardening club meeting. A couple of people were turning up and going again. I was there with a young girl who might have been Percy Penguin, I dunno but she didn’t hang around long. I was waiting for something and there was another guy there. A girl came up and she got out of a car and started to kick this medicine ball around. I ended up playing football with her and this medicine ball. She was kicking it up the hill towards me and of course the ball was rolling back down the hill again. I was running after it to kick it back to her but I couldn’t get a kick on it at all because it was rolling back down the hill quicker than I could catch up with it. This went on for a while and then gradually people started to turn up. There was a young girl there who was with another man. apparently she’d been someone’s servant or maid before she’d settled down with this guy. They were handing out these old clothes that had been really tatty but someone had sewn up so they weren’t as tatty as they were before. They were passing these around to whoever they belonged to but I always seemed to be in the way, standing in the wrong place when someone was passing round an item of clothing

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a look at some more digital sound files.

Just for a change they were quite straightforward and, more to the point, quite long. One of them ended up with no fewer than 17 tracks, several of which I had no idea existed.

Such it was that I had to break off near the end and go for my shower..

cement mixer hopper rue st jean medieval city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d had a good clean-up, I braved the hurricane and went out to do the shopping.

Not that I managed to go very far though before I came to a grinding halt. One of the issues about living in a medieval walled city with really narrow streets is that heavy vehicles like this cement mixer can’t go in.

You have to invent a work-around, or Système D as they say in France, like a little fork-lift truck type of thing and a cement hopper.

And you’ll notice the plastic sheet on the floor to prevent cement or concrete sticking to the road surface.

digger moving gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, we noticed the pile of gravel that had appeared in the port near the conveyors.

This morning, the big digger was out there and he seemed to be moving more gravel across from the bins to the centre of the port apron. The pile is certainly growing.

This can surely mean that we are at long last about to have a gravel boat coming in some time in the near future – the first one that I will have seen in 9 months.

Here’s hoping that i’m not going to be disappointed.

pontoon in new position in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a surprise. The big floating pontoon is in a different position.

Does this mean that they will be installing a new walkway pontoon there as well? That’s going to restrict the movement of the boats like Marité that congregate down there in that corner.

For a change I went to the new Bio shop, La Vie Claire, near the Stade Louis Dior in the avenue des Matignon. Josée had bought me a book on making drinks from a product called Kefir so I went there to see if they had any.

They had both lots, the fruit Kefir for making soft drinks and also a pseudo-dairy Kefir for making yoghurt from vegetable milk like soya milk or almond milk. I bought one of each and I’ll be having a play with them in early course.

At LIDL I didn’t spent all that much, except that I did buy a pair of wellingtons. I don’t have a pair and there have been a couple of occasions when I wished that I had.

Not only that, in a week or so I’ll be scampering about in a pile of rock pools so a pair of wellingtons will come in handy.

helicopter granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I was interrupted by a noise coming from above.

Someone has had his chopper out again and I was wondering if it is the same red and yellow and one that we see wandering around. But it’s a different one that I haven’t noticed previously.

By the way, if you are wondering about the images, the fact is that Brain of Britain forgot to change the lens over this morning and on the little NIKON 1 J5 there’s still the f1.8 50mm lens that I’ve been using at night. It doesn’t “do” distance of course.

Having picked up my dejeunette at La Mie Caline, I headed for home. But we’d had a moment’s amusement in there. Some young woman in front of me was complaining that her colleagues had left her alone in her office for the day. Boththe guy behind the counter and I said at the same moment that we’d go round and give her a hand, to which she laughed.

Ohh yes, I can still chase after the women at my age. I just can’t remember why.

Back here, I had a major disappointment to deal with. I have a project in mind, an important one, and I have set my heart on doing it. I’ve already set steps in motion in this respect but the disappointing news is that due to this stupid virus thing going around, it’s been put on hold and may be cancelled.

That will be devastating news for me.

After lunch (some more of that delicious soup) I started off another batch of purée and then made a start on finishing off the notes that I’d begun to write yesterday.

crack in concrete path to war memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk of course.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned yesterday about the path that they spent a couple of weeks laying and then dug up to replace with a different path. Today I had another closer look at the new patch and you can see that they’ll be having to dig this one up and replacing it very soon.

As you can see, it’s cracking already, due to insufficient foundations, I reckon. I don’t suppose that, given the record of this Council, that they expected it to be down this long before there was a change of plan.

trawler baie de mont st michel storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut the winds were thoroughly and totally wicked. I was being blown about all over the place and even had to chase after my hat on one occasion.

The fishing boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel was making really heavy weather of trying to get into port and I’m not at all surprised.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve been buffeted about so much in a wind like this. At times it was impossible to advance and I really was being blown backwards as I tried to advance.

moving pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I’m sure that you have been wondering, just as I have been, how the big floating pontoon has been moving across the harbour.

This afternoon I was lucky enough to catch it in motion. And it’s being pushed, so it seems, by that boat with the outboard motor.

It’s certainly one of the strangest sights that I’ve ever seen – and, believe me, I’ve seen quite a few strange sights in my lifetime. There’s not as much friction in water as there is on land, but it still must take a lot of effort to move the pontoon.

Back at the apartment I organised the purée.

8 small apples and four small pears, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes. Put into a large pan with some desiccated coconut and cinnamon, with a very small amount of water and lemon juice. All stirred up and stirred well in.

It had been brought to the boil and left to simmer on a very low heat. All in all it had been on there for an hour or so.

apple pear puree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThe liquid was drained off and put in a glass jar to drink at breakfast, diluted as necessary. The solids were put into the whizzer and whizzed around until they made a purée.

Two large glass jars were steamed in the microwave (a little water put in them and they were heated for a minute) and the tops boiled in water. The purée was then ladled into them, the lids put on and they were left to cool.

Once they have cooled and created a vacuum they can go in the fridge. I’ll start on the first jar tomorrow and see how it is. But the sampling was delicious.

At long last I could dictate the notes that I’d written – but first I had to fight off a wave of sleep, not very successfully I’m afraid. But at least it’s all dictated and I’ve even started to edit it and clean it up.

For tea tonight there was a pile of mushrooms to be finished off that hadn’t found their way into the soup the other day. And so I cut a potato into squares and cooked it with spiced in the microwave while I organised some onion, garlic and the mushrooms with half a stock cube and more spices in the frying pan.

It ended up all being mixed together and stuck in the microwave on a low heat while I cooked some rice and veg. And wasn’t it all delicious, especially when chased down by apple crumble and soya coconut dessert stuff

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOut for my walk tonight, and I’ve already shown you the astonishing photo of the waves.

The wind was wicked and at my favourite running spot it was totally impossible to move. I ended up having to run on another stretch that was well sheltered.

That took me to the cliffs overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset where I decided to have a little fun with the settings with the camera.

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t easy to work out what I was supposed to be doing, but I did notice that I hadn’t set the exposure compensation correctly.

Back here I had to edit out some red and blue colour and darken the image three stops, but even so, they haven’t come out too badly. Of course, now that the tide’s not in, they’ve left the lights on along the promenade. They couldn’t do that when it’s needed, when the tide is in and the waves are crashing down along the prom.

Anyway, I carried on with my walk and managed my second run too.

So now it’s bedtime. I’m having (I hope) an uninterrupted day tomorrow – except that the blasted bank has phoned me and I have to go to pick up my document after lunch

One thing that I want to do is to finish off this radio project. I should have done it by Wednesday night but I’m just falling behind.

I must organise myself better.

Wednesday 4th March 2020 – SPRING IS SPRUNG!

daffodils square Maurice Marland granville manche normandy france eric hallThe grass is riz, and all of that kind of thing.

Although I’ve no idea where “da boidies iz”, at least I can tell you all where the daffodils are. Here in the Square Maurice Marland they have sprung up over the last couple of days on the lawn here.

It’s usually a sure sign that the worst of winter has passed us by. But we haven’t had a winter this year to speak of, so I’m not taking anything for granted as far as this bizarre weather goes

Another thing that I’m not taking for granted these days is my ability to raise myself from my bed with the alarm. It was another disappointing start to the day. Not as disappointing as the previous day, but 06:25 is still unacceptable in my eyes.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone and I could see straight away why I was so tired. I had travelled miles during the night.

We had been on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again last night and there were loads of competitions and all of this kind of thing. There was talk that some of us were going to go for a walk. What this meant was having to make a written demand and our vote would be counted depending on what we’d written. We’d have to write out a reason why, something along those lines. It turned out that it should have been called at 14:00 this vote thing but instead it was well into the evening, about 20:00 and we stall hadn’t finished writing out our thing. It was going to be called very soon so we had to crack on and get done with it. I was telling all these stories about how in the past a group of people had gone ashore but didn’t have their equipment with them so they had to go back to the boat to get it and come back again. There was all this talk about how “a huge crowd of people had disappeared abruptly as if they had been eaten by a polar bear” because they hadn’t told anyone where they were going. They were on shore, all this kind of thing. I had Castor with me during this evening. We were talking about all kinds of things.
At one stage we were talking about putting down some kind of red carpet or something for a group to walk down but the point was that no-one had ever done that in the recent past except for Abba for some reason or other. It was quite common to do this 30, 40, 50 years ago in the days of Led Zeppelin to highlight someone in this way but it’s something that’s not done at all now
This procession thing was being recorded on *.mp3 and everyone had to have their *.mp3 things ready. Again, some people hadn’t done theirs yet but some had. In some cases the volume was far too loud and distorted everything. In another case it was too soon and there was too much of it. In other cases the ship that they were on would diverge out of the carnival for some reason or other. I wasn’t even given an opportunity to make a start on the one that needed doing for us and so we were at n°19 in the queue out of 20 and it looked as if we were going to be stuck there for ages while they sorted themselves out and did a proper thing. But then of course that’s not what the carnival is all about. It’s very ad-hoc and improvist and people ought to be learning from that.
I was with another friend later on, someone else who has featured quite recently in my travels and we were walking up the Boulevard Leopold III towards NATO and that way towards the airport. We were discussing projects that I had on the go. One of them was about cartoons – I had to write some kind of article about cartoons. It came out that we were talking about Belgium and how you got to like the place or didn’t. It wasn’t a case of liking, it was a case of “different” and you either appreciated the differences or you didn’t. The subject of cartoons came up in the discussion. he said something about reading cartoons to other people so I added that I was looking for a pile of cartoon books to write for my project. He didn’t actually have any. All his stuff was old stuff so I said that was just what I want. he said “I know. Come with me”. he climbed up off the motorway exit ramp that we were on onto a road above it. Of course I had to climb up there with him. Funnily enough I remember climbing up and I wasn’t out of breath for a moment. he said on this road was a shop. I knew that there was a cartoon BD shop on here where I could get things from but I didn’t really want to pay for them. I was only going to use them for this project and hand them back. He wanted to take me there to have a look so I thought that I might as well go.

Like I said, no wonder I was thoroughly exhausted after all of that.

After breakfast (a late breakfast, for obvious reasons) I sat down with the sound files and split several more. Once more I came across one that was all over the place with stuff on there that was arranged any old how and it was quite an effort to tie it all up properly.

Another one had once been cut into tracks and rejoined, but whoever had cut the tracks had clearly had some kind of visual impairment for it had been cut in the wrong places and when it had been rejoined, there were milliseconds of silence. So I had to edit out the silences and then re-cut it.

One of those two – and I can’t remember which one – was also damaged and I had to repair the damage to several tracks too. All in all, for something that should have been straightforward, it took absolutely ages.

Still time to finish off Radio project 028. And that took less time than expected because while the last track is usually always a killer to find, the first one that came to my mind not only was almost exactly the right length (I had to add in 2 extra seconds of commentary) but fitted the context perfectly.

That was the cue to start to think about lunch.

For the past couple of days I’ve had a thing about leek and potato soup (I’m not sure why but I’m certainly not pregnant) and o Monday at LIDL they had leeks on special offer.

So I heated up the wok and sliced a couple of onions. Just as I was about to add them, the telephone rang, like it always does at that moment. Rosemary was on the line, wanting a chat, so I told her that I’d call back in 15 minutes.

And then I returned to the soup.

In went the onions, followed by a pile of garlic and all of the leeks, sliced up into rings, and then the mushrooms that were left over from the weekend, along with some rosemary, sage and thyme.

While they were all frying, I peeled my potatoes and diced them. They went into a saucepan with some water and I emptied the stuff out of the wok, and left it so simmer.

Rosemary and I then had a good natter for a while which meant that I was horribly late for just about everything yet again.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the soup mix now simmering away on the stove I headed off towards town going the long way round, right around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been encountering a fishing boat or two on something of a regular basis. And today was no exception.

Something was moving in and out of the waves out there in the English Channel so I took a photo with the intention of blowing it up (the photo, not the object) back in the apartment. And sure enough, we have another fishing boat.

joly france ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut that wasn’t all of the excitement either.

There was something else out there moving about and so I took a speculative photo of that too. This time we have Joly France and a pile of passengers out there doing a run out to the Ile de Chausey.

And I was thinking to myself that I hoped that they knew where it was, because we were having a sea fog again and you couldn’t see all that much out there.

new pontoon pillars rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound the headland and down the hill on the old road into town.

The harbour gates were open so i couldn’t go that way, so I walked down the rue du Port instead. I’d heard the pile-driver going off during the morning so I was wondering what was happening. But it seems that they have installed a third pillar out there now

This new pontoon is going to be something very special and as I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … it’s not looking good for the commercial traffic in the port.

kerbstones car park rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWalking this way (and if anyone mentions “talcum powder” they will be disqualified) brought me past where they are working on the modernisation of the car parking facilities.

And they are definitely making progress here, because today we have some parking arrestors installed along the edge. They’ll come in handy to stop grockles reversing their cars into the harbour and on top of trawlers.

Mind you, a good fork-lift truck can help overcome obstacles like these, as we saw the other weekend over by the fish-processing plant.

water drilling new pontoon pillars rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt la Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed for home.

However my attention was diverted by activity going on over at the third pillar. The workmen are now back at work after lunch and they are carrying on with the installation.

What they seem to be doing is using water pressure as a means of penetrating the bottom of the harbour and every now and again a pile of silt would be forced out under pressure.

But it made me think – how much time and money would have been saved by doing this when the harbour was drained a couple of years ago. A total lack of joined-up thinking.

We had the same issue when time and money was spent installing a path to a noticeboard at the Pointe du Roc a couple of years ago, only for it to be dug up again a couple of months later for the path to the new war memorial.

mushroom leek potato soup place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here the soup was rzady, well-cooked, so it went into the whizzer and was whizzed right up.

It’s rather thick and the mushrooms have given it a distinctive colour, but that doesn’t distract whatsoever from the taste, because with my dejeunette it was delicious.

And, even better, there’s enough for a couple more days too. I shall be quite looking for that.

And there’s no need to worry about this coronavirus thing. My soup will kill off anything. In fact, it’s already been named “the cure for which there is no known disease”.

After lunch I had a couple of phone calls to make and then I attacked Radio project 030. No 029 – that’s a live concert and I have to think about that one

road closed rue parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallMy afternoon’s work was interrupted almost immediately by it being time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

And there seems to be dirty work afoot in the rue Notre Dame somewhere, because the road up the hill is closed to traffic.

That means that the vehicle have to go down the rue St Jean in both directions, and that will be exciting because it’s quite narrow in places and even coming one way can sometimes be difficult.

It’s bound to lead to some confusion.

As for me, I walked around the walls and even managed a couple of runs. One of them was only half a run, due to the fact that there were too many people around, but the other one was a complete run.

gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRemember me saying just now that I was worried about the impact of the harbour reorganisations on the commercial freight traffic here, such sas it is?

Those piles of gravel over there caught my eye this afternoon. I’m pretty certain that they weren’t there the last time that I was down on the harbour and if so, that can mean only one thing as far as I am aware.

And that is that at long last, we might – just might – be having one of the gravel boats coming into port fairly soon. And about time too. The last one that i saw was before I went off on my Arctic jaunt.

roadworks rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s a very blurred photo (unfortunately) showing someone digging up the road in the rue St Jean.

When I reached him, I asked him what was the issue and he replied “nothing”. He clearly had no interest in discussing the matter so I didn’t waste my time trying to obtain further information.

Instead, I came on back home.

My intention was to press on with Project 030 but shame as it is to say it, I crashed out good and proper. And I do mean “good and proper” because it was deep enough to go off on a voyage and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow when I’ve transcribed the notes.

Nevertheless, I did manage to pull myself together long enough to choose the music for project 030 and even make some kind of start on the text.

That took me to tea-time and having enjoyed Liz’s apple crumble so much, I decided that I would make one too.

120 grammes of flour and 60 grammes of vegan margarine all rubbed in together really well so that it was something like a very stiff paste. And then 120 grammes of oats were rubbed well into that so that it was all nicely smeared together.

Three cooking apples were then peeled, cored and cut into small chunks and put into an oven dish. They were covered in brown sugar with desiccated coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg, soaked lightly in lemon juice and all stirred up together and then pressed down.

The oven had been warming up during this time so I covered the apple stuff with the flour and oat mixture and put it in the oven

apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallIn the meantime I made myself a pizza and that went into the oven too.

And here’s my apple crumble. Doesn’t it look wonderful? And it tastes as good as it looks too, especially with some of that Alpro coconut dessert stuff.

The good news about this is that there’s plenty left for the next few days too.

And there’s no doubt about it – I don’t think that I’ve ever eaten so well as I have been doing for the last few months since I’ve been on this healthy food and drink thing after coming back from Canada

And with my exercise and running, I’m doing as well as I can and that’s important. God food and plenty of exercise will keep me going for a while yet, I reckon.

place d'armes nikon 1 j5 granville manche normandy france eric hallLater this evening I went out for my walk as usual.

As an experiment, I took both working cameras with me – the Nikon 1 J5 and the old Nikon D3000. The aim was to take two photos of the same object with the same settings on each camera to see which one produced the best results in low-light conditions when fitted with the low-light lenses that I have.

The top one is taken with the Nikon 1

place d'armes nikon d3000 granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd this one is taken with the Nikon D3000.

As you can see, there’s a marginal improvement with the J5 over the D3000 but that’s probably due to the fact that despite being a smaller camera, the resolution is so much better.

But there’s not all that much in it between the two.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, it was a different story around the headland by the chantier navale.

Even with stopping down the J5 4 stops to darken the image it’s still managed to produce an overexposed and blurred image.I should have stopped down much further than this to speed up the image.

But as for the Nikon D3000, that wasn’t able to stop down anywhere near enough to even attempt a photo. Only one entrant in this competition, never mind one winner.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt was pretty much the same story here too.

The D3000 struggled and couldn’t produce a worthwhile image whereas the Nikon I J5 produced an acceptable image in the dark, with Chausiais and Joly France being quite prominent over by the ferry terminal. With a tripod or my monopod even, this would have made a really good image.

But one thing is certain, and that is that when the big NIKON D500 is repaired, I’ll be making much more and much better use of the low-light lens than I have been doing so far.

There was time for a run too, which made me feel better and then I came back to write up my notes.

It’s late now, later than I was hoping, but I’ll do the best that I can. I have a lot to do and I need to organise myself better.

Early nights ae much more important so I need to think about how I intend to manage it.

Thursday 26th December 2019 – I HOPE THAT …

… you all had a very nice, enjoyable and relaxing break from work. I know that I did – I did badger all today!

What with a really late night (or, more like, early morning) last night, I didn’t feel quite like getting up when I awoke at … err … 07:00. That wasn’t part of the plan. 09:45 was much more like it. At least it wasn’t as late as yesterday morning, was it?

Medication first, of course, and once it started to work I could have breakfast, including my fig roll thing without any jam.

After that, it was time to attack the dictaphone notes from my voyages through the night. And a welcome return to Castor, putting in her first appearance for several weeks, so hello to you!

Yes, she was there last night. I was doing some photography of the Civil War and she was helping me out but then of course I was on the Southern side and we were overwhelmed by the Northerners. I told her to make a run for it, to get out while the going was good but she couldn’t run so in the end she ended up staying with me. I had to think up various ways to avoid us being captured or recaptured by the Union Army, but I woke up almost immediately with a streaming head cold.
A little later on I’d been at work and I’d had all sorts of fun trying to go home. Previously I’d gone along and bought a pass for the train, which had cost me so much money, so I went and organised that. Then I gave the woman at the cash desk a ticket for another €50:00. She asked “ohh do you want another one?” I said “no, I want a 10-ride ticket for the … Err … STIB they call it in Brussels but it’s the De Lijn service in Antwerp”. She said “yes I can give you one of those but you know that it’s for all of Flanders”. I said “yes, but I just want it for Antwerp”. She gave me one of those. I took those and went outside, I wanted to go home but I heard a former friend of mine shout me from across the street “isn’t it tonight we’re going to this auto wiring course?” I thought “yes it is actually” but I couldn’t remember whether it was at 18:00 or 19:00 and in any case I was too tired and in no real mood to go. We got to a road junction, I was on foot, and I had to go to the right but it was getting difficult to turn. I couldn’t work out how I was going to turn in front of all this traffic. In the end I just stepped out and walked across the road hoping that the traffic would stop which was something that I wouldn’t normally do, but I did it then. The conversation then moved on to a discussion about the radio programmes. I said something like “my radio programmes …” but a couple of people said “OUR radio programmes …” because of course they were the audience. Anyway I can’t remember where it went after this. It certainly went somewhere but I just don’t remember any more of it.
But somewhere in that dream just then there was something about music as well – I was having to organise some music for a play in the theatre and I’m not quite sure where that fitted in either. But later on I was with TOTGA or Castor someone like that, someone I was very attached to. I’d been talking to my brother earlier in hospital where he was a patient about working hours regulations in Victorian days. When I came back, there was TOTGA or Castor or whoever poring over some kind of document which was talking about working hours and how they were having to work a lot longer hours in those days. I said “yes, funnily enough I was just talking to my brother about this and how they reduced the working hours from 6 days to 5.5” – or 7 days to 6 days, I can’t remember now. She said “yes but this is only 3 days”. I said that that would be a three day shift – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then they’d do Thursday Friday Saturday then they would have a day off”. She said “no, it definitely refers to Yo-Yo here”. That was her way of sounding on three days on and three days off. We had a bit of a discussion about that because I could see her point of view and the logic behind her argument but I was convinced that she was wrong. That’s not the way that I understood working hours to have worked in Victorian times.

After that, I have emulated my namesake the mathematician by doing three-fifths of five-eights of … err … nothing whatsoever. I’ve just sat around doing some personal stuff and drinking a couple of cans of alcohol-free beer. I suddenly realised that back i last January I had bought a whole tray of the stuff from NOZ and it needed drinking.

There was however football on the internet. The Welsh Premier League, Caernarfon v Bala Town. Bala have probably two of the top five players in the Welsh Premier League – Henry Jones and Chris Venables – in their team and they can be devastating when they are on form, which unfortunately isn’t as often as it should be.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … the biggest problem in the Welsh Premier League is the lack of consistency.

On the other hand, Caernarfon doesn’t have any star players but their manager Sean Eardley has moulded them into a proper team. They are one of the few sides that actually does play like a team rather than a collection of individuals, and they are urged on by the largest and most partisan crowds by a country mile in Welsh domestic football.

Caernarfon had by far the most of the play and hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions but Tibbetts in the Bala goal didn’t have too much to do. Bala on the other hand had few chances but took those that they had, although had Alex Ramsey not been stuffed full of Christmas pudding he might have prevented them.

2-1 to Bala it finished, and I suppose that it was about right. And Bala’s goalscorer? Chris Venables got them both.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy franceBefore the football though, I went out for my afternoon walk, having missed the morning one again today.

Although it wasn’t raining, it was pretty near enough and you can tell from the photo of this fishing boat out there in the English Channel just how miserable the weather was.

In fact I was glad that I didn’t have to go very far.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy franceHere’s another fishing boat out there in the English Channel. In fact I counted about half a dozen out there fishing today.

So I carried on with my walk. Crowds of people out there braving the miserable, grey skies, but (for a change no-one whom I knew).

And like yesterday, I went the long way round, down the new pathway that reopened in early summer.

fishing boat not always afloat but safely aground NAABSA port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAll along the watchto … errr .. quayside I went and over to the Fish Processing plant to see what was happening here.

In nautical terms, this is called NAABSA – “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” – and you’ll see many harbours described in pilots’ handbooks as “NAABSA” harbours, which means that the ships will sit safely on the bottom when the tides go out and refloat when they come back in.

Some big ships -and big harbours – too.

fishing boat not afloat but safely aground NABSA port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the gravel boats of a couple of thousand tonnes that come here occasionally.

Sometimes they unload at Ridham Dock, near Sittingbourne in Kent, and Ridham Dock is a NAABSA harbour.

But none of the foregoing will explain why this fishing boat is sitting here like piffy on a rock with the tide long-since gone out to sea.

With tha harbour gates closed, I walked across the footway over the top and down that side of the harbour, but there was nothing going on there today. For a change, the gates were open which saved me a mountaineering effort like I had on Christmas Eve.

house falling down fenced off rue ernest lefrant granville manche normandy franceFor a change I walked through a few of the back streets of the town centre and came to a section where a couple of side streets have been closed off.

It seems that the reason for this is to do with this house here in the rue Ernest Lefrant. Reading the notices plastered to the door, it seems that this is a wooden-framed house and the wood on two sides is in such bad condition that there is a risk of it all collapsing.

This is the second risque de péril imminente notice that we’ve seen just recently. A house and shop in the rue Couraye was served with a similar notice just before Christmas.

legalise crabe extra rue ernest lefrant granville manche normandy franceAlso in the rue Ernest Lefrant is this strange graffiti on the side wall of a building.

Don’t ask me to what it’s referring because I have no idea. But I do recognise the style and it’s very similar to a lot of other bizarre graffiti around the town.

That’s something else that I shall have to add to my list of things to do – track down the author and ask him what “legalise crabe extra” is all about

fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWith nothing else going on in town I headed for home and my football match.

Quite a few people out and about in the rue des Juifs, and there was now a lot going on in the outer tidal harbour too. The fishing boats that had been queueing up outside were now starting to come in to unload.

You jusst need to look at the seagulls hovering around to tell that this boat is fully loaded with a decent catch.

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut you can see how quickly the tide turns and comes in here in Granville.

There’s just 35 minutes between the photo of the fishing boat aground earlier on and this photo here and the fishing boat is now well in the water.

You can see how many of the smaller fishing boats come in to unload here, and the crowds of people up on top with their vehicles and equipment helping to unload the catch.

After the football I had tea – vegetables and pasta tossed in olive oil, tarragon, black pepper, garlic and vegan cheese. And followed by Christmas cake for pudding.

Only a short walk this evening though. It was raining really heavily and there was what Doctor Spooner would have called a “Sea Pouper” meaning that you couldn’t see very far in front. Soaked to the skin after half a mile so I gave up and came home.

The new strings on the acoustic bass are really good and it now plays like it’s supposed to, for the first time. It was a pleasure to play along to some music on the computer.

So it’s late and I’m tired, so off to bed. Work starts again tomorrow and there’s a lot to do. I need to be on form.

Thursday 4th April 2019 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

trawler storm port de granville harbour manche normandy france… when I told you that winter had returned to Normandy?

Well, it’s here and with a vengeance too. The storm is blowing up right across the bay and churning up the sea something wicked.

This little trawler, with its lifeboat in tow, is making heavy weather of leaving port this morning and struggling out into the wind.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBy the time the evening came round, the wind had dropped slightly.

Ever so slightly, and as it was high tide when I went out for my evening walk, the waves were crashing down over the top of the Plat Gousset in an impressive fury.

All in all, it’s been quite a spectacle today with the weather the way that it has been.

Despite a night that was rather later than I wanted, I had a decent sleep up until about 05:30 when I awoke. There was a little bit of awakening during the night but nothing much to worry about.

There had been plenty of time to go on a little voyage or two though. I was at a meal last night and sitting at the table were a couple of people whom I know – Zero being one of them. She at one time was a regular feature in my nocturnal rambles and who seems to be making something of a comeback just now). She was saying to the man who was with her – probably her father – that if only she had said something different to … (a former school-friend of mine) … he might be alive today. My ears pricked up at this news. “Is … (so-and-so) dead then?” “Ohh yes” said the reply. “Died last night”. There was another friend of ours working in the same place so I dashed down to tell him the news. He wasn’t there so I left a note on his desk. But on reflection I reckoned that the note wasn’t very clear and should have been written in a different way to clarify it.)

A little later I was caught in something of a no-man’s-land between here and the Auvergne. I had a piece of land down there and there was a wooden chalet-type thing there but it was just a shell, no inner lining and no inner dividing walls. I’d had it up for sale and people had been looking at it. A princess had liked one version of it and someone else liked another version of it, and all in all I was becoming confused about what I was going to do. The land down there was full of stuff including a Honda 500cc twin motorbike – a really nice parallel twin from the 1980s, a few cars and a couple of those were nice too, and an alsatian dog that stayed down there and guarded the place when I was away for months on end. I went back there with a former friend from Stoke on Trent. He was saying how he liked one particular style in which the chalet could be arranged. He started to pick up the wardrobes, even those full of clothes, and carry them about to put them in other places. I was wondering about all of the work that needed doing to organise everything so that I could sell it on but it’s not even worth thinking about. He had a drive around the field on this Honda and said how he thought that it was beautiful. He asked what I was going to do with it, and I replied that I was going to take it to Brussels. Getting it into the van won’t be a problem but getting it out at the other end might be because I’m on my own there. He’d let this dog loose. It was sniffing around everything. There was a Ford Anglia estate and the tailgate was open. We were having a look inside it and this dog came and jumped inside. I was saying “get the dog out. It has no business being in there”. I was worried that it was going to disgrace itself and ruin the interior.

And for a change, I was up quite early too and I’d quickly dealt with the morning procedures. I’d even managed a shower too.

It’s shopping day today but before I went out I transcribed a few notes from the dictaphone.

Terry turned up to say hello too. One of my neighbours wanted some DiY work doing and he’d been signed up to do it.

trans-shipping goods rue st jean walled town granville manche normandy franceOnce I had Terry settled in, I headed out to the shops, braving the howling wind. But again, I didn’t get very far at all.

I’ve mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … that large, heavy vehicles are not allowed into the interior of the city walls. They have to park up outside and the goods trans-shipped to a smaller vehicle.

We’ve seen that happen a few times already, and there was another occurrence this morning.

fishing trawlers unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe fish dock by the Fish Processing plant was busy too.

They must have just opened the harbour gates because there are three trawlers down there unloading their catch, and a whole fleet of vans and lorries waiting to take away the produce.

It must have been a really impressive sight down there 40 or 50 years ago when the cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was at its height.

crane port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that every so often we are treated to the presence of a rather large crane on the quayside.

The last one was in April last year, and here sure enough almost exactly a year later, there’s another one here today.

From up here, I couldn’t see what it was doing down there, and in view of the weather I didn’t fancy the idea of going down there to make further enquiries. I’ll save that for a better day.

moving gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat’s not all of the excitement down in the harbour either.

We now have a huge load of gravel accumulating on the quayside, and a digger moving it around so that it’s by the conveyors.

That can only mean one thing, and that is that Neptune or one of her sisters will be here in early course. She’s actually in London right now, but Shetland Trader is at large in the English Channel a mere cockstride from here.

From here I strolled up through the town on the way to the railway station. There, I collected my tickets for my next trip to Leuven. I like to have them in my possession well in advance because the ticket machines aren’t always reliable and the ticket office is closed when I arrive for my train.

Next stop was at LIDL for the midweek shopping. Apart from the usual stuff and a packet of brazil nuts, I bought one of these shower hanger trays. I’m fed up of my soap and shampoo floating around all over the place and I’ve been looking for one of these.

Today, LIDL was having a bathroom equipment sale and these shower hanger trays were one of the articles on offer.

new housebuilding rendering rue sainte genevieve granville manche normandy franceOn my way back home I went down via the rue Saint Paul into the rue Sainte Genevieve to check up on the new house-building.

As I suspected the other day, they are now rendering it with crépi.

And it’s quite interesting to see how they do it. They have a mixing machine that makes it come out like a rather wet clay and the spray it onto the breeze blocks and then smooth it over with some large floats.

Back here, I made myself a nice hot chocolate and then set down to work.

All of the blog entries as far back as 12th July 2018 are now up-to-date. But I’ve run aground temporarily because I’m back to when I was prowling around the Somme front line.

The searchable text database is done back to there too and, as it happens, so are the dictaphone notes for that period.

So one of the projects on hand is to tie them all together and make up a couple of web pages about the whole voyage. But when I’ll do that I really don’t know right now.

Terry came round for lunch and a chat, and after he had left I had another session indexing the photos from my trip to the High Arctic. I’ve probably done another 100 or so and I shall be glad when they are all done and dusted, because then I can add them to the blog entries for those dates.

That’s a task that is long-overdue.

While all that was going on, there was a terrific rainstorm going on outside, but by the time that I was due to go for my walk it had stopped.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOnce outside, I didn’t bother to loiter in the wind.

A brisk walk around the headland and a quick look at the chantier navale. They weren’t spraying today, which is hardly a surprise given the wind.

But I did notice that there seems to be a layer of colour in a stripe low down on the hull, so it looks as if they are getting close to putting on the final coat.

Back here, I whacked another pile of notes off the dictaphone list, in the middle of which I was roused by Terry telephoning me to say that he’d been banging on my door for 10 minutes. I must have … errr … had a litle relax.

We had a chat and after he had gone home (and I had forgotten to give him some stuff for Liz) I carried on with the dictaphone.

So engrossed was I with what I was doing that I was late for tea. So i did a quick plate of mixed veg and pasta tossed in powdered garlic and olice oil followed by pineapple and coconut soya cream.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAfter the washing-up, I headed out for my evening walk.

The wind had dropped slightly so I could actually walk, but there’s an incredible amount of force in the sea, as I have said before.

It’s all stored up in some incredible reserve of force and with a 3,000-odd mile uninterrupted journey across the Atlantic, the force can remain in the mass of the sea for quite a considerable time.

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy franceBy the time that I made it round to the view overlooking the Plat Gousset, it was not far off high tide.

I could see that the waves were crashing over the sea wall with an incredible amount of violence. I stood there and watched it for quite a while.

It’s really quite a spectacle when it’s going full steam ahead, as you can ses.

After a while, I headed back home, giving a little kitten a stroke on the way

With being a little late this evening, it’s rather last now so i won’t be having my early night tonight. But I’ll do the best that I can.

But I’ve had two lots of news today. And both concern little projects that I’ve had on the go for a while. Things have no accelerated and one of them is now complete and the other one, I’m now locked into.

And so there’s no turning back now, and I have an awful lot of work to do before I’m very much older. I wish I had been more selective and brought more books back from the Auvergne.

I need a good sleep tonight.

crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france
crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france
“night high winds storm waves over plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Monday 6th August 2012 – I HAVEN’T POSTED …

collapsed lean to repairing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome france… a photo of my wall for quite some time, and so this is where I currently am.

You’ll notice that all of the breeze blocks have gone, except for the ones reinforcing the corner (and I’m not taking those out at any price) and I’ve also put in the base of the second window.

As for the rest, you can see that the outside stonework is proceeding apace, as is the interior stonework.

The infill, which consists of those very lightweight hollow bricks smashed into smaller pieces and mixed with a very lightweight concrete mix (I found some more gravel) is also up to the level that it should be.

Another couple of days on this and the stonework will be done. I’ll then have to turn my attention to fitting the guttering and then doing the pointing.

I’ll be glad when it’s finished because it really is driving me up the wall, but it needs to be done.

And what else? There was the working on the website of course this morning, and this evening down at the pub with Arno, Bill and Marianne.

That was it, really.

Saturday 4th August 2012 – NEVER MIND A PERSONAL BEST …

… this must be something of a new world record.

Believe it or not, I was up and about this morning at the stupid time of 05:50 and I’ve absolutely no idea why. It’s not as if I’d wet the bed or a mouse in the attic had been doing a clog dance or something like that.

Anyway, I had a really leisurely start to the morning and spent a load of time working on the website. I’m currently discussing the Battle of Québec, as it happens.

13:30 I nipped off into St Eloy-les-Mines to do some shopping and also to buy some bricks.

Cheze had them in stock – but at €0:94 a piece which is ridiculous if you ask me. Anyway, I bought just enough to do the surround for the second window that I’ll be fitting in the lean-to. It wasn’t until much, much later that I remembered that I had bought the original lot from Point P.

Just by way of a change, I did some work this afternoon – putting back into position the stones that I knocked off the wall the other day, cementing them into position and then concreting them in place.

But now I’ve run out of gravel, would you believe? It’s clearly not my destiny to finish this wall.

But no gravel means that I can use up the pile of scrunched-up brick that used to be two internal walls in the house until I knocked them down.

They were just lying where they fell all over the floor and so this means that I’m clearing them out of the way, which is A Good Thing. They make nice lightweight concrete too.

Tomorrow is a day off – no village Open Day to attend. I’ll have a lie-in and maybe go to Pionsat for a prowl around the brocante and see how Marianne is doing with her stall for the Amis du Chateau de Pionsat.

Monday 12th April 2010 – Well, we are all going to be famous now.

We were all filmed at our Anglo-French Conversation Group this evening – but there’s no need to get excited. It was just one guy with the camera and the microphone and that was that – all very low key. He asked me about 6 questions and then proceeded to film the attendees and ask them a couple of questions.

I was all on my own to do the organising though as Christiane had to work and Liz was busy rescuing Terry from the hospital where she had taken him yesterday. He had had a fight with his chopsaw and finished second.

home made cloche les guis virlet puy de dome franceToday I finished my megacloche and if I had have had time to photograph it I would have regaled you all with a photo yesterday. But anyway, here it is today. It’s 1m20 tall, 1m20 deep and 1m60 wide. The front slopes at 45 degrees and so is a veritable sun trap.

Or it will be when I put some glass in it. I don’t have enough old caravan windows to finish it but Simon reckons he has some old windows lying around and I can go and liberate them in due course.

Once I finished that I started moving the old pile of gravel that I had left when I was taken ill in 2003 and also digging over another raised bed. I know – I said that I wouldn’t dig any more but I have to fight my way in to where the fruit trees start, and there is a strip of about 3.5m x 1m looks so inviting for a bed of potatoes if I can get all the ground alder out.

Being on my own this evening I told Bill about Terry’s little contretemps and asked him to explain it to everyone, which he duly did.
“Not his whole finger? asked Mark incredulously.
“No” replied Bill. “The one next to it”.