Tag Archives: harbour

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.

Monday 29th March 2021 – THE FIRST DAY …

… back at work after my trips to Leuven is always difficult. And today was no exception.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few of the photos of my trip around the headland this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

At least this morning I managed to rise almost immediately after the first alarm went off. First task was to set the oven off and while it was heating up, I had the medication. After the medication I put the sourdough fruit loaf dough into the oven and set the timer for 80 minutes.

Back in the office I made a start on the radio programme. And that kept me busy for most of the morning. Much more busy than it ought to have done because I was expecting this to be a quick one, seeing as I’d already chosen the tracks and paired them.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first I was doing well and when I stopped for my breakfast of hot chocolate and nice warm sourdough fruit bread (which was absolutely delicious by the way) I was well ahead of where I usually am.

It all fell apart at the end because I miscalculated the final track. I ended up being a minute over which was a shame because the final track was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and fitted the programme perfectly.

But in the text that I write and record, there is quite a lot that is able to be edited out without spoiling the rhythm or the meaning, but a whole minute-worth is taking things to extremes. It took me quite a while to trim it down into the one-hour slot and I was really struggling but in the end it managed to fit.

The advantage of this is that I have a pile of stuff that I’ve cut out that I can save to use again and as a result, in theory it should take much less time to write out the stuff in the future.

boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was finally finished I had a listen to the programme and also the one that will be broadcast this coming weekend. And they both are pretty good, so I sent off this week’s programme.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from July 2019. That’s another pile out of the way and I’m now down to a mere 8 remaining for the month.

Where I am now is at the site where Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) was captured by the American Cavalry on 28th December 1890. And the rest of the story is History. I visited the site of the Massacre at Wounded Knee that took place the day after Big Foot was captured and believe me, it’s a very sad place.

peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I made a start on the arrears from my trip around Central Europe in the summer of 2020.

That’s a job that seems to be rather like the cleaning of the Augean stables was supposed to be – a never-ending task, especially as there are no rivers Alpheus and Peneus close by to help me.

By the time that it came to knocking off I was in the town of Becov nad Teplou in the Czech Republic admiring an old Czech Tatra Lorry and I still have a long way to go to Karlovy Vary.

I’m hoping that with a bit of luck I might actually finish it this week if I put my foot down, and then I can press on and start to deal with the week when I was on board the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany Coast. I might have had more luck had I not crashed out for half an hour on my chair.

There was the usual break of course to go out for my afternoon walk.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was absolutely beautiful as you can tell by the photos that you have seen so far.

As well as that the tide was quite far out and this is when the view of the Ile de Chausey is at its most beautiful. You can see the big beach out there that we walked on when we were there with Spirit of Conrad. At very low tide there is a kind of lagoon in between the islands over there and that was where we anchored to sleep for the night.

There are a great deal of sunken rocks around the islands with the pillars and warning lights upon them and today, with the tide being so low, they are all clearly visible today

Crowds of people out there this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the crowds down the path on top of the cliffs.

le loup bay de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down to the lawn by the lighthouse and the Semaphore post. From there, there was a beautiful view of Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance

The two trees here made such a beautiful frame to the image that it was crying out for a photograph. When you see it like this, it’s hard to believe that when the tide is right in at the highest tide the column un which the light sits is almost submerged by the water. As I’ve said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe just here.

And looking at the tree on the right just here, you can understand Bob Dylan’s “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, do you?

object floating in the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the lawn by the lighthouse I walked across the car park and went down to the end of the headland. And there I saw a strange object bobbing up and down in the water.

It was very difficult to say what it was from this point of view. I took a photo of it so that I could crop it and enlarge it when I returned home, but having done so, I’m still none the wiser. It could be a marker for a lobster pot, although I wouldn’t have expected one to be this close to land, or it might ne a 25-litre oil drum washed overboard from a passing boat, or almost anything.

Having taken my photograph I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

mechanical digger peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was something that took me completely by surprise.

With it being the lowest tide of the year today – the famous Grande Marée – and also a holiday and lockdown period that has brought the crowds of people down from Paris there were crowds of people out there today practising the peche à pied and scratching around amongst the rocks for shellfish.

But the surprising thing was the mechanical digger thing that was out there with them. Once they start using mechanical equipment for the peche à pied that will be the end of a tradition.

Actually, it’s me being facetious. I’m sure that he’s doing something totally unconnected with the peche à pied

mechanical digger laying pipes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt may well be that he’s doing something that’s connected to this little task out there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a pile of pipes on the quayside and I was wondering what they are for. No need to wonder any more because they are all out there, being laid by a group of men, taking advantage of the very low tide.

It beats me what they are doing with all of those though. I’ve no idea what they would be doing that would require a pipeline to be lad on the beach out there. It’s not likely to be a sewer outfall or anything like that because of Health and Safety or Environmental Issues. I shall have to enquire.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there’s yet another change of occupier there.

That motor boat Freddy Land has now disappeared, presumably gone back in the water. We still have Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Hermes 1 and Lys Noi down there on the blocks. And it was certainly a hive of activity down there this afternoon with a few vans and a load of workmen buzzing around working away

Nothing at all going on over at the ferry port right now. All of the boats have moved, either into the inner harbour or else they are out running over to the Ile de Chausey.

digger laying mooring wires port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something else that’s interesting going on in the harbour this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen these diggers working away in the port a few weeks ago and I wondered what they were up to.

Now I know the answer to this question. There is €6,000,000 made available to a few of the ports around here to improve their facilities. Here in Granville, they have received some of the money to install three more mooring lines to make more anchoring facilities for smaller boats.

It’s just a shame that they hadn’t had the money to do this when they were working on the facilities two or so years ago.

Back here I had a coffee and worked on my arrears from Central Europe up until guitar time, something that was quite enjoyable.

And for tea it was a curry out of the freezer with veg and boiled potatoes. Followed by my delicious apple crumble.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone too to see where I’d been on my travels. I was driving one of G&B’s old Fords last night, taking the kids to college. One was sitting behind me chatting away saying that Brian didn’t like me and that I talked too much, loads of things like that. I said that I used to work for Europe’s largest coach company until it went bankrupt and I’d driven coaches as far east as Russia, places like that. I have loads of experience and I’m happy to share it with Brian but he doesn’t seem to want to learn or listen. The conversation continued. We weren’t going fast and 2 students alighted to walk in front of the coach. We came to a place where a tree was overhanging so I had to move out into the middle of the road so I had to ask these students to come back in. One of them was John Ashby so he came over to chat. He asked if I was still living on my farm. I told him of my health issues and that I was living in this apartment. He asked “do you have an owl?”. I replied “no”. He said “well you ought to have an owl. I’ll have a friend of mine make one”. We started to have a little chat but we didn’t get far as we came to the yard. The first thing that I noticed was that the drive had been moved. I was half-way up the old drive before I realised. I had to do a dramtic turn-round to get into the new drive. There was a kind of bracket-type of thing with 6 rather large upturned bolts welded to it lying on the path there . I said to the sentry who was busy looking at it “don’t worry. I’ll move it”. I got down, picked it up and threw it out of the way and drove the coach into the yard before he got off. By now it had become a motor bike. I noticed that the front tyre was low so John and I had a scavenge around the workshop to try to find a compressor that I knew was there. We found half of it – someone had dismantled it and left it in pieces. Some of the pieces were missing. We also talked about the cutlery and plates. One of the students had already asked me why things were a bit different on board the coach. I said that I hadn’t really noticed. John told me that all the crockery and cutlery had been changed and he asked me why. I said that I didn’t know. “All I know is that I have a key to the yard, a key to the office and a key to the coach. Brian just rings me up and asks me when he needs any work doing”.

But John Ashby – there’s a blast from the past. Someone who was struck off my friends list at school in 1971 when he stole my girlfriend at the time and about whom I haven’t thought for a single minute ever since. What’s he doing making a debut appearance and sticking his nose into my nocturnal ramblings?

Now though I’m off to bed, later than usual. I’m exhausted despite my sleep this afternoon. I can’t wait to get into bed.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out to sea this afternoon.

Somewhere in that sea fog out there are the Iles de Chausey but you can’t actually see them this afternoon. After all of the nice weather that we’ve had over the last couple of days, we are now having a change of weather. It’s still warm and bright outside, but as for whether or not there were any clouds in the sky, that’s a completely different story.

What isn’t a completely different story is that once more I managed to stagger to my feet shortly after the first alarm went off at 06:00, and by the time that the third alarm went off I was already sitting at the computer working.

We were all on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night, heading off on a cruise somewhere and TOTGA and her 2 kids came to see me off. This was very nice of them of course and I was hoping that it would lead to something further but we’d have to see (and not for nothing is she known as “The One That Got Away). There was still a couple of hours before our ship sailed. Then I had to leave the group with which i was in order to go to the bathroom. This meant stepping off the ship. As I walked down to the bow there were all these people from the restaurant standing around at the front of the ship having a cigarette, people who worked there, so I made a cheery kind of comment which they took in good heart and I walked off down the corridor of the port to try to find the bathroom, all the time thinking that in 2 hours time something might develop with TOTGA if I’m lucky – but just at this point I fell asleep again. And my apologies to Percy Penguin whose word I doubted when she told me that I snored.

Incidentally, just before I went to bed last night I was having a long chat with TOTGA about her daughter. It just goes to show …

Later on, a lady who worked in the OU said that she would do a drawing of me in pen and ink or something so I went to see her. I ended up staying. She was only down the road from Nina’s so I’d been to see her and then gone down to see this woman. She lived just on the border between Wales and England in Wales, 1 mile from the border. We were chatting and she had some shopping to do so we set out and walked along the old railway line that ran past her house into the UK and got to Ashbourne although it wasn’t the Ashbourne that I knew. She did a few bits and pieces and I was trying to go to the toilet but everywhere that I was going was full or there were cars going past or something and in the end we ended up walking back to her house. She had loads of stuff all over the place that she was drawing for people I knew from the OU. I was saying that that was the area where I’d like to live, on the border there. It always struck me as being an extremely romantic type of place and there were places like Tamworth and so on within easy reach. It all seemed so historical and all so interesting compared to Crewe.

That’s something else we were doing too. We’d been to Virlet at one point too, I don’t know why. I had a tiny solar panel there with a USB type of plug on it that you could plug things like telephones that kind of thing into it which would charge up off the solar panel. Quite a few people were interested in that and I was telling them all about it.

Once I’d organised myself I sat down and ran through about 20 photos from my Greenland 2019 trip, making sure that they were edited properly. I’m pressing on with these

Next, I turned my attention to the preparation for my Welsh class. That involved reading through the notes that I made during last week’s lesson, going through it all, and then looking through the course book for the text for this weeks lesson.

The lesson itself passed fairly well, I suppose. I was in a slightly better mood then last week and feeling much more like it.

After lunch I spent some of the time dealing with a few outstanding issues. Now that the new ID cards are coming through the system and being issued, it’s clear that the enormous backlog is being cleared. This is the moment to make my application to convert my ID card to the new type to reflect our revised status on the Mainland.

We now have no more rights over here than any refugee from Somalia or Syria.

Another thing that needed doing was to go through my bank accounts and see how the land lies. I still have my Canada money kicking around and it’ll be two years’ worth soon. With no prospect of going back until at least 2022 and maybe not even then, I need to make it all work for me in the meantime. It’s doing no good in a deposit account.

Unfortunately, the guy whose number I was given wasn’t the correct person and he couldn’t think of anyone who might help me. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as this is concerned.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Once again, as you might expect, the tide is miles out at sea again. These are the highest and lowest tides of the year right now of course and the public areas of the fishing beds are exposed. There were crowds of people on the beach down there by the steps underneath the Place d’Armes but from up here on the cliffs it didn’t look as if they were actually doing the peche à pied

Maybe they were just enjoying the good weather because despite the rolling sea fog that we were having, it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t all that windy.

kids at gymnase jean galfione place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe schools are still out on half-term this evening so it was fairly quiet around the College Malraux this afternoon. No hordes of schoolkids and no parents parked up where they shouldn’t be.

But there was something going on at the Gymnasium Jean Galfione at the back of the school. These kids all seem to be dressed in some kind of corporate outfit so maybe there’s been some kind of team sport going on there this afternoon.

They were sitting there quietly, presumably waiting for Godot so I left them to it and carried on with my walk along the footpath.

renault voltigeur pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHow long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages? Quite a while, isn’t it?

My route took me over the lawn and onto the car park at the back of the lighthouse and there sitting quietly is a rather elderly Renault Voltigeur.

We all know about these vehicles and their heavier brothers, the Renault Goelettes. These were the vehicles used by all of the authorities for a 20 year period from the end of the 40s to the end of the 60s and were the typical paniers à salades, “salad baskets”, used by the Police to carry away detainees, although salade is a more polite way of of expressing what they were usually called.

High ground clearance and short wheelbase, they were ideal for the poor state of the roads in France after the war and with a traditional rear-wheel drive and cheap, basic and simple to assemble, they were much more common than the rival Citroen H “garden sheds” but never acquired the same cult status or lasted as long as their Citroen rivals.

It’s very, very rare to see one on the road these days.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers on their scaffolding at the College Malraux.

They have spent several months working on the side of the roof facing my building and about a fortnight ago they moved their scaffolding round to the side. While I’ve been away they seem to have moved their scaffolding round to the other side of the building and I noticed that they are now busy attacking that slope.

With all of that do do, that’s probably going to take them up to summer, given the speed at which they have been working so far.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viewpoint overlooking the port there was nothing much going on, and there were just the two boats in the chantier navale.

But I did notice one of the two diggers that have been working in the port seems to have retired from the fray and is now clanking on its tracks up the ramp.

It was difficult to see what was going on with it over there but there was a workman round at the front of the machine, so maybe they are going to change her bucket for one of a different size, or maybe even fit a grab onto the end of the arm. But there wasn’t anything down there to fit it with.

digger tractor port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, out in the port, the other digger is hard at it with the tractor and trailer.

It seems to have dug up a pile of rocks from the bed of the port and is busy tipping them into the trailer to be taken away. And why they would be doing that I really don’t know because they’ll have to go down extremely deep in order to make it into a wet harbour at all states of the tide.

And that gives me an idea. Maybe they are going to fit a breaker attachment onto the other digger so that it can break up some more of the rock.

After watching them for a while I came back here for coffee and some of my delicious vegan cake and then carried on with my arrears of my journey to Central Europe. And once again I crashed out completely for a good half-hour and felt pretty dreadful again when I came round.

The hour on the guitars was quite enjoyable and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap followed by my nice jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert.

The good news was that the football is back. Y Drenewydd were playing Penybont and it was a good match. Despite Y Drenewydd being at the foot of the table they were far too good for mid-table Penybont and fully deserved their 2-0 win, and even missed a penalty. Despite the long pause in the season they’ve obviously kept themselves fit as the game was played at 100% for the whole of the 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed watching the game.

Now I’m off to bed, later than usual. But the football is always much more interesting than sleeping. Tomorrow I have a pile of correspondence that needs my attention, some tidying up, and then I need to crack on. There’s plenty to do.

Monday 1st March 2021 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS.

daffodils place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s Saint David’s Day today so Happy St David’s Day to everyone from Wales who is a regular reader of this rubbish, Rhys.

When she came to visit me yesterday, Liz brought me some daffodils that she had plucked from her garden. They weren’t open but I’d left them in a glass of water overnight and this morning I was greeted with this gorgeous sight.

In fact, I have quite a lot of Welsh blood in me – more than you realise – because it’s only because of Welsh bedroom practices that I’m here. Like most people back in the 1950s, my father was a great believer in the use of Welsh letters.

And if you don’t know what a Welsh letter is, it’s a French letter with a leek in it and you need to say that out loud in order to understand it.

This morning, to my own surprise as well as to yours, I actually beat the second alarm, never mind the third alarm, to my feet. Mind you, I was in bed before 23:00 for the first time for ages so I suppose that that might have had something to do with it.

home made ginger beer mandarine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did was to vent the gases out of the kefir that I made yesterday.

You can see the bottles on the right here with the new batch that I’m brewing in the large jar at the back. And if you look very closely you can see what I mean about the stoppers on those two cheap bottles that I bought. I’ve replaced the washers with some that are more substantial and while they are certainly working much better than the cheap plastic washers that were on them, the stoppers still aren’t fitting correctly.

On the left is the remaining bottle of ginger beer. That’s definitely a success and I’ll be making more of that. I’ve seen a reference to orange ginger beer and I have some orange juice loitering around that I shall try.

After the medication I attacked the next radio programme and having done some of the work while I was in Leuven I’d completed the work aby about 11:40, only to find that I’d done the wrong programme. But it’s not a big worry because I’m several weeks ahead of myself so I can do the one that I missed next Monday.

For the rest of the morning I did some work on the photos from Greenland. Not very many of those because having now arrived in Qaqortoq in Greenland I needed to find a map of the town in order to identify some of the places that I had visited as I walked around the town.

But even if I do just 20 per day, it’s still going to be decent progress.

One thing that I ought to mention as well is that having edited some of the photos on the little travelling Acer and then on the laptop that I’d bought in North Dakota, the results were pretty dismal because of the poor quality of the screens and the graphics cards and I had to start again with them on this big machine.

But the ones that I’d done while I was in Leuven on the machine that I had repaired were just as they are supposed to be and look quite good on this machine.

All of this is making me think again for the moment about repairing one of the small laptops. This one that I fixed seems to be doing the business and with the CD drive that’s in it, I think that the extra 0.6 kilogramme won’t be such of an issue when I compare the advantages of the machine.

After lunch I had a form to fill in about my Welsh exam, the next radio programme to send off to the tech team and then to carry out some research into the big desktop computer.

The big machine is running with a 256GB solid State Drive as a C drive, a 1TB drive as a data drive and a 4TB drive as a back-up drive. Space is starting to run out on the C drive and the data drive so I’m planning to replace the 256GB SSD with a 1TB SSD, take out the data drive, convert the back-up drive to be the data drive and then add the largest possible drive as a back-up drive.

Or even add more drives in if I possibly can if there are more SATA slots on the hard drive.

It’s also running 8GB of RAM and I’m thinking of upgrading that to 16GB or even 32GB.

All of this means that I have to contact the manufacturers for some further information.

There was also the dictaphone to deal with.

I was up in Canada last night. Darren, one of his daughters and I were in an Artic heading down to somewhere in Maine with a tanker on the back. I was saying how good it was to be back in Canada after all this time. Darren was telling me what he needed me to do. he had a plate off a vehicle and was going to put it on another and I had to block something with this other vehicle so that he could do something with the lorry without having other vehicles inconveniencing him and getting in his way. I didn’t quite understand it but it would all become very clear in due course. We pulled up at a transport café and went in. While we were queueing up in there for something someone pulled up with a Mk I Cortina with British plates on it. I thought that this was really surprising. I had a look at the vehicle and it had some publicity on the side. I went to take a photo with the NIKON J1 but it wouldn’t photograph. We’re back to this thing about photos again and they aren’t working with the J1 (not another occasion with the failed camera!). I was trying for ages. When I looked again it had gone and another vehicle was there with French plates on it, a kind of flatbed mini lorry or something. A couple of minutes later this Cortina was back but with a different number on it now. Someone was playing around because the number ended with “40 G” and someone had written something to do with a lady’s anatomy after the G. Again I tried to photograph it but again the camera wouldn’t work. Those two wandered off out there and I was still trying to make this camera work. One of the guys at the till said something like “they’ve rung up and you have to go”. I made myself a quick coffee but the kettle wouldn’t boil. In the meantime I put milk in the wrong mug so after a couple of minutes and nothing was happening I just tipped it all away and ran off to go back to the lorry to join them again.

Later on I was working in an office and I was being sent on a mission to Germany somewhere. I’d been allocated a room on my own more by accident than design but then we found out that one of the people coming was a woman and they were wondering how best to accommodate her. I suggested that she could have my room and I’d share with someone else. I wasn’t really happy about sharing but there was nothing much you could do in a situation like this. For some unknown reason I couldn’t get them to hear what I was saying. They said “yes that’s the first thing we thought of” but started off on some other rambling explanation that I didn’t understand at all. it seemed such an obvious thing to do so I couldn’t understand why they were going through such a performance and rigmarole and ritual to try to think of another way round this solution. Then I returned home and told my partner whoever i was with that I was off on a mission to Germany. She asked “where in Germany?”. I replied “I don’t really know”. “What do you mean?” she asked. I replied “they are just sending me to Germany, that’s the important thing, that I’m going on a mission and it’ll all work out”. She was surprised that I wasn’t really interested in knowing which town it was that I was going to.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another gorgeous, summer day with a bright blue sky and not a single cloud up there to obscure the view.

The kids are still out on half-term holiday by the looks of things as there were plenty of people around. The beach was swarming with people out and about this afternoon and I can’t say that I blamed them.

While I was out there, I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a little chat about this and that. She told me about the new tenants on the ground floor and one or two other things besides.

However I couldn’t stay out there chatting all day, I had to carry on with my walk.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the headland by the lighthouse I discovered why there were so many people out there on the beach today.

The tide is miles out today so of course it must be the Grand Marée, the highest, and hence also the lowest, tides of the year when the water drops below the level of foreshore that are let out to commercial exploitation. And so everyone swarms onto the sands and the rocks for the peche à pied, scavenging about in the sand and the rocks for whatever they can find there that’s edible.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did a radio report on the Grand Marée last year that went down really well.

lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the situation in the chantier navale.

Yesterday we saw it down from street level but today I’m up on the cliffs on top where I can look down into the yard. We can see Aztec Lady over there on the right-hand side where it’s been for several weeks now without very much happening to it, and over on the left is Lys Noir up on the blocks where it’s been for a while too.

But that’s all there is today. The fishing boat that has been there for several weeks has gone and while I was in Belgium the yacht that has been there for months on end also left the yard.

But where it’s gone to, I really have no idea.

diggers tractor men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s plenty of excitement going on down in the outer tidal harbour today.

While I’d been walking round the top of the cliffs I’d noticed all of the tracks of heavy machinery out there in the silt and I wondered what was going on down there today. But here, there are several heavy diggers down there together with several workmen in attendance and a tractor with a large trailer attached thereto.

There was nothing about that would give any indication of what they were doing, but if anything were to be done in the tidal harbour, the time of the lowest tide of the year would be the right time to be doing it.

topiary trimming trees boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was other work going on in the vicinity this afternoon too.

At the weekend I’d seen “no waiting” signs up on the car parking spaces in the Boulevard Vaufleury and so I suspected that something would be going on there this week. It seems that we’re having a pile of topiary on the trees right now.

It’s quite possible that they are leaving it rather too late though. We’ve already noticed that the birds are starting to build their nests and I can easily imagine that they’ve trimmed out the odd nest or two from the outer branches of a few of these trees.

vegan coffee cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack here I made myself a hot coffee and unwrapped the birthday present that Liz had brought me yesterday.

A gorgeous vegan coffee cake made with her own fair hands and so I cut myself a slice to see what it was like. And here’s another one that receives 10 out of 10. It’s absolutely delicious.

The rest of the afternoon, such as it was, was spent working on the arrears of my voyage around Central Europe. But shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep. And how! I was out like a light for a good hour or so and I’d even managed to go off on a ramble while I was out.

I was doing some work at home when Nerina suddenly announced “We’ve forgotten Lil (one of the staff at the Oddfellows Club whom we used to take around in our taxis)”. I said I’d go straight away but she said there’s no real rush. Finish what you are doing. So when I’d finished what I was doing I leapt into a car and set off. I turned up at the pub, the Ash Bank, in Minshull New Road on the Badger Avenue roundabout but it was actually a mirror image of the pub on the other side of the road. When I arrived it was in total darkness and the last two people were getting into a car which then drove off. I looked at the time and it was 00:12 – I was almost 45 minutes late. I followed the car up Minshull New Road where it turned right into West Street. I was quite annoyed that we’d lost a passenger. Had I checked the time I would have dropped everything and gone out straight away. Nerina should have had more of a sense of urgency and I should have paid more attention to the time.

When I awoke, I was totally unsteady on my feet for a good while. I even missed my guitar practice.

Tea tonight was the rest of the pizza with a baked potato, followed by the apple turnover that I’d baked yesterday. And it was all quite delicious. And now I’m off to bed. Welsh class in the morning so I need to be on form.

I wasn’t really feeling much like it last week and I’m hoping to be in a better mood and more enthusiastic about it tomorrow.

Tuesday 15th October 2019 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about it being a very long day today. And I felt almost every minute of it too.

The Orleans Express bus was due to leave Riviere du Loup at 01:15 and much to my and everyone else’s surprise, it was bang on time, pulling into the bus depot at 00:50 ready to load up.

It was crowded, as I expected too. I had to share a seat so I wasn’t at all comfortable and I felt every jolt and bump at least as far as Sainte-Foy. But I did manage to drop off for a short while afterwards and awoke again as we were pulling off the highway at Longueuil.

After we had pulled into the bus station at Montreal bang on time at 06:15 I performed my usual task of disappearing for a ride on the porcelain horse for a while to catch up on my beauty sleep, such as it is, and then repaired to the cafe for breakfast.

At about 09:00 I wandered round the back of the bus station to my hotel. The room wasn’t ready at all, which was no surprise, but the guy on duty made me a coffee and I watched a TV programme about the treasure of Oak island amidst a wave of serious fatigue.

A little later I went for a walk down to the old harbour, along the canal and then back up rue Peel to the rue St Catherine.

Lunch was taken at the Subway in the Complexe Desjardins in the rue St Catherine. And I had to explain to the “Sandwich Artist” not once, not twice, not three times but FOUR TIMES that a “vegetarian with no cheese” really DOES mean “no cheese”.

I really don’t know where they find these people.

But I tell you what I DID find in a Dollar Store were some sweets that passed very well for the aniseed balls of my youth – when I eventually managed to buy them because the whole queue was held up by some guy arguing with the girls and the manageress at the check-out.

By now my room was ready so having fought my way in with this stupid key and stupid door lock, I could have a shower and wash some clothes.

And to … errr … catch up on some more beauty sleep.

Later on I took the metro to Cote Vertu for some bananas and grapes at the wholesaler’s, and then across the road for the Indian cafe.

No I’m back, and it’s bed-time. No alarm in the morning because it’s going to be another long and painful night tomorrow.

Saturday 17th August 2019 – HAVING SPENT …

… last night in the most comfortable hotel that I have ever visited, I crowned it all off by having a really bad night’s sleep.

The night wasn’t so early either, but at about 03:45 I awoke for a trip down the corridor and then drifted in and out for sleep on several occasions, on each time stepping right back into a dream where I had left off, and that’s a very rare event.

06:00 finally saw me awake and when the alarm phone call went off at 6:15 I crawled out of bed and began to organise myself, including a shower.

By 07:30 I was downstairs and ready to go despite having had to wait for about a week for a lift. One of our fellow passengers was missing so we had to wait for her to show up before our bus could leave.

The bus took us on a long drive around the back of the airport to the charter terminal. Pouring down with rain it was too. In torrrents. A Boeing 737-400 from First Air was awaiting us and eventually we were allowed on board.

To everyone’s surprise, especially mine, the plane too off on time. I had the great misfortune to be stuck next to someone who insisted on ‘manspreading” not just his legs but his arms and we had quite a tussle until he calmed down.

Food was served, including a vegan option for me.

We refuelled at Iqaluit and the continued on our way to Kangerlussuaq. Still on time too. A fleet of coaches was waiting for us at the airport and brought us to the quayside where we boarded a fleet of zodiacs to take us to the ship.

I’d had a pleasant companion down to the harbour too – a Francophone woman from Montreal so we had a good chat in French.

And on board the ship it was very nice to meet so many people whom I recognised from before.

They placed me in the same cabin as before so I knew my way around, but we stall had the mandatory briefing and lifeboat drill. Nevertheless, it was good to find myself back on board

After tea I made a start on the photos but didn’t last long before it was bedtime. But that didn’t last long either as we were summoned on deck to see the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis.

And that brought back a few memories from “The Clitheroe Kid”.
“What’s another name for the Northern Lights?”
“Errr … Blackpool Illuminations”

Now I’m going to bed. It’s 01:00, quite late, so I need to make the most of the rest of the night.

Monday 15th July 2019 – YET ANOTHER …

… really depressing night last night. We hit a few strong waves round about 04:00 and that awoke me. I couldn’t go back to sleep and so ended up making a visit down the corridor for the usual reasons. I must stop drinking tea late at night.

But after that, I managed to go back to bed and to sleep, only to wake up 90 minutes later.

Despite the early awakening it was still a struggle to leave my stinking pit and I only just managed to beat the third alarm call.

Upstairs on deck it was cold and windy, and really foggy too. We had somehow managed to negotiate the entrance to the harbour at Heimaey here on Vestmannaeyar without having to turn round at the harbour mouth and reverse in as we did last time. Instead, we turned round inside the harbour.

After breakfast I had a little relax and then took Rosemary to visit the old buildings down by the lava flow. She had missed them last time.

Later on, while Rosemary went for a walk to the museum, I went for a really good stroll around the town and right around the other side of the harbour and the fishing docks. And if you think that I smell bad, you should smell the air when you have a fish-processing plant on one side of you and a colony of seabirds on the other.

One of the things that I did was to make some kind of story of photographs involving a returning trawler, a couple of fork-lift trucks stacking boxes full of fish, another fork-lift truck loading them into a shipping container, a huge lifting truck loading the container onto,the back of a lorry and finally the lorry disappearing into what passes for the sunset around here.

There is a ship repair yard here too and it makes the one in Granville pale into insignificance. They have a kind of internal railway system to move the ships around from the slipway and although it wasn’t being used it was still something interesting.

But I was surprised to learn that one of the largest customers for Icelandic fish is Nigeria. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

Back on board ship I started to edit the outstanding pile of photographs but didn’t get very far because it was time for lunch. And time for an argument too (it didn’t take long, did it?) when someone asked me if I would be reaping the benefits of Brexit.

This afternoon I had another good crack at the photos and managed to edit quite a few dozen, although I was interrupted by going to crash out for a good 90 minutes during the afternoon. I’ve not been having such a good day.

But I’m impressed with some of the photos that I have taken. editing them, cropping and enlarging them has produced a good few that are quite spectacular. Investing in this camera was a very good decision.

Bad news though in that we aren’t going to go near to Surtsey to have a close look at the island. The sea is too rough and the weather is too bad for us to approach it with anything like the proximity that we need to have a good look.

After tea we had a singles party but there were only a few of us there. The weather has really got up now and the waves are not to everyone’s liking. But there was one person too many – a young guy who had been everywhere and done everything, a German who blamed the French for all of Germany’s problems.

I really don’t know where they dig up these people.

The evening soon came to a close as people disappeared quite quickly. I stayed up to do a little work and to organise myself better. We gain an hour tomorrow so we aren’t in too much of a rush to go to bed.

Thursday 1st March 2018 – IT WAS A …

… lot warmer this morning.

Yes, the temperature when I awoke this morning was at the giddy heights of all of minus 3°C. It wasn’t as cold in here either this morning, but after less than 4 hours sleep, it certainly felt like it too.

snow pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceWhat didn’t help though was that after breakfast it started to snow. I wondered why it had gone completely silent outside, with no cars or pedestrians passing.

Under normal circumstances that would have put paid to any idea that I might have had about going to the shops. These, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, are not normal times and I need to move about.

And in any case, you wouldn’t exactly call that a snowfall after what we are used to in the Auvergne, regardless of what they might think around here.

So I had a shower and a general clean-up and cut all 20 of my finger and toe nails (and anyone who knew me even a couple of years ago will realise that an achievement that is). And then I hit the streets.

o'toole lorries port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd there over across the far side of the harbour where the fairground people had their residential caravans are a couple of lorries owned by the Irish company O’Toole.

Everyone knows of course that the company is owned by Plenty O’Toole, one of the James Bond girls from Diaminds Are Forever and who was, famously, “named after her father”.

But more to the point, what are they doing there? And even more interestingly, how did they get here?

water pimpig into port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all of the excitement down at the harbour either. As you can see, we have a gusher – a ge flow of water into the basin.

I did wonder what it was doing – whether there had been a leak in the gates or whether they were trying something new, but it seems to be the outlet of a rather large pump and I’ve no idea what it’s supposed to be doing.

Or even where the water is coming from. I mean – I know that it’s coming from the sea, but that’s not what I mean.

We had some excitement in the town too. Someone in a 7.5 tonne lorry was delivering parcels – blocking the narrow streets as he unloaded, even though there was a free space just 20 metres higher up.

And another100 metres further on, he stopped OPPOSITE a free space and blocked the passage for the large queue behind him. So when he came out of th shop I asked him if he needed any help to park it – after all, I now have my HGV licence – but he just gave me a dirty look and drove away.

I made it to LIDL to find that there were no more than 20 people in the sho, and I had a till all to myself – something that deosn’t happen very often in LIDL as you know. Clearly the weather had defeated most people. But there was nothing exciting to buy in there, although the sorbet maker looks exciting – I’ll need Caliburn for that.

demolition rue st gaude granville manche normandy franceMy usual route back home takes me down past the streets in the upper part of town and there was some excitement here too.

It seems that a couple of old houses in the Rue St Gaude are being demolished, with plans afoot to replace them with modern apartments. This is a street with a good view in places over the harbour and in much demand – I saw a ruin here at an exorbitant price – and quite a lot of the old single-occupancy properties have gone.

But I admired them for attacking the job with a digger.

The day warmed up later and we were treated to rain – put the dampers on my two walks later on though, but at least I made well over the 100% daily exercise target which is always good.

And tea tonight was all kinds of vegetables and falafel with a cheese sauce, and that was delicious too.

But despite my short night last night and my exercise today, I’m not at all tired and I don’t know why. It’s going to be yet another late night.

Friday 23rd February 2018 – AND YET ANOTHER …

… mystery is resolved today.

And I’ll tell you about it in a little bit.

But first, let me tell you about last night. Although I didn’t get to bed as early as I would have liked, I was still right away with the fairies almost from the word “go”. And I did go on my travels too during the night.

And when I awoke suddenly at 06:15 I thought to myself that I would remember all of the details about this.

But a lot can happen in the five minutes between going back to sleep at 06:15 and the alarm awakening you at 06:20. But what I can remember is that a group of us went a-shopping in different place and when we compared our articles ad the prices that we had paid, they were so wildly fluctuating that we were convinced that something was wrong somewhere.

It was a struggle to leave the bed, and the leisurely start didn’t help much to get me going. But I was jolted out of my reverie by an urgent appeal.

A friend of a friend of a friend has some kind of website with some kind of chatroom facility on it, and he’s changed the chat program for another one and although he could make it work, he couldn’t explain the mechanism to anyone else, even after two days of trying to draft something.

And so I spent the morning looking at this chat program and as luck would have it, it’s based on something that was pretty common 20 years ago and a testament to the idea that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. And, as it happened, I happened to know all about it because I worked with it extensively during the period 2003-2007 during another existence.

And so having refreshed myself with the program quickly, I spent the morning writing a tutorial for it.

The problem was that the one that came with the program is, well, let’s just say “complicated”. And people don’t want anything that is complicated. The truncated attention span of the MTV generation doesn’t run that far and they’ll just walk away. So I had to express it all in about 10 or 12 simple bullet points.

That took me up to lunch, which was another butty, and then I … err … had a little relax. And a little later, another session with the European Photograph Mountain.

And then we went for a walk.

fibre optic cable phare de granville lighthouse manche normandy franceAnd beautiful weather it was too and so I took myself off around the headland.

On the car park by the lighthouse was a digger digging a trench, and I fell in with a couple of workmen. It seems that, at long last, fibre-optic cable has come to Granville and they are laying the cables.

For once, I’m going to be at the head of the queue for something rather than at the tail end, as I was back on the farm, but when you consider that my first encounter with fibre-optic internet service was back over 20 years ago in Brussels, then maybe it’s not all that much to crow about.

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMy walk though was considerably extended because away in the distance I could see that myastery ship of yesterday back in the harbour.

So seeing as it was such a nice day I continued on with my walk and went down to the harbour for a closer look.

She is indeed called La Grande Ancre and is indeed out of Cherbourg. But apart from that, I’ve not been able to find anything about her at all, except that back in 2005 she assisted at a shipwreck off the Iles de Chausey, rescued the survivors and towed the damaged boat here to Granville

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd while I was there admiring La Grande Ancre, two men from the harbour office came from the port office to liberate a pontoon that was in the way of something.

And so seizing my opportunity I pounced on them. I’ve always said that if you want to know the answer to a question, you have to ask the question. And so I did.

And no the mystery is solved.

The lock gate that we have seen is only temporary and will be replaced in two or three weeks by the new ones.

And as for how it works, it’s on a horizontal pivot and simply folds flat on the bottom of the harbour when the tide is in.

So now we know.

Back here I had a coffee and then SHOCK! HORROR! I did some vacuuming. The place was still littered with confetti from the carnaval and it was getting on my wick. It filled the dust container of my vacuum cleaner (it’s only a smallish one) and I had to work out how to empty it. But at least the place looks a little better now.

After the guitar session it was tea time, and that was frozen lentil and green pepper curry from a couple of months ago. And delicious it was too. And once more, I took the route along the clifftop outside the walls for my evening walk.

Now I’m going to have a glass of lemonade and an early night (I hope). And a pleasant dream too.

Thursday 22nd February 2018 – TWO MEN …

… went past my window this afternoon.

And that was something of a surprise because I live on the first floor about 25 feet above the ground.

cherry picker foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut it was no mystery when I went out to see what was going on.

There’s a cherry-picker out at the back with two men in attendance, looking at the guttering and the corner of the roof on the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs next door.

My guess is that the vicious winds that we’ve been having over the past couple of months have dislodged something important and now is the time to fix things.

What was a mystery was how I managed to forget completely and totally where I had been during the night. When the first alarm went off I could remember it but in the panic to be out of bed before the second alarm went off, well, that was that I’m afraid.

We had the usual slow start to the morning and while I was waiting for the medication to work I attacked the European Photograph Mountain for an hour or so and freed off another few GB of memory space on there. If I keep up like this, the disk will be empty.

A little later I went for my Thursday shower and general clean-up. And having done that, I hit the streets.

la grande ancre cherbourg port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMy perambulations took me down to the harbour of course, and there I just missed the raising of the drawbridge or whatever they do to it.

And we have a new ship in port, and I’ll have to make further enquiries about this one because it looks extremely interesting, having a van the size of Caliburn anchored to the deck.

Here she is; just joining the queue to leave port. I wasn’t early enough to see her when she was tied up.

la grande ancre cherbourg port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWith not having the telephoto lens with me, and being too far away to take a decent shot, I had to make the best of the job that I could.

I couldn’t read her name correctly because of all of the equipment dangling over the stern, but it looks as if she’s called La Grande Ancre out of Cherbourg.

There’s no reference of her on the internet that I’ve been able to find and she’s not in the port records either. So I’m not quite sure how I’m going to track her down.

I carried on to LIDL as usual and didn’t buy anything special. But being fed up of soup right now, I’ve bought some proper bread and lettuce and I’ll be making myself some butties for the foreseeable future. And much to my surprise, at lunchtime I found that I could actually eat them. It took a while, but there we are.

This afternoon I was feeling the strain of my walk. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping which is quite a feat and I knew that I would pay for that. But it didn’t stop me going out for my afternoon walk in the sunshine. It really was nice, although a bit windy.

Back here, I crashed out yet again, which is no surprise of course. And then I had a session on the guitar.

Tea was a stuffed pepper which was really nice of course, and then my evening walk. And 116% of my daily activity too, which is good news.

And so maybe an early night. And if I go anywhere during the night I’ll try to remember where it was.

Wednesday 21st February 2018 – AS PROMISED …

repairing chain moorings PORT DE granville harbour manche normandy france… I’ve retaken the photographs that bombed so spectacularly yesterday.

Here we have the men working in the tidal harbour messing about with the mooring chains, and there’s also one of the sunken boats that I mentioned yesterday. They seem to be making no effort to salvage that.

Yes, it was a beautiful afternoon today, a little cold and windy though but nice blue skies and it was a pleasure to walk down to the harbour, seeing that I didn’t have much else to do.

new lock gates PORT DE granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd with the camera, now fully charged, and the telephoto lens, there’s a really good view of what they are doing at the harbour entrance.

There’s some kind of guillotine gate to retain the water, and I’m not sure whether it sinks into the ground or is lifted out by the crane when the tide is coming in. I’ve certainly never seen it dangling.

And the pressure is behind it must be phenomenal. With a traditional hinged door, the pressure of the water behind it keeps it closed. But this must be tilting about dreadfully, the way that it’s pivoted

One thing that I didn’t do was to beat the second alarm this morning. I’d heard the first one of course but then I must have gone back to sleep because Billy Cotton summoned me from my reverie. And if I’d been anywhere eon my travels during the night I can’t remember now.

We had the usual leisurely start to the day and then I began to attack the European Photograph Mountain. Despite having tidied it up quite considerably, I’m still coming across things that totally surprise me. Like a directory hidden deep in the bowels of the hard drive with over 8GB of photos in it that are quite possibly quadruplicates of stuff that I’ve organised earlier.

And despite all of this, there is still some substantial amount of files that I can’t yet find which ought to be around here somewhere.

For a change I remembered to rescue the soup from the freezer for lunch, and then I attacked the missing blog entry for Saturday. That’s now on line, if you would care to look back a few days.

And then we had my walk down to the harbour and the deathly (and I do mean deathly) struggle back up the steps to here. It’s not looking so good right now.

And that reminds me.

When I was seriously ill before and they gave me my first lot of treatment, it was a three-month course. And when it was discovered that it had failed, they gave me another three-month course. This time, they have told me that it’s a six-month course. That, I suppose, speaks volumes in itself. It’s a very depressing thought.

Back here I had a coffee and some more of my chocolate, and then fighting off the urge to crash out, I attacked the missing blog entry for Sunday. That’s done too, so you have several now, all for the price of one, you lucky people.

That still left plenty of time for a play about on the bass guitar, and I managed to work out the bass line to Deep Purple’s “Strange Kind of Woman”. I’d almost forgotten all about that. And I’m trying to work out the bass line to Lindisfarne’s “No Time To Lose” – which is confusing to say the least. But I’ll get there

Tea was the rest of the oven chips, beans and a vegan burger. And I went out for a walk afterwards, first time for several weeks that I’ve followed the muddy path on the outside of the walls. It’s been dry since Sunday, much to everyone’s surprise.

And I’ve had a good look on Amazon too. I’ve left both of my guitar tuners back on the farm, and I need some new strings for the bass. What with one thing or another I’m building up quite a shopping list.

Still, it IS nearly my birthday … HINT HINT.

Tuesday 20th February 2018 – THE ONE PROBLEM …

… with having a really major crash-out during the day is that when it comes to bed-time, you just aren’t ready for sleep. So never mind 23:30 – at 01:20 I was still wide-awake and reading something on the laptop.

And when you do go to bed and finally fall asleep, then you fail to be up and about by the time that the second alarm goes off.

Mind you, I’d been off on my travels again. And weird travels they were too. It was the story of some little cartoon-character marionette who was the butt of the humour in this cartoon strip because he was always falling off objects and making a fool of himself. he had a couple of partners – one of them an “old man” rather in the style of Big Ears and the other one was a bird who was the “conscience” of the cartoon. And so in the new revitalised comic strip each character had a window where they introduced themselves, and in the fourth window were signs that the three characters had decamped rather quickly, with a speech bubble appearing from offstage saying “and I’m a bear”.

I ought to do this stuff for a living.

Which reminds me – if you have enjoyed what I’ve been writing or want to express your gratitude for the effort that I put in on your behalf, why not make your next purchase from Amazon via the links on the sidebar to the right? It costs you no extra but I receive a small commission on the sale and it helps with my web-hosting expenses.

Make sure you pick the correct box for your country.

After the medication and the breakfast, I had a little relax and then had some work to do. And there was plenty of it too.

First job was to download all of the files from the travelling laptop onto an external hard drive and then copy them to the one here. That’s not as simple as it might have been as there is stuff on this external hard-drive going back to 2014. This meant that I had to review it all, categorise it and either copy it over or delete it. And this led to confusion when I had two files of the same name, each one with different amendments.

Another task that I needed to perform was the result of a total mystery. There’s a site on the internet that I access with quite some regularity but for some reason about two weeks ago it gave me a “403 error” message – “you are not authorised to access this directory from this server”, even though it’s a root directory.

And so after much trial and quite a few errors, I abandoned the site which was a shame, because it had been of quite some use to me and I’ve not subsequently been able to find another with similar information. But when I was in Leuven with the travelling laptop, I found that I could access it as normal.

And so back here this morning, I tried to access it with the travelling laptop. But no luck whatever. Back to the 403 error message.

But there’s an open wi-fi network from the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs that I can access with a little configuration. And so I configured the travelling laptop to access that network and, to my surprise, I’m back in.

It seems that my network provider doesn’t like this particular site – the blockage is at their end, not at the receiver’s end. And I’ve no idea why because it’s not as if it’s a “black” site or anything like that. It’s a total mystery to me.

After lunch, I had a shower, a shave and a change of clothes. I need to look my prettiest best because I was going out.

The tide was right out when I set off, and so I went down to the tidal basin to see what I could see.

And would you believe it? Although you probably would. The battery in the camera went flat just as I was about to take a photo. So you’ll have to make do with the photos off the new smartphone.

But the quality of these images is rubbish, especially on telephoto or zoom, so I’ll have to replace them in due course.

men replacing mooring chains port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe mystery of what the digger and the men were doing in the tidal harbour is resolved, thanks to a local yokel, who turned out to be a very vocal local yokel indeed.

What the digger was doing was dragging for the anchor chains for the boats that are moored in the tidal basin. It seems that many of them have sunk into the mud, taking the odd small boat with them.

Now that they have been uncovered, they can be examined, repaired or replaced as necessary.

guillotine entrance port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe quality of this photo is really so poor that you can’t tell what it’s supposed to be.

But in fact it appears that they have installed a kind of guillotine lock gate installed that rises up to hold back the water when the tide is out.

I’m not sure whether it’s a permanent or a temporary arrangement, but it seems to be working after a fashion and there’s quite a lot of work going on around it.

rebuilding house rue du port granville manche normandy franceAnd another mystery is solved too.

Remember the big crane in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers? It seems that they are knocking down this house in the rue du Port and intending to rebuild it with something else.

The crane is for handling the deliveries of building materials.

And at least the camera on the phone can produce something that might just about be reasonable for this close-up view. Right now, I’m not impressed at all with my photographic equipment.

Down at the Post Office I finally sent off the letters that I had typed before going to Leuven. And that was an adventure too as I struggled to come to grips with the self-service technology.

And to my dismay I found that I had actually purchased a stamp for a letter that was postage-free. That upset me.

The Carrefour was next, and I was struggling for shopping there as they haven’t had a delivery for a week. I had to go to the fruit shop for some more expensive bananas, but at least they have some fresh coriander for my carrot soup.

Back here I had a coffee and some more German vegan chocolate and then, shame as it is to say it, I was away with the fairies again.

18:45 once more when I finally surfaced, and that at least gave me sufficient time for a strum on the guitar.

Tea was oven chips, beans and a vegan burger, and then I went off in the wind for my evening stroll.

Now I’m going to try for an early night, although how that’s going to work with the good sleep I’ve had this afternoon I really don’t know. And that also means that you’ll have to wait a little longer for your missing two days.

Monday 19th February 2018 – NOW WASN’T THAT JUST SO NICE?

:To be back in my own really comfortable bed just like that, even though it was cold. And having left the alarm call on for 07:20, I could – and did – have the Sleep Of The Dead. And I deserved it too.

I’d been on my travels too during the night – investigating a situation where one of the Maths teachers at this school was up to some kind of subversion and we had to examine their teaching techniques to see if we could discover who it might be. And yet before we could begin we were caught up in an incident outside the school which was clearly related to what we were trying to do – one of the teachers concerned may well have been working on the public at large and so our investigations had to encompass this kind of behaviour too, which immediately enlarged the scope of our enquiries outside the original boundaries and for which we didn’t have enough staff.

After the usual leisurely start to the morning, I attacked the tidying up. Well, sort-of. I’d bought a pile of stuff back from Leuven and this all needed sorting out and stashing away. And then there were a few things that I needed to catch up with, as well as finding someone on-line with whom I needed to speak – and that took a while.

And then I made an unfortunate discovery.

I hadn’t only gone away and left the water heater switched on (it’s on a timer so it’s not too bad) I’d left the fridge door slightly open. And so that had been running non-stop and the freezer compartment was iced up to such an extent that it had pushed open the door. That meant of course that I had to attack that so that I could close the door and calm down the fridge.

Onion soup was for lunch – I’d completely forgotten about the tomato soup that I had stuck in the freezer before I went.

This afternoon I had to download all of the files off the travelling computer (the little lightweight notebook) and copy them onto the laptop that I use at home. I hadn’t finished doing that when it was time for walkies, so I put that to one side and out I went.

The weather was downright miserable though. We’d had a hanging cloud all day and it was one of those clingy wet kinds of cloud that makes you feel all miserable.

dredging port de granville harbour manche normandy franceNevertheless, there were a few people out there walking, or, rather, sloshing through the mud, and you couldn’t see all that much away into the distance.

Peering through the gloom though I could however see that this dredging operation in the tidal basin was still ongoing. It looks as if they are going to be in there for the duration.

And I do have to say that I wonder what is the point of it all.

Back here, I had a coffee and some chocolate with the intention of sitting down and cracking on with the file transfer. That was at 16:30. But the next thing that I remember was that it was 18:45. I’d crashed out for over two hours.

Personally, I blame all of the effort that I had undertaken in Belgium. I left here on Wednesday and returned on Sunday. And on ever day I was well over the 100% effort on my fitbit. I’m not as young as I used to be, and my health is deteriorating as you know. I can’t keep on going like I used to.

And so having missed out on my session on the guitar, it was pizza for tea – and a good one it was too. And then my usual walk, where I spent a good 10 minutes giving a stroke and a cuddle to my long-haired furry friend in the old town.

Now I’m heading for an early night. I have lots to do tomorrow.

And don’t worry about the missing couple of days on this blog. I’ll finish downloading the files off the travelling laptop and then I can complete the entries.

Always assuming that I don’t crash out again, of course.

Friday 9th February 2018 – HAVING REGAINED MY COMPOSURE …

… after the mail that I received from the Bank yesterday, I sent them a reply this afternoon. Carefully thought out, I’ve asked for a reply to five points that, for me, are quite important in my dealings with them.

And I received an answer from them as well- which basically didn’t answer any questions at all.

But I did learn one thing – and that is that the person with whom I have been dealing recently “is no longer with the Bank”. So that’s two employees of the Credit Agricole in Granville that I’ve seen off. Who’s next? The woman who is dealing with my affairs now is a Madame Rottier. And I bet that that’s a spelling mistake too.

And for another change I had the Sleep of the Dead yet again last night. And quite rightly so. It’s about time. And I was up and about when the second alarm went off, which is even better.

We had the usual arrangements this morning of course, and once the medication worked I went out and about to do my shopping. The idea was to do it this morning before they started to close off all of the roads for the Carnaval. The downside of this is that everyone else decided to do the same thing too, and so everywhere was crowded.

First port of call though was the Tax Office. I’ve had the bill for my stay in hospital over New Year so that needs to be paid. With me going to Leuven next week, I’m staying for a couple of days extra and I’ve arranged to go into Brussels on Friday where I can call in at my Health Insurance people and hand in all of the receipts.

But the queue there was quite something. I don’t know how long it takes to pay a bill – for me it’s about 30 seconds – but the woman on the cash desk was really making a performance of it all and everyone was quite frustrated by her “work to rule”.

snow falls off underneath of car LIDL granville manche normandy franceLIDL came up with nothing at all spectacular, but all of the excitement was outside in the car park.

Liz told me the other day that they had had a heavy snowfall where she lives – just 15 miles or so from here – and that was hard to believe considering the weather that we have had.

But here in the car park at LIDL was a car with snow embedded under the wheel arches and with a large lump that had just fallen off.

After LIDL I went to a new shop. Liz had told me about a frozen food place called Picard that she had found and there is one in Granville. So I popped in for a look around. There’s tons more stuff than there is anywhere else, but at a price. Nevertheless, it’s handy to know if I need anything that isn’t mainstream.

Bureau Vallée was next, and they had restocked their 2GB memory sticks. So another two have now disappeared into my apartment.

storm waves crashing over sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter lunch and my little correspondence session, I braved the howling gale (it really was wicked) and went for a walk.

My route took me around the headland and it was well-worth the struggle against the wind because I was treated to a most spectacular sight of the waves being hurled over the sea wall into the tidal basin.

This is one of the reasons why I’ve come to live by the seaside. The power of the waves and the storms is quite impressive. You need to remember that I’m living right where the highest ever wind speed to hit the French coast was recorded – 220kph in 1987

Back here with a coffee and a … errr … relax, and then a session on the database followed by the usual half-hour on the guiter. And I suddenly found myself playing the bass line to Budgie’s “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman”. That brings back memories from when I met Ray Phillips, the former Budgie drummer who had played on that album and was looking for a bassist for a gig he was playing with an ad-hoc band at a pub in Nantwich one night in 1977.

fast food outlet carnaval granville manche normandy franceAfter tea (the rest of the oven chips, beans and falafel) I went into town to see what was happening with the carnaval.

The funfair was all closed up and in darkness, but there were quite a few people around in the streets. So much so that a fast-food outlet had opened its doors to serve them.

I can’t say that I was tempted very much – the smell of roasted flesh is disgusting if you ask me.

bal de carnaval granville manche normandy franceEveryone was heading into the square so I followed them to see what was going on.

Almost everyone was in fancy-dress, and that’s because there was a carnaval-eve ball taking place, with a rock band and everything. But far too “young” for me. Never mind the Phyllosan to fortify the over-40s – what do they have to sixtify the over-60s?

But it did remind me of the noise that I once heard from the village hall in Byley a good few years ago.
“What’s all that noise going on in there?”
“They are holding a Young Farmer’s Ball”
“And what’s the matter? Can’t he get them to let go?”

place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceNot feeling in the least bit tired (but rather fatigued nevertheless) I went for a walk to the Place Maréchal Foch and the Casino.

I’d not really been for a good wander around there in the dark before, so now seemed to be as good a time as any.

There were cars parked all over the place, as you might expect with it being carnaval and half of the streets closed off, and it rather spoilt the view unfortunately.

granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen plenty of photographs of the casino in the past but we have never seen it quite like this.

There’s definitely something about the effects of artificial lighting at night-time to bring out the best of a building, and that’s exactly what we have here. It really does look good.

In the corner to the left of the casino we have the little theatre. I’ve not yet been there – but that’s basically because there’s nothing that ever goes on there that is of interest to me.

hotel des bains place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceInstead, I continued with my walk around the Place Marechal Foch, and passed by the Hotel des Bains.

This has been described as “delightfully chic” in some travel guides, which means that it isn’t the kind of place that you are ever likely to find Yours Truly spending a night these days.

But nevertheless, the building is quite impressive. It’s fairly modern but it’s been built with some kind of tasteful eye on the history of the town which is always nice to see. It’s a shame that more people can’t make an effort.

bedford CF camper granville manche normandy franceWith still 12%of my daily activity to do, I carried on with my walk. and I’m glad I did because I spotted this way in the distance.

And when was the last time that you saw a Bedford CF on the road anywhere? I haven’t seen one for years. The last British “Vauxhall” vehicle, they wer emade from 1969 to compete with the Ford Transit but came on the scene far too late.

The Transit was already well-established by then, with the previous CA Bedford putting up no resistance, and the CF didn’t last long. It disappeared with hardly a whimper in 1987 when the “Cevel” vans of Peugeot and Citroen flooded into the UK.

And I for one never expected to see one again.

No shopping tomorrow, but there’s a carnaval procession. I mustn’t miss that, so I’ll have to be in the Town Centre at 13:30.

No peace for the wicked.

Thursday 1st February 2018 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what I did yesterday, but as well as having a message service on my phone, both of the alarmss now seem to work fine this morning. Ask me how I know.

And last night I was in some kind of public place like a shop where I’d bought a DVD, and I wanted to check that it worked correctly. This involved putting it in my DVD player, passing the signal trough some kind of pre-amp and then into a television to watch. And conveniently, all of my equipment was there on the shelf and wired up. I reckoned that this would be quite an impressive thing to accomplish in this public place so I duly set it all up. But it wasn’t as impressive as I wanted it to be and I was left with a pile of omelette sur le visage because somehow there was a radio programmme running in the background of ll of this with the sound coming out of the television as well as the sound of the image and the picture, and it was all very disappointing.

Not feeling much like leaving my bed this morning, the second alarm did the business which is just as well, otherwise I might still be in bed now. No idea why I was so tired, unless it was the after-effects of feeling so bad yesterday.

But the medication, breakfast and a nice hot shower brought me round somewhat and once the medication did its stuff I braved the high winds and headed for the shops. It was the usual struggle up the hill to LIDL and there wasn’t really anything that I needed or wanted. I just made do with a baguette and a couple of bits and pieces of food.

new lock gates port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back I went down to the docks to see if I could see what was going on.

But I was out of luck. It’s not easy to see from there at the best of times and particularly now, because they have fenced off everywhere in the vicinity where they are working.

What I’ll have to do is to wait until the tide turns, and then go off to the other side of the basin with the telephoto lens and see what I can see from over there

Back here I made a coffee and settled down for a relax – but not for long. The doorbell rang. It was the Postie with a registered letter for me.

Yes, my new driving licence has arrived – complete with the authorisation to drive buses and articulated lorries for hire or reward. I really can’t take that seriously. But it’s scanned into the laptop for future reference just like all of my important documents

After my soup I tackled some paperwork that had been building up and ow that’s all filed away. I’m certainly more organised than I have been for quite a while – and quite right too. Let’s hope that I can persevere.

My work was however interrupted by a need to have a little rest. And I don’t know what it was that awoke me but I sat bolt upright for some reason or other.

gardening pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceDespite already having had a good walk, it was a nice if windy afternoon so I went for another walk.

And I was wondering what was making all of the noise yesterday. It seems that they’ve been doing some gardening round at the back of the college and it looks quite neat and tidy now.

High time that they did something about it too. But whatever vehicle they had used had churned up the lawn by the lighthouse. It’s really not the right kind of weather for driving heavy vehicles on there.

digger earth moving lorry tidal basin port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut here’s a thing!

We saw the other day that there was a big digger out in the tidal harbour during low tide raking over the bed. He’s still out there, but today there was some other activity in the tidal basin.

Like this digger and a couple of earth-moving lorries hard at work making a deep channel.

digger earth moving lorry tidal basin port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd if that isn’t enough to be going on with, there was another digger and an earth-moving lorry working closer inshore too.

That’s the place where the fishing boats tie up – right by the fish-processing plant. And they seem to be making the channel along the sea wall there much deeper.

Whether this means that we are going to be having bigger trawlers coming into the port I don’t know. But all of this work in the barbour is exciting for a ship-spotting fan like Yours Truly.

Back here I carried on with a few things that I needed to do (without very much enthusiasm it has to be said) and then made tea. The falafel that I had bought weeks ago went straight into the bin untouched – well past its sell-by date. So I had rice with vegetables and a vegan burger.

With only one cooking ring, it wasn’t easy. But a little oil in a pyrex bowl with onions and garlic and cooked in the microwave for three minutes, and then add the burger for 6 minutes (3 minutes each side) and then add a little water and gravy power, and there you are.

hailstorm granville manche normandy franceI’d planned to go for a walk but just as I was getting ready we had the most astonishing storm. So I stayed here and played the guitar.

But later I did go for my walk, and you can see what weather we had had.

There had been a hailstorm and it seemed to have fallen like snow – fairly deep in places. I’m glad that I hadn’t gone out in it earlier.

Football on the laptop (or on my television of course) later. A Welsh Premier League match between Connah’s Quay Nomads and Bala Town. A pretty sad game, just like the bad old days of 15 years ago on the Nomads’ sodden, waterlogged pitch that gave no hope whatever of a decent match.

So I’ll see what tonight brings. A nice relaxing sleep, I hope.