Tag Archives: josee constant

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

There was some more too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better and much more productive day today – due almost entirely, I reckon, to the fact that I had a sleep for about 90 minutes or so on my chair this morning not long after I had risen from the dead

As you might expect, it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning when the alarm went off and when I came back in here after the medication, I didn’t do very much in the way of work before I was away with the fairies.

When I finally awoke and came back round into the Land of the Living, I made myself a coffee and then attacked the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes were transcribed and went on line, and then I turned my attention to today’s notes.

I’d been on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night and it was our final day out. We’d all been off looking at something and I was wandering around. Suddenly I had this uncomfortable feeling that everyone else had gone. Not to worry, because these were the days when I could run so I set off at a run back to it. Matthew Swann and a few others were there. Yhey were being quite derogatory about it They asked what had happened and I told them that I had fallen asleep. They had a moan and everything like that. I was quite literally leaping over obstructions, scrambling down hills and so on. But it turned out that it was all like giant beds with blankets and sheets on and I was falling down the side of these giant beds and running up the other side of them, hanging on to the sheets and everything as I went over the top. Every now and again I would bump into someone who knew me. They all were wondering what I was doing, whether I was doing something for a bet or a personal achievement. I explained what had happened, and I was wondering what would happen when I would reach the other side of the island. Had all of the boats gone out to the ship and left me right behind? But I awoke in a night sweat, as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Later on there was something about we were driving somewhere in Germany and retracing our steps back the way we had come. It all started to become confusing when we arrived in a big city. There were all these weird blue and white buses and trams driving around and I couldn’t quite follow the signposts for some reason. I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to be going. After we had driven out of the city and going into the suburbs I suddenly looked over to my right and saw a couple of shops in the distance that were extremely familiar so I turned round and started to head off that way thinking that if I remember them it must have been from when we came in and therefore it’s that road over there that must be the right one out again.

While I was asleep just now I was driving around Montreal with one of my Canadian friends talking to her. She was asking me all kinds of questions about places in Montreal and its vicinity and I knew none of them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know Montreal anything like as well as I thought I did. We were discussing dating sites with someone else. he was wondering about their popularity. I said “well sex is the most important part in people’s lives and people just aren’t meeting up as they used to” which he agreed. I went out anyway, going to post a letter and get some food. In the meantime a bus did a U-turn in the road in front of me and clipped a car that was in front. Another vehicle clipped another car somewhere else. I was driving around finding myself in an area that I didn’t really know at all and wasn’t really sure how I was going to find out anything.

Grabbing another mug of coffee, I went for my Welsh lesson and ended up being rather late because the portable computer chose that inconvenient moment to perform an upgrade.

The Welsh lesson passed really well and then after lunch, because I was feeling very lively, I caught up with an outstanding task. A while ago someone gave me a laptop to fit an Solid State Drive in it,seeing as I have a certain little computer program that means that I can do it without going through any complicated back-up procedure.

It took me quite a while because it’s an old steam-driven computer, dating to at least the year 2000 running an underlying DOS operating system so I had to dig deep into my memory from 20-odd years ago.

It works fine now except that I can’t extract the data files from the old drive because this computer doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port so tomorrow, if I’m feeling up to it, I have a cunning plan that I can use to make things work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me right up to the time that I go out for my walk around the headland this afternoon.

Across the car park I went to look out over the wall down onto the beach to seed the crowds of people down there this afternoon. And crowds there were as well today.

Although there are a couple of people wearing swimwear, walking away from the water, there weren’t any people in the water here this afternoon. And this was surprising because this was one of the nicest days that we have had so far this year

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out along the coast down at the Plat Gousset, there were even more people on the beach.

Quite a few people in the water too, making the most of the opportunity presented to them by the availability of the water in the medieval fish trap.

Way further out on the beach at Donville les Bains, there are dozens of people taking advantage of the sunny afternoon. Of course, you might well expect this now that the children have gone back to school and the holidaymakers have all now gone home.

There was nothing whatever going on out at sea in the Baie de Granville – no kayakers, no frogpersons and not even any fishermen so I had a very lonely trudge around the headland in the heat.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I walked around the corner by the old bunker I could see that out in the Baie de Mont St Michel on the other side of the headland that Le Loup, the marker light on top of the rock at the entrance to harbour, was looking splendid today.

The dark line underneath the lower of the two red lines is where the tide reaches and so it gives you a good idea of how high the tide can be.

Out in the background on the beach at Kairon-Plage in between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville, there seem to be hordes of people this afternoon. More than I would expect so I wonder what is happening there today.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that there were no fishermen out in the Baie de Granville.

On this side of the headland however there were plenty of people down on the rocks having something of a scavenge about.

With the tide being so far out this afternoon the public part of the foreshore down there is now uncovered so they can have a good forage for the shellfish and other seafood in rockpools that have been left behind as the water recedes.

Judging by the size of the containers that they have, they must be having a good and successful time.

trawler baie be mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the past few months we’ve seen the local fishing boats working out in areas that have previous been unexploited.

Today, right down at the end of the Baie de Mont St Michel close to the Brittany coast, we have a trawler down there this afternoon having a go to see what it can pull up out of the water.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, and I’m not even sure that she comes from here.

So with nothing else happening, I pushed off along the path on top of the headland towards the port.

l'omerta fishing boat massabielle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that we have had plenty of excitement down there today.

The little trawler Briscard that was nearest the camera and Pierre de Jade, the trawler next to her, seem to have gone back into the water this afternoon.

It didn’t take long for their places to be filled either. L’Omerta, the little shellfish boat that we’ve seen so often sitting on the silt by the Fish Processing Plant, and Massabielle, a trawler whom we haven’t seen before, have taken their places.

It’s all go in the chantier naval these days.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then had another play with that computer, which took me up to teatime. Taco rolls with the rest of yesterday’s stuffing.

Tomorrow I’m at the physiotherapist’s so I need to have a good relax and gather my strength during the morning. But not 90 minutes-worth.

And while I was typing up my notes, with my other hand I fixed the computer issues that I mentioned just now

Thursday 12th August 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the place out here being a hive of activity at the morning tide while I’m still plucking up the courage to drink a mug of coffee

This morning started off with a couple of blasts on the siren from one of the Joly France ferries , the older one of the two as she reverses out of the ferry terminal with a load of passengers on board.

They all do that when they reverse out, because they never know what is coming around the corner behind them, and I imagine that the sounding of the siren is the result of bitter experience.

belle france arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s just as well that she did because she had company right behind.

The very newest Chausey ferry, Belle France looks as if she’s been an early bird this morning.

She’s on her way back into harbour having presumably already dropped one load of passengers off at the island, and coming back for more, bringing with her, I imagine, holidaymakers who want to return to Paris on the midday train.

And so it looks as if it’s going to be a busy day for them out there today with them starting early like this.

chausiaise arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – never two without a third, as I said yesterday.

And in behind all of them, somewhat later and at a much more leisurely rate, comes Chausiaise, the little freighter that they use for running the supplies and the luggage out there

All we need now is the other Joly France boat, wherever she may be, and the Loch Ness monster and we’ll have a full house today.

trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that that was all of the excitement this morning you are very much mistaken.

One of the big issues about living in a medieval walled city is that deliveries are somewhat complicated. The heights and widths of the gates weren’t made for modern lorries.

Anyone who has anything delivered here in a lorry like this will need to have some kind of trans-shipment facility for their purchases if they expect their goods to arrive at their front door.

normandy trader loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ran … errr … harbour we have another visitor in here this morning.

The Normandy Trader seems to have come into port with the evening tide yesterday and by the time that I got round to see her she was busy being loaded up with a pile of building material that must also have arrived quite early.

According to her skipper, she’d already been over to St Malo on her way out from St Helier so they are keeping her busy.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was at it, I went to have a look on the north side of the headland when I came back from the shops.

And here, sailing around the bay was Marité

We had seen her at her mooring earlier when we saw Normandy Trader but by the time that I came back both of them had cleared off into the sunset.

Normandy Trader had long-since disappeared into the distance but Marité kept me entertained for quite a while.

condor voyager english channel Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we had another surprising sight right out to sea just leaving the harbour at St Helier and the camera did really well to pick this up.

A quick check of the fleet radar told me that just about 20 minutes before I took this photo, Condor Voyager, the big superfast ferry whom we had seen the other day, had set out from St Helier on her way back to Poole in Dorset, where she arrived at 14:43.

She was the only ship out there who fitted the description and the size of what I was seeing so I reckon that it’s she.

Yes, I’ll go out again when the tide is right.

But anyway, I’m getting well ahead of myself.

And after last night’s adventures, all that I can say is that there’s no point whatever in killing myself to go to bed at a reasonably early time if I spend most of the night tossing and turning and not being able to sleep properly It was a rather dismal night in fact.

Nevertheless, I did manage to go off on several travels and it’s these that are probably wearing me out the most. Last night I was living at the top end of Crewe in Victoria Street and I had a little ginger kitten. One day I let it out and it shot off at a right pace. I was calling it and running after it praying that it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a car or something as it had never been out at all in the past. Eventually I caught it playing around by the railings that led up the steps to one of the shops on Hightown. I picked it up and thought “I’m on the way to the hospital but i’m going to have to carry the cat because I can’t just put it down and let it run around like this. It will drive me mad and be ever so stressful

Later on I’d arranged to meet one of my Canadian friends to go to the cinema but somehow I’d forgotten. I’d ended up going to bed. But the phone rang to ask me where I was “God! I’ve forgotten!” She replied “we’re just going in now”. She’s met someone and they were going to be on the balcony in the cinema. I dressed quickly and dashed into town, went up into the cinema and had a look round. Eventually I found them and went to sit next to them. There she was, then this guy then me then another woman. This was a B-feature and the lead film was a film abour economic analysis and everything. Of course I was fascinated by this and sat and listened to it. This woman started to talk about something that she had planned for her thesis to do with making glucoses on plants and transposing them to trees. I said “you should speak to my friend’s friend because he’s into genetics”. That sparked off a lively incident. This film then started to talk about someone who had developed some babysitting rings in South London with a couple of friends, about how they had started this but were doing it while studying and hadn’t let on. Their friends were starting to shun them because of the implications about what would happen to their studies if they found out that they were working.

Some time later a couple of us were hemmed in on a car park by a car and a lorry on a car park in Granville. We had to go to pick someone up from the seafront a little later and the gale was howling. It was really strong. I was trying to eat something but it was all falling apart. In the end I turned to whoever it was I was with and said something like “shall we go?”. I swept all of the ruins of whatever it was I was eating into a bag and I saw the cheese sandwich and said “God! Sorry!” to whoever it was we were meeting. We set off to go to see the storm.

A little while earlier at some point I’d been on a bike and I’d come to some roadworks and I’d had to wait while we were ushered through. The ushers were dealing with some kind of incident involving a lorry so we were there for hours. The we were let through and I had to cycle behind the girl on the bike who was leading everyone through. I’d switched my lights off and I couldn’t get them to work again. In the end I cycled off and by now I’d transformed myself into a car. I was heading back home to my place in Virlet. Although I’d come a different way I suddenly found myself back on the road that I knew so I was able to put my foot down and go that way. In the night with the lights and everything we could see all of these ancient buildings with all old dates carved into these buildings, hundreds of dates, all reflected in the shadows of the car’s headlights. It was the first time that I had ever seen them so clearly.

It’s no wonder that I’m totally exhausted with all of this going on, is it?

Having organised that I went and had a shower and went one better than Graham Nash – I actually DID cut my hair, although my not feeling up to par is not because I had the flu for Christmas – it’s something else completely.

Then I hit the streets – not that I feel much like it but on Tuesday I have to go for the train and so I may as well see how I feel.

You’ve already seen some photos and I’ll show you a few more quite soon once I’ve disentangled myself from the chat with the itinerant who hangs around the town.

unloading goods at empty shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a clothes shop for kids in the Rue Couraye but it moved to different premises not so long ago.

Just recently the windows have been covered over to stop people peeking inside, and today they’ve had a delivery of stock.

Hachette is wholesale book distributor and it’s their name on the packaging, so are we going to be seeing a bookshop open in the town?

Watch this space.

On the way up the hill my knee gave out again and that reminded me that as I was going past the new physiotherapists’ clinic I should pop in there and make an appointment. I have a doctor’s prescription for a course of physiotherapy.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much at all today – it was the exercise that I went for more than the shopping, so I was soon heading back.

crane rue victor hugo rue saint paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we watched them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They erected a crane shortly afterwards and I said that they would get a move on now because hiring a crane is expensive. So since then they haven’t done a tap of work.

Of course it’s August and everyone is on holiday right now, but in that case why bring the crane in and not wait for September when everyone is back at work? It seems rather strange to me, but there again many things around here do.

public notice square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt LIDL I’d bought some energy drink to fuel the climb up the hill to home, so I stopped to drink it right by the Square Potel.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, late last year they demolished the staircase and closed it all off to the public, and today I noticed that a notice had been erected at the site.

Basically, work is going to start here next autumn, so they say, and so it’s not worth anyone’s while making the place look presentable at the moment, only to have to rip it all out in early course.

So at least we know when things might be starting. When they might be finishing is something else completely.

Outside the building was a neighbour so we had a chat, then I came in to put away my frozen peas and then … errr … hit the chair for a while. And no surprise there.

As a result there was a rather late lunch and I wasn’t in the mood for doing all that much afterwards for a while. Eventually I did some more Greenland photos to keep things ticking over.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was time for my afternoon walk, somewhat later than usual, I wandered as is my custom these days down to the end of the car park to have a look at the beach.

And we’re right at the turn of the tide by the looks of things judging by the beach, and there are quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it.

Plenty of sunbathers and and even quite a few people taking to the water. It was certainly one of the nicer afternoons that we’ve had for a while.

A few yachts out there in the distance too and beyond them are the bouchot beds that we saw yesterday. They aren’t as clear today as they were.

yachts ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the subject of things being clearer, the air is certainly much clearer than it was yesterday.

The difference between the view of the Ile de Chausey today and the view YESTERDAY WHEN WE SAW MARITÉ is quite considerable.

Unfortunately she’s not out there now, she’s gone somewhere else out of my view. However there are quite a few other yachts over there in the distance, one of them being Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the coast last year.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of going down the Brittany coast … “well, one of us is” – ed … the view down the Brittany coast was quite good today.

Right out there on its headland we can vaguely see today the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres from where I’m standing. Not the best view that we have had – we’ve had days when we’ve seen it with the naked eye – but pretty good all the same.

And I haven’t forgotten that I have a few close-ups on the lighthouse to show you one of these days when I find enough creative spirit to write something up about my journey down there.

st helier jersey channel islands Eric HallIf the view out down the Brittany coast is good, there’s a fair chance that the view out to sea might be good too (although quite often it isn’t).

Out there today, we have a really good view of the island of Jersey and the port of St Helier, even down to being able to see plenty of the buildings around the town. It’s very rare indeed that we cans ee them as clearly as this.

The big white building with the round dome on top is as far as I can tell, the Fort Regent Leisure Centre but I can’t really identify the others. One of these days I’ll have to go for a sail out there, but I bet that it will be raining and foggy and I won’t be able to see a thing.

seagulls baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial duo.

The white one on top was, presumably, mummy seagull and she seemed to be taking one of her babies, the browny-grey one underneath, for its maiden flight around the clifftops.

And judging by the noise that baby was making, she was not one very happy seagull at all. The younger ones have this very distinctive squeaky call that sounds like an unhappy toddler.

And by the way, if ever you come to Granville, bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

yellow microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I’m on the subject of being overflown, it’s getting to be more and more like Play School here.

Today we aren’t going to be deciding which window to be looking out of, we’re going to be deciging which one of the microlight aircraft will be oveflying us.

Last time, it was the red one, so today then obviously it has to be the turn of the yellow one to come and pay me a visit, rattling its way past overhead.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the yellow autogyro so maybe that’s his turn tomorrow.

Surprisingly, that was the only aircraft today that went anywhere like close enough to be able to take a worthwhile photo. There were a couple of others but they were either too far out or too high.

fishermen speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dispensed with all of the activity out on the north side of the headland I went to see what was going on round the corner because i’d seen some things moving out there.

Across the car park went I, down to the end of the headland and just as I did so, a speedboat went right past in front of me.

We’ve had everything else today so why not a boat full of fishermen? Not doing very much fishing because they are travelling at some speed, from where I don’t know because all of the slipways are out of the water right now.

They are going to be having quite a long wait until the tide comes in far enough for them to go ashore.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said just now that things were moving out there, I was only speaking figuratively because here’s someone who clearly isn’t.

This is the best way to spend a quite sunny afternoon – anchored off the coast (you can see his anchor chain extended off the port bow) taking in the rays and waiting patiently for the tide to come in.

It doesn’t even look as if he is doing any fishing, and that is surely heresy around here right now.

There’s a few other things to see around the corner so i’ll wander off that way.

trawler in portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty of excitement yet again in the chantier naval this afternoon.

The portable boat lift has been pressed into operation today and it has a small trawler-type fishing boat in its evil clutches. And there’s a guy standing behind it with a pressure washer presumably removing the barnacles from her hull

And I suppose that you’re wondering why she’s still in the boat lift despite the tide being well out right now, and not dropped down onto a set of chocks as they usually do as soon as they take them out of the water.

Well, read on.

7 trawlers in chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s your answer. There simply isn’t anywhere to put her.

It’s been a really busy morning down at the chantier naval by the looks of things and we have no fewer that seven boats in there. There’s Charlevy of course across the other side, and Trafalgar nearest the street, and then four in a line with the seventh in the portable boat lift.

This is probably a record number of boats for me in there and I don’t see how they could hope to fit any more in their place.

And the excitement will begin when they need to use the portable boat lift to drop a boat back in the water, with nowhere to drop the one that’s in the lift while they do it.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw Chausiaise coming back into the harbour after her run out this morning, but she’s now back where she was moored yesterday.

Maybe that’s her work finished for the day, unless she has to go over and bring back some luggage tonight.

And in the background there’s another class taking place in the pool over there by the beach at the Grève de Hérel. It looks as if it might be kayaks this afternoon.

But I came back for a cold drink and to stir some papers around. Despite having felt a little better, I’ve still not been able to concentrate at all.

For tea I made a huge pile of aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit, with no pudding as I wasn’t all that hungry. I had no breakfast either so my appetite seems to have gone.

But now I’m off to bed, rather late, and hoping for a better, more productive day tomorrow. High time that I extricated my digit.

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. Zero was there and she burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Friday 15th May 2020 – I MISSED …

… the alarm again this morning and it was 06:45 when I finally arose.

My own fault, of course. Just when I was thinking of going to bed onto my playlist came THE KNIFE, a vastly, criminally underrated album by a relatively unknown progressive rock group from, of all places, just across the bay here in Jersey

No possibility of my switching off the computer while that is playing. I’ll quite happily give up sleep in exchange for good music, make no mistake about that.

So with a late start, everything else ended up being late too. And there was enough on the dictaphone to keep my busy for a good while typing it out too.

My mother (what the heck is she doing intruding into my night-time voyages? As if I didn’t have enough of this back in those days!) was in this and she was doing the housework, all this kind of thing and a girl whom I knew (and how come she’d suddenly appeared out of nowhere too?) who worked on the sandwich stall on Crewe market and later came to work with me. I was quite keen on her and she was talking about how she wanted to find some more money. My mother was ironing and folding up clothes, putting them away, this kind of thing so I mentioned “does anyone know anyone who wants some help around the house?”. My mother said immediately “well I do” so we talked a little about the girl.
A bit later on I’d been to the swimming baths and they were in Nantwich and freezing cold. I’d never been so cold in the water as I was then. There was a kind of regatta taking place in there but I was all for packing up and turning round and going home
Somewhat later, I’d been for a walk at a market stall type of place (not the one at Crewe). They had home-made bread in it so I went to try to get a loaf of bread. I walked in and it had just opened. The mother and the little girl who ran it were running around handing the keys back to the admin and so on. I went in and who should be sitting at a table right by the bread but a girl whom I used to know. I didn’t really want to see her so I just wandered around the shop and move out. Just then they shouted that the shop was closed so everyone else got up and moved out. She was walking some times in front of me, some times behind me, some times beside me and didn’t say a word but she got out of the building first and I followed. This was quite unsettling but I didn’t know why.

After breakfast I made a start on the rewriting of the website and attacked another page. This took some time to do too because there were a couple of old American cars, an old American bus and a railway locomotive on it and they needed identifying.

In the end I posted the photos into various discussion groups on the internet and while they ended up being the subject of a considerable amount of discussion and interest, everyone was as bewildered as I was.

For once, the collective power of the internet has let me down.

After I’d done that I reviewed the template that I had written (and resolved) for the other web site that I have and then amended a couple of pages from there to reflect the new design.

Well, it’s the old design really but all of the text menus for each individual page are being replaced by a common iframe with a common javascript menu, as well as a couple of other items of not very much importance.

Doing this is saving me about 4.5kb per page (and there are about 500 in total) and also a considerable amount of time and effort for the future when something needs to be changed throughout the site.

While I was having lunch (and the bread that I baked was delicious) Rosemary rang, so we ended up chatting until … errr … 15:00. These marathon discussions go on for ever.

And I also had an on-line chat with Josée. The area where she lives in Montréal has been pretty badly hit so I wanted to speak to her for reassurance and to keep up her morale. It’s strange that there are this little hotspots here and there around the globe like this.

That meant that there was only enough time left to deal with a few of the photos from July 2019 before I went for my walk.

kitesurfing donville les bains brehal plage  granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a windsurfer practising his art in the sea off one of the beaches between Donville les Bains and Bréhal-Plage.

Today we have no windsurfers but what we do have instead is a kitesurfer enjoying himself out there. The wind has dropped today, but not by all that much so he’s certainly taking his courage, as well as his kite, into both hands.

And once again, we have crowds of people on the beach over there in the sun.

couple on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that’s not all either.

There was a noise down on the beach here at the Plat Gousset that caught my attention so I had a look down to see what it was. Nothing gave any indication of anything but my eyes did fall upon a couple of people making the most of the tide being somewhat out.

All I can think of is that there must have been a further relaxation of the rules about which I know next-to-nothing.

yacht pleasure cruiser ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd if you think that that was everything, that’s far from the case.

It seems that people have been taking to the waters too. Out there half-way over to the Ile de Chausey are a couple of pleasure craft. That’s a yacht of course, and what is accompanying it seems to be a cabin cruiser.

That’s the life – if you can afford it, of course. You won’t run much risk of catching anything – in a virus sense, that is – out there.

trawler english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAt first glance I thought that this boat out there over towards the Brittany coast might have been Thora. She had a similar silhouette.

But back home I could crop and blow it up (the photo, not the boat) and, peering through the reflected sunlight, I could see that It was a fishing boat – one of the trawler-types.

Thinking on, though, we could do with some new blood in the harbour. We haven’t had a gravel boat in for quite a while and the port really should be trying to attract more commerce.

marker buoy english channel donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut plenty of fishing of course.

We keep on seeing mysterious buoys sprining up offshore every now and again with no indication of what they might be for or who has left them. And there’s another one here today just offshore over near Donville les Bains

It was pretty busy round by that little corner of the walls, and I carried on and ended up back at the apartment without having noticed anything else of interest at all.

There was the usual hour on the guitars but from 17:00 until 18:00 rather than 18:00 to 19:00.

There was a good reason for that, though.

Yesterday I used the last of the apple pie and so i wanted to make another pie, using pastry that I made myself to make sure that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck.

home made red fruit pie place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had bought a bag of frozen red fruit from LIDL yesterday. I’d left it out to defrost and this morning I put it in a colander to drain off.

350 grammes of flour and 175 grammes of soya margarine all well-mixed together seemed to make it too oily so I added more flour.

At about 400 grammes it seemed to have the correct consistency so I added a few tablespoons of water and mixed it in until it went into a nice elasticky mass, then, having coated it with flour, I rolled it out for the base and the top.

And here’s the finished product – totally delicious is was too.

caravanette mobile home parking rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t ready when I finished my pie and potatoes so I went for an early run.

My run of course took me up to the top of the hill where I stop for breath. And this sight here is becoming ridiculous now. Just look at all these caravanettes parked up here.

There are more and more of them arriving every day and they don’t seem to have grasped the fact that just because detention à domicile is over, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go out to play.

groups of people children playing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd this is even more crazy too.

At least in a caravanette you are isolated of a sort but just look at all of these people. The group over towards the right were having a yoga session here on the lawn and the ones on the left were having a picnic.

As well as that, there was a pile of kids playing “tick”, of all things, over by one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall on the extreme right.

What will it take for people to understand what’s happening?

flags flying war memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, I left them to it and carried on with my walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the other day that the British flag by the war memorial to the Resistance was on the point of being ripped off its pole by the force of the wind.

But it looks as if they have repaired it now. The don’t want it going fluttering off to some obscure corner of the globe. It would be something of a public relations disaster.

pointe de carolles cabanon vauban mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather though was beautiful and the air, at least down the coast to the head of the bay, was perfectly clear.

There was an excellent view of Carolles-Plage, the Pointe de Carolles with the Cabanon Vauban perched on the end, and then down at the head of the bay there are the hotels and other buildings that serve Mont St Michel.

You can’t see the Mont St Michel though because the Pointe de Carolles is in the way, which is a shame. That really would be something to see from here.

marker buoys baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that we can see in this photo is a group of more marker buoys.

It would be very surprising if they relate to nets being out because they are really far too close to the harbour entrance. That makes me wonder whether they might be something to do with the sailing school in the port de plaisance

On that note I ran all the way home and had a slice of my home-made red fruit pie with soya coconut dessert.

It’s still fairly early but I don’t care. I’m going to bed. Shopping tomorrow and I’m hoping that NOZ will be open. It will be interesting to see what they have accumulated.

And I have an apple turnover, made from the left-over pastry, to cook. So I’m planning on oven chips for tea if I remember.

With burger and baked beans too. I’m looking forward to that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That will be devastating news for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back at the apartment I organised the purée.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must organise myself better.

Wednesday 16th October 2019 – SO HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in one of the departure lounges of the worst airport in the world, with the rudest staff I have ever met. I hate this place with a passion that cannot be measured on any scale that is known to Mankind but here I am. I’ve decided that it’s time that I was moving on before I put down roots.

And roots indeed. The last time that I slept in my own bed was on 26th June – that’s 16 weeks or so ago and while I’m not going home just yet I ought to be getting a little closer to it.

A lot of water has passed underneath the bridge since 26th June, that’s for sure.

Talking of passing water, I had another bad night last night. A whole succession of cramps in the calves and shins and it kept me awake for an eternity. I took advantage of the wakefulness by going down the corridor, but I would much rather have had a decent sleep instead.

I suppose that I must have dropped off at one point though. Or maybe more because there are several recordings on the dictaphone that I don’t remember making. Anyway, at about 07:15 I was wide-enough awake to push on with things.

No breakfast though. I repacked the suitcase and bunged another pile of stuff into it (and it registered 19.7 kilos at the airport’s weigh-in machine so I’m clearly getting back to normal) so that the backpack is at least manageable.

At 10:30 I set off for a walk, leaving my baggage behind for a moment. All the way up to the top of the town where I met Josee. I had done a little research in the area and discovered a little Lebanese restaurant in the basement of the shopping precinct so I took her there for a meal. And it turned out that she was well-known to the proprietor.

Later on, I had a leisurely stroll around the town and visited a few buildings that I had seen on my travels in the past. The big one near rue Sherbrooke that I had seen on several occasions is in fact the former hostel for the Deaf and Dumb of the city.

Eventually I rescued my suitcase and by 17:00 I was on the 747 bus to the airport. And it was then that I realised that I had left behind my raincoat and my aniseed balls. The objects and items that I have abandoned behind me on my travels could have filled another suitcase.

It was a good idea to go early to the airport because the traffic was horrendous. It’s a working day of course so we had the rush hour to deal with and there were queues everywhere. Our bus even lost a mirror against a lamp-post trying to squeeze past a queue of traffic turning right.

The departure check-in wasn’t open yet so I had a sandwich at Subway and then handed back my card for the USA. I won’t be going there for another while unless something quite dramatic happens.

Security is always extremely stressful here so I don’t propose to talk too much about it, even though I’ve had much worse passes through airport control than this. Now I’m sitting quietly waiting for my flight to be called.

But before I go, let’s talk about music. For no reason at all a track suddenly popped into my head out of nowhere. It’s Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams and regardless of how apposite the lyrics might be vis-a-vis my own personal circumstances and how I have lived my life, then just as Colosseum Live reminds me of almost every late and lonely night that I have ever spent on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, this particular track reminds me of just one particular night that was later than most and which I didn’t ever want to end.

I wonder if it means anything to anyone else.

That brings me round to the music that I am listening to now. Tom Petty has come round on the playlist and I have Into The Great Wide Open going full-blast.

Not a good idea right now of course. Far From it, in fact.
I heard you singing to no one
I saw you dancing all alone
One day you belonged to me
Next day I just wouldn’t know
One day all the rules will bend
And you and I will meet again

“One day all the rules will bend and you and I will meet again”. Nothing is more certain than that. You just have to believe.

“How could I get so close to you, and still feel so far away?”

Quite!

Sunday 15th September 2019 – I MISSED …

… an exciting day today up in Grand Falls. Apparently they were having a drag racing afternoon.

Nothing more exciting than watching a bunch of men dash round a town while dressed in women’s clothes, but I had other fish to fry unfortunately and I was quite disappointed to have let the opportunity pass me by.

In fact I was out near Meductic moving furniture. Zoe has, as I mentioned earlier, bought herself a little house and she doesn’t have much furniture, but someone was disposing of a clean two-seater bed settee that transforms into a double bed and that will be just the thing.

And so having emptied out Strider, we set off for Zoe’s where she and a friend clambered aboard and then we all shot off southwards towards Fredericton.

Putting the bed in the back of Strider was the work of a moment and it was soon strapped in place. Back at Zoe’s, we unloaded the sofa and then I came home. Totally whacked. I just can’t do things like this any more.

Mind you, I don’t know why, because it’s not as if I had much of a difficult night. In bed comparatively early and apart from a brief foray down the corridor to ride the porcelain horse, disturbing our overnighters on the way, and a few interruptions to record things on the dictaphone (and I wonder what they are?) I had the kind of lie-in about which I have only been able to dream just recently.

09:00 when I finally surfaced, and just loitered around until it was time to go and deal with Zoe.

This afternoon, I’ve had a shower and, would you believe, a haircut, and I look almost human. As well as that, Rachel was having a marathon clothes-washing session and I’m now up to date with all clean clothes ready to leave here Wednesday morning for Montreal to clean out my storage locker and hopefully to go for a meal with Josee.

But having seen the fuel in Strider evaporate before my very eyes, I’ve been searching on the internet with Darren and we have finally found a performance chip which claims inter alia to offer an 8mpg fuel improvement.

And I tell you what – that if I could get an extra 8mpg out of Strider I will really be impressed. So tomorrow I shall be on the case.

For tea tonight we had baked potato – the carnivores with salmon and we vegans with a bean medley. Quite delicious and prepared with my own fair hands. And if I can find the time tomorrow, I’m going to make a curry.

But I’ve been a busy boy this evening. I’ve tracked down the complete digital tracks to two more albums that I own. The first one is Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy by Brian Eno. That was his second solo album after Roxy Music and was such a surprising album that it left me speechless when I first heard it, and that’s not something that happens every day, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

But it’s one of those albums that grow on you quite quickly and it’s always been in my top 100 albums out of the couple of thousand that I own.

The second one though is an album that means a great deal to me and for many reasons too.Warrior On The Edge Of Time features work that probably represents Michael Moorcock’s apogee as a science fiction writer, and several of the lyrics, adapted from works by Shelley and Wordsworth and set to Hawkwind’s space-rock music will penetrate deep into your bones.
“The golden void will speak to me
“Denying my reality
“lose my body, lose my mind
“blow like wind, I flow like wine
“Down a corridor of flame
“Will I fly so high again?”
Yes, what wouldn’t I give to be able to write meaningful lyrics like that after some of the things that I have done?

The album was thoroughly panned by the critics in the same was that A Passion Play was, and for the same reason too – that the critics didn’t understand what the musicians were trying to achieve.

The Melody maker wrote that Moorcroft’s poetry was delivered “with all the emotion of Davros being exterminated by renegade Daleks”, totally overlooking the fact that this was precisely the effect that Moorcroft and Brock wanted.

And when Lemmy wrote that ” ‘Opa-Loka’ was a lot of f***ing rubbish”, what he really meant to say that he didn’t play the bass line on it. It transpired much later that with Lemmy off on one of his little jaunts playing Hell’s Angels, Dave Brock refused to hang around and wait but played the bass line himself.

It’s quite true that Hawkwind has never ever recorded an album on which I have liked every track from start to finish, but “Warrior On The Edge Of Time” will be up there with the best of them.

But it has much more of a personal significance to me too. When the album was released I was dating Jackie Marshall. She worked at the Nantwich Library on Saturdays and used to scan the new rock albums that arrived, secrete them in a drawer, smuggle them out for me to record and then take them back next week. This particular album, she bought me for my birthday and inscribed a beautiful little message on the album cover which meant quite a lot to me – and still does.

But her parents hated me with a passion (like I said, I was a different person in those days) and so our fate was destined to unwind.

Strangely enough, I was driving a coach around North Shropshire a few years later and needed some cash, so on my lunch break I called in at Barclay’s Bank in Whitchurch. Who should be working there behind the counter as cashier but the aforementioned?

I had the briefest of moments to exchange pleasantries like you do, but not enough time to chat, so I determined that at the next opportunity I would go back.

And so I did – and on a couple of occasions too – but I never saw her again. We’ve often talked about TOTGA – The One That Got Away – but that particular girl was from a very different time and a very different era. Jackie was TOTGA from quite another epoch in my life and is probably the original one from which all standards are made.

Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to her.

Having had a play around on the bass, I’m ready for bed. The house is as quiet as the grave with everyone having retired and I suppose that I should really badger off to. But I’ve found the digital track to another album and I’ve made a start to re-record it.

But I’ll tell you all about that in the morning.

Sunday 3rd March 2019 – IT’S CARNAVAL PART II …

carnaval 2019 rue couraye granville manche normandy france… and I nearly didn’t go.

And I wish that I hadn’t either. Standing around for four and a half hours in the cold and wet waiting for things to happen. Being poked and pushed and prodded, having my camera knocked out of my hands, having my foot stamped upon full force by a demented dancer …

I don’t do crowds at the best of times, and this wasn’t the best at all.

Having gone to bed early last night, i was away with the fairies until sometime while it was still dark, but I simply turned over and went back to sleep.

09:30 when I finally awoke, and 10:45 when I finally crawled out of bed.

That’s what I call a Sunday.

There was time to go a-rambling too. Off with a friend of mine who sold me a scam about a kidnap ransom fee and obtained £130,000 from me. And even though I knew what was happening, I couldn’t do anything about it.

And so a breakfast so late that I didn’t even bother with lunch. In fact, there wasn’t time to do all that much at all.

Instead, I put on the heater in the bathroom and while that was warming up I went out to check the times of the procession.

Not 14:30 as I had thought, but 13:30. So I dashed back here for a quick shower and then dashed back out.

carnaval 2019 rue couraye granville manche normandy franceFighting my way through the throngs, I picked a good spot and waited for the procession.

Never mind 13:30 – it was more like 14:45 when the first one went past. And then the others (there were 47 in all) appeared. One after the other, with huge gaps in between. Probably 10 minutes on some occasions.

In the end, I was so cold that I headed for home regardless, and that was where I finally found the final 5. 17:40 and they still hadn’t set out yet.

Beaten, battered and bruised, I ended up back home where I crashed out on the chair, totally fed up and exhausted.

apple pie granville manche normandy franceBefore tea, I finally made my apple pie. And delicious it might be – but it’s far too wet. Too much liquid in it, and I knew that the moment that I added it.

But it was nice with some of that coconut soya dessert stuff, after my excellent vegan pizza.

So even though it’s not even 22:00, I’m off to bed. I’m still not feeling very good.

But before I do, I’ll just mention that I’ve solved the problem of the exposure on the big Nikon camera. I have one of the function buttons set up to work the exposure correction override. And what seems to have happened is that the button has been pushed too far in and wedged under the lip of the hole, so it’s permanently switched on.

So now I’ve noticed, and freed it off, it all works fine again.

That’s one less thing to worry about.

And if you want to see all of the photos for today, you need to go to THIS LINK

Saturday 17th November 2018 – THAT WAS A …

… little bit more like it.

22:30 or thereabouts was when I went to bed, and it took me a while to go off to sleep. However, once I’d gone, I was well-gone and that was your lot until about 05:45. It’s not quite a good night’s sleep but it’s better than what else I’ve been having just recently.

I was off on my travels too during the night. On a coach as a passenger heading into the centre of Shrewsbury. Of course, it didn’t even bear a passing resemblance to Shrewsbury even though there was a good wide river there. We had city walls, low gates and crowds of people to deal with. We reached the drop-off point at the centre of town and while the bus was to turn round (which wasn’t easy around here) I said that I would wander off and take some photos. Of course, it goes without saying that I intended to spend much longer photographing than the bus would take to turn round, but I reckoned that the bus driver would cope. Why I never asked him to drop me off by the gate into the town and pick me up later was something that even in a nocturnal ramble I couldn’t understand.

With an early awakening we had an early rising and an early breakfast. And then there was some stuff that needed doing. I followed that up with a shower and then headed off to town and LIDL.

saturday market granville manche normandy franceThe town centre of Granville was like a ghost town this morning.

Not even half the market was there, not even half of the usual customers and probably no more than a dozen cars.

Normally on a Saturday there would be market stalls all over the square and the place would be heaving with people. However everyone seemed to be respecting this Day of Action against the tax hikes here.

shop window ledge rue couraye granville manche normandy franceWhen Josée was here just now, we spent a considerable amount of time discussing the lengths to which some people are going in order to inconvenience pedestrians and others – preventing them from sitting or lying down in sheltered places when they need to rest.

Walking up the rue Couraye this morning, my attention was caught by this window ledge and its … errr … decorations.

This is exactly the kind of thing that we were discussing. It’s the kind of thing that brings the town and the shop owner into disrepute.

christmas tree place de la gare granville manche normandy franceYou’ll remember a few days ago that I told you about the cherry-picker that seemed to be erecting Christmas decorations near the railway station.

So here we are at the place de la Gare and you’ll see that we have now acquired a Christmas tree.

One of these evenings I’ll go past it and see if it’s illuminated. It’ll be nice to see some Christmas lights.

Lidl was practically empty this morning, which was a surprise. But despite that, they didn’t have much that I needed.

On the way back, I met the guy to whom I gave the Solex a few months ago, and then took a diversion around the docks. The heap of gravel on the quayside is growing – it looks as if a gravel boat will be here sometime soon.

aztec lady port de granville harbour manche normandy franceDo you remember that strange-looking boat that we saw coming into the port the other day? She was still moored up here so I went for a closer inspection.

She’s called the Aztec Lady and she’s out of Cherbourg.

Built in Southampton in 1977, she spent the first 20-odd years of her life going to all kinds of places around the world but since 2000 she’s specialised in sailings out to the North Atlantic and the Arctic. I see that I shall have to make the acquaintance of the owners.

She’s back in port after having apparently spent the summer in Norway and out in Spitzbergen and the Lofoten Islands.

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnother boat in the harbour right now is La Grande Ancre

We’ve seen her on many occasions, quite often taking stuff out to the Ile de Chausey and on one occasion there was even a large van on board being taken somewhere.

Today though it looks as if she’s kitted out for going mussel-catching.

new harbour gates port de granville manche normandy franceYou’ll also remember that for several months the harbour was closed while they replaced the tidal gates into the inner harbour.

It occurred to me that I hadn’t been over to see the new ones since they have been installed and that’s not like me at all, is it?

They certainly look impressive enough and should last quite a while. But you can see that the sea water has already left its mark on them

hydraulic ram tidal gates port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe weight of the water behind the gates must be really substantial so not only must the gates be of solid construction, so must the machinery for opening and closing the gates.

And this little lot looks as if it really could do the business.

I don’t think that I have ever seen a hydraulic ram quite as solid as this one. This should do the business.

goelands fish dock port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the other side of the entrance to the inner harbour is the fish dock.

Wandering around on here was this cute little family, mummy and two baby goélands scavenging for fish waste.

The little ones were making quite a racket – so much so that it was giving me a nasty tern

fish dock port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt also seems that I haven’t taken a photo of the fish dock either.

To the right, it’s the tidal basin and the fishing boats tie up here when the tide is in. The catch off the commercial boats is lifted up here on the cranes to the fish processing plant.

The private fishers park their vehicles on the deck underneath where we are standing and they can unload their boats straight into their vehicles as we have seen in the past.

fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe’ve not had a photo of the new fish-processing plant either.

There was an older one on the other quay, presumably dating from when the trawlers from Granville went out to the Grad Banks fishing for the cod. Marité was one of the Grand Banks fishing boats in its prime.

But since the Cod Moratorium in 1992, the Grand Banks are off-limits. Now the fishermen are engaged in fishing in smaller boats much closer to home.

Their catch goes into the side of the building where it’s processed and then comes out of the front into the refrigerated lorries that distribute it

Back here I had a little … errr … repose, and then made a huge pile of hummus. It has olives and garlic as well as some cumin. And it’s delicious too. It was a large jar of chick peas so it made a lot of hummus so there is plenty in the freezer.

After lunch, I installed the new printer. And that took longer than you might have expected too. Basically because the wireless connection didn’t recognise the printer and vice versa. In the end, I had to set it up with the USB cable and that defeats the whole point of having a wireless printer.

This evening there was football on the internet. Caernarfon v Cardiff Metro in the Welsh Premier League. And the wheels seem really to have come off the Metro as they slumped to yet another defeat. There was no spark in the side – they looked tired and totally lacking in enthusiasm. And, shame as it is to say it, Alex Lang in goal is not even a shadow of the keeper that Will Fuller was.

Caernarfon won 2-0 and didn’t even break sweat.

Add to that the fact that, much to everyone’s surprise, Llanelli won again, it means that the bottom of the table is becoming rather exciting as more and more teams are finding themselves sucked into a relegation scrap. And if the Met don’t do something quickly, they will be in there too.

After tea, which was out of a tin, I went for a walk around the Pointe du Roc. I was the only person out there which was no surprise because it was freezing out there and my ears certainly felt it.

Winter is acumen in without any mistake at all.

harbour gates port de granville harbour manche normandy france
And I forgot to post one of the photos of the walkway across the top of the gates into the port.

Friday 19th October 2018 – I SHOULD HAVE …

… been back at Mont St Michel today doing my tourist guide bit, but Josée contacted me yesterday to say that there had been a change of plan and she was off elsewhere.

And that was just as well because I wasn’t feeling all that much like it this morning.

Last night had been quite a late night – I was absorbed in a pile of work – so leaving my bed at 06:00 or thereabouts (and I did too – I was taking my medication in the kitchen when the alarm went off at 06:20) was something of a struggle.

After breakfast, I had a few things to do and then finished off the photos from yesterday’s walks. And now they are all on-line. All 40 or so of them so you can tell that it took me quite a while.

Another thing that I did today was to catch up with some tidying up and to do the washing-up that I hadn’t finished yesterday. I’m starting to let things slide in here as far as tidiness and cleanliness goes and I need to get myself back on track while I’m still able to do so. I won’t always be fit enough to tackle things when they need tackling.

There are also a couple of other projects on the go here and I’ve been dealing with a few of them too this morning.

Lunch was taken indoors today. It was overcast, cold and windy outside so I reckoned that I could do with the comfort of a chair in the dining area.

This afternoon, I did a few other bits and pieces and then sat down to tackle the photos from the Arctic. I’m still in Yellowknife on the Pilot’s Monument, and this afternoon I rewrote the things that I wrote about it earlier in the week.

Well, not exactly “rewritten”.

What I do is to write down things as they occur to me, put them into paragraphs and then cut and paste the paragraphs to make a continuous text, adding in a few conjunctions to make the text stream together.

It also involves research. And it’s amazing what you find when you start to look. Instead of worrying about finding enough text, I now have quite a considerable excess.

la granvillaise sailing ship granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual afternoon walk around the headland this afternoon in the sunshine.

And there, sailing about out in the bay off the coast of Bréville-sur-Mer was the sailing ship that we have seen over the past few days.

I had the standard lens on the camera so I took a quick photo of it at long range.

la granvillaise sailing ship granville manche normandy franceBut we haven’t bought a new zoom/telephoto lens for nothing, have we?

Seeing as the ship was sailing slowly, I stuck on the new lens and took a zoom photo.

I’ve still not been able to track down the name so I cropped the photo and blew it up (I can do these things, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) but it seems that the name of the boat isn’t painted on the bows … “she’s La Granvillaise” – ed.

caravan site bréville sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I had the big new lens on the camera, I took a photo of the caravan site out at Bréville sur Mer near the horse racing course.

That was another place where I had enquired about accommodation when I arrived here.

Liz and Terry have a little caravan and one idea going through my head was to park it on there for the summer, and then try for a good deal in a long-term holiday let through the winter.

When I arrived back here after my walk I found that I had an important e-mail message.

The third lens that I had ordered – a refurbished 18x105mm lens – hadn’t been delivered as promised. And the tracking showed that they had tried twice, even though I had been here on both occasions.

Having instigated a search, I was told that it was now awaiting collection at the Post Office. So I went down there to pick it up.

And down there I found the reason why it hadn’t been delivered, and why I was puzzled as to how come no-one from the delivery company had rung the bell.

It turns out that the address for delivery was incorrect. An error on the part of the dispatchers.

But I’m not complaining, because when I wrote to them to tell them of the delay and the inconvenience, they refunded my postage. I’m quite content with that.

After all of that, I had to sit down for a while and have a little … errr … relax for half an hour.

Tea was a curry from the freezer and it was just as delicious as the day that I cooked it.

brehal sur mer manche normandy franceLater on I went out for the evening walk around the walls with the camera and the new lens.

Part of the plan was to retake many of the photos that I had taken the other day with the 50mm lens so that I could compare them and see the difference.

Just like this one of the sea front at Bréhal sur Mer

rue du nord granville manche normandy franceAnd this one of the rue du Nord with the Place d’Armes in the background to the right.

It won’t be as good as the 50mm low-light lens because it needs more light to work it, but its advantage is that the new lens is a zoom lens rather than a fixed lens.

That means that it’s more useful as a general-purpose lens (which is why I bought it) but I still need to see how it performs.

rue du nord granville donville les bains manche normandy franceThe other day I took an almost-identical photo to this one and the difference is quite apparent. The earlier one has come out much better

But that’s only to be expected with the difference in the light and in the quality of the image.

But it’s still something that the new lens will bring out an image. The Nikon 1 would quite simply not have registered enough of an image to work.

So now I’m off to bed. In the morning I have to go shopping of course. In the meantime you can admire (or otherwise) this evening’s photos.

night time rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy franceNight time – rue du Nord with the Place d’Armes in the background.


night time place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceThe Place Marechal Foch in the night-time.


night time plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe Plat Gousset in the night-time


night time rue georges clemenceau granville manche normandy franceNight time – the rue Georges Clemenceau


night time moon moonlight port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMoon (hidden by the copyright details) shining over the harbour in the Port de Granville


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceMoonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceMore moonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moon light granville baie de Mont St Michel manche normandy franceMoon light in the night over Granville and the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceYet more moonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time inner port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time


night time inner port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time with St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville in the background


night time inner port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time


night time place cambernon granville manche normandy francePlace Cambernon in the night


bar rafale place cambernon night time granville manche normandy franceThe Bar Rafale in the Place Cambernon at night


rue st jean night time granville manche normandy franceThe rue St Jean in the medieval walled town in the night.


Sunday 14th October 2018 – ALONE AGAIN

Yes, it’s very nice to have company because it drags me out of my shell and gets me off and about doing things, but it’s also nice to be back on my own again in my own little routine.

Last night was another bad night; Asleep at about midnight, awake at 01:00, working on the laptop because I couldn’t sleep, asleep again at 04:00, alarm at 06:00 (because Bane of Britain forgot to switch it off) and finally up and about at 08:30.

We had a leisurely breakfast and then Josée had a shower and packed up her things.

A visit to Yves and Lily’s was next to hand back the tool that Yves had lent us, and we were there chatting for over an hour. And then I drove Josée to the station for her train.

Back here, I made myself a couple of sandwiches for lunch and then I did the obvious thing. I crashed out. I need to catch up on my beauty sleep somehow.

As far as work today has gone, I haven’t done any. It IS a Sunday, after all. Instead, I’ve loitered around for pretty much all of the afternoon.

Tea was a vegan pizza of course, and it was another really good one.

college andre malraux place d'armes vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceMy evening walk was around the headland of course. Only this time I took with me the new Nikon 50mm lens so that I could try it out in the dark and see what it’s like, like this photo of the College Andre Malraux in the Place d’Armes.

But that’s tomorrow’s job. Now I’m going to make the most of the possibilities of an early night. I’ve clean, tidy bedding too in which I can relax.

That’s something not to be missed.

rue du roc vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceThe rue du Roc


rue St Jean vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy francethe rue St Jean and the gate into the Old Town


rue st jean vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy francethe rue St Jean and the gate into the Old Town


place d'armes vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceThe Place d’Armes – my building


roundabout pointe du roc vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceThe roundabout at the end of the rue du Roc, and the Pointe du Roc


roundabout pointe du roc vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceThe roundabout at the end of the rue du Roc, and the Pointe du Roc


old port vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceThe old Port, ferry terminal and quays


old port rue du port vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy franceRue du Port and the old port


place d'armes vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy francePlace d’Armes


rue St Jean archway into the vieille ville old town by night granville manche normandy francerue St Jean and the archway into the Old Town


Saturday 13th October 2018 – WE WENT …

… today to the Ile de Chausey, and if you want to see all of the photos that I took, you need to go to THIS LINK.

josee constant drinking coffee place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut we started off as we meant to go on, by, just for a change, drinking coffee on the terrace.

Not exactly a terrace, but the footpath that goes along the walls at the end of the car park at the side of the building just here at the Place d’Armes.

It’s certainly a novel way to start off the day and I’ll have to do this more often.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy franceMeanwhile, while I was drinking my coffee I noticed some movement way out to sea in the English Channel.

With my new toy, more of which anon, I took a long-distance photo of it with the intention of cropping and enlarging it in due course.

And sure enough, once I’d done the necessary, I could see that there was a yacht out there next to the marker buoy

But to start with, we are running low on supplies and so our first port of call was the local market. Saturday morning is market day so we toddled off through the wind into town.

Josée bought me a book which was very nice of her. It’s all about making drinks from natural ingredients and I’m sure that once I have time to sit down and read it I’ll have endless hours of fun with it.

And then off to the covered market where we bought some lettuce, tomato, cucumber and the like. And on the way back we went past a place selling vegan biscuits. So a pack of those disappeared into the shopping bag too.

Back here, I had a very pleasant surprise.

Having been totally dismayed by the photos that I took in the High Arctic in Canada and Greenland just now, I’ve bitten the bullet and done what I should have done in the first place and ordered some new lenses for the big Nikon.

When we returned, two of the three had arrived.

There’s a 50mm f1.8 lens, auto-focus of course to replace the old manual focus lens that I had. That’s ideal for low-light work such as for indoor evenings, concerts and sporting events.

But also, in pride of place, a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lns, likewise auto-focus, to replace another elderly and creaking manual-focus telephoto zoom lens that’s been lying around here since the Dawn of Time.

So grabbing the telephoto zoom lens, that disappeared into the camera bag.

While we were making our butties, Liz and Terry turned up. They had decided to accompany us and so we all set out for the ferry terminal.

baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe sea was quite rough in view of all of the wind but I enjoyed the crossing and I was there playing about with the big new lens. And I do have to say that I’m very impressed, almost as much as with my galvanised steel dustbin.

It does everything that it’s supposed to do, and does it quite well too. Obviously it’s not in the same class as a lens that might cost 10 times the price of course, but it’s good enough for what I want. Have a look at this photo of Mont St Michel, about 15 miles away and judge for yourself.

village les blanvillaises ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceFirst thing that we did was to go and find somewhere to go and have our lunch.

A nice quiet beach seemed to be an ideal place to have our picnic, so we sat down, filled our faces and had a chat.

Although it was quite cool and windy, it was nevertheless very pleasant sitting out there on the sand with a pile of sandwiches.

village les blainvillaises granville manche normandy franceOnce we’d eaten, digested and rested we headed off into the hills, such as they are around here because the highest point on the island is only 31 metres high, to explore the island.

There are two villages here – one round by the landing stage and the other one where we are right now. This is called Les Blainvillaises, and receives its name from the fact that the houses were originally built by people from Blainville on the mainland who came here to explore the local marine resources.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThere are also several other isolated houses, all looking as if they are made of local stone.

The island is well-known for the quality of the local stone and it has been used in the construction of many important buildings on the mainland in the area, including many of the buildings on Mont-St-Michel.

Many of the houses would be empty though at this time of year. There aren’t too many permanent residents, most of the houses here being holiday homes.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceIt’s a bit similar to the island of Agistri where I was in October 2013 in that there’s no source of water on the island and it all needs to be shipped in. So conservation of water resources here is quite important.

Naturally, I could solve the problem in a matter of days by installing a rainwater harvesting system there like I had back on my farm in the Auvergne, a system that served me well from the day I arrived until the day I left 9 years later.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceApart from the water issues, rubbish and litter are very tightly controlled.

There’s some kind of organisation called the Conservatoire de l’espace littoral et des rivages lacustres – “The Conservation of coastal and lakeside surroundings” – and its aim is to preserve and protect the coast and waterside of France.

It’s taken on the rôle of protecting the southern half of the island and its presence is everywhere, with rubbish bins and notices all over the place.

And quite right too because it’s an area well-worth protecting. There are thousands of tourists who come here every year and the place could quickly deteriorate into a rubbish dump if no-one took any interest in the island.

chateau renault ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceOn the subject of people taking an interest in the island and holiday homes and the like, this building is extremely interesting.

It was originally a fort built round about 1559 to defend the island but subsequently allowed to fall into ruin.

Its potential was however realised by the industrialist Louis Renault, the founder of the Renault car company.

chateau renault granville manche normandy franceHe began to restore the property in the 1920s and subsequently became became his summer residence. And this is how the property remains today, although of course Louis Renault has long-gone.

However his memory linger on on the island. Many people still regard him as one of the main benefactors of the island.

And so does his view, because this is the kind of view that would attract me to a property too. I could pass many a happy holiday here.

fish pool ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThis construction on the edge of the beach right by the Chateau Renault caught my eye too.

I’m not sure what it is, but I reckon that it’s possibly a tidal swimming pool – one that would fill when the tide came in and would retain its water as the tide went out.

On the other hand it could be a tidal fish pool. These are well-known round here. The tide would fill the pond with water – and hopefully fish – at high tide, and then the owner of the pool could wade in after the tide went out to pull out all the fish.

And the drain at the bottom would lend support to that.

st helier channel islands granville manche normandy franceAlthough these islands here (because there are 365 here at low tide and 52 at high tide) are officially and geographically part of the Channel Islands, they are part of France.

We’re much closer to the Channel Islands than you might think – about 40 kms I reckon at a rough guess – and with the new telephoto zoom lens I could pick out quite easily the town of St Helier.

Although I wish that the weather would have been clearer so as to have given a better contrast.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceBut there is some kind of common history between all of the Channel Islands.

They were formerly the personal property of the Dukes of Normandy, hence when William the Conqueror invaded England and became king, he took his islands with him (if you know what I mean).

But his grandfather Richard II had in 1022 made a gift of the Ile de Chausey to the Abbey of Mont St Michel, hence the reason why these islands belong today to France.

cancale brittany franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a good while ago during a period of good light, I was able to photograph a church on the coast right across the bay in Brittany.

Today, with the new lens, I was able to take a photo of the same church from a viewpoint on the island, and was able to take a cross-bearing to verify the position.

And I can say that it is almost certainly the town of Cancale, where I stayed one night in April last year.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe continued with our tour of the island on foot (as if there was any other way to see the island except on foot), stopping to rest on several occasions to take photos or to admire the beautiful views.

And to enjoy the beautiful weather because considering that it’s the middle of October right now, the weather is really nice for the time of the year. Quite balmy.

And you’ll be surprised just how quickly 3.5 hours disappears when you are having fun and enjoying yourself.

fort plage du port-marie iles de chausey granville manche normandy franceWe’ve seen the old 16th-Century fort that is now incorporated into the Chateau Renault. But there’s also a more modern fort here.

Tensions in Europe were rising and falling during the 19th Century and at one particular moment during the middle of the century, relations between the United Kingdom and France were somewhat tense.

As a result, in the late 1850s a new fort was constructed here at the back of the Plage du Port-Marie on the orders of the Emperor Napoleon III to defend the island and the Baie de Mont St Michel from any incursions by the British.

The fort was completed in 1866 but never saw action, although it was used as a Prisoner-of-War camp in the First World War and was occupied by a German garrison in World War II.

granville manche normandy franceOn the way back, the sea wasn’t quite as rough as on the way out but it was still pleasant all the same.

I took a pile of photos in the fading light and they came out quite well with the new lens. Despite the fact that it’s not as good in low light as a more expensive lens, the results are perfectly satisfactory for what I was expecting.

I really began to regret the fact that I hadn’t gone out and bought this lens before I left for the Arctic

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceGetting back into port was quite the thing though.

We were late returning and that 15 minutes makes all of the difference. The tide was going out rapidly.

The boat had to inch its way in over the sandbar and I was convinced that we were grounding out the bottom of the boat here and there as we tried to get in.

On the way back to the apartment I had a chat with Liz and Terry about something that had been preying on my mind for a few weeks. After explaining the situation to them, their understanding was exactly the same as mine, and exactly the same as Alison’s, with whom I had discussed this a couple of weeks ago.

No-one seems to think that I misunderstood the situation, so that’s comforting to a certain degree. But even so, it doesn’t change the situation one jot because what I (and other people) think about it has nothing to do with the situation at all.

Josée went for a walk around the town in the evening because there was a football match on the internet that I wanted to see.

That might sound terribly chavinistic to some readers of this rubbish, but the bare facts of the story are that I’d done about 130% of my daily activity today, I’d already had a couple of little “health issues” while I’d been out, and I couldn’t go another step. “Feet up on the sofa” was what was called for from my point of view.

So in the Irn Bru Cup we had Connah’s Quay Nomads of the Welsh Premier League v Coleraine of Northern Ireland. Coleraine were by far the more skilful side when it came to moving the ball around but they had no real answer to the uncompromising defence of the Nomads. It seemed to me that the match would be decided from a set piece and so it was – the Nomads centre-half rising highest to a very long throw-in from the right wing.

As Coleraine pushed forward to find an equaliser they were leaving gaps all over the defence and the Nomads were very quick to exploit the breakaway. Twice they burst through the defence with just the keeper to beat, twice they were hauled down from behind with no attempt to reach the ball, and twice the referee reached into his pocket for a red card.

Down to 9 men, Coleraine made three substitutions to freshen up the team but the new players had no more luck. By now though they were becoming rather desperate and some of the tackles and … errr … incidents which they instigated have no place at all on a football pitch.

And towards the end of the game the Nomads brought on their star player, Michael Bakare, who had been rested, and he made the difference – brushing off a couple of weak, tired challenges to set up one of his team-mates for a second goal.

This was a good win for the Nomads – a dour, workmanlike struggle against a superior side and if they can play like that more often they could do much better in European competition than they have done up to now.

So now I’m off to bed. It’s going to be an early start tomorrow as Josée will be back on her travels to wherever her next stop might be.

Friday 12th October 2018 – WHAT WITH ONE …

… thing and another (and until you get started you’ve no idea just how many other things there are) It wasn’t far short of 03:00 when I finally settled down to sleep.

That’s not leaving me too much time when there’s an alarm to go off at 06:00 is it?

Mind you, there was plenty of time to go off and disappear on another nocturnal ramble. This time it was to do with a load of girls who were saying goodbye to each other and going their separate ways. And I still haven’t worked out what that was all about either.

No-one was really hungry this morning so we didn’t have much in the way of breakfast. But I had a shower and then we put the washing machine on the go. I’ve no idea where all of this washing comes from – it’s certainly not me.

Once we’d gathered our wits, which in my case takes much longer than it ought, we went for a walk in the wind.

maison christian dior museumgranville manche normandy franceGranville was formerly the home of the well-known fasion designer Christian Dior.

His childhood home, situated on the cliffs on the way out of town, has been converted into a museum of his life and works, and it’s the kind of place that most women would like to visit.

and so this was our destination for this morning.

swimmer diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy franceWe went out along the walls of the old town and then down the steps onto the Plat Gousset.

Our attention was caught by a bicycle propped up against the wall with someone’s clothes draped over it.

So looking out to sea we saw someone perched up on the diving platform. And you can see how far in the tide is today by the fact that the platform is practically submerged.

swimmer plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAnd as we watched, our intrepid hero, clearly the grandson of Captain Matthew Webb, took to the windy water and started to swim back to the shore, cheered on by the onlookers.

As I remarked to one of the spectators, “he’s a braver man than I am” because I wouldn’t have liked to have been out there in those conditions.

It took him a while to make it back to shore though, although he never looked as if he was in any trouble.

sea rescue boat granville manche normandy franceHowever, we did have an interruption by some people who seemed to be rather concerned about what was going on.

Round the headland came the sea-rescue boat and it can’t have been a coincidence that they came on the scene just at that particular moment.

Of course, their services weren’t required at all but they were there nevertheless to keep an eye on the proceedings. Unless it REALLY was a coincidence.

casino plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt was a beautiful day for photography though. The colours really were superb and the excellent light brought them out perfectly.

I must have taken dozens of photos down there and it’s very hard to choose which one was the best of the bunch.

So I’ll just post one photo here and you can imagine all of the rest.

cruise ship english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceTo reach the museum you have to climb up a couple of flights of steep stairs at the end of the promenade, but it’s well worth it, particularly on a day like this as the views from the top are stunning.

I was taking a few photos of the Ile de Chausey when I noticed a strange shape at the back of one of the islands of the archipelago.

So I photographed it with the view of cropping it and enlarging it back at home to see what it was.

cruise ship channel islands english channel granville manche normandy franceBut there was no need to do that really because I could see that it was a moving object. And just a minute or two later it burst out into the open sea.

Yes, we have another cruise ship cruising around the Chennel Islands. Not a particularly big one by the look of things, but interesting nevertheless.

I’ve not been able to find out which one it was either which is a shame.

normandy trader ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t the only maritime activity either.

As we were walking along the Plat Gousset we had heard a hooter telling us that a ship was leaving port. And 20 minutes later our old friend Normandy Trader hove into view.

She mad a really good photograph as she steamed … “dieseled” – ed … off to Jersey with the Ile de Chausey in the background.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceThe grounds of the museum are really beautiful and you can see why the Diors chose this place to be their home with views like this all over the place.

When they moved here in 1905 or whenever it was, there was nothing but bare rock but Mrs Dior arranged for tons of soil to be brought to the premises and this was transformed into what we see today.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceThe young Christian Dior has aspirations to be an architect, and it is said that some of the features of the garden and some of the furniture were made to his own designs.

But beautiful as the place might be, it came into the hands of the Granville town council who are now responsible for the upkeep, and the place seems to be suffering under the budget cuts while public funds are stashed away to satisfy what many people consider to be Madame la Maire‘s somewhat “over-ambitious” plans to abandon the town’s heritage and transform it into a playground for the rich.

musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy franceSo abandoning our fears about whether the railway line will be torn up and the only way to arrive at the town will be by luxury yacht with crew of 25, we carried on our tour of the garden.

Granville has been dubbed by many people (especially Madame la Maire as “The Monaco of the North” and it’s true that mediterranean trees, palm trees, and even banana trees will grow here.

As I reassured Josée though, they aren’t native to the area but if they are planted and well-maintained, they will survive.

musee christian dior museum colletion doll dresses granville manche normandy franceThe interior of the building was quite beautiful too and Josée spent quite a while admiring the dresses and the perfumes.

My attention was caught by the collection of miniature dresses on show because you didn’t just buy a Dior dress for yourself and your daughter, you could even buy one for your daughter’s dolly and hat surely is the height of decadence.

On the way out of the building Josée stopped to sample some perfumes and another woman went to spray me with stuff thinking that I was her husband.

With not having had much breakfast, by now we were quite hungry where we made our way into town and the fritkot for lunch. And he was open too, not like Saturday night.

Josée had a plate of meat and salad while I had some chips and a veggie wrap. And it was all quite delicious too.

Back here, I had a little … errr … relax, and then we set off again.

At the Christian Dior museum they had told us that our tickets give us the right to a reduction in the admission fee to the Anacréon Museum of Modern Art down the road from me.

Modern Art isn’t my thing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but Josée is quite into it and I have to keep my visitors happy. There wasn’t much in there that I would have liked to grace the walls of my apartment.

But Josée explained to me that I was understanding art incorrectly. If I simply want something to hang on a wall to look pretty then art isn’t for me. The purpose of art appreciation is to study and admire the artist’s technique.

So perhaps then art isn’t for me after all.

We stopped off for a drink on the way back and then went round for a long chat with Yves and Lily. They had a lot to say for themselves which is quite nice, but they also advised Josée against going musseling on the beach. Apparently there’s a virus going round and it’s not doing the shellfish any good at all.

Tea was some buckwheat crèpes with all kinds of stuff on (I had vegan cheese, onions, tomato, mushroom and garlic on mine) and to finish the day we saw the end of Seducing Doctor Lewis.

And after all of that, I’m exhausted.

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casino plat gousset granville manche normandy france

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casino plat gousset walled town granville manche normandy france

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bathing huts plat gousset granville manche normandy france

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lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

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waves breaking on rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

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lighthouse rocks ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

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normandy trader ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

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cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france

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garden shed muséé christian dior museum granville manche normandy france

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musee christian dior museum granville manche normandy france

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rue de la falaise granville manche normandy france