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Thursday 26th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

… a calamity!

This morning I dropped a full mug of coffee onto my keyboard.

It goes without saying that that has now been filed under “CS” and the rest of the morning was spent hunting down the spare one that I have here.

After a good search I came across two, a very flaky old Belgian one and a more recent French one with “NumLok” stick permanently in the “On” Position. (And it could have been worse – it could have been stuck in the “off position”).

When I had finished lunch I tried to work out why the new keyboard was totally misbehaving and doing all kinds of strange things. That turned out to be a stuck “CTRL” button which I freed off.

All I need to do now is to find out why the “N” doesn’t work, and I’ll be in business. I’m using a keyboard shortcut for now so if you find any missing “N”, then you know why.

Thinking about it later, it would probably have been quicker to have driven to LeClerc and bought a new one instead of all of this messing about.

Strangely enough, the flooded keyboard had a fault with the “N” too. There was a delay in the “N” appearing when I touched it so I found myself often ending up with “GN” instead of “NG” if I wasn’t careful.

But I digress … “again” – ed

Despite yet another late night, I was out of bed as the first alarm rang and the went off for my medication.

After that I came in here to read my messages and as soon as it was light I dashed outside with the NIKON D500

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd without falling over a bollard this morning I headed off to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

And it seems that I should have bee here 30 seconds earlier because they had been loading Chausiaise. I’d seen the crane swinging around as I was coming down the street but as I made ready to photograph it, they closed it up.

Parked behind Chausiaise is one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. the older one of the two, I think, with the rectangular windows in landscape format.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the pride of the harbour for the moment.

When I first saw her name I misread it. She’s actually called the Galeon Andalucia and is a replica of a 17th Century Spanish Galleon. She was built in Punta Umbría as a typical “Galeón de Manila” at a cost of about €450,000.

She was launched in 2010 and went out to represent Spain at the Universal Exposition in Shanghai. Since then she’s been visiting various ports around the world, including a couple of weeks in early July in St Malo, and I wonder if that coincides with that mystery sailing ship that we saw.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing as I was up quite early, the sun was quite low to the east so we were having all kinds of unusual views that we don’t often see.

The chantier naval was nicely illuminated this morning by the low rays of the sun. You can see quite clearly all of the seven boats that are in there, and they all look pretty much like the seven that were in there yesterday.

Away in the distance on the horizon we can see the town of Cancale quite clearly. I’ve made no effort to enhance this photo so even at this range today, the views were pretty good.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t the best of it either.

There’s a high hill away in the distance somewhere a little way into the interior of Brittany and I can’t recall having seen that more than once or twice. Today though, it was probably about the clearest that I have ever seen it.

The coastline was pretty clear too this morning. And I’m not sure if it’s a trick of the light but that looks like an enormous flotilla of yachts out there in the distance over by the coast.

fishing boat calean leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMuch closer to home there were other things going on.

The harbour gates were now open (I’d only just made it down to the port in time) and already half of the local fleet (that bit that isn’t in the chantier naval) had headed off into the sunrise. One of the last to go out was this little shellfish boat, Calean.

You can the shellfish boats by the covered awning over the open hold. That’s to stop the seagulls diving down and pinching the catch on the way back from the beds.

fishing boat bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the port, I wandered over to the other side of the headland to have a butcher’s at the Baie de Granville to see what was going on over there.

And out at sea many of the fishing boats had taken up their positions and were starting work, like this blue and white one here.

One thing that I had always wondered is “how do they decide which boat fishes where?”. They can’t all surge out en masse and fight for a spec in a glorious free-for-all. There must be some kind of organisation.

Do they draw lots? Or do they take turns on a rota for different specs?

Normandy Trader approaching port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing.

While I was looking out at sea at the trawlers I noticed something else heading my way, and as it approached me, I reckoned that the silhouette was quite familiar so I photographed it for a closer look when I returned home.

Back here I had a close look at the photo and had something of a play around with it. Sure enough, it’s Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, on her way into port. I wonder what she and her crew will make of a Spanish galleon here in port.

Having done that, I edited the rest of the morning’s photographs and also the ones from last night. Then I began to update the journal to add the details of last night’s meanderings.

Round about 10:45 I knocked off for breakfast – coffee and my fruit bread. The bread was fine but it was round about then that I had my calamity.

Accordingly, the rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent messing around with the computer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNone of the foregoing stopped me from having my afternoon walk of course.

You will have seen the glorious morning that we had earlier today, but by now there had been a dramatic change in the weather. It was cloudy, overcast and cold, just like any late October day.

It was no surprise therefore to see that the beach was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there that I could see. The weather had finished off the holiday season in a way that no-one will ever forget in a hurry.

There’s even a rainstorm by the looks of things a few miles out to sea to put the tin hat on it.

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that there wasn’t anyone out on the beach, that’s not strictly accurate.

Away in the distance out at Donville les Bains the bouchot harvesters are hard at work. They have all of the tractors and trailers out there this afternoon bringing in the shellfish from the beds that are to the right of this image.

And in the background there are a few people walking around on the beach. Probably tenants of the holiday park just along there. They will be walking along the beach because, to be frank, there isn’t anywhere else for them to walk around there.

crowds footpath pointe du roc lighthouse semaphore Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I’m sure that you are now wondering where all of the holidaymakers have gone if they aren’t on the beach.

The answer to that is that they are all on the path that leads down to the semaphore and the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc. Hordes and hordes of them too.

And they weren’t all holidaymakers either. While I was walking around on top of the cliff overlooking the sea, I fell in with one of my neighbours and we had a really good chat.

While we were chatting, we were overflown by a helicopter, our friend F-GBAI and also the sparrowhawk but you can’t be rude and interrupt a conversation by taking a photo.

Just my luck, isn’t it?

ulm microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t have long to wait before someone else flew by overhead.

The familiar rattle in the distance gave me a clue as to who it might be and it wasn’t long before the red microlight who we have se so often came fluttering by.

Interestingly, it just went a mile or so out to sea, turned round and headed for home.


Nothing else flew by so I carried on to the end of the path and across the car park, which was crowded yet again.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I asked the question “what do you do if you head back to port and find the port gates closed with the tide.

Almost on cue, we saw a yacht riding at anchor about half a mile outside the harbour. And here today we have another one. And I wonder if he has also missed today’s window of harbour gate openings.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone on deck so maybe they are riding at anchor an gone below for a cuppa. However, they are supposed to display a signal – a black ball – if they have their anchor out but I can’t see anything of that nature hanging from the mast.

people on beach port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further around the headland there was a group of people out on the beach and rocks underneath the harbour wall.

My first thought was that they were doing a bit of peche à pied but a closer look failed to convince me. And apart from the fact that there’s no sun right now, that’s no place to go sunbathing.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval there was no change in occupancy since this morning. Everything was the same as yesterday except for an infernal racket from down there as if someone was doing some heavy-duty sand-blasting.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader had already left. That was a quick turn-round.

Galeon Andalucia on the other hand was still down there with a huge crowd of admirers around her.

And well there might be too, for she’s a gorgeous machine. She’s 38 metres above the water (and 3 metres below it) and her three masts carry almost 2,000 square metres of sail.

Altogether, there are 6 decks which amount to 315 square metres of usable floor space. She looks as if she could launch a broadside of 14 guns

Sadly, she also has an auxiliary engine.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s notes and then went for tea. Aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with pasta.

Finally, I managed to find time to listen to the dictaphone. I was in Villedieu les Poeles last waiting to catch a ferry to go somewhere and there was a talk about how this town was one of the most important in the area as a fishing port, which considering that it’s 20 miles inland, is pretty good going (and I fell asleep here). It was a story on the radio about how important it was and how it was about the 4th most important bridge in France. I thought that it was the first and I was looking for a few reasons out of UP POMPEII to substantiate it. Then I was going through people’s different houses (and I fell asleep again). There was more to it than this but I can’t really remember now which is a shame

later on we were on the top of the cliffs looking down onto the village at Villedieu and the ferry and there was a bridge there as well (yes, I’ve stepped right back in where I left off, haven’t I?). We had to go down to the bottom and somehow fight our way across on rubber boats or something to the other side. We all charged and it was quite a bloodthirsty do with fighting everywhere. Eventually I managed to reach across to the other side of the river, cheered and pushed on. A few of us overwhelmed everything and we were all extremely happy that we had done this and survived and conquered this town.

Now that I’ve finished today’s notes I’m off to bed. I’ve been having too many late nights just recently. I have to put a stop to that.

Wednesday 7th October 2020 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

… Castle Anthrax I had my check-up. Blood count is down to a mere 8.2, just 0.2 above the critical limit. They didn’t keep me in, but they didn’t give me a blood transfusion either. They are trying a new treatment on me again, something called Octagam.

One thing that I did was to check on the side effects and symptoms. And to my surprise, I have many of the symptoms that are flagged, a couple of which have even seen me hospitalised. But I assume that they know what they are doing.

Having said that, I’m not convinced that I do. I couldn’t sleep last night and it was long after 02:30 when I finally went to bed. Quite obviously there was no chance of my leaving the bed at the sound of the alarm. I was surprised that I managed to be out of bed by 07:20.

First job was to have a shower and a clothes wash. I need to make myself pretty. And then to make some sandwiches. I’d no idea how long this session was going to last.

And then I hit the streets.

Demolition Sint Peters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen you have been away for a while from a place that you know, it’s very interesting to see the changes that have taken place since your last visit.

ON OUR TRAVELS AROUND LEUVEN in the past we’ve seen the start of a whole system of changes to the city, starting with the demolition on the Sint Pieter’s Hospital Building where I stayed for a week or two when I first came here in 2016. They are making a considerable advance in dealing with the matter but it looks as if it’s going to take an age.

It’s a shame that A FORMER NEIGHBOUR and customer of my taxis is no longer with us. He would have had that building down in a twinkle of an eye and at much less cost too.

Water Spray Sint Pieters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile I was watching some of the demolition, my interest was caught by this machine and I was wondering what it might be.

It took me a while but I think that I know now what it might be. It looks like some kind of water atomiser powered mainly by compressed air, I suppose, that’s blasting a pile of water over the heap of rubble that has been knocked down from the building. I imagine that its purpose is to keep the dust down.

You would never have had precautions like that 20 years or so ago. It seems that Health and Safety Regulations have even arrived over here.

Sint Jacobsplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy route continued along the Brusselsestraat to the corner of the place where I lived for 6 months, and then round the corner into the Sint Jacobsplein.

When we’d been away for a couple of months last year, we came back here to find a great big hole in the middle of the Square. It was all fenced off so we never had the opportunity to look into it, and even though it’s been at least a year since they made a start on it, they still haven’t finished.

This is turning into a really long job and I’m wondering if I’ll still be here to see the finished product. At least, I hope that they will make a better job of it than they did of that deplorable patch of asphalt in Granville.

Replacing Sewer Biezenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hallat the side of the Sint Jacobsplein is the Biezenstraat, and when we were last here IN JULY they were busy making a start on digging it up

Since then, they seem to have made a great deal of progress. And now that I can see the big concrete pipes down there, I can tell now that it’s all to do with replacing the sewer pipes in the street. That makes me wonder if they’ve installed something like a subterranean holding tank or something underneath the Sint Jacobsplein.

And as for the Frittourist, the fritkot on the edge of the Square to the left, the roadworks can’t be doing them much good in the way of passing trade. It’s a good fritkot too, one of the best in the City.

Replacing Sewer Sint Hubertusstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen I turn around to look behind me the other way to face the direction of the Hospital, I’m admiring the Sint Hubertusstraat.

When we came here last time, in early July, there was a huge hole in the middle of the crossroads and we had to walk miles around in order to proceed without falling down a great big hole in the road.

But now, it seems that they’ve filled in that part of the street now and while the surface isn’t finished, and not by a long way either, we can still walk past it on our way up the hill towards the hospital.

Apartment Building Block of Flats Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallJust after the corner there’s a big block of flats on the left that we always walk past.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago all of the residents were turfed out and once they had gone, the building was completely gutted right back to the framework. They have gradually been rebuilding it and it looks as if they are on the point of packing away their tools.

You can see all of the “For Sale” signs on the windows of the apartments. Most of them that I could see are “sold” and that presumably means that the new inhabitants will be moving into their homes very soon. It’s taken them long enough.

Replacing Sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy struggle up the hill continued, through all of the roadworks that were there last time. The trench has been filled in and they are reworking the pavements and the cycle track right now.

The actual heavy work is now taking place on the way up between the by-pass overbridge and the roundabout at the foot of the car park. And just as I arrived, they obliged me by picking up a large concrete pipe and dropping it into the hole that they have dug.

For a change, I was early and was quickly logged in. And I found the reason why there had been such a delay in my treatment. In the waiting room there are no longer 40 seats but just 10. and in the communal treatment rooms where 20 people can sit and have their treatment, there are just two seats. There are about a dozen or so confidential treatment rooms where you go for your tests on admission, and now patients are left in these rooms throughout the whole of their treatment.

So Instead of about 50 patients at a session, there are now just maybe a dozen. Hardly a surprise given what’s going on right now.

A nice nurse took care of me and I had a nice young trainee doctor. There have to be some benefits of having this illness. Even nicer, Kaatje came to see me and we has a nice chat. She’s nominally a Social Worker but in reality she’s a psychiatrist, although they don’t let on. Every terminally-ill patient has a psychiatrist allocated to them, and Kaatje can come and administer to my needs any time she likes.

While I had her attention, I mentioned the issues – or lack of them – about not having had my compulsory 4-week treatment since January this year. Not that it will do any good but it’s something that one has to do.

While I was sitting there having my perfusion, I attacked the dictaphone. Last night I was a girl, would you believe? And I was living at home. I’d been downstairs for a meal and tried to talk to people and be interesting but no-one was listening or interested in the least with what I had to say. They were always cutting my speech, that kind of thing. In the end I threw something of a tantrum and stormed upstairs to my room. There was a record player in there and a record on and playing but the needle wasn’t advancing. It was just going round and round he edge again. Sooner or later there was a knock and the door opened. It was my father coming in. I thought that he might have come in to talk to me about things. But no. He just handed me a pair of my gloves that I’d left downstairs and said “you’ve forgotten these” and turned round and went out. I was so disappointed.
Later on there was one of these American sleuths – a Philip Marlowe type. He was renowned for helping his clients in all kinds of ways, many of which were illicit, to escape detection. This came at a price of course. One day he was being interviewed by a gangland boss who he didn’t particularly like. The gangland boss said something like “I understand that you can help people out of certain kinds of difficulties. Well I need a little help – that kind of thing. This private detective taunted him a little bit then said “yes, I’ll do that, $5,000”. To which the mafia type guy, the crook erupted into a rage. He grabbed this guy by the lapels and started to shake him like a dog. Just then, two warders came in to try and sort it all out.

Round about 14:00 my treatment was over and I could leave, having picked up next month’s supply of medication.

Statue Roundabout Gasthuisberg UZ Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere’s something that I’ve not noticed before, although that isn’t to say that it wasn’t there.

In the middle of the roundabout at the bottom of this car park is this large concrete pillar. And I’ve no idea why it’s there and what it’s supposed to represent. My opinion of modern art IS VERY WELL KNOWN so I won’t waste your time in repeating it. But seriously, I can’t see any attraction whatever in a concrete cast-off like this.

It reminds me very much of one of Albert Speer’s flak towers in Berlin, or something designed by someone from the Donald Gibson School of Wanton Vandalism, as I once mentioned IN MY UNIVERSITY THESIS

Demolition Sint Rafael Building Site Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of wanton vandalism … “well, one of us is” – ed … after my hospital wisit I wandered on down the hill to see what was going on on the Kapucijnenstraat.

When we had walked past there the last time that we were here, they had started on the demolition of the annexes to the Sint Rafael. It’ always very interesting to see how they are doing and it seems to me that right now the whole lot have been swept away. They are even starting to build something on the site, but I bet it won’t be anything like as attractive.

At least the magnificent Flemish-style main building is there, but I may well go for a wander around tomorrow with the camera to record it for posterity because the cynic inside me HAS VERY LITTLE FAITH in modern developers. A suspicious fire could break out at any moment.

Interesting Old Bulding Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallThere is however a good side to all of this demolition, even if it might not seem like it.

There are loads of old houses from the glory days of the city that have been obscured by new development. There’s a little Close off the Brusselsestraat that I haven’t yet explored but with the demolition of a newer building in the Kapucijnenstraat a couple of the houses down at the bottom end of the Close have been revealed.

When I’m out and about next, I’ll have to go to have a closer look, to see whether it is an original or whether it’s a simple modern reproduction.

Repairing City Walls Handbooghof Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last time I was here I made a note about the lamentable state of the city walls in certain places.

It’s quite clear that the good Burghers of the City are keen and regular readers of the rubbish that I write because they now seem to be fenced off and there is scaffolding up in certain places. So maybe they really are going on to do something about it all.

It was round about here that I found a set of keys lying in the road. As it happens, a couple of Municipal Police were walking in the immediate vicinity so I referred the matter to them. I went on to Delhaize for a bit more shopping to take home.

Olleke Bolleke Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter Delhaize I went to Origin’O for some grated vegan cheese for my next supply of pizza and then headed for home.

In the Tiensestraat I came across my favourite sweet shop. Or at least, it was when I was allowed to eat animal products, because as far as I know, all of their products contain pork gelatine. It’s the kind of place where you put your sweets into a bag and weigh the bag to work out the price.

The first time I encountered one of these shops was when I was in Bruges getting on for 40 years ago. It’s quite a large chain of shops with branches in most of the towns. in fact, some might say that sweets in Belgium are nothing but a load of Bollekes.

Back here, I had a few things to do and that took some time to organise.

Bloemenautomat Brabanconnestrat Leuven Belgium Eric HallLater on, it was time to go out. Alison and I had arranged to meet in the town centre.

And now I have seen everything I reckon. In the past we’ve seen pizzamats, potatomats and, a few weeks ago, a soupomat. Plenty of other mats too. But today is the first time ever that I’ve seen a Bloemenomat – an automatic flower-vending machine – here at the florist’s on the corner of the Brabanconnestraat.

It makes me wonder whether or not it shouts “violet, get your luvverly violets” at passers-by. That remains to be seen.

Photograph Team Rector De Somerplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving inspected the Bloemenautomat, I headed off down the Tiensestraat into the town centre.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of my favourite photography subjects is to take photographs of other people taking photographs. Whilst that’s not the case in this photograph, I surprised a group of photographers marching actoss the Rector de Somerplein and it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Alison was waiting for me at our usual meeting place. It was nice to meet up again because it’s been a couple of months since we’ve last seen each other.

There seems to be a new place opened, the Wasbar in the Tiensestraat, and it was advertising vegan food. We decided to go there to see what it was like. It was certainly different and overpriced, but if you don’t go, you won’t know.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter we’d eaten out meal we headed off back down into town.

At the bottom of the Tiensestraat is the magnificent St Peter’s Church – the Sint Pieterskerk. It’s least the third church on this site – the first known church being first recorded in 986. Made of wood, it was destryed by fire in 1176 and replaced by a church in the Romanesque period.

This one was in turn replaced by the present one, began round about 1425 and, surprisingly, still to be finished. Probably a British construction company was involved somewhere in the proceedings.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere at the western end, the twin towers of the Romanesque church were to remain but in 1458 they were destroyed by fire.

There was a design proposed to replace them with some really impressive towers but firstly the foundations were not solid enough, then they ran out of money, and then there were a couple of collapses of whatever of the towers had been built. Had the plans been properly completed, it would have been the tallest building in the world at the time.

During the Sack of Leuven in 1914 the church was set alight and the roof was destroyed. And then in 1944 it suffered a direct him on its northern side from a bomb

lights Mathieu de Layensplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’d been walking around on our way to our meal we’d noticed some lights down at the end of one of the streets. On the way back we decided to go and have a look to see what as going on.

Here in the Mathieu de Layensplein where they have the brocantes at weekends, one of the bars here has decided to bring a little gaiety into the area by stringing up some very nice lights.

The whole Square looks quite nice and interesting like this and it would have been nice to see more people try this kind of thing in their neighbourhood. With everything that’s going on right now, we could do with some brightening up.

Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back home, someone stopped me in the Tiensestraat and asked for directions.

While I was talking, I was having a look round and having the subject of lights going round in my head, I noticed just how nice the lower end of the Tiensestraat looked with all of the lights on the buildings. It’s another subject that seems to be crying out for a photograph.

Having done all of that, I headed home and missed my short-cut, so I had to go the long way round.

And now I’ve written up my notes (and that was a labour of love) I’m off to bed. No alarm tomorrow because the medication usually takes a lot out of me and I don’t know what this new stuff will be like.

And, of course, I have a 05:30 start on Friday so I need to be at my best.

Thursday 24th October 2019 – THAT VEGAN PIE …

… that I made just before leaving on my Trans-Atlantic voyage back in June, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, well, it’s absolutely delicious. I had my first slice of it today.

With jacket potatoes peas and carrots too, followed by a real and proper rice pudding, complete with skin. Yes, I had the oven on today so I may as well fill it, hey?

I went to the shops to buy some more stuff like carrots, of which I have run out. But not this morning though. Ohh no!

And for two reasons, the second of which was that this morning it was teeming down with rain and I wouldn’t send a dog out in that kind of weather, never mind myself.

But the first reason was much more realistic. In fact, I slept right through the alarms and didn’t stock my leg out of bed until about 10:30. That didn’t leave me much time.

Mind you, there’s a very good reason for the late awakening. I was wrestling with a rather knotty problem in Javascript and I was determined that I was going to crack on and resolve it regardless.

By the time that I was in a position to shout “Eureka” it was … errr … 03:10 and I didn’t even go to bed them but had one or two other things to do.

Nevertheless I was pleased that I had broken the back of the Javascript issue. That has cheered me up no end and I can move forward.

This morning after a very late breakfast I attended to a few issues on here.

The first issue is that with my dramatically-increased readership, most of whom come from the other side of the Atlantic, I seem to have fallen foul of the Federal Trade Commission in the USA.

Apparently I have to make a formal statement that I receive commissions from Amazon when someone purchases something using the links from my site.

Last year, I earned a total of about $30:00, which doesn’t even pay for two months’ worth of web hosting but nevertheless, there are no exceptions on small amounts.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every few weeks I make mention of it on these pages to remind everyone to help me out by using my links to order stuff, but apparently that’s not sufficient. A formal statement is required.

So if you look carefully, you’ll notice that there’s an extra link above the title bar and the little yellow box to the right has increased somewhat in size, with extra text

Having dealt with that issue, it was time to stop for lunch.

No tomatoes and no hummus either, but there was some carrot soup in the freezer, left over from about two years ago, and it doesn’t keep for ever. So into the saucepan it went with a little extra water and some small pasta elbows.

And it was just as delicious as it was when I made it.

After that, I walked on up to LIDL. And the new keen, lean me strode out up the hill with no real effort. Losing that 8kgs has made me feel so much better and I’m pleased about that.

With no Caliburn for at least another fortnight I had to do a big shopping and maul it all by hand back home again. Two large bags full and although it was something of a struggle I made it home with no real complications. And as a reward I allowed myself a second coffee.

But I’ll stride out on Saturday to LIDL too for more goodies. I’ll keep on doing that every couple of days for now.

One thing that I should have mentioned is that I’ve had a letter from the hospital. My next appointment is on 15th November. That accords with the four-weekly routine which, while inconvenient and I wish that they would stretch it out, means that they didn’t find anything in all of these extra tests to worry them unduly.

But AT LAST I seem to have been able to arrange my appointments for a Friday. That’s much more interesting for me, not the least reason being that I can go to the shops and buy food for breakfast and the like when I arrive on Thursday which I couldn’t do when my appointments were on Monday so I arrived on a Sunday.

It was killing me, having to pack all of my food in on the train.

I mentioned to a few people that I would be there for the whole of that weekend and it looks as if a few of my friends are going to be coming along to Leuven for that weekend. If you happen to be free for that weekend and can make it to Leuven (an excellent rail service from Brussels National Airport 20 minutes away) let me know.

Now that I have a “contact me” button down in the bottom right corner of the screen you don’t even have to post a comment!

Tea was, as I mentioned, pie and potatoes followed by rice pudding. And then a very lonely late-night walk (because I was very late with tea) around the headland.

So what was I doing that was making me late?

Wrestling with yet another knotty Javascript problem. But I did keep at it until I was able to achieve the breakthrough. Now, I’m just a couple of inches away from being able to make a simple javascript menu that I can transport onto each of my web pages rather than having to make a menu for each individual page.

I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but I’ll tell you tomorrow. That’s because I’m going to crack on and work on it.

Chocks away!

Sunday 7th April 2019 – TODAY I HAVE BEEN …

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy france… to the bunker.

And for those of you who don’t remember Lenny Henry, David Copperfield and Tracey Ullman, let me explain.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just down the road from me a mere cockstride away is a huge set of defences that formed part of the Atlantic Wall. They tried to blow them up after the war but with all the dynamite that they used, they just shifted a few lumps of concrete a couple of feet, so they bricked them up and left them.

When I drove past this afternoon, there were a couple of cars and a few people hanging around outside the big one.

With having had a coffee at the football last night, I didn’t get off to sleep anything like as early as I would have liked. I was tossing and turning for what seems like hours.

But I must have gone off at some point because I had a few really interesting voyage or two during the night. Last night I was staying again in the Auvergne in a hotel which was a hotel at the time. There were events and so on taking place in this hotel but the owners announced that they were closing it, so it closed down. I was looking at it and having a look around it wondering how I could make it pay, thinking about having events there but one problem about that was getting people to come there because they would have to travel, and that wouldn’t do that kind of thing in the Auvergne because they would have to go miles. I ended up taking a pile of bottles down and stacking them in some place – I don’t know if I was moving out or whatever so I had to take these bottles out. Some of them were full. I had four milk bottles and another bottle and I was taking them to the bottle bank. This wasn’t in the centre – it was a good walk out of town where I was. So I took these bottles and ended up seeing this farmer, outside his field on the verge on this corner which was covered really thickly in what looked liked cabbages. I walked right over and on them to get to this bottle bank. He came out of his field and he must have recognised me. “Where are you staying now? Marianne’s? Because I have some onions for you”. I replied that I was staying down there permanently now but I don’t know where I’ll be except for the period from the end of June for about three months or so. So he said that he would be in touch with me.
A little later on I was out walking along this track at the side of a road following the traces of a canal. I was taking photos with the Nikon 1. I came to a place where there was a huge waterfall which was actually the water coming down the canal overflow through a sluice. I went to take a photo of it but I didn’t have the camera with me. I thought “God, where have I left this?”. I started to walk back to the last place where I had used it. I came across an elderly woman with a couple of young boys. She had the same camera around her shoulder. So I asked her “you haven’t found my Nikon, have you?”. She said no, that this one was hers. I could see that because it had one or two attachments that mine didn’t have. I told her that I must have put mine down somewhere and left it. So I walked back and they made a couple of comments about me being English. I replied that I wasn’t English really. They followed me and when I reached this place where I had been before and saw this cascade I started to hunt around but couldn’t find it anywhere. They all helped me look. All of a sudden I had to touch my shoulder and I found the camera strap. I’d had it around my shoulder all the time and I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed it. It was probably just a little moment of panic that I had had while I was looking at this sluice

No alarm as I said, so a very pleasant awakening at … errr … 09:25, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve been so lucky as to have had a decent morning like that.

With a late start, it was a late breakfast and then, imitating my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

In fact I was so busy doing nothing that I didn’t have time for lunch. I made my butties and a flask of coffee and headed out for St Pair.

football us st pairaise es haylande stade croissant st pair sur mer manche normandy france At the Stade Croissant while I was eating my sandwiches and drinking my coffee, US St Pairaise were playing the Entente Sportive d’Haylande from La Haye-Pesnil.

Despite it being a District League Second Division match it was really exciting and just for a change at this level, we had a very even aerial contest with two teams who were both excellent in the air.

And Haylande had a guy playing right-back who looked almost as old as me, with a head of whitish greying hair, but he’d clearly been around the block several times and St Pair’s left winger had no change out of him at all.

The score ended 3-1 for ES Haylande, which was rather unfair on St Pair. But the big difference was that Haylande made the most of their chances and St Pair didn’t. They even had a penalty saved by the Haylande keeper.

But at long last – two teams who knew how to play in the air. Back to the 1970s certainly, but it was very interesting to watch. And the referees’ assessor, with whom I was sitting in the stand, enjoyed it as much as I did.

inside bunker work area atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOn my way back home from the football the people at the bunker were still there when I came back so I went to see what was going on.

As I have said before, if you want to know the answer to a question, you need to ask the question.

I’ve mentioned before that there is some talk of opening them up to make a museum and what they were doing today is some kind of inspection after a preliminary clean-up a few days ago.

entrance steps inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceMe being me, I managed to blag my way in for a visit.

We couldn’t go in by the steps (of which there were two separate entrances down) because they have long been walled up, but there is another way in through a reinforced steel armour-plated blast door.

And so once inside, our little private tour commences.

gas tight door inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne of the things that caught my eye once inside was the door into the crew quarters.

As well as being a reinforced armour-plated blast door, it also appears to be a gas-tight door too. You can see the rubber seal around the door if you look closely.

And there were the remains of the rusty, corroded air treatment pipework in the room too.

machine gun trap inside bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut this was what I found to be quite interesting.

From the crew room there was a reinforced metal aperture overlooking the main corridor. The guy who was taking me around speculated that it was an aperture for a machine gun so that if the enemy managed to enter the bunker the defenders could seal themselves in and fight back.

That seems to be a logical idea, although the attackers once inside could simply roll hand grenades down the air tubes.

athletics track gymnase jean galfione granville manche normandy franceAfter my tour around the bunker, I walked back home. But on the way back I had an opportunity to look over the hedge at the athletics track.

This is now part of the Gymnase Jean Galfione, named for the local Olympic gold medal in the pole vault, but I reckon that it was all part of the barracks when the army was stationed here.

In principle they could put a football pitch in the centre, but the fierce winds that we have here would make any match here unplayable.

Back here, I make tea. One of the best pizzas that I have ever made, followed by strawberries (I bought a punnet yesterday) and coconut-flavoured soya cream.

trawler night baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceNot much happening tonight around the headland when I went for a walk.

There were just a couple of few people standing around on the headland at the Pointe du Roc watching a trawler setting out to sea.

Nothing exciting at all so I came back to do my notes.

Now I’m ready to bed and I need a decent sleep because I have a lot to do tomorrow. Time is running out for some things that I need to do.

Saturday 20th May 2018 – LAST MATCH …

football stade louis dior so romorantin us granville manche normandy france… of the season this evening at the Stade Louis Dior for the US Granville’s 1st XI.

And it was free admission too – what you might call an “Open Dior” evening, I suppose. And not only that, I was given an invitation to sit in the stand which was very nice. Even nicer was the fact that it was a beautiful evening.

Tonight’s opponents were Sologne Olympic Romorantin, a name that is bound to cause confusion. The club was formerly known as Stade Olympic Romorantin and the name change caught many people off-balance. The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright (regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we visited Graycliff, one of his houses) asked everyone he knew for confirmation of the name change, to which the famous singer Paul Simon answered “Sologne, Frank Lloyd Wright” … "are you sure about this?" – ed.

As for the match itself, it was a pulsating, thrilling encounter that finished 2-2. But this was two points thrown away by Granville, not one point gained.

Granville had half a dozen other really good chances to score that many other teams would have buried in the back of the net, including a free header from three yards out that somehow went over the bar.

As for the two goals conceded, one was a defensive mix-up where the keeper and two defenders waited around for one of the three to clear the ball, and the second was the Granville keeper coming miles off his line for a ball that he was never ever going to reach. In fact, the Granville keeper didn’t look his usual confident self throughout the match.

With having another reasonably early night, the alarm didn’t come as much of a shock that it normally did too. Although it did snap me out of one of my nocturnal rambles. Unfortunately the batteries in the dictaphone went flat so I don’t remember much of it. But somewhere along the line I was walking along a main road carrying a brown grip-kind of luggage thing almost identical to one that I was given for a birthday in 1977. I was supposed to be heading home but it was a long way and I was hoping that someone would stop to pick me up, although I wasn’t actively hitch-hiking. It was taking place on the edge of a town just where the houses start to give way to countryside and where the footpath ends. And it must have been on the mainland of Europe as I was on the right-hand side of the road. I wasn’t alone either, because here and there were a few other individuals loitering in the vicinity. Suddenly someone shouted that there was to be a train leaving the station so people started to flood off up a side street. I asked if that wa the way to the station and someone replied that it was so I followed the stream of people, even though my pride wanted me to stay on the road and walk home. At the station there was a railway official directing the people to the train. I seemed to recall that I’d been here before under similar circumstances and that the official had given us all temporary railway tickets, but this time he was just waving us to the train with no tickets being issued. So I was wondering exactly what was the scam that he was working over the passenger tickets and fares.

We had the usual morning routine, including a shower and a setting off of the washing machine (there was a backlog of laundry again) and then the shops.

The usual round of LIDL, NOZ and Leclerc. The former and the latter didn’t come up with anything special but at NOZ there were all kinds of bits and pieces. Nothing exciting though, except a cheap air mattress. It comes to my mind that I might be going off on my travels in a few weeks and of course, I don’t have my travelling mattress for Caliburn, do I?

It shouldn’t make any difference really because I’m not well enough these days to sleep in Caliburn as I used to, but it’s one of those things that you might always need it if you don’t have it.

But I called in at the Second Hand shop on the way back – the one from whence the new hi-fi came. They did indeed have a Nikon lens that will fit on the big Nikon. So when I go past there on Tuesday I’ll take the camera there and try it out. See whether it’s the lens or the camera itself that is faulty.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for half an hour, and then took myself off for a very late lunch on my little wall with my book. Beautiful weather it was too.

There wasn’t much of the afternoon left by the time I returned, so I didn’t do much before going off across town for the football.

granville haute ville manche normandy franceBack here though later in the evening, there was a guided tour of the old medieval town here, with flaming torches (and perishing lamps and blasted lights too).

I went out and tagged myself on to one of the groups of wanderers to listen to what the guide had to say. It always helps to know about where you are living.

And it was quite interesting. He pointed out many things that I hadn’t noticed on my travels around on my own and gave us all quite an interesting tour.

Église Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou granville manche normandy franceBut my heart isn’t in it, I’m afraid.

It’s not like the olden days when I could wander around like this for hours. By the time that we were heading back to the Église Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou I was tired and exhausted.

There was a whole raft of entertainment organised for for us all through the night, but it wasn’t to be for me. I came home and went to bed instead.

All of this is rather depressing, isn’t it?

Tuesday 10th April 2018 – AND SO I WENT OUT …

… this afternoon into town, as I mentioned that I would.

And with the weather being so appalling (no surprise there) I was dressed up like Nanook of the North.

What then happened was completely predictable. The clouds dramatically raced away, we had a bright blue sky with this strange round, golden object in the sky and I melted. First time this year. I was so hot it was unbelievable.

But as I returned, the weather just as dramatically closed in again and we had a pile of rain. I tell you – this is really getting on my wick now. It’s beyond a joke.

Another night of not very much sleep, and I was on my travels yet again. I was driving down the hill (at the Clermont-Ferrand side) into St Eloy-les-Mines of all places in a car that was comparatively modern, and was joined by a pale blue early MkII Consul (the type with the small rear lights) in a rather tatty condition, and an ancient F-series Vauxhall Victor. Our descent took us into the suburbs of London (like you do) and the local MoT station where the three vehicles were examined. On enquiring of the tester, I was told that “they’ve all passed OK” – which totally surprised me. As he handed me the documents I asked him if there were any advisories. “No, none at all. They are all good” – and that I found even more surprising. But who am I to argue with an MoT examiner when he has just passed all of my cars?

We had breakfast and the usual relax afterwards and then SHOCK! HORROR! I vacuumed the floor of the apartment and cleaned the kitchen cupboard. Not that you’d notice, of course, but I do and that’s what’s important.

For lunch I finished off the soup with some more bits of baguette from the freezer and then headed into town.

My wanderings took me to the harbour to see what the crane was doing, but there was nothing particularly evident as to why it should still be there. And there was no-one around to ask either which was surprising.

I went round to the boulangerie where the good baguettes are sold and picked up one of the baguettes that keep for a couple of days. That’s for my butties on the road tomorrow of course. I’m heading back to Leuven aren’t I?

The post Office was next, to post a letter to the Tax Office and then round to the estate agent’s to pay them this famous €0:34 before I go away.

And here I tackled head-on a subject close to my heart. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the kitchen here is rubbish and I want to do something about improving it. So I asked the estate agents if the owner would consider making an investment into his property by making a contribution to the cost.

My demand wasn’t dismissed out of hand, which is one good thing. I need to make a report and to draw up a little plan about what I would like to do. This involves a trip to IKEA to price out a few things and I may well do that on Friday if I can – the one at Zaventam. I’m sure that there must be a bus from Leuven that goes that way. I shall have to make enquiries. I shall have to measure the kitchen area before I go out tomorrow.

This afternoon I was planning to wash the floor and then go for a walk while it dried but shame as it is to say it, I was stark out on the sofa. And you have no idea just how much this is depressing me.

Tea was a frozen curry out of the freezer and then I had my evening walk around the headland. Ready for bed now and I need a good sleep because I’m on the road tomorrow.

I wonder what Thursday at the hospital will bring for me.

Sunday 18th March 2018 – US GRANVILLE’S 2ND XI …

cite des sports as brecey us granville manche normandy france… beat AS Brécey 3-0 this afternoon in a league match at the Cité des Sports, the football pitch of which is photographed with the camera on the new phone.

And isn’t that an improvement on the cheap Chinese one?

And a casual observer watching the match will wonder why I’m not saying that the score was 13-0, and that’s because Brécey were, quite frankly, awful.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen such a one-sided match and had US Granville played with a couple of forwards who knew where the goal was, we could have had a cricket score. The Brécey goal was under continual siege with shots going everywhere except into the net.

cite des sports as brecey us granville manche normandy franceGranville could even afford the luxury of taking off Marius, their star central defender after an hour because he was totally wasted out there.

There’s no point in risking him with an injury to rule him out of a more important match.

In fact we had to wait until the 89th minute for the Granville keeper to make a serious save from a Brecey (playing in red and black) player. Up to that point, he had been as much a spectator as we were.

Last night was another bad night for me, despite all of my efforts. At one point, I noticed that it was 04:26 and I was still awake. But 10:01 is a much more reasonable time to leave my stinking pit, that’s for sure.

It took me a while though to come round, and an 11:00 breakfast on a Sunday is always welcome.

The plan today was to go into town to the shops and the brocante, but with the news about Granville’s football match I put everything on hold.

With having had a late breakfast I didn’t need lunch, but I took some biscuits and a banana along with the thermos flask (and of course the building was open, wasn’t it?) to keep me going.

It had been snowing out at Roncey but here it was a nice sunny afternoon, with a little wind and not too cold. A quite enjoyable day in fact.

st pair sur mer kairon plage manche normandy franceAnd the walk back was excellent too, and I retook all of the photos from last weekend.

You can enjoy this photo of St Pair sur Mer and Kairon-Plage away there in the distance, taken with the Nikon DSLR and the telephoto lens. You’ll notice the haze, and also the crowd of people enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.

I’ll put them up in early course – I have tons of photos that need attention right now and for some reason that I don’t understand, I don’t seem to have very much time.

But you’ll have observed that there’s not much wrong with this image here. If there is a fault anywhere with this camera (which is why I stopped using it), it seems to be with the standard lens

la grande ancre granville manche normandy franceBut the clouds were closing in the closer to home that I came, as you might have gathered from the previous photo, so I didn’t hang about on the way home.

But long enough to notice La Grande Ancre come sailing … "dieseling" – ed … into harbour. And this good photo is taken with the old Nikon again but this time with the standard lens.

And so there’s not much wrong with this, so there’s definitely something strange going on somewhere. If only the new Nikon could do stuff like this.

As for the pizza – the best one that I’ve ever made. It was totally perfect. And as for my remark about the weather closing in, when I went out for my late evening walk it was raining. I was right there.

So an early night is called for. Supplies are low so this means a shopping trip. Just you watch it pour down.

Thursday 14th September 2017 – I’M NOT SLEEPING …

… very well at all just now. It was another pretty miserable night from that point of view and I didn’t have much sleep.

I’d been on my travels too, but no idea where to because it’s all gone out of my head … “beacuse there’s nothing in there to keep it in” – ed … now.

Another thing that I didn’t do is to take my tablets. Not when I have an early start like today where I need to be on the road by 08:00.

jock campbell motor boat north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And I arrived in North West River at 08:45, beating my local guide by about 30 seconds.

While he was busy provisioning the motor boat, I was busy provisioning myself. We are going quite far today – a lot farther than WE DID AT CARTWRIGHT.

It’s for this reason that I need to stock up with the supplies because there’ nothing whatever where we are going.

north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And so leaving North West River behind us, we head off down Hamilton Inlet.

We’re heading due east, in the general direction of Rigolet and the open sea.

But we’ll be turning off a long way before then – going probably about a quarter of the way down and then turning off to the north.

butter and snow hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017The first settlement that we pass is the rather enigmatically-named “Butter and Snow”.

I’ve no idea why it was so named, although it is known that the family who lived there, called Rich (although I have seen it spelt “Ritch”) owned a cow.

There was still a permanent resident there a couple of years ago, and he would be here today had he not died in a skidoo accident.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017While you admire the absolutely stunning scenery of the Hamilton Inlet, maybe I should fill you in on a little history of Inner Labrador.

In the late 18th and early 19th century the Hudsons Bay Company recruited Scotsmen mainly from the outlying islands of the North, to come and work here.

That explains the proliferation of family names such as McLean, Campbell, Baikie, Goudie and the like.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017There was a very strong French-Canadian presence here too and a rival company from Paris – Revillon Frères – set up competing posts in the area.

That explains the presence of French family names, the most famous of which is Michelin.

The job of these Europeans was to liaise with the natives and deal with the furs that the Innu and Inuit brought in.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Very often, being left to their own devices out of season, these “European” people would go off on their own to spy out the possibilities of the land.

Many chose to stay here after their term of engagement ended, and they quite often set up on their own account as trappers and fishermen.

But the fact is that they all would have died, because the climate here and the living conditions can be vicious.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017The only thing that saved them were encounters with the Inuit – or occasionally Innu – women.

Most of the men took native women as partners and it was they who showed them how to survive in the extreme Labrador climate.

Each family would settle in its own cove or river mouth, and that was where they would fish, and hunt and trap in the hinterland.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Occasionally though, you might find a mixture of families living in the same cove.

What might have happened is that a family only had daughters, and sons from neighbouring families would marry the daughters.

These men would stay on to inherit the traplines of the wife’s family, rather than taking the daughters back to their own coves.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And the fishing and trapping lifestyle was carried on until, I suppose, the last 60 or 70 years.

Firstly the huge American air base and secondly the Government’s controversial resettlement programme resulted in the exodus.

But everyone here who is native to the area is what one would call a Métis – the offspring (sometimes many generations removed) of a “European” male and a “native” female.

A former phrase used quite commonly until about 50 years ago is now considered to be offensive

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017People still come out here regularly to the cabins of their ancestors, whether for weekends or holidays.

And a limited amount of trapping is still carried on. There’s a fur buyer in Goose Bay and a couple of fur auctions in Montreal and Winnipeg.

But mainly it’s to escape from the towns and return to the olden days.

north west islands hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Rather than take the direct route, because there’s quite a storm brewing up in the Inlet, we are hugging the coast.

And threading our way through the offshore islands – the North West Islands in fact.

According to the censuses of 1935 and 1945, these were inhabited by the “Baikie” family. Hordes of them in fact.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017So after about 90 minutes of sailing (or, rather, motoring) we arrive at our destination.

This is the abandoned settlement of Mulligan, and it’s probably the most famous of all of the settlements out here.

And its claim to fame is that is was the home of possibly the most famous person in Labrador – Lydia Campbell.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017I’ve come here with one of Lydia’s descendants. He’s going to show me around the settlement and later on, we may well be going to meet her.

And so we moor the boat up an the bank and step ashore – back into almost 200 years of history because the “Campbell” of our story is a late arrival.

He didn’t turn up from the Orkneys until the early 1840s

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Mulligan was a huge settlement by the standards of the day. At one time there were 20 families living here and the settlement had its own school.

By the time of the census of 1935 there were 6 families of 32 people, all Baikies and Campbells.

And in 1945 there were 8 families of 39, and we have acquired a family called “Chaulk”.

lydia campbell family cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017the hump of earth that you can see in the foreground is said to be the site of the cabin of the more famous Campbells.

Of course, it’s long-gone now, just as they are. But it’s still interesting to see the site where they are said to have lived, even if there is very little left to see.

No memorial of course, because it’s not exactly on the tourist track here.

campbells cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Of the more modern descendants of Lydia Campbell, that is their own former family home from before the relocation.

It still receives some occasional use and is currently undergoing a process of renovation.

Who knows? We might even end up with some more permanent residents. Wouldn’t that be interesting? But it’s unlikely.

By the time of the turn of the 20th Century most people had forsaken the traditional log cabin for a wood-plank house.

original cabin mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017And then promptly realised their error, for nothing is as suitable to the Labrador environment than a traditional log cabin.

But one family has kept its original log cabin, and kept it in excellent condition too, regularly painted and maintained.

This is what all of these villages would have looked like 150 years ago – minus the paint of course.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017By now, after all of our issues, it was lunchtime. So we sat in the shade and ate our butties.

I was regaled with stories of life out here 70 years ago, and life in Labrador in general.

But one interesting fact that I was told was that the red berries – the partridgeberries – were unknown in Mulligan when the place was in permanent occupation.

mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Today, there are partridgeberries everywhere all over the ground. You can’t move for stepping on them.

There’s something else around here that you can’t move without stepping in.

I can personally vouch for the fact that it’s a lie – bears DO NOT go to the bathroom in the woods.

wind turbine solar panels mulligan hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Before we move off from here, there’s just something else to see. And it’s how Mulligan has been brought into the 21st Century.

One of the cabins here has not only an array of solar panels but a wind turbine too. Just like me back home.

So let’s hear it for the solar panels. Hip, hip, array!

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Now comes the exciting bit – we have to get across there to thefar bank of the river.

And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a sand bar blocking the passage for the boat. I have a feeling that the next part of our adventure is going to be very cold and very wet.

And I don’t have waders.

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We’ve made it across to the sand bar anyway, but our adventure is only just beginning.

We now have to reach across the creek to the shore and I’ll tell you something for nothing – this water is deep and it’s freezing cold.

And I have no footwear either – no point in having that soaking wet.

mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017So up to our waists almost we were obliged to wade.

And then a good trek through the woods in bare feet, which was probably not a good idea.

But we made it all the same, and here we are at Mulligan Cemetery, the home of the most famous woman in Labrador – certainly in the 19th Century.

grave of lydia campbell sketches of labrador life mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017and here is the heroine of our story, Lydia Campbell.And what an effort it has been to reach her grave.

She was born in 1818 and in 1848 in a second marriage she married Daniel Campbell, not long out from the Orkneys with the HBC.

Family tradition has it that Campbell knew absolutely nothing about life as a “liveyer” and Lydia taught him absolutely everything.

Later, as she grew older, she lamented about the loss of traditional “liveyer” skills, apparent even in her own lifetime.

As a result, a visiting clergyman encouraged her to write a book about the traditional liestyle of a “liveyer” woman and the result – Sketches of Labrador Life by a Labrador Woman is probably the most significant book ever to come out of Labrador

druscilla campbell spanish influenza victim mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017My guide took me to see the grave of his grandmother, Druscilla. I’d seen from the various censuses that his grandfather had lived alone with his children and I had wondered why.

And the date on the tombstone gives us a clue as to the cause of death.

November 12th 1918. That was at the height of the Spanish Influenza epidemic. It wasn’t as overwhelming down here as on the coast but nevertheless it had quite an impact

anonymous inuit bodies mulligan cemetery hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Of all of the other graves here in the cemetery, this one is quite important. In here are buried what are believed to be three bodies

One night, part of the bank underneath someone’s house collapsed and a pile of bones, believed to be of three people, were washed out.

They were sent to St John’s where there were examined and said to be “Inuit bones of historical date”. They were reburied here in 2004.

storm at sea hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We’d spent so long in the cemetery that the tide had come in quite a way, and if we thought that it was deep coming in, it was even deeper going out and I was perishing.

Not only that, the wind had got up and the Inlet was now a churning mass of waves . We were going to be in for a rough passage.

Our trip to the abandoned settlement at Pearl River was summarily abandoned and we turned back.

But what made my day, and made me quite proud was my guide who tol me, afer all of the wrestling that we had done with the boat and the river “you’re some tough cookie”.

storm hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017We were heading back that way, in the general direction of North West River, and that was what was awaiting us.

In fact there were several storm clouds building up all around us

They do say that Labrador is very much like the Auvergne in the respect that “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes – it’ll soon be different.

hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017It was round about here that we had the legendary moment of
Our Hero – “is that a sailing boat over there?”
Local guide “it’s an island with a couple of trees growing on it”
Note to self – arrange appointment with opticians on return

But then, I suppose, if I’d been able to see what I was doing, I would never have set out.

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Our next stop, which was going to be our last one given the weather, was the settlement of Sabesquacho.

Or however you might like to spell it because I’ve seen it spelt a thousand different ways

There never was an approved way of spelling many of the place round here in the 19th and 20th Centuries and people wrote down the names as they heard them

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017This was the home of the “Michelin” family – or, at least, one of their homes because they had spread out quite a way down the bay.

My guide told me that at one time there had been as many as 12 children (and presumably the adults too) living in that house.

Big families were not necessarily prolific here though. You’ll find many families with 6 or 7 children but the death rate was appalling.

Despite this being a British colony until 1949, there was no Government Health Service here until modern times. From about 1900 until the 1980s you had the “Grenfell Volunteers” and prior to that, there was nothing at all.

sabesquacho hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017As well as the Michelins, there were a few Pottles living here in the vicinity in the censuses of 1935 and 1945

And of course we still have the summer cabins for the families, mot of whom resettled in North West River.

The cabin on the left is said to be a cabin of former permanent occupation but the one on the right is more modern.

And you’ll notice the ty bach on the extreme left. No plumbing of any sort here.

north west river hamilton inlet labrador canada september septembre 2017Having made a race of it when conditions allowed, we made it back to North West River, beating the torrential downpour by a matter of minutes.

There were some kids playng around on the quayside when we arrived. “I wonder how long it will be before one of them falls in” I said

“Pushed in, more like” muttered my companion

And so considerably lighter in weight and considerably wetter, I headed for home. My wallet was considerably lighter too but I may not be coming here again and I needed to make this visit now

avro vulcan bomber goose bay military airport labrador canada september septembre 2017Final trip for today was to Goose Bay airport.

My landlord had told me where there were several planes on display, including an Avro Vulcan “V-bomber” of the 1950s and 60s

Of course I didn’t want to miss out on seeing that and so I took a deviation on the way home topay it a visit. After all, I remember these from my childhood on the beach at Ramsgate

football ground goose bay military airport labrador canada september septembre 2017and remember yesterday when we saw the football ground in town?

Here, would you believe, is one on the air base. And it’s in much better conition too.

Actually, it’s no surprise really to find a football ground here. There were various branches of NATO air forces(British, Dutch, German) who came here during the war so I imagine that it’s something to do with them.

Everywhere else that I wanted to visit in town was closed by the time that I returned wo I went back to my digs, had a coffee and shower, and washed my clothes in the washing machine.

Tea was potatoes, veg and onion gravy made into a kind of soup, and then an early night. I was totally exhausted.

Friday 3rd February 2017 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… nice tea tonight.

There were some potato croquettes and a couple of vegan sausages left over from last week, and a tin of baked beans was hanging around from a long time ago. And followed by my last soya dessert, it was all delicious. And it’s shopping day tomorrow so I can recharge the stocks of frozen croquettes.

Yes, I’ll eat that tea again!

And so last night was almost the same as the other recent nights, except that it was one of those nights where I sat bolt upright awake at about 05:30 for no good reason. I couldn’t go back to sleep either and wherever I was on my travels (and I was certainly somewhere) it evaporated immediately.

Nothing happened at all during the day. Going out for my baguette was one thing, and having a long chat with The One That Got Away was another. No free pop at the supermarket (and if you were wanting to know, it tastes … errr … different and not unpleasant. Not my favourite if I had to pay for it but it was free).

And then we had tea, where I took one of my housemates by surprise, and now it’s an early night with the internet radio. And that’s my lot!

But my researches are going apace. I’ve come across another book. It’s called The Voyages of the Northmen to America and it was written by a certain William Hovgaard in 1914. He was a Danish naval technician and he was mentioned in one of the other books that I’ve recently downloaded.

He uses his naval skill to comment on the Norse voyages and makes a few pertinent comments as to where the Norse settlements in North America might have been, based on his experience and studies in Norse navigation. He favours Sandwich Bay as being the site of the Norse settlements and as you know, I’m writing a pile of stuff on Sandwich Bay even as we speak.

norse wonderstrand Furdustrandir sandwich bay cartwright labrador canadaNot only that, I’ve identified a beach that corresponds with what I know that resembles the Furdustrandir, the famous beach that the Norse voyagers mention, that is right at the mouth of Sandwich Bay. And of course, while I acknowledge the existence of the Norse remains at L’Anse aux Meadows, I’m far from convinced that it corresponds with what we know about the description of Vinland.

Whatever L’Anse aux Meadows might be, I’m not convinced that it’s Vinland, and Vinland may well be somewhere else.

So that’s your lot for tonight. I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Thursday 2nd February 2017 – WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED …

… to Belgium?

We all know that the problem with the Dutch is that they have no word for gratis, and Belgium is pretty much the same. And so I was astonished today to be given a big two-litre bottle of fizzy pop when I walked into the supermarket on the corner for my baguette this morning.

Apparently they had found a crate of it at the back of the warehouse and the sell-by date was just out. And so they were giving away a bottle free to each of their regular customers. I felt highly honoured.

Last night was another typical night just recently so I won’t describe it to you. I wasn’t awoken at 06:00, just for a change, and I did go on my travels – although all memory of it immediately disappeared the moment I awoke.

And apart from that, I had a shower and a shave today, to make the most of my clean bed, and that was really that. But one thing that I didn’t do was to make tea. I was doing something interesting interesting and forgot. It was 21:45 when I realised what time ot was. I had a quick snack instead.

But my search for a copy of Carl Rafn’s Antiquitates Americanae produced some dividends today. And I can hardly be blamed for not finding it sooner because, being held in an American university, they have translated his name to Charles Rafn. Totally stupid if you ask me, but that’s Americans for you.

Mind you,it’s not done me much good because although I was delighted to see that he wrote bilingually, his book is in Latin and … errr … Danish. It makes me wonder why the Americans wanted to possess it, but there we are.

But all is not lost, because I found a book – in English – called America Discovered in the Tenth Century. This dates from 1838 and is a summary by Rafn of his work, and as far as I can tell, presented to the Royal Societies of Northern Antiquaries.

He’s big on the “Cape Cod Bay” theory, although his nautical calculations are rather exaggerated, he fails to take account of the shifting coastline, and he is, like most people until Munn first tentatively explored the theory in his “Wineland voyages Location of Helluland Markland and Vinland,”, totally unaware of the effects of Global Warming.

It needs hardly to be said that the Norse explorations took place in what was known as the “Medieval Warm” period (not that this is intended by any means to belittle the magnificent voyages that the Norse undertook) and that in the days of Rafn the Northern Hemisphere was still recovering from the effects of the Little Ice Age, with a couple of degrees’ difference in temperature and climate. During this period, the Domesday Book records grapes being grown commercially as far north as mid-Yorkshire. That’s about 500 miles north of the current viable limit and all of this puts the flora and fauna discovered by the Norse in Vinland into a potentially much-different region than where the same might be found today

So now I’m off to bed, early again. Let’s hope I have a good night tonight, and remember where I’ve been.

And I wonder what this free fizzy pop tastes like.

Wednesday 1st February 2017 – UNLESS I’M VERY MUCH MISTAKEN …

… which has happened once, believe it or not, I might have been tentatively offered a job just now.

How bizarre is that?

The landlord came into the building to stock up the supplies for the building (and I’ve had my bedding changed at last!) and we got to talking, like you do … "well, like one of us does" – ed. I told him about the hospital and my plans (such as they are) to leave after my next hospital visit at the end of the month. He started to talk about how long I’ve been there, and how well I know the place, and all of this. I mentioned that I would be looking for a new place to live when I go back to France, and he finished his chat by saying “perhaps I should hire you on”.

Well, it’s been a long time since someone has offered me a job. My immediate response was “why not?”. After all, I need to keep my options open and this might be some kind of solution – you never know.

A bad night last night – it took ages to go off properly to sleep and then we had the 06:00 wake-up. I was alone at breakfast and then I came back down here for a little work on the laptop – and a doze too of course.

I went up to the Delhaize to buy lunch stuff, and of course I forgot everything that was important. I’m going to have to start to make a list, I reckon.

But I did have some more luck in my researches. I’ve tracked down a book entitled Voyages of the Northmen to America. This book, edited by the Reverend Edmund Slafter, dates from 1877 and is very pro-Norse, in contrast to the book Wineland the Good by Reeves, that we discussed last night.

In addition, “Voyages of the Northmen” contains a synopsis of Carl Rafn’s proposition, so derisively dismissed by Reeves.

I’ve not read much of it yet, but it seems from a map on the opening pages that Slafter favours Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts USA as being the site of Vinland. However, Slafter’s proposition seems at first glance from the map (although we’ll see when I read it) to overlook the fact that all of the Outer Banks off the coast have changed dramatically even in our lifetimes, due to storms and currents and the like. It’s very probable that back 1000 years ago Cape Cod Bay was nothing like it is today.

Slafter also acknowledged his sources, and tells us the name of the book written by Rafn. But it’s apparently written in Latin and it’s 45 years since I last seriously spoke any Latin. I shall have to go to Latin America for a crash course.

Puer amat mensam, hey?

Monday 18th April 2016 – LAST NIGHT …

… was another one where I was wide awake quite early. 04:00 to be precise. And although I did manage to go back to sleep at some time during the night, I was awake again at 06:00. It seems that we have some new arrivals here, namely a family with young children.

I vaguely remember some kind of nocturnal ramble involving trying to load the rear of a hatchback car. And with all of the experience that I have had of loading up cars, vans and lorries, I was having an enormous amount of difficulty doing this. It was shoving the pieces of buttered toast into the back that was proving to be the most problematic, but then again, anything is possible when I’m on my travels at night.

After breakfast, I took it easy again for the rest of the morning until the cleaner threw me out. And then I went for a walk into town for my lunchtime shopping. The Delhaize was having something of a clear-out of time-expired products and what caught my eye was two huge 2-litre bottles of “Oasis” sugar-free blackberry and raspberry juice on sale at half-price. These found their way into my gander-bag along with some soya-yoghurts seeing as I’m running out of Alpro desserts which I eat at breakfast.

I enjoyed my lunch, and then watched Carry on Columbus which I found streamed on the internet. Not a classic “Carry On” film but it certainly has its moments.

Another day in which I didn’t crash out in the afternoon, and I felt ever so much better today, even down to having a healthy appetite for tea. On my travels yesterday I had found a kebab place that did falafel durums and chips for €5:00 and I really did fancy some chips today (just for a change). And my tea was gorgeous too. I could go back and eat it again, and it’s been a while since I felt like that, hasn’t it?

So tomorrow I’m seeing the Social Services officer about some accommodation for the future. I hope that they can do something for me, although I have visions about being lodged in a monastery or some such.

So I suppose that I had better go and have something like an early night. I might even watch a film tonight because there’s no doubt that I am feeling better today. This is a good sign of course, but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, as well we know.

I want to see how I feel by the weekend to be sure that I’m improving. And then I’m back on the chemotherapy on 29th April, and we’ll start all over again.

Saturday 9th January 2016 – 2114 words!

Yes, that’s what you had yesterday, you lucky people. Serves you right!

I really ought to be charging you a fee for all of the work that I’m putting in these days. You don’t get all of this entertainment for free anywhere else, you know.

And that reminds me, if you have enjoyed or benefited from these pages, please make your next Amazon purchase by clicking on the links in the right-hand column. It costs you no extra, but I receive a small commission on the sale. I reckon that I deserve it.

But anyway, enough of that.

Yesterday, I was out yet again. In the cold, the wet and the wind. I’d finally managed to track down the person who needs to come and inspect this septic tank where we had all of the issues on Wednesday, and he agreed to meet us there at 11:00. So after breakfast and coffee Terry and I set off.

We made sure that we both had our telephones with us this time, and that we had the papers with all of the contact details, but that was clearly not enough. As we were passing through Montel de Gelat, Terry suddenly announced “blast! I’ve forgotten the key!”.

You really don’t need a key to enter any of the houses around here, but you do need some tools. And having gone down there in the FIAT instead of the Transit we didn’t have any of those. So Terry dropped me off at the house and nipped off to the D-i-Y shop at Pontaumur.

The inspection didn’t take long. The person who came had actually done a survey on the property a short while ago so he simply checked the system for leaks. He would copy the plans of the system from his previous report.

On the way back, the yellow light came on. We were running low on fuel. The nearest petrol station is 16kms away in St Gervais so I told Terry that he had better put his foot down.
“Why?” asked Terry
“Well, you want to get to the petrol station quickly before you run out of fuel”

Back here, I did some more of my course work in the afternoon, in between having a doze or two. And then after tea, we watched a film for a short while and then went to bed.

It’s hard to understand why I was so tired today because I hadn’t been up to all that much during the night compared to many of my recent ramblings.

From what I remember, which isn’t necessarily all that much, I started off with something to do with Antoine de Saint Exupéry – the French airman and children’s writer – although I can’t now remember what he was doing in my dreams, and why he would be there at all.
And then we moved off to the cinema. I was babysitting a girl of about 9 or 10 and so I decided that, in order to keep her entertained, I would take her to the cinema to watch a film. However we didn’t get to see much of the film because my brother (again!) was there and he insisted on distracting this girl by teasing her and generally annoying her – to such an extent that we had to move away to another part of the cinema. However, he followed us and carried on with his behaviour and so we had to move yet again. In the end, the only place where we could find some peace was in finding two empty seats in the middle of a crowded area where there were no other empty seats in the vicinity and so he couldn’t follow us and this girl wouldn’t be disturbed.
But from here, after a visit to ride the porcelain horse, I was back into a different country, in Canada to be precise although it didn’t look much like any part of Canada that I knew. I had a Mk IV Cortina estate that needed some attention and I’d been quoted something like $140 for the repairs. But when I went back to pick it up, it was still up on the ramps (complete with Czech numberplate, don’t ask me why) and the garage proprietor was busy removing my two spare wheels. Apparently, according to him, the tyres were no good although I disagreed (a strange parallel here with an incident involving Caliburn last May). So when I received the bill, it wasn’t for $140 but for almost $600, but he would “make me an allowance for the two tyres” (and no mention of the wheels, which I rather wanted back). I had to sit down and add up the bill in order to check that it was correct. And this bill was all in pounds, shillings and pence (decimal currency was introduced into the UK in 1971 but Ford Cortina Mk IVs were introduced in 1976 so there was clearly some logic here). It was a very complicated and involved account but I was doing it in my head. I’m quite capable of doing this, but each time I nearly reached the end, my brother (who had now put in yet another appearance) contradicted me over a figure, which I knew full well that I was right but his interruption distracted my train of thought and so I had to start again. And then he made another interruption. This was how it continued and I was wishing that he would clear off and go and annoy someone else. And not only that, do I make a fuss about my tyres? And my wheels? I really need my wheels back at the very least, but the reduction in the bill is important and I’m short of money so the discount is welcome. Strangely enough, I gave no thought whatever about the fact that I had been considerably overcharged compared to the estimate.

Sunday 8th September 2013 – “NOTHING IS MORE EMPTY …

clinton agricultural fair fairground maine USA… than a deserted fairground” said John Betjeman in his book First and Last Loves.

So I reckon that he must have been to Clinton, Maine in the past because, believe me, this was empty and deserted. Mind you, it was something silly like 07:30 in the morning in the middle of a torrential rainstorm so that might have something to do with it.

Anyway, we didn’t hang around any and we were on Interstate 95 pretty early heading back northwards. A stop at Dysart’s truckstop for breakfast (for me, beans on toast with hash browns on the side) but, unfortunately, no cheerleaders, and then off shopping to a place called Sam’s Club.

Anyone from the UK will immediately recognise the concept only under another name – Makro – a trade warehouse for small businesses.

We ended up with three trolley-loads of stuff to bring home but I reckon that I won the prize, finding a copy of “Dragon”, the speech recognition software that works with my new dictaphone, and all for $45, which is cheap in any kind of currency.

We were so long in there that the sun was out when we left, and by the time we arrived at Houlton, it was a pleasant evening. Here we changed partners. Darren and Rachel were in a rush to get back home but Zoe still needed some shopping so I swapped passengers, and Zoe and I went on a rather fruitless expedition around some of the Houlton shops.

abandoned rolls royce scrapyard bridgewater maine USAThe border crossing is at Bridgewater in Maine – that brings us over to Centreville, and here at Bridgewater is a junkyard and a sight that you don’t see every day – a scrap Rolls Royce. THat shows you just how much these new Rolls Royes have degenerated since the days of the Silver Cloud in the earky 1960s.

It’s not the first Rolls Royce that I’ve seen in a scrapyard. The legendary McGuinness’s in Longport, Stoke on Trent had a Rolls Royce in there for a few years, but that was full of silt to a depth of about 9 inches – clearly major flood damage and probably only Third-Party insurance. Beyond the financial capability of anyone to put right, I imagine.

But this one seems to be undamaged in the general scheme of things – I reckon a major repair bill that is beyond the capacity of the owner to put right and enough to frighten off any prospective purchaser.

But what a way for a Roller to meet its end – stuck at the back of a junkyard off the beaten track in the wilds of Maine. That’s a sad story.

Friday 10th August 2012 – I DIDN’T DO …

… anything like as much as I wanted to do today, which was something of a disappointment.

We started off on the wrong foot when I telephoned Nikon to see how they were progressing with the repairs to the Nikon D5000. Seems that they didn’t receive the authority to do the work, so they say, despite my having posting it off a month ago.

So I now have to do all of that again.


So after a couple of hours on the computer I went outside to start to cut the wood to make the window frames but although I managed to cut all of the pieces, that was about that for the phone rang.

Marianne was in need of a lift to St Hilaire to plan her walk for 10 days time.

st hilaire puy de dome france St Hilaire is another village a little like Chateau-sur-Cher in that the church is situated on a mound on a promontory with an excellent view of the surrounding area.

And while the history of Chateau-sur-Cher is quite well-known, almost nothing is known of the history of St Hilaire.

Nevertheless, the mound and the strategic position are very suggestive of a Dark-Age fortress of some kind.

It’s a well-known phenomenon in many similar villages that the church on the mound started off as a tiny chapel somewhere within the fortress and the church expanded as the fortress declined.

Marianne didn’t have much information on the village but we went for a good prowl around.

st hilaire puy de dome franceIn the end, we had come up with tons of interesting stuff that we had discovered, as well as having a few interesting chats with the locals.

One of the aforementioned was not in the least pleased to see a couple of people wandering around looking at his house, and he freely gave vent to his displeasure.

However, not all of the locals were so ungracious.

At another house we were invited in for a drink and we had a guided tour of the old lady’s biscuit tin with all the photos, press cuttings and the like, including a newspaper from 1921 with the obituary of her grandfather.

He had a considerable claim to fame, being one of just seven survivors of the legendary Charge de Reichshoffen in 1870.

And so going from knowing very little to knowing quite a lot was the work of just an hour and a half.

paris orleans railway montlucon gouttieres st fargeol railway station allier franceOur day wasn’t over yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have been talking … "quite considerably" – ed … about the ephemeral Montlucon-Pionsat-Gouttières railway line.

A few weeks ago on one of my ramblings I’d stumbled across the St Fargeol railway station and as Marianne didn’t know where it was, we went the long way round on the way home in order to visit it.

paris orleans railway montlucon gouttieres st fargeol railway station allier franceI’m not sure why they called it “St Fargeol” because the station is so far away from the village – a good couple of kilometres if you ask me.

That kind of thing wasn’t important in the 1850s and 1860s because there was no other choice – if you wanted to travel, rail was the only sensible option and so you had no option other than to walk – or catch a hay-ride – to the nearest railway station wherever it might be.

But by the time that this line was opened in the 1930s, road transport was well in the ascendency and the death-knell was already sounding for many rural railway lines.

paris orleans railway montlucon gouttieres st fargeol railway station allier franceNot even railway lines and railway stations in built-up urban areas could withstand the pressure from other forms of road-based passenger transport.

These little rural railway lines stood no chance whatever and were soon all swept away. The tacots – the little narrow-gauge railway lines that infested the French rural countryside – disappeared in the blinklng of an eye and the rural branch-lines quickly followed.

All you can see now – if you look long and hard – are the indentations in the soil where the railway used to pass.

So abandoning another good rant … "for the moment " – ed … tomorrow is Saturday and I’ll be off to Commentry shopping, I hope.

But I’m going to have to do better than this for working if I’m going to treat myself to the little autumn break that I promised myself a little later on this year.