Tag Archives: hot cross buns

Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Monday 5th April 2021 – IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY …

… today so I celebrated by spending the morning in bed.

That’s right – an entire morning. Well, almost, because while I didn’t manage midday, it wasn’t until about 11:00 that my feet saw the light of day. And I deserved it too after all of my recent exertions.

It goes without saying that it was “somewhat later than usual” when I started on the radio programme. And as I write these notes it’s still not finished. It actually was at one point but when I listened to it afterwards I found a mistake in the editing and I will have to put that right before it’s ready for broadcast.

There were the usual interruptions of course. At lunchtime I had porridge, hot cross buns (the last of this present batch) and a mug of nice piping hot chocolate, followed by a couple of clementines.

And then I had my afternoon walk around the headland.

car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd having seen the hordes and multitudes of people thronging the car park outside here yesterday, I was taken completely by surprise by the fact that there wasn’t a single person (and not a married person either) wandering around there this afternoon.

In fact, the whole place looked like a ghost town this afternoon. On the path around the headland today I could have counted on one hand the number of people whom I saw on the path this afternoon.

So much so that as soon as I can find a spare moment I’m going to be checking the new quarantine regulations to find out what they are. I don’t want to leave it until I see a policemen to find out that I’m in breach of any new temporary law.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some people out and about though, especially down here on the beach at the bottom of the Place d’Armes.

The tide might be well in right now but a little kid doesn’t need a great deal of beach in order to have a great deal of fun, but it does make me wonder if they are aware of how quickly the tide comes in here, because they risk being cut off from the steps at the Rue du Nord and won’t be able to escape from the water.

Bit I needed to escape from the car park here so I headed off along the path on the top of the cliffs. We had a wicked wind and it was really cold although when I was in a wind shadow it was actually quite warm. But we’re not likely to see very much of that as long as this wind keeps up.

With absolutely nothing at all going on out at sea today and nothing to see at the end of the headland I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see down into the chantier navale to see what was going on down there.

There wasn’t any change in occupant today – still the same four boats, but I was more interested in what was going on with Anakena, Lys Noir and Hermes I. There’s a van down there and a few workmen doing a few things despite it being a Bank Holiday, but what is different today is that all of the masking tape and paper has now been removed from Hermes I.

She’s looking quite beautiful and resplendent in her new coat of paint, all bright and shiny. Ordinarily I would say that it won’t be long before she’s going back into the water, but I’ve not had very much luck in predicting the arrival and departure of boats from the chantier navale, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther down along the footpath I could see over into the outer harbour by the Fish Processing Plant.

Whilst most of the fishing boats are still tied up in the inner harbour, there’s a refrigerated lorry parked up by the loading bay at the Fish Processing Plant. They must be expecting a few fishing boats to be arriving soon with a pile of shellfish to take away. I don’t think that there will be an awful lot of shellfish on board the small boat that is tied up at the quayside just there.

But with no other boat down there just now and not having seen any while I was looking out to sea earlier, I think that the driver of the lorry is going to be in for a long wait.

Airbus A330-302 N826NW english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking over the harbour I was once more overflown by a rather large aeroplane and I wondered what she was doing up there.

She’s actually an Airbus A330-302 owned by Delta Airlines, registration number N826NW and she took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about 37 or so minutes ago. She’s Delta Airlines flight DL85 and she’s on her way across the Atlantic to Atlanta in Georgia.

She flew over my head at a height of 36,000 feet and a ground speed of 423 knots on a heading 270°.

At least it proves that despite all of the Covid regulations there are still plenty of long-distance flights going across the Atlantic. They aren’t ever going to prevent this virus from spreading, are they?

triumph tr3a boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone for weeks without seeing a single old or interesting vehicle we’ve now had two in three days.

As I was in the Boulevard Vaufleury on my way back to the apartment I was passed by a rather elderly Triumph TR3A passing in the other direction. And you can tell that it’s a TR3A and not a TR3 in that it has the full-width radiator grill and several other small modifications

The TR3As were built from 1957 to 1962 and were the cars to which I aspired when I was a young teenager, being a much more realistic choice than a Jaguar XK140.

That was really the last interruption of my walk and I was able to make it back home without any further ado.

Due to my late awakening this morning, I missed my hour on the guitar and also my evening meal which was a shame, but it can’t be helped I’ve done all that I intend to do and what I haven’t done I’ll do tomorrow, including the dictaphone, for there’s a pile of stuff on there.

And now that I’ve attended to that, I can finally post the details of where I went during the night. We had an occasion where Mick Matthews was driving a lorry. He wasn’t very happy so he told me a few things about this company and made it pretty clear that he wanted someone to take the matter further. He had to drive this lorry and they wanted a couple of repairs doing on it and he didn’t want to do them at all. They were cajoling him and pushing him into getting this lorry fixed so he told me about it and I told a few people about it. As a result another lorry was raided. I was somehow attached to this investigation. We came across a whole pile of faults with this vehicle, the operation of it. Basically an illegal compartment had been manufactured to go inside one of the trailers for contraband to be smuggled. The police had a big file on this. They had the owner and the manager, the company that had made the panel and a few other people and were preparing a case to bring to Court. I asked them about Mick Matthews. They said that once the matter had been dealt with the others, he would be unfortunately brought into Court but they would make it pretty clear to the Judge that there had been as much co-operation as possible from him. I ended up in an office with a couple of other police inspectors. I was holding a file which I offered to one of the others and asked “is this anything to do with you”? He just snarled and took it off me anyway so I just wandered back to the entrance door of the office where I’d come in.

Later on, one of the serving wenches in THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR was talking to me. I was sitting at a table waiting for all my friends to come down. One or two other people came down and sat at my table which was a bit disappointing. It was a hell of a mess and I had my elbows in all of the grease spilt on the table. The waitress cleared the table and looked at me and sighed when she saw my elbows and I tried to clean them as best as I could. Then everyone else came down so I nipped over to another table and we all sat there. There was a rumpus coming up from the far side and it was the fat woman Vera who was making a scene again. She had done this at every single meal so far. She was always going to create a scene. We were having our meal and one of the girls said that she had to fetch a bottle of water so I said that i’d go with her as it was going dark. We dashed off outside and she was showing me the torch that she had received as a gift, a little thing that clipped onto the keyring with a button-cell battery and I said “I have mine as well and they are great”. We walked down to pick up her bottle of water and they weren’t as good as the bottles that we had on the first trip because they were coconut water and they were so much better. She said that she needed something from her room, and could I go and fetch it for her? It was on the top floor so I set off up this spiral staircase. There were all kinds of overhanging bits and you had to be careful with your head. She was following me and asked me if I was OK. I said “yes, but I’d be better if you could hold these 2 things for me”. I gave her the 2 things that I was holding and carried on up. When I reached the top to go into her room you had to do some scramble through this really tiny aperture. It was a really difficult thing to do. I thought “I’m not going to get through this aperture”. I had a look and there was an opening a little bigger above my head. That meant climbing up this wooden framework that didn’t look particularly safe to me. I thought “how do people on the top floor manage to do this”? She said “don’t worry. I can go there because I need to get my accounts as well”. I said “I’m here now so I might as well work this out and have a go getting up through there”. She asked “you have a passport, don’t you”? I replied “yes”. She said “yes, a passport”. It was the way that she was saying it that was so strange that I couldn’t understand the implications of what she was trying to say about this passport.

Sunday 4th April 2021 – THIS IS …

crowds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the kind of thing that is annoying me right now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Hordes of people milling around on the car park outside my apartment building, masks and social distancing optional of course. I really don’t understand it.

What I don’t understand even more is that with France supposed to be closing down in quarantine as of midnight last night, the SNCF ran a pile of extra trains on Friday and Saturday to bring all of the holidaymakers and second home-owners down to the coast. And that surely defeats the whole point of the quarantine and people staying where they live.

Now of course, they are going to be spreading the virus about like wildfire. No wonder the Government can’t bring it under control.

This morning, I was spending much of the time trying to bring my cramp under control. I was hit by a particularly bad attack or two during the night.

And by 07:40 I was wide awake, but no chance of me leaving my bed at that time of the morning. 10:00 is much more like it these days when I’m having a Day of Rest.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’ve been during the night. I was in Eastern Europe somewhere having a bad attack of cramps. In the middle of all of these I got up to go for a walk around. I ended up in a cafe. It was pretty late, about 04:00 in the morning and I was sitting there trying to ease off these cramps. I went into the toilets to take out my thermos flask and pour myself a coffee. There were these guys hanging around there. One of them opened the door and invited me to come in. I said “no thanks. I’m just going to get my coffee”. I put my coffee mug on the side there and went to pour my coffee out of the flask but this guy just went and sat on the table thing and knocked my coffee mug everywhere. I thought “this is a waste of time” and went back into the café part and sat down. The waiter came over and said something basically along the lines of “you can’t drink your own stuff in here” so I said “I’d better have a coffee the. You can fetch me a coffee”. There was then a dispute about where I could sit. The table I had chosen was for residents only and the waiter saying “I’m only serving this part. I’m not serving the rest of the café”. He and the manager then had a dispute about that. In the end I asked “can I sit here or can’t I?”.

At that point I had another bad attack of cramp that awoke me and meant I had to get up and walk around a little.

Later on I had another really bad attack of cramp and ended up walking around the apartment for 10 minutes to get it to ease off but some time during the night I was asleep. I remember vaguely something about 4 old Lambretta scooters, pale yellow with the 2 individual seats, being parked up each in one corner of a yard somewhere. What that was about I really have no idea but that was what was going through my head. One parked in each corner with the rear wheel parked in the apex and the front wheel pointing in towards the centre.

Later still there was a funeral taking place in the family and I ended up discussing all of the arrangements with one of my sisters. We were getting things ready and I had a load of frozen vegetables that I was trying to make something with. We talked about asparagus and I had some jars of asparagus tips (which I actually do) so I went over to her and said “how about we have these with garlic butter to dip in”? She said “it all depends if they are very small and how many other people would be coming”. My brother turned up as well and he joined in the conversation. I had another thought about the food that I wanted to mention to her as well but when it came to tell her I couldn’t think of it. It slipped right out of my head. Of course that was rather embarrassing. The discussion continued and she said “you know that you are going to be a great uncle again. There’s a new girl being born to one of her kids in the family. I said “no” and I turned to my brother and said “you remember that little girl that I used to bounce up and down on my knee a few years ago? She’s having a baby in May – at 14”!

There was more to it than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Part of what was left of today I spent working on the photographs from August 2019. I’m still on my way to Fort Phil Kearny but actually at the moment I’m at a wayside fuel station and café at a place called Spotted Horse in Northern Wyoming where I’m admiring some abandoned vehicles.

Half an hour earlier I’d passed through the small town of Recluse. It is something of a ghost town with a population of 7, and every one of them came out to watch me as I drove through. It was like a scene from THE SHINING.

There was a break for lunch of course. Porridge and a couple of toasted hot cross buns, all of which went down a treat. These hot cross buns are delicious.

After lunch I made a start on the baking for the next week. I made a pile of dough for some pizza bases for the next few weeks and also half a load of dough because for pudding next week I fancy some more of that jam roly-poly that I made a few weeks ago.

While I was at it, I had a drink of my home-made ginger beer which was absolutely delicious, and I also fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

Leaving the two lots of dough to fester, I headed off for my afternoon walk around the headland, a few minutes later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on the beach there were plenty of people wandering around in the afternoon. Some of them were picnicking down there on the rocks too.

It was a really nice afternoon today and it would have been even better had the wind dropped because it was yet another day when we were being beaten about by a mini-gale. And aren’t I fed up of those this last few months.

Regardless of the weather though, there weren’t any people actually in the water. The weather wasn’t anything like as nice as that, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of people in the water just recently despite the wintry conditions.

girl painting people playing boules or petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I set off along the path. But as I passed by, my attention was drawn to this rather large group of people.

Sitting on the wall on the top of the cliff was a girl in a purple anorak. She was either sketching or painting the scene in front of her – I couldn’t quite see exactly what it was.

As for the men, they were playing either boules or petanque, I couldn’t see what. But as you can see, face masks are completely optional, as is social distancing. This is the kind of behaviour that is spreading the disease like wildfire and I wonder how many people are going to have to be infected or die before they finally get the message.

My route continued along the top of the cliffs on my way to the end of the headland. And near the end of the path I was accosted by four guys on bikes who asked me to take their group photograph on the top overlooking the sea.

That’s not a problem for me, as long as it makes people happy.

floating object pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I mentioned that I had seen something like a plastic 25-litre oil drum bobbing up and down offshore at the Pointe du Roc.

hen I was down at the end of the headland today, there was the object bobbing up and down again. It certainly wasn’t there yesterday or any other day except for the day when I mentioned it. And so I’ve concluded that it’s been brought there specifically and it must obviously be tethered to stop it floating away.

It must therefore probably be a marker for a lobster pot, even if it is of a very ambiguous colour and very close to the foot of the cliffs. And that is a little surprising for me. I’m have expected the marker buoy to be a bright yellow or orange or something so that people could see it easily and steer clear.

speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a speedboat roaring past le Loup out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Surprisingly, despite the beautiful sunny weather and the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, there was almost nothing whatever going on out at sea. Apart from this speedboat and another one that was following it across from the Ile de Chausey where this one had apparently come from, there was nothing else whatever out there on the sea anywhere that I could see.

What I was expecting to see were hordes of yachts and other water traffic out there this afternoon. The tide was well up this afternoon as we have already seen, and there wouldn’t be any other reason to prevent all of the pleasure boats putting out to sea.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there must be at least one boat out at sea somewhere this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiais and one of the two Joly France ferry boats that run the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Today though, the Joly France boat has gone and there’s only Chausiais. Joly France must be taking a load of tourists out to spread the disease amongst all of the local inhabitants of the island which will go down really well seeing as there is no medical service over there

And if you look in the harbour, you’ll see the mooring boys bobbing up and down and with the sea being so clear, you can see the mooring chains to which they are attached. It’s a few more of those that they will be adding in the harbour when the diggers come back and they finally get round to carry on with the work.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as I walk along the footpath on top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland I’m being overflown by a pretty big aeroplane coming from the east.

She’s actually a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration number F-HRBD registered to Air France. She’s flying over my head at a height of 34,000 on her way to Bogota in Columbia with Flight code AF428 /AFR428 , having taken off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about half an hour previously. She is currently on bearing 261°

Surprisingly, there was nothing else happening anywhere else in the harbour so I turned my attention to heading off home. There was all of my dough busily festering away and awaiting my attention when I return.

Airbus A320-251N G-UZHB english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it all the way back home straight away as I was overflown by yet another large aircraft heading north-eastwards.

Playing about with my image-editing software I managed to make out that she is in Easyjet livery and that means that she must be Flight Code U22036/EZY48ZM, having taken off at 12:15 from Tenerife on her way to Luton Airport.

She’s an Airbus A320-251N, registration G-UZHB and she’s going past me at a height of 38,025 feet.

When she’d gone out of range I went inside to make myself a drink and to attack the dough. I rolled out the dough for the roly-poly, coated it with a thick layer of strawberry jam and rolled it.

With the pizza dough, I split it into 3, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in baking paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The third part I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray that I had greased, and folded the edges back in.

For the next hour or so I carried on with the photos and then I went back into the kitchen.

With the oven on and heating up, I cut the roly-poly into 2 and put the parts onto a greased baking tray. Then I bunged the baking tray into the oven when it was hot.

Meantime I prepared the pizza and when the roly-poly was cooked I put the pizza in and let that cook away for the next half an hour or so while I did the mountain of washing up that had accumulated. You’ve no idea how much washing up I can accumulate when I’m baking.

vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I attacked it with gusto. And it was really delicious too. But as for the roly-poly, I’ll have to tell you all tomorrow what that was like because the pizza was quite filling and I had no room left for pudding.

Now, I’ve written up my notes and I’m ready for bed. I’ve not had a hard day by any means but I’m still pretty tired. I’ve no plans for an alarm tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday so I’m going to have a lie-in, if the cramp lets me.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I have had a couple of decent lie-ins. I Can certainly do with a couple, and I’ll fit the radio work around the rest of the day, breaking the habits of a lifetime for once.

Friday 2nd April 2021 – IT’S BANK HOLIDAY …

… today. Good Friday – the day that follows Maundy Thursday, which presumably follows Sheffield Wednesday. And so I had a lie-in and didn’t surface until about 10:30.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 this morning. And that wasn’t a wasted time either because I spent the couple of hours when I couldn’t sleep working on today’s batch of photograph and probably did about 20 of them too before I went to bed.

Plenty of time for me to go off on one of my travels. Abd hello, Rhys. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a nocturnal voyage with me. I was on a holiday with a group of people and part of this holiday involved a train trip across the USA. There was the opportunity to step out from this train ride for 24 hours and catch the train the following day so I made arrangements to meet Rhys. The train pulled into the station and I climbed out. A couple of other people climbed out as well and went their separate ways. I was waiting because I couldn’t see Rhys’s car. In the meantime I had my rucksack and everything so I took a photograph of the train. Then I noticed Rhys sitting in the bar with a pint of beer in front of him. We said “hello” and he got up to go. I said “no, we don’t have to go – get your drink, drink your beer”. he replied that it wasn’t his beer but the beer of a friend of his. He’d bought it though. Anyway so we came out and started to get my stuff. I had the idea that I would follow him in Caliburn because for some reason Caliburn was there. Then I thought that I didn’t have the insurance on Caliburn so it probably wasn’t a very good idea. We got my stuff and threw it into Rhys’s car. He asked “are you staying the night with us?”. I replied “I don’t have any plans at all” which was quite true. The train was a steamer and had a huge load of freight, oil tankers, that kind of thing on the front of it before you reached the passenger accommodation which was at the rear of the train.

After I’d had my medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes and then finished off today’s photographs. There was a break for breakfast of course.

With it being Easter I’d dragged out a pack of frozen Hot Cross Buns from the freezer. They’ll keep me going for the Easter period. After all, Easter isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns. A big thank you to Liz and Terry for bringing them to me from the UK at Christmas.

When I’d finished the photos I had to go back again and amend some of them. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I never synchronised the times on the two cameras that I was using.

With being in the car now, I’m using the NIKON 1 J5 much more than I did before while I was in the Arctic and there’s a one-hour difference between the time on that camera and on the big NIKON D500.

What’s happening is that I’m editing a batch of photos on one camera and suddenly discovering that I’ve missed a batch off the other, so I have to go back and do some renumbering in order to keep everything in sequence.

But anyway, now they are in proper order to date, I’m now heading down a dirt-track road near the border between Montana and Wyoming looking for the site of the Battle (if you can call it that) of Powder River in 1876.

After that I started again on the arrears of my Central European trip last year. By the time that I knocked off there are just another 12 photos for which I need to write the text, and then it’s all done and I can turn my attention to the trip on Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast.

There was a break of course while I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

man on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular guy down there on the beach is very well camouflaged and it’s difficult to pick him out amongst the rocks down there.

But I don’t blame him at all for being wrapped up like that because while the sun was bright and there were very few clouds, we were back with the wicked wind again and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees since yesterday. There weren’t any people out there sunning themselves on the beach and I wasn’t surprised at all about that.

It might be a Bank Holiday in the UK but it isn’t in France so the schools are still in and there weren’t all that many people wandering around. I had the path on top of the cliffs pretty much to myself this afternoon as I wandered along.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while there weren’t so many people walking around on the ground, there was a lot of activity going on in the air.

As I was walking along the path I heard a very familiar noise in the air and, sure enough, a minute or two later an autogyro flew past overhead. I was expecting it to be our old friend the yellow one but in fact it’s one that I’ve never seen before – a bright red one. A different one, unless it’s the yellow one that’s been repainted.

She’s probably on her way to the airport at the back of Donville les Bains, although I’ve no idea where it is that she will have come from. She never seems to file a flight plan and flies so low that she’s underneath the radar.

concrete reinforcement bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, via a different route today that took me across the ruins of a bunker that housed 15 German soldiers during World War II.

What caught my eye was the wire meshing in the roof that reinforced the concrete that they had poured for the roof. It’s a good heavy duty stuff probably about 10mm in diameter and would withstand most things when set in concrete.

The construction of the Atlantic Wall was supposed to be Hitler’s great secret but what he didn’t realise was that he was betrayed by this even right at the very beginning. The company that had the contract for supplying the concrete was a Belgian company that was run by a guy who was actually a Secret Agent for the Russians, so he told the Russians and they told the British.

Of course the British never let on that they knew, because to admit that the Communists had helped them would have been a terrible thing to do, and it wasn’t until the British wartime papers were released in 1994 that the world knew about it.

f-hgsm Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs if the autogyro wasn’t enough, while I was there standing on the roof of the bunker an aeroplane flew past overhead.

This one is F-HGSM, Robin Dr400-160. She is owned by the Aero Club Des Grèves de Mont St Michel and took off from Rennes Airport at 11:49 this morning. She disappeared off the flight radar when she was half-way along the route to Granville so I imagine that she’s been doing a little bit of low-flying exercises as well.

Having photographed the plane I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out in the bay. But the answer to that was “nothing at all” so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs down towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

lorry load of chains unloaded by pallet lifter rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere was something extremely interesting.

There was a lorry parked down there with a pile of chains in the back. And there was this pallet-lifter nearby, and another small pile of chains on the ground at the back of the lorry. It looks as if the new mooring chains for the harbour have arrived at last and the pallet-lifter is taking them out of the back of the lorry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw at least one of the diggers being taken away by a lorry. Today, it seems that both of them have gone now. I wonder if they will be back after the Easter Holiday.

joly france victor hugo fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe diggers might have gone from the harbour but most of the fishing boats are still here, tied up at the pontoons.

Now idea why they weren’t out working today. There was plenty of wind but the seas weren’t all that rugh so I would have expected them to have been out working.

The two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are still in there tied up. They won’t be going anywhere for a good while yet, and not at all if the Channel Islanders refuse to put their hands in their pockets and contribute towards the subsidy to keep the ferries running.

And one of the Joly France boats is over there too. There must be nothing going on at the Ile de Chausey either.

Back here there was football on the internet. A really important match in the Welsh Premier League between Penybont and Haverfordwest County. This is the last weekend in the first half of the season. The League splits into 2 after this weekend – the top 6 compete for the four European places and the bottom 6 compete to avoid the two relegation places.

These two clubs were 6th and 7th in the league and whoever won would go into the top half and whoever lost would be in the bottom 6. From the kick-off it was quite clear that Penybont would win this – barring accidents of course. They were fitter, keener, much more organised and played the ball around between themselves with much more skill and confidence.

And I was right too. The final score of 2-0 to Penybont was exactly what I would have expected from the play. The only surprise was that Penybont were as low in the table as 6th because they looked much better than that today.

While I was eating my tea – more of those soya nuggets – I was at a party. My friend Esi was having a Zoom party and I’d been invited. It was nice to see her, even if it was via the computer, because we haven’t met since Christmas.

And while I was washing up, I dropped and broke a storage jar. I’m not having much luck with that.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow at Noz and Leclerc so I need to be on form. I won’t be having another lie in until Sunday and Monday. Can I survive until then?

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.

Monday 13th April 2020 – IT WAS HARD …

… this evening going for my runs.

It’s a lot colder than it has been of late and a pair of gloves and a hat would have made a great deal of positive difference to my comfort this evening.

But really what was to blame for it all was the howling gale. A couple of my runs, including the longest one, was right into the teeth of the gale and while I managed to accomplish them all, including the little additional extra metres that I’ve been doing. But I certainly knew all about it by the time that I returned home and I don’t want to have to do it again in a hurry.

A Bank Holiday today, of course. Easter Monday. And so I celebrated by having a lie-in. And in a change from just recently, it was actually only about 07:45 when I awoke.

Even more interestingly, it was 08:15 when I left my bed too. Not the best lie-ins that I’ve had, but some of them just recently have been somewhat excessive, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Nothing on the dictaphone either, as I found when I went to check it after the medication. So it must have been a decent night’s sleep too.

After breakfast (and my last hot cross bun) I made a start on the digital sound files. I’m on the cassettes now of course and by the time that I’d finished, I’d dealt with another 4 albums.

Three of them went quite quickly and I didn’t have time to deal with many of the Iceland photos. But of course there’s always one that is a struggle and it took me an age to sort it out, to find the files that I needed, to get them to download and then to convert them to *.mp3.

But having done that, I could start (better late than never) on the next two radio projects.

Despite having a stop for lunch, by the time I came to knocking off at 18:00, I’d chosen all of the music for both projects, joined them up into pairs as I would usually do, and even made a start on writing the text. I don’t know where this sudden energy has come from.

For my hour on the guitars, I’ve made a start on writing another song. I’ve been a bit quiet on that front since November. I was warming up, just running through a few chords, and a certain chord pattern caught my attention. I had a little work on it and while I was doing so, a lyric pattern that fitted it came into my head too.

So half an hour on the 6-string and half an hour on the bass working around it to see where I finished. There will be a lot more to it of course, and then I have to work out the drumming to it now that I have my electronic drum kit.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by some of the apple pie that I baked yesterday, with soya coconut whatsit. And it was all really delicious too.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue for me to go outside for my evening’s exercise.

It was still quite light while I was out there and the sun was a good 20 minutes or so from setting. But there was a fishing boat out there, presumably having left the port and heading off to the fishing grounds somewhere out by the Channel Islands.

Here’s a nice photo of her, disappearing off into the sunset. And into the haze too.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallYes, nothing like as clear as it was yesterday which is a shame.

But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night there were the three (or four) lights of fishing boats down in the Baie de Mont St Michel where I wouldn’t really expect to see them. But there they are again tonight.

In the light and with the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS I could see them clearly. There are seagulls around them too so they are certainly out there working.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were another few fishing boats out there too, but I suspect that these two are hovering around the harbour entrance maybe waiting for the tide.

Mind you, their working lights are on too and they are also surrounded by seagulls. So even if they aren’t actually working right now, they must have full loads and they are sorting the cargo.

Struggling against the headwind as I did, I finally made it back to my apartment, totally wasted. And Rosemarie rang me up so we had a lengthy chat about nothing in particular. But then that’s what friends are all about.

And that’s why I’m late doing this – not that I’m objecting of course.

So tomorrow, back at a full day’s work, alarms and everything. And who knows? I might even make progress. Stranger things have happened.

Friday 10th April 2020 – WE HAVE HAD …

… a calamity!

Opened the fridge door this morning, the top shelf fell off, dropped on the one beneath it and broke that off too. At the moment they are wedged in position but at this rate I can see the fridge becoming the first major item in here to be replaced once the shops reopen, if they ever do, that is.

At least my morning went as planned. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed, but I slept right through until about 09:30.

And it was more like 10:15 when I arose. That’s what a Bank Holiday is all about, anyway.

After the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I’d actually been in London during the night and on my way back I’d had to go a long, mazy, merry way round by Newport, the one in South Wales, to reach home. I ended up back in Stoke on Trent where someone whom I know and his family were living. I was in a Mk III Cortina Saloon and I had to drive into their drive but usually I reversed in so that I could swing round into their garage. For some unknown reason I drove down this morning and I didn’t have anywhere to turn to drive back out. It was a really steep hill as well. Down at the bottom you could see that there was all new concrete so I wondered what had been going on there. I’d heard that they had had a water leak of some description but there was a torrential river that was flowing down their driveway with all of this rain that was happening. I had to climb my way back up there and it wasn’t easy with the force of the water. When I reached the back door I knocked and a voice said “come in”. I recognised the voice – it was the voice of Zero, who at one time used to accompany me quite regularly on my little nocturnal voyages but has been conspicuous by absence just recently. Anyway I said “hello beautiful”. There was another similar person in there so I said “hello and called her by her name”. The guy’s wife said “hello” but with a “why aren’t you speaking to us” kind of “hello”, so I said “hello” and tpld them about the weather and told them about the rain. She went to look and saw this torrent of water and made some remark. Something to the effect that we were supposed to be going out for a meal that night but how were we going to do that with this torrent of water cascading down the drive? I had already realised that there was far more water coming down the slope than could have possibly come with the rainfall that we were having.

What was so sad about all of that is that the batteries must have gone flat in the dictaphone because it simply petered out to a dead stop. and so I wonder what happened after that and where it all went to. It was starting to become quite interesting.

It’s Good friday today, one of the Easter Holidays of course. And i’m lucky in that last year I bought two packets of vegan hot cross buns and froze one of them. That came out of the freezer yesterday and defrosted overnight, so I had a toasted hot cross bun with my breakfast.

We then had the digital file splitting process, and another 4 albums have bitten the dust today. Not so many now to go at that can be done in a short time. Probably this time next week I’ll be into the cassettes.

There was a break for a taco roll in the middle of all of this but really things went so quickly that there wasn’t a great deal of time to do too many photos and I only reached 0506, which isn’t a great deal of progress.

Later on I made a start on the dictated notes for the radio projects for the rock music. I ended up yesterday with 4 audio files and now, three of them have been edited and i’m working on the fourth.

At 18:00 I came to a dead stop and had a good play around on the guitars for an hour.

Tea tonight was a falafel with vegetables and what should have been a vegan cheese sauce but the grated vegan cheese was off. And, of course, with not having gone to the Health Food shop in Leuven last time, I have no more.

The rice pudding was off too – I thought that it tasted rather peculiar yesterday – so that went into the bin and I had an apple turnover out of the freezer. On Sunday I’ll make a big apple pie and freeze some of it.

rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I went outside for my evening runs.

And you can see from this photo that I’ve pushed on the finish of my first run right up to the corner of the hedge where I usually start my second run down to the clifftop.

So, in other words, I can link up two of my runs – well, in theory because I’m well out of breath by the time that I reach here.

brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, having recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff and arrived just as all of the lights were coming on over in Bréhal-Plage.

It was well worth a photograph. And when I enlarged it back at home later, i could see other lights up and down the coast.

That’s one thing about this f1.8 50mm lens, that it does have a good resolution when it wants to. And that’s quite handy in this kind of light.

cross of lorraine war memorial st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallSo having recovered my breath again I carried on with my walk.

This evening there was a beautiful view right across to the other side of the bay round by St Pair sur Mer and I caught a glimpse of the lights of the town through the War Memorial

That was another one of these “must-have” photo moments, even though the focusing on something like that was a bit hit-and-miss. Still, I did my best.

pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite what it looked lke in the previous photo, it wasn’t as dark as all of that.

The view of the old sentry cabin on the Pointe du Roc and the surrounding sea came up very nicely in the dusk light.

And it really was a beautiful evening too. For the first time this year I didn’t have a jacket on at all for my evening walk. It was 18°C outside when I went out so I’ve no idea what it must have been during the day.

harbour entrance light port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france eric hallThere was yet another nice view across the Baie de Mont St Michel too down towards Jullouville and Carolles.

It was going dark quite quickly now and the light at the entrance to the harbour was flashing quite brightly. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen it look quite like this – it’s probably something to do with the very high tides that we are having right now.

And the lights on the coast in the background have come out quite well too. It was a good night for photography, I reckon.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s yet more excitement in the chantier navale tonight.

There were four boats in there on Wednesday night, then last night there were three. But today we are back up to four again, with the one on the extreme left.

And it’s not keeping its social distance either. That’s risky behaviour in these times.

So I ran back to the apartment – in two stages of course, to make sure that I had all of my five runs. And they are slowly but surely prolonging themselves, which is something for which I had been hoping the more that I run

It’s not going to be much better than this but we have to remember that four years ago I couldn’t even walk. And since then I’ve had all kinds of bits taken out of me, with not very much success.

So having spent most of the evening talking, it’s really late now. I’ll feel like death tomorrow and it’s shopping day too.

Still, you only live once.

Friday 19th April 2019 – THERE’S NOTHING …

… like a good rice pudding for tea.

And that rice pudding that I had for tea this evening was nothing like a good rice pudding. I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe I didn’t put enough milk in it but it wasn’t as smooth and creamy as I would like it.

But there’s enough left over for the next couple of days so there’s a chance to improve it.

Last night’s sleep was somewhat better. Although I didn’t go off to bed early, I had a somewhat better sleep, even if I did awaken at about 07:00.

No chance of me leaving my stinking pit at that time though. 09:00 was much more like it.

Plenty of time to go on a ramble though. Last night I’d been invited to some kind of meeting at the Solar Energy Institute so I went along to some café-restaurant place and people were around there eating. My impression was that I had been invited to a meal too, and I was loaded up with a camera, telephone, laptop, notebook etc and I was desperately trying to do something on the laptop using just one hand before I could get to see this person. It too kme so much time that I was getting later and later, and I was 10 minutes late when I finished sending this document. I put everything down and sat at this table but no-one came so after 5 minutes I picked everything up and went to find the manager. I found that I had left the laptop behind, but I needed it as it had the name of this person on it. In the end I managed to locate the manager. He looked through the list of people on duty and said “it’s Katie” (or was it Kathy or similar?). But then he said “I’ve heard about you. You were camping out at that festival for a week and didn’t change your underwear” and made a gesture of holding his nose, which I found rather offensive because I had been washing my undies every day in the sink as I always do when I’m on the road. I went back into the restaurant and there was this girl sitting there with some small parcels. I thought that there can’t be anything for me, so I just sat down and had a look at the writing accompanying them, and it was mine. She approached me to confirm who I was, and satisfied, she undid these parcels which had some print work in, stuff that I had informally enquired about when I’d been at this festival. We began to discuss the festival and I made the point that it was one of those things that the people in the Auvergne had been organising, the same thing for 12 years and nothing has ever come of it. She said that this year it seemed to be really, really good. I replied that anything with Francois Carriatt involved in it couldn’t be really, really good. We had a lengthy discussion about how these people would start something with loads of enthusiasm but run out of steam before it got anywhere. The same old story every year for as long as I could remember. How all of the ex-pats would go along to help, full of enthusiasm but when they saw how it was all working out they all stopped going and left the locals to their mess and that was that. After a lengthy discussion she was telling me about the stage, to which I replied that I’d seen it al before. The discussion went round to selling things. How her parents used to sell tents, big heavy canvas ones but weren’t very good at it. They would take tents to camp sites and similar, and stick their tent next to the one they were selling and have a sign “tent for sale – see next door” but it never really worked. I said that this was a thing of the moment. People would come with their own sleeping arrangements and the only time that this was likely to change would be if there would be a torrential downpour in the middle of a festival when people who had been planning to sleep out would need shelter and then you could sell anything with no effort whatsoever

For breakfast I had, as well as the usual muesli, fruit juice and apple purée, a toasted hot cross bun. That was delicious too, I can tell you.

Today I’ve had a busy day, despite it being a Bank Holiday.

I started off by attacking the photos from my trip away. Quite a few had survived the short-circuiting of the memory card. and now they are all edited and uploaded.

nikon 1 18.5mm f1.8  port de granville harbour manche normandy franceI’ve also uploaded the photos that I took last night with the new 18.5mm f1.8 lens for the Nikon 1 J5.

Here’s one of them in its unadulterated glory. It’s simply compressed and not otherwise manipulated. And taken on totally automatic setting with no input whatsoever.

In fact, the images that I took in street lighting needed compensating because they were coming out too bright.

All in all though, I’m as impressed with this as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe photos took me up to lunchtime, which I spent sitting on the wall outside in the glorious sunshine. The lizards haven’t found me yet, but the blackflies have.

The crane was there again, with a couple of pontoons by the look of it. And I now know their purpose because it was in the local newspaper this morning.

They are talking about replacing the floating walkways in the harbour, and they need to take core-drill samples of the seabed there to see what kind of anchorages would work best there.

I still can’t see why they hadn’t done it when they had the harbour drained out last winter.

This afternoon, in between falling asleep for 20 minutes and going for my afternoon walk, I attacked the dictaphone entries. All of them from my trip to Leuven and also another 8 from the backlog. another couple of months at this rate and it might all be done, ready for my next voyage, whenever and wherever that might be.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAs for my walk, there were crowds out there today, enjoying the sunshine sitting and lying about on the beach.

There were even some people in the water enjoying themselves, for there were some who were braver than others.

Not for me of course. I’m well-known for having refused the swim in the Arctic Ocean just 100 miles from the North Pole.
“I have this catheter port in my chest”
“What would you do if you didn’t have the catheter port?”
“I’d have to think of another excuse”.

Tea tonight was a slice of my leek and tofu pie from last year, with baked potatoes, vegetables and gravy. It was delicious. And even though the rice pudding didn’t come out as it was supposed to, it was still enjoyable.

school children speaking english pointe du roc granville manche normandy francelater on this evening I went out for my walk, and there were crowds of people enjoying the sunshine.

Wandering around the headland was a party of teenagers, and they were trying to speak English to the couple of people who were leading the group.

Other people were out and about cooking tea in their caravanettes (and I didn’t half give one woman a shock when I walked around the corner)

couple enjoying sunset cap lihou granville manche normandy franceThere were yet more people enjoying the beautiful weather sitting on the benches overlooking the sea, including this couple on the Cap Lihou by the old sentry box.

It was that kind of evening tonight – nice and warm with plenty of sun. It really made me happy to be out there and I sauntered off singing quite happily to myself

It’s been a while since I felt like that.

victor hugo baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMy reverie was distracted by Victor Hugo coming in from Jersey with a load of passengers. It was quite an impressive sight because she’s an impressive ship.

I’ve not seen her sister ship around for a while so maybe she’s still under repair. They bought her fairly new from a Swedish ferry company but she’s been giving nothing but trouble since she came here.

Something of a white elephant, she’s turned out to be.

And in the Chantier Navale we were back down to the two boats that have been there for a few weeks now. The two trawlers that were there yesterday have now been released.

Shopping tomorrow so I’m going to have an early night. And quite right too. I need to gather up my strength for my next vicissitudes.

la grande ancre buoys granville manche normandy france
la grande ancre buoys granville manche normandy france

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france
crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france
crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france

victor hugo baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
victor hugo baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

victor hugo baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france
victor hugo baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Sunday 14th April – LUCKY ME!

I’ve had a free upgrade at the place where I stay when I’m in Leuven. Usually I’m in a small single room (with kitchenette and all facilities of course) but for some reason that I don’t understand, I’ve been given a comfortable duplex apartment and it’s very nice.

I shall have to come here more often.

Last night was a pretty bad night for some reason. I was very late going to bed and once more, I spent most of my night tossing and turning. This isn’t a very good sign for my day tomorrow.

Nevertheless I was out of bed very smartly and attacked the tasks necessary for my trip today to Leuven. Making sandwiches, packing, all these kinds of things. Even a little cleaning. There was still 20 minutes to go before I needed to leave to I took my shower – the one that I missed yesterday.

08:10, I left the apartment and a brisk stroll saw me at the station by 08:35. And I do have to say that “brisk” was the word. Despite having had a really short, bad night, I was feeling quite sprightly for a change.

repairing medieval city wall Boulevard des 2eme et 202eme de Ligne granville manche normandy franceAnd even in sprightly mode I made several stops along the way.

The first stop was in the Boulevard des 2ème et 202ème de Ligne to see how the repairs to the old medieval walls are getting on.

And they seem to be making really good progress and the new stone blocks that they are blending into the existing walls really look quite the part.

They have several sections to go at and it will all be looking quite good when it’s done.

street sweeper rue couraye granville manche normandy franceAnd despite it being early, I wasn’t alone in the street either.

I was being stalked all the way up the rue Couraye by the Sunday morning street cleaner. He was heading on quite nicely, making U-turns and going the wrong way down the one-way street to brush the other side, whether there was another car coming or not.

At least he was useful as some kind of pacemaker to help me on my way.

My cleaner was there at the station so I said “hello”, and then purchased a coffee from the machine. And then waited for the train because it wasn’t in the platform.

gec alsthom regiolis gare de granville manche normandy franceAnd fortune smiled on me too on the train. I had a very charming young companion next to me and although she didn’t have too much to say for herself, it’s the kind of thing that does my ego a great deal of good.

Surprisingly, I stayed awake for most of the trip. I ate my breakfast (crackers and mandarins) and settled down to read Carl Rafn’s Antiquities Americanae.

Written in 1837, its claim to fame is that Rafn was the very first person to take seriously the prospect that the Norse Sagas about the voyages to “Vinland” were actually based on fact and not mere fireside fiction, and he actually set in motion some kind of technical research and calculations to back up his theories.

His theories and calculations were dismissed by later hisotians, most notably by Arthur Reeves who wrote in 1914 “… If less effort had been applied to the dissemination and defence of fantastic speculations, and more to the determination of the exact nature of the facts …” and then proceeded on after 200 or so pages in his book “The Finding of Wineland the Good” to reach almost the same conclusions as those of Rafn.

But today, as we all know because we’ve been there and seen it, tangible evidence of Norse occupation has been discovered in the New World and although it’s not where Rafn expected it to be, my opinion is that the site at L’Anse aux Meadows isn’t Vinland at all but another unrecorded Norse settlement, and Vinland remains to be discovered.

We pulled into Paris Montparnasse-Vaugirard more-or-less bang on time and I strode off through the massed ranks of travellers down to the heaving metro station. There’s a change on the metro there too, because they have now put up crowd control gates on the platform.

The train was crammed to capacity and I had to wait a while before I could find a seat. I sat next to an African woman and her little daughter Adela who proudly told me that she was two years and three months old.

The two of them sang all the way to where I alighted, and I had the pleasure of telling mummy that it made my day to see a little kid so happy.

gare du nord paris franceAlthough it was cold and windy, it was so nice outside that I went for a good walk around outside for a look at what goes on in the vicinity of the station.

And now I know that if ever I forget my butties I won’t be short of something to eat because there were plenty of fast-food shops right in the immediate vicinity.

But seeing as I hadn’t forgotten them, I sat on a bench in the station, surrounded by a group of schoolkids and ate them (the butties, not the kids) and then went for my train.

thalys tgv PBKA series 4300 4322 gare du nord paris franceMy train was another one of the Paris-Brussels-Koln-Amsterdam “PBKA” trainsets.

And as I boarded it, fatigue caught up with me and I travelled all the way to Brussels in a state of blissful subconsciousness, to the strains of Traffic’s On The Road” – one of the top-ten best live albums ever.

My neighbour had boarded the train carrying, of all things a rolled-up carpet. I asked him whether it had run out of fuel, or else why he didn’t just unroll it and travel to Brussels on that.

However, as Kenneth Williams and Alfred Hitchcock once famously remarked, “it’s a waste of time trying to tell jokes to foreigners”.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven belgiumAt Brussels my train to Leuven was already in the station so I was able to reap the benefits of having pre-purchased my ticket on the internet. No waiting in a queue for a ticket or finding that the machines are out of order. I just leapt on board.

It was our old friend 1861, and that was crowded too for some reason. There seems to be an awful lot of people travelling today.

I suppose it’s with it being Easter weekend next weekend and everyone is off for their holidays.

I’ve already explained about my change of room, and once I was settled in I had a lengthy talk with Rosemary on the telephone.

toren oude stadsomwalling sint donatuspark leuven belgiumThat took me up to the time to go out and meet Alison. We went off for a vegan burger at the Greenway

Our route there took us through the St Donatus Park where we could admire the Toren Oude Stadsomwalling – the Tower of the Old City Wall.

This wall was started to be built in 1160. It had 31 towers, 11 street gates and 3 water gates. 2740 metres long, it enclosed 40 hectares.

It was superseded in 1360 by another wall roughly where the ring-road is now, and demolition began towards the end of the 18th Century.

There’s still a fair bit remaining, and on our travels we’ve seen quite a bit of it.

mural Jozef Vounckplein leuven belgiumAfter our burger we went for our usual coffee at Kloosters Hotel.

And on our way back to the car, weaving our weary way through the side streets, we came across this really beautiful mural in what I think is the Jozef Vounckplein.

I don’t recall having seen this before.

And good old Alison. While she was at the English Shop yesterday she found some vegan hot cross buns. So now I’m properly prepared for my Good Friday anyway.

On that note, I’ll go upstairs and try out my new bed. I hope that it’s as comfortable as it looks.

gare du nord paris france
gare du nord paris france

gare du nord paris france
gare du nord paris france

Monday 10th October 2016 – SO HERE I AM …

air transat airbus A330 C-GKTS paris charles de gaulle airport france october octobre 2016… or, rather, here’s my aeroplane. On the hard-standing at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Miles from the terminal of course because I imagine that Air Transat can’t afford the terminal fees.

Not that I’m too bothered of course. I have to pay my own air fare and anything that whittles the price down is fine by me. Remember that my return flight to Canada had cost me less that 40% of the fare of a blue-chip flagship carrier and you can’t say fairer than that.

Our plane was an Airbus 330, registration number C-GKTS. And although she may not look it, she is over 20 years old. Built in 1995 for Dragonair, an airline in Hong Kong, she was bought by Air Transat in 1999. Her build number is 111

I’d had a bad night on the aeroplane. Despite being reasonably comfortable, I couldn’t drop off to sleep and so ended up reading my book for a major part of the flight. The in-flight entertainment was total rubbish. It was dreadful on the way out, and there was exactly the same selection on the way back.

The food too was rubbish, but then I’d expected that. I had my bag of hot cross buns to keep me going.

There were only two immigration officers on duty at the Terminal when we arrived but luckily I was one of the first off the bus, so I didn’t have to wait too long. Mind you, it was a different story for the baggage. It took ages to arrive and mine was one of the last onto the conveyor.

From Terminal 3 I had to go off on my merry, mazy way to the interairport tram that would take me to Terminal 2 and my TGV to Brussels. And here I had some good luck. My flight had been bang on time, which was totally unexpected. So unexpected that when I was making my travel arrangements 6 weeks ago I had booked myself on the 16:07 train to Brussels in order to give myself room to manoeuvre in case we were delayed.

tgv airport paris charles de gaulle france october octobre 2016But there was an earlier train to Brussels, leaving at 13:07, and it was now about 12:20. Down at the SNCF offices I managed to blag my way onto this one (I had to pay a supplement of €13:00 but who cares?). That was an unexpected stroke of good fortune that doesn’t happen to me very often.

The train was bang on time, which is what you might expect in France, and I found myself sharing a table with a guy from Lille and his 4 year old daughter. We all had a good chat as far as Lille, and then I was on my own all the way to Bruxelles-Midi.

local train bruxelles midi station leuven belgium october octobre 2016There was even more good news at Bruxelles-Midi. There was an inter-city train leaving for Welkenraedt in less than 10 minutes. They stop at the main Brussels stations and then express to Leuven, and that suits me fine.

There was plenty of room on the train so I could spread myself out, and I was quite comfortable on my trip to Leuven.

At the station, I took the lift up to the footbridge and that is on the same level as the entrance to my hotel. That’s much easier than having to struggle up several flights of stairs with my luggage.

The IBIS Budget Hotel is quite new. The rooms are tiny but it’s clean and friendly and just €59:00 a night, which isn’t too bad for a city centre hotel. It’s right next door to the station and the bus station, there’s a fritkot across the road and a supermarket down in the basement underneath. What more could any man desire?

First thing that I did when I arrived was to have a nice hot shower. As for the second thing that I did – well, I don’t remember. I crashed out completely. Totally out of it.

I was awake enough in the evening to go across the road to the fritkot. He did me a nice veggie-burger and chips and that filled a hole. The first hot food that I had had for several days by the way.

That was that, really. I’d had a hectic few days with little sleep and I wasn’t feeling too well either. The bed looked quite comfortable and so that was that. I was well away.

Saturday 8th October 2016 – AND SO AFTER ALL …

… of the shenanigans of last night, the Orleans Express bus from the Gaspé Peninsula turned up bang on time and we were all ready and waiting. It set off on time too, which was nice to know, and I settled down for the long drive to Montreal. Those hot cross buns that I had bought in Woodstock were really nice – I’ll tell you that.

For the first part of the journey I didn’t drop off to sleep at all. Probably far too wound up after the drive up from Florenceville. Instead, I curled up on my seat and carried on reading my book. At Sainte-Foy there were no toilets opened and the one on the bus was occupied so I curled up on my seat again and this time I managed to drift in and out of sleep all the way into Montreal.

At the bus station I had a really good half-hour power nap in the usual little hidey-hole. And then I was ready for anything. Unless you’ve tried it, you’ve no idea just how comfortable you can become when you ride astride the porcelain horse.

“Anything” was the bus station café. A huge cup of coffee and a couple of bagels were just the job for breakfast but I didn’t stay there for long. The internet connection was rubbish and I was keen to see how Rachel was doing (she finally arrived home at 04:30). And so I went to track down the 747 bus to the airport.

It doesn’t stop in the coach station any more. According to my friendly neighbourhood bus driver, they’ve upped the standing fees in the bus station and the STM – Societe de Transports de Montreal – is refusing to pay them. Instead, the bus leaves from down the road outside the Berri-UQAM metro station. There’s no ticket machine in the bus station either now, so you have to go to the machine at the metro station. I bought a 3-day ticket ($18:00) because it’s cheaper than two one-day passed (2x$10:00).And it was pouring down with rain outside. Whatever happened to the Indian Summer we had been having.

I found a comfy bench at the airport, with yet another flaky internet connection. Nevertheless, I was able to catch up with a few things there, despite being interrupted by a vocal local yokel who wanted to discuss Facebook with me. There’s a “Subway” in the airport too and so seeing as I was thirsty I went and had a giant sized root beer and I ordered a sandwich to take away. The Comfort Inn is rather out on a limb and there isn’t anything available to eat in the vicinity.

Having organised all of that, I phoned for my shuttle, and that brought me here to the hotel. It’s fully-booked and so there wasn’t a room available at that moment. Still, there’s a comfy chair, a good internet connection, a power point and a free coffee pot in the foyer. What else do you need when you are waiting for your room?

I didn’t have to wait long for my room, and the first thing that I did was to have a stinking hot shower and to wash my clothes – I’m running out. But it must have been Eskimos … "Inuit" – ed … who had this room before me. The heat was off but the fan was on blowing cold air around and it was about 10°C in here.I whacked the heating up and resolved not to move until the temperature reached 25°C.

I had my butty, chatted to Liz and one or two other people for a while, and spent the rest of the afternoon dozing in and out of sleep. it’s been a hard day so far.

Nevertheless, I made it out for the bus 202. I missed the first one so went back in. But I was out for the next – in fact just in time to step straight onto the bus as it was going past. As you might expect, I ended up at the Cote des Neiges, and here I had a terrible shock. It’s all been gentrified and many of the smaller businesses have been cleared away and replaced with trendy boutiques. It took me a while to track down an assiete falafel, but when I did, it was well worth it because it was one of the best that I have had in North America.

So that was me fixed.

On the way back, Rhys ‘phoned me up and we had a really good chat until the battery on my phone went dead. I spent the next hour or two having a huge melancholy nostalgia fit listening to music. Leaving Canada always makes me feel maudlin.

So now I’m off to bed. My last night in Canada and I’m inconsolable. If my health continues to deteriorate at the rate it seems to be deteriorating, I shan’t ever be back again.

That’s enough to make anyone feel maudlin, never mind me.

Thursday 6th October 2016 – I FELT THE PAIN …

… this morning of the last two days on the road. It was a struggle to crawl out of bed and start out.

but I had to do it because I have a very long day tomorrow and so if I’m going to take a break, tomorrow during the day is the best time.

So we went off to the tyre depot, in another load of fog and hanging cloud, to say hello again to everyone and for a coffee. And once that was accomplished, there was work to do. Rachel had some deliveries that needed to be made in Florenceville. Everyone else was busy and so I volunteered to go. “Sing for your supper” and all of that.

Next stop was Woodstock, and so I set off down the road on the eastern side of the Saint John River. Not that I could see anything because the fog billowing off the river was blanketing everything.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, so it was rather crowded in Strider. The fog was lifting too. I went into the Atlantic Superstore for some shopping for lunch, and here I hit the jackpot. Not only were hot-cross buns on sale, but there were a few packets reduced by 50%. As you know, I have a long way to go tomorrow night and also, the food is pretty miserable on Air Transat. The hot-cross buns will fill in the gap quite nicely.

river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016There’s a grassy area and boat slipway at the back of the Council car park in Woodstock, overlooking the River Meduxnekeag, and this is one of my favourite places to stop for lunch. And here I am yet again.

In the sunshine, eating my butty, reading my book, chatting to the boaters and … errr … closing my eyes to relax in the beautiful weather with the glorious autumn colours on the trees on the opposite bank of the river, there’s nothing more pleasant than this.

river meduxnekeag woodstock new brunswick canada october octobre 2016Once I’d come back into the Land of the Living, I had work to do. Tomorrow, Strider is being laid up for the winter and so I need to have everything sorted out.

A huge pile of rubbish went into the bins for a start, and then I tipped everything out of the back, sorted and stacked it into the boxes where it will live for the winter (and threw away another pile of stuff) and then slid the boxes back under the bed.

Some of the foodstuffs won’t keep, especially as I’ve no idea when if ever I might be coming back, so I made up a box of all of that to give to Rachel. And then there was some stuff that I wanted to take back to europe with me.

On the way back I stopped at the car wash and gave Strider a good going-over with the pressure lance ready for putting away. And once I’d arrived back at Rachel’s, I took out everything that was to come out. There wasn’t anyone about though and so I settled down in the sun to read a book. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Darren came back and I had a guided tour of the garage. While I’d been away he’d tidied up in there and the place was looking quite impressive. It won’t be long before he’ll be in a position to strip down the engine on Perdy in the Pink.

Once Rachel and Amber returned, we had tea and then we chatted for hours about this and that. After all, I have to be realistic and say that I’ve no idea if ever I’ll be able to come back to Canada. This might be my last chance to see them.

But I was soon in bed. I hadn’t been up to much all day and by now my batteries were really flat. I’m struggling along now and I can feel everything – all the aches and pains all over the place.

Monday 9th April 2012 – On the way back from the footy …

volcano puy de dome france… there was a really good view of the Puy-de-Dôme in the distance from the top of the brow of a hill near St Priest. It’s been quite some time since I posted a photo of the Puy.

So what was I doing out at St Priest? The answer is that as there was no local football at all this week I had to cast the net rather wide, and I ended up at St Priest. To my surprise, the 1st XI of St Priest don’t play in local football but in regional football. That’s about 3 levels higher up the pyramid than Pionsat’s 1st XI. Anyway, they were playing in the Cup against a team from down south somewhere and so I wandered over there to watch.

The match wasn’t as good as I was expecting. St Priest were deservedly beaten by a better team, even if the opponents didn’t have much idea in the final third of the field. St Priest were rather lacking all round although they had their chance – hitting the bar and the post and a couple of their forwards taking one step too many with the ball, or trying to do the difficult thing when the simpler thing would have been much more appropriate.

After that I went round to Liz and Terry’s to drop off some stuff, and I was treated to tea which was very nice. And not just tea, but a doggy bag too – and home-made hot cross buns. Aren’t I the lucky one?

And this morning? Well, to be honest, 11:15. Say no more.