Tag Archives: lifeboat

Monday 31st January 2022 – WHAT THE H*LL …

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… happened to me this morning?

While you admire a few photos that I took of the sunset this afternoon that illuminated the Baie de Mont St Michel, I’ll surprise you all by telling you that not only was my radio programme finished by 09:15, I was actually listening to it running through.

and that includes having to rewrite and redictate about a third of it because I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d done. And then it needed some further editing too because after I’d re-edited the speech parts that i’d redone, I’d forgotten to shunt the rest of it down the line.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And if you are wondering how come I managed to do it so quickly and so comprehensively, you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you that at 04:34 I was sitting at my desk in here starting work.

Whatever happened during the night I really don’t know but I had something like a reasonable sleep for a few hours and that was that. And it was absolutely impossible for me to go back to sleep.

There wasn’t any point in lying in bed trying and failing to sleep and waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:00 so I arose from the dead and started work.

The earlier I start, the earlier I finish.

But as far as the radio programme went, today was the first time that I’ve actually felt that a series of speeches and introductions went well. I must be improving, which I suppose that I ought to seeing as this was programme 148 that I was preparing.

If I’ve not learnt anything in all this time then there’s something seriously wrong.

After breakfast and after having listened to the programme I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been and, more importantly, who had come with me. There was a whole pile of stuff going on last night about someone who walked out of my life last summer, about how someone was trying to make her husband reduce the price of the house that he had for sale and if necessary sell it to them yard by yard so that they could keep under their budget. She asked them to quite honestly prepare some kind of statement about how their personal wealth had increased and so on over the last 12 months. She was walking home with Phil Lynott and saying how much he contributed towards her childhood. There was tonnes of other stuff as well and she finished by saying that as of the end of the month or the end of the week their address would be “The Turfs” but she didn’t actually say where, “presumably for a very good reason” said the cynic inside me. I dunno about this but there was tons of stuff and I missed most of it

And later Nerina was back again last night after our row on Thursday (was it on Thursday? At least, that’s what I said during the night). We were having a chat about things trying to organise ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we’d been using the car far too much. We thought about the idea of trying to do things differently. We were becoming more organised in the kitchen etc but again the question of the car turned up. I said “how about going somewhere on the bikes?”. Nerina had a bike and I had the bike of Marianne’s. They both needed som adjustment but I said that we could do that and spend some days out on our bikes and see where we went from there. She was coming up with a few reasons why we couldn’t do that but none of those seemed to relate to the point that we would try to see what we could do about the bikes. We could have a go at it. I had the impression that she wasn’t all that keen on the idea of cycling but it seemed to me that if we were to stop using the car to go to work or something it was the obvious answer. Spending half a day trying to organise it to see if it would work would be a good plan. Anyway she was off making something with 3 apples and I was washing up in the kitchen and this conversation was going on and on. I was trying to persuade her to at least have a try about doing it.

Following that I went and had a really good shower and clean-up to prepare for my trip to the physiotherapist, and then I … errr … fell asleep.

It was therefore a rather late lunch and then I headed out for my appointment.

le loup baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022At the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I stopped to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working.

The weather today was grey and windy – very windy in fact – and there was more than just a hint of rain in the air as you can tell from the rainstorm that’s out there just offshore from the Pointe de Carolles. We can’t see very much out there in the distance this afternoon.

The tide was well out as you can see. The inner harbour is pretty much dry and Le Loup was slowly rising up out of the waves, just about to be buzzed by a long-distance seagull.

spirit of conrad black mamba charles marie anakena belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, there is quite a full house down there in the harbour.

From left to right insofar as I can identify them, we have Spirit of Conrad with an unidentified yacht next to her. Then the yacht with “154” on her hull is, I think, Black Mamba moored alongside Charles Marie.

to their right is Anakena, then a couple of unidentified fishing boats and finally the new Belle France. But no Aztec Lady. It looks as if she’s headed off to the Arctic already.

As for Anakena, her owners were talking about Greenland not so long ago so I sent them a message to ask about their trips. However, as you might expect, they never replied.

The next person who complains about a recession with get a smack in the mouth.

loading building material chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the hill towards the port, I could see that the big crane in the loading bay was busy working.

My first thought was that one of the Jersey freighters was in port this afternoon, but in fact it’s Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, that’s receiving attention.

It looks as if she’s preparing for a run out to the island, but I can’t think what they will be doing with all of that building equipment on the island.

But that was enough excitement for now. I have an appointment and I’ll be late if I’m not careful. I need to get a move on.

installing kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s coming up to school half-term, as this photo will tell us.

Carnaval is cancelled yet again this year but we are having the kiddies’ roundabout at least, to keep the brats entertained.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was some dispute about the roundabout that usually comes here – it was oversize and obstructing the pavement so there was some talk of revoking its licence or making it go somewhere else.

The owner intended to lodge an appeal against any decision that the council might make, but it looks as if some kind of compromise has been reached because he’s setting up in his usual place, just across the road from the Mairie.

The walk up the hill was agony. I made it up without stopping but I knew all about every inch of the way. And I spent most of my session doing kinetic exercises

My neighbour was there too and he offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk.

street lights trees rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went via the back of the town centre to see what was happening at the Rue du Boscq.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we now have some trees planted all the way down on the right-hand side of the concrete walkway. But it still doesn’t look like it does on the artist’s impression, but then again these things never do. They only produce these drawings to hoodwink the gullible public.

As for the grey columns, they look as if they might be streetlights. And I’ll probably get to find out next week when I wander off to Leuven – unless it’s light at that time of the morning. They days are lengthening rapidly.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new bricks that they had put on top of the wall on the Rue des Juifs after they had finished pointing it.

At the time I remember remarking that they’ll be back quite soon to point the brickwork and I’d forgotten all about them until this afternoon.

Well, anyway, they have been back and they have actually repointed one of the gaps. But they haven’t bothered with the rest. It’s true that we don’t have any really cold weather like they might elsewhere, but if they don’t point the bricks quite soon and the frost gets in, then it would have been a waste of time sticking the brickwork on top.

les bouchots de chausey tiberiade coelacanthe marite skyjack port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In a few weeks time Marité will be going for her annual inspection prior to the start of the tourist season at Easter.

It looks like they are carrying out a few repairs to her masts and rigging, and they’ve even involved a skyjack in the repair procedure.

Over in the background to the left, the boat that I couldn’t identify yesterday is Les Bouchots de Chausey and to the right we have the two big trawlers Coelacanthe and Tiberiade.

In the background on the quayside there are a couple of people working on some fishing nets. As they say, “there’s a time for fishing, and a time for mending the nets”.

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On our way out to the physiotherapist’s, we saw the big crane loading up Chausiaise with a pile of building material.

The harbour gates are still closed so she won’t be going anywhere right now, but she’s moved away from the loading bay and she’s now moored up alongside one of the Joly France ferries that go to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s the newer one of the two sisters, as we can tell by the fact that she had a much smaller upper-deck superstructure. The older one is presumably moored out at the ferry terminal, where she has been for several days now.

lifeboat helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Excuse the blurred photo here but I had to take it in rather a hurry and the NIKON 1 J5 isn’t as reactive as the bigger Nikons.

Out there in the bay I’d noticed the lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, out there in the bay heading off out to sea. And as I watched, the air-sea rescue helicopter flew by overhead, went out to the lifeboat and did a couple of laps around.

Once they had co-ordinated themselves, off they set out to sea, followed by a couple of seagulls. Whatever is going on out there, doubtless there will be some kind of report in the local paper if it’s anything important.

It’s a shame that the photo didn’t turn out very well.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was busy dealing with the helicopter and the lifeboat, another boat roared into life down in the harbour.

It looks as if it’s the turn of Belle France to go for a little wander around. But she can’t be going far because right now the harbour gates are closed so the best that she could do is a quick lap around the inner harbour.

However, I had a quick lap of my own to make so I didn’t want to hang around to see what she was up to. I was tired, cold and fed up and needed a hot coffee to warm me up so I headed on up the hill towards home sweet home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But not before I’d seen what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

It wasn’t easy to take this shot either because there was a howling gale blowing out here and I was having trouble trying to keep my feet. So whether or not there was any beach for anyone to be on, I didn’t actually expect to see anyone on it so I wasn’t disappointed.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to carry on with my work. And when I awoke, the coffee was still there, untouched, and stone-cold. It doesn’t stay warm if it’s left for almost two hours.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and having had a hot chocolate and written my notes I’m off to bed.

Writing my notes was not easy because despite all of the sleep that I’ve had today I’m still quite exhausted. I’ve been struggling to keep awake.

It’s my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form, and so I need to have a better night’s sleep tonight than I did last night. I must admit that I’m ready for it, but then again, so I was yesterday and look how that turned out.

Saturday 30th October 2021 – THIS EVENING …

reload Argouges Bar Alimentation Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… in some tiny village lost in the depths of the bocage in rural south Normandy I have seen the best live concert that I have witnessed for a very, very long period of time.

Tha ambience, the lighting and the audience (with 2 exceptions) were total rubbish, with elderly village drunks making an exhibition of themselves falling over the equipment in mid-performance. How the group kept going under these circumstances is anyone’s guess and a credit to their professionalism.

And having listened for two hours to the bass player, how I’m bitterly regretting not keeping up my bass playing over all these years. That was what I found the most difficult part to stomach of all of this.

Meanwhile, back at the ra … errr … apartment, last night would have been the best sleep for a good while had it not been for the pain in my upper right arm from my injection earlier in the evening. I’m quite mobile in bed and I lost count of the number of times I rolled over onto my right side and felt a bolt of pain go right through to my shoulder.

Anyway, eventually I awoke as the alarm went off and staggered into the kitchen for the medication.

Last night I was in my old Reliant running up and down the motorway to places, I don’t know why, somewhere in the Midlands. I got to somewhere and had bought some equipment, tools and the like, an emery block, a file and a few other things, then I couldn’t think why I needed them. I went to throw half of them away. But then I was thinking “maybe I might so I better hadn’t”. I got into the van and drove off down the slip road onto the motorway. I could keep up with traffic fairly easily which was a surprise. I had to come off at a Motorway Service Station to use the bathroom. Then I began to think about throwing away more of this stuff. Then maybe I thought that perhaps I oughtn’t then I went to get back in the van ready to leave.

I did actually have an old Reliant van when I was a teenager – a Regal MkV called Spiny Norman because it looked like a giant hedghog. A 750cc cast-iron side-valve engine and because the weight had to be less than 5cwt there was nothing else of any substance in the construction of the vehicle.

For a bit of fun I junked the cast-iron engine and fitted a 600cc all-alloy overhead-valve engine that weighed nothing at all. Consequently it went like stink. We could wheelie it at the drop of a hat but it just ripped half-shafts to shreds and eventually the supply ran out.

It’s shopping day today so I headed off with Caliburn to see what was on offer.

Noz had some more of those frozen burgers in breadcrumbs so I bought another packet, but LeClerc was once again singularly unexciting, apart from the grapes at €1:89 per kilo so I took full advantage.

Back at home I made some toast and coffee and then sat down to deal with the journal entry from yesterday. But that took longer than I was expecting and it was nowhere near finished by lunchtime

By the time that I was due to go for my afternoon walk rather later than usual) I had finished so I could go out with a clear conscience – and that’s something that doesn’t happen too often either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual I wandered off to have a look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon, although well-wrapped up against the cold, not that it was all that cold this afternoon.

No-one in the water that I could see, which was heardly a surprise though. Only one more day left in October and while I was once seen swimming in the sea in November, that was in the South of France and nowhere near here.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There night have been nothing actually in the water, but there was certainly something on it.

And only one thing too which was a surprise with it being such a sunny day. There was a yacht sailing by, leaning hard over against the wind, with someone hanging over the side as ballast to keep the boat in the water.

And when I say that there was nothing actually in the water, I bet that his head had been in it a few times and if he doesn’t hang on tightly, the rest of him will Be in there with it.

crowds on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As you might expect, the crowds were out there in force this afternoon.

The pathway along the north side of the headland, the route that I take on my outward journey, was heaving with people doing the circuit around the headland and there was hardly room to swing a cat in certain places.

It was even more crowded behind where I was standling, with kids scrambling all over the ruined bunkers and damaged artillery, making the most of the afternoon.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was up here, I went to my viewpoint on top of one of the bunkers and took a photo of the Ile de Chausey.

As you can see, despite the haze coming off the water, the view was pretty good this afternoon and once more we could see quite clearly the white houses at the foot of the lighthouse and along the shore.

There was something white in the sea to the right of the lighthouse and I was puzzled by its shape. It looks to be almost perfectly square and I couldn’t think of anything that would have that form or shape. Enlarging and enhancing the image didn’t help very much either.

50sa light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And at this point on my walk, I was overflown once more.

The culprit this afternoon was 50SA, the light aircraft that we have seen flying by overhead on several occasions in the past.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I can’t tell you anything about this aeroplane. Its registration number is out of the series to which I have access and I wouldn’t have any idea where to look in order to find this registration.

One of these days I’ll have to pop round to the airfield and enquire.

people on bench by cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From the top of the bunker I walked down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

There were two people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban and their attention seems to have been caught by someone or something that is out of my view.

As for what was going on out at sea, the answer was simply “nothing”. There wasn’t even one single boat out there that I could see this afternoon. And that’s not really a surprise by looking at the waves. That doesn’t look like the right kind of sea to be out in a small boat.

fishermen on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t anything going on out at sea right enough, but there were things going on at the water’s edge.

On the rocks down below were two fishermen, one of whom had his tackle out and in the water, whereas the other one seemed to be more interested in having a chat. He’s not going to be catching many fish like that.

Anyway, I left them to it and carried on along the path on top of the cliffs towards the viewpoint overlooking the port to see what was happening down there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At the chantier naval there wasn’t any change in situation. The portable boat lift is still parked in the centre of the yard and doesn’t seem to have moved an inch since we saw it there a couple of days ago.

With nothing new to see there, I looked across the harbour to the ferry terminal. In there this afternoon is one of the Joly France boats, and judging by its smaller upper superstructure and windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two.

There are a few people up on the sea wall taking quite an interest in the boat although I don’t know why because she won’t be going anywhere just now.

In the background in the port de plaisance you’ll notice an orange superstructure. That’s the local lifeboat, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

What I don’t understand is that boats can only enter and leave the port de plaisance during certain times so I don’t understand why they would keep the lifeboat there. She wouldn’t be much use in a catastrophe if she weren’t able to leave port..

people staring at something in port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further along the path I noticed some people taking a great interest in something that seemed to be going on in the water down there.

From up here I couldn’t see anything at all that would cause such excitement, but they all seem to be quite riveted by it.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a coffee and then had a quick snack of something or other because I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to be having anything to eat tonight. I took a packet of biscuits with me too, and that turned out to be a shrewd move as well.

Laurent came to pick me up and we had a drive of about 45 minutes down to Argouges, where we found the bar without too much trouble.

There was catering on site but although the main dish seemed to be pumpkin soup, I wasn’t sure about what was in it and with nothing else, not even any chips, so I was glad that I had my biscuits to nibble.

As I mentioned earlier, the group was absolutely excellent but the ambience, tha audience and lighting were awful. I was really disappointed by that.

If anyone is ever going to learn a lesson from anything like this, it’s “bring your own stage to stand on in venues like this where drunks won’t fall over your equipment”.

The journey home was fine except that with the new bypass being opened at Avranches we missed our turning and went the long way round.

It took me a while to make myself ready for bed – it’s usually the case when I’ve been psyched up like this. But it was a good night and I really enjoyed it. I’ll be going to see these again.

You needn’t worry by the way about not hearing the group – you’ll all have the opportunity in a few months’ time.

Sunday 1st August 2021 – THERE ARE LOTS …

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … of photos today for you to admire.

After all, today is one of the most important days, apart from Carnaval, in the whole of Granville’s annual calendar.

Every last Sunday of the month of July (and yes, I do realise that it’s the 1st of August and I wonder why the organisers haven’t) it’s Granville’s annual Pardon.

“And what is a Pardon?” you may well ask, as I’m sure that you are doing even as I speak.

musicians and singer 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while a singer and some kind of orchestra entertain you with religious songs, let me explain.

The presence of an altar and someone in religious dress should give you a big clue. It’s a religious ceremony that is predominantly Breton in origin – in fact when I was in Brittany in 1978 I stumbled across several.

The significance of the date is that it was Sunday 31st July 1944 that Granville was finally liberated from Occupation and so they decided to have some kind of event to celebrate. This year is the 72nd Pardon.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the religious singing from the woman and her orchestra was far too much for some people.

With a hoot on her siren to warn anyone who might be coming into the harbour, the older Joly France boat, the one with the rectangular windows in landscape format, reversed from her berth at the ferry terminal.

She had quite a full load of people on board who had also quite clearly had enough of the religious singing too, and they all set out for a cruise off to the Ile de Chausey. And by the looks of things there is plenty of luggage because Chausiaise has moved from her berth while I was watching what was going on.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was sitting on my wall overlooking the harbour, a couple of neighbours fell in with me.

One of them is dog-sitting his sister’s corgi while she is away and he was taking it for a walk. The other one was my friend from the third floor and we sat together and watched events unfold down below.

She has an Apple phone and she’d been trying to download the Government’s AntiCovid application onto it, without much success. And so I had a try and I didn’t have too much luck either with it. I couldn’t even find the App in the Apple Store.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and concentrated on the activities down below.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat’s involved is that there’s a procession from somewhere in the town – from where I do not know – and people are either in it or follow on behind as befits their case.

All of the various trades and professions, like guilds I suppose, have their own flags and banners and they march in their respective order through the town until they reach the car park of the Fish Processing Plant where the ceremony takes place, along with representatives of the various churches and religious orders.

And I’m not sure if that’s a good place to hold the ceremony though. I don’t think that the odour would contribute much to the ambience of the festival, although a really good priest would just have to bring 5 loaves here if the congregation were to develop an appetite.

microlight aircraft ulm 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGiven the amount of times that I’ve been overflown by an aircraft of some description just recently, it goes without saying that I’m overflown again today while I’m sitting on the cliff edge.

it’s our old friend the red microlight powered hang-glider thing or whatever it is, come to have a close look at the events from up above in the air.

But the religious singing can’t have done him much good either because instead of circling around above to have a good view of the events, he took one look at the events and cleared off into the distance.

lifeboatmen 72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, I mentioned that the various trades and professions had the right to take part in the parade.

Those guys down there in the orange jackets are the lifeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer, and their emblem seems to be an old rowing boat of some description.

It’s quite appropriate for the lifeboatmen to be here in the procession because their lifeboat is called Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, and she, Our Lady of Cap Lihou, is the patron saint to whom the Pardon is dedicated.

72nd grand pardon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt doesn’t take long for the place to fill up and then the religious ceremony and the blessing of the flags and banners begins.

That’s the cue for me to make myself scarce because I don’t think that organised ceremonies and this “holier than thou” public profession of one’s faith is what Christianity is all about. This bit about graven images and all of that.

Religion is a personal issue between you and whoever your maker is, and no business of anyone else.

And in any case, on a more temporal basis, I’ve not had my medication yet and I need to deal with this before too long.

That’s because I didn’t awaken until about 09:30 this morning and the events kicked off at 10:00 so I couldn’t aford to hang around.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce the harbour gates open, there’s a procession of boats all around the headland and back again before the gates close.

Most of the local boats, such as our old friend La Granvillaise, recognisable by the “G90” on her bow, and this other boat whom we all know and whose name escapes me for the moment but which i’ll remember as soon as I press “send”, take part in the procession.

So while you admire all of the boats as they take part in the procession I can get back to doing what I was doing a couple of minutes ago and talking about my day so far, because it’s been a busy day today.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone to bed quite early last night, seeing as I was quite tired, I awoke a few times during the early morning, like at 07:20 as I remember.

But there’s no chance of my leaving my stinking pit at that time of morning. 09:30 is pretty early for a Sunday but with the Pardon to consider, I had to leave the comfort and warmth of my bed and take some decisive action.

Grabbing a nice ripe peach, I put on my clothes and finding the camera, headed outside for a cosy spec on the wall on the clifftop overlooking the ceremony – “a seat in the circle”, you might well say.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the photo of our lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and our new ferry Belle France, I was back in my apartment taking all of my medication.

And then, back in the bedroom where my office is, I downloaded all of the video files from the dashcam relating to my trip out. And I can see a couple of serious issues about this dashcam because about 90 minutes of driving used up 15GB.

This means that my 32GB memory cards are going to be fairly redundant at this rate and it’ll be 64GB memory cards in future, and a lot of them too if I go off on a long trip, which is unlikely these days, the way things are.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNext up was to look at the dictaphone to see what was on there.

There are in fact plenty of files on there and so I uploaded them to the computer with the aim of transcribing them.

Something was going on with some company or other so we all decided that we were going to picket so we all went out into the fields somewhere in this village then we all ended up going home. I can’t remember who I was with now but I asked what was on TV and they replied “nothing”. I asked “what about the cricket?”. They couldn’t find the cricket. Next day we went out and came back for the cricket again and England were like 125 behind and one of the batsmen, Jack Hampshire, had just been dismissed for making a noise. Apparently it’s a new regulation that if a batsman makes a noise he can be sent off. In the meantime we were back with this shelf-filling exercise – all shelves in supermarkets abroad are not filled but not in the UK and I don’t remember anything else but I was having one of the worst feverish sweats that I’d had for ages.

It was early afternoon, we were running the taxi business and I had a young guy driving. We were getting pretty busy and Mari rang up for a taxi to take her to the launderette. We added this onto the guy’s list. He went off to take her. Then we came back here and I had to go out to do a couple more jobs and Mari rang up for a taxi back. Nerina said that we were busy and she’d have to wait but I took the opportunity and said “oh no I’ll go and take Mari” so I went out in EBF, picked her up and brought her home. Then I got talking to the other taxi driver. He was saying that when he turned 14 he had four periods one after another so I laughed and said “you’re turning into a woman. He said “a bit” because he really was making medical history, this. We drove back and Nerina had made some soup and bread. I don’t know what was in it but it was very tasty and we all ate it. But there was another part of this dream that I don’t remember very much about me living in Gainsborough Road and having all of my old Cortinas there. There was some talk that the council was going to issue me with an enforcement notice telling me to dispose of all the Cortinas – another part of this recurring dream where I had Cortinas tied up in a garage and all kinds of different places all over Crewe.

I was walking through Shavington, down Chestnut Avenue. There were loads of people dressed in costumes, ballerinas and so on coming up the hill. I tripped over a pile of ballet shoes and got them all out of order and I had to throw one in the pile and hope that that one wasn’t important. Just then a steam locomotive roared past, a big 9F going like the clappers backwards up the hill followed by a couple of smaller ones. took a photo of one or two of them. There were loads of old buses, everything so I asked “is there a carnival going on here?”. The replied “yes – on Saturday”. I thought that if I come up from Audlem I can park my car out by the Elephant and Castle, walk into the village and watch the procession with the steam trains and buses because I’d seen a few old buses as well. It’s going to be really good. So I walked around to a place where they were doing food. There was some kind of activity taking place in which I took part. There was something like a half-marathon going on too. After the activity I wanted to take a shower but they were strange showers. Instead of being above you and pouring the water down they were below you and pouring the water up. I went to take a shower but got talking to this old woman. There were a few people there teasing each other about everything. This woman seemed to be quite active. she said “I’ll take you to the dance with me on Thursday night for the old people. I thought “old people!”. Then I suddenly realised that this carnival would be taking place and I don’t want to miss that so I had to make my excuses. Then I went to have a shower again but they were busy dismantling it so I had to shout at them to stop them dismantling it so that I could finish my shower in peace with everything ready.

marité yachts  trawler cabin cruiser 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was out there, being her usual anti-social self, and I was being my usual anti-social self inside.

The notes from yesterday needed updating to add in the photos but there were also a couple of events that had been recorded on the dashcam that needed checking.

One of them, to my extreme dismay, that had happened at Lidl yesterday didn’t work out at all but two others weren’t too bad. I had to produce a couple of stills from the recorded video and you’ll get to see them when I get round to adding in the photos of yesterday, whenever that might be.

speedcraft 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn one of the earlier photos, I’d seen some kind of speedcraft rapidly going past the procession – in rather bad taste, I thought.

But there he goes now, flat out, full speed ahead on his way over to the Ile de Chausey and I’ve no idea why he would want to go that fast over there on a Sunday during what is supposed to be a religious parade.

In the meantime, I was busy editing the photos from yesterday and taking dashcam stills, and then I had things to do. By now the harbour gates would be well open and I wanted to see the procession of boats.

yacht rebelle trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey had long-since gone out of the harbour by the time I reached the viewpoint, and so I turned my attention to the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there, as is the trawler Charlevy over there at the back. The two unidentified trawlers (still unidentified, by the way) are still there too but we’ve had a new arrival that is parked in between them.

She’s one of the inshore shell-fishers, as you can tell by the roof over the storage area that stops the seagulls pinching the catch as the boats return to harbour with their full loads.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s good for the town to have a busy and effective chantier naval.

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter looking at the chantier naval I walked off down the path and around the headland, in the reverse direction to normal, just for a change.

To my surprise, there weren’t all that many people out here watching the events – probably no more than a couple of hundred. The actual Pardon wasn’t particularly well-attended either. On the wall looking down onto the affair there can’t have been more than about a dozen of us.

It’s not at all like the Carnaval and I remember seeing the Pardon and the procession when I first came here, when you couldn’t move for people milling around.

72nd grand pardon procession baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the north side of the headland I found a convenient spec, without any difficulty at all, to watch the boats go past me.

That was the spec from where I had taken all of the previous photos of the the boats going past me.

As the last few disappeared off around the headland, I took another photograph of them and then walked back across the car park to the south side of the headland.

That was where all of the action was going to be for the next while

notre dame de cap lihou belle france 72nd grand pardon procession baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right on cue, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and Belle France came into view, neck-and-neck in the lead apart from the speedboat that was cheating on the outside.

As for the rest of the procession, I had to leave them to it and head back towards home because I have plenty to do. And so I retraced my steps along the path on the north side of the headland.

“This will do for my daily walk” I said to myself and joined everyone else who was busy deserting the scene, probably for Sunday lunch although there were a few picnickers here and there.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMarité was still out there though.

She had no intention of joining in the procession by the looks of things, which was a shame. She had other business that needed attention, presumably taking a load of passengers out for a tour around the bay.

There was other business that needed my attention too – like lunch, for example. I’d had nothing to eat at all so far today except that peach and my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After my lunch I made a start on the bread and I kneaded it using the lessons that I had learnt from Liz on Thursday. It took an age but eventually the dough behaved just as she told me that it would and ended up being probably the best dough that I’ve ever made.

So I dumped it back in the bowl to let it proof for a while.

Back in the office I sat down to deal with the photos but to my dismay I crashed out for about an hour. And that put me behind just about everything that I was hoping to do.

But the bread had gone up like a lift so I gently shaped it and dropped it into the bread mould to carry on with its proofing. Then I kneaded the pizza dough that I’d taken from the frezer earlier, rolled it out and put it on its tray so that that could proof as well.

When the time was right, I turned on the oven and when it was hot enough I stuck the bread in to bake.

home made bread vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime I began to assemble the pizza.

And for once just recently, I had all of the ingredients to hand so it was quite straightforward this week.

When the bread was ready I took it out and put in the pizza and left that to cook. And here are the finished product. And doesn’t that loaf look really good?

No pudding of course because there’s plenty of pineapple upside-down cake to be going at for the next week or so. And as I don’t have much coconut soya stuff to go on it and I couldn’t find any yesterday, I have plenty of milk to make custard.

But not tonight though. I have no room for any pudding right now after that pizza

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Later on, I went out again.

It was rather late in the evening and I was lucky enough to see the sun at one of its lowest points just about to disappear below the horizon behind the Ile de Chausey.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the sunset over the sea. In the old days before Covid I was out every night at about 21:00 and I’dseen the sun set on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall

These days though I just don’t have the time and I wish that I did. i have far too much going on to be able to relax as I used to.

police vehicle blocking port st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner and down the street and there’s a road block at the Porte St Jean stopping the traffic entering the medieval walled city.

There’s something going on in the old town tonight and while it’s not a subject that interests me all that much, we have to note it for the record.

Policemen know everything, even if they are merely “Police Municipal” rather than the National Police or the Gendarmes. And so I made “certain enquiries” and the bobby pointed me in the right direction. and so off I jolly well set.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this is why I’ve come out this evening – and I’m bang on time which is quite amazing. THey are just going across the drawbridge into the old walled town.

There’s a religious ceremony taking place in the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and everyone has come up from the Fish Processing Plant in a procession as they did around the town this morning.

And those two guys in front had better get a move on because their handbags are on fire.

Unless they are these incense things that they wave about distributing perfume. And seeing as they have just come up from the fish processing plant, that’s not a bad idea.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind those two guys swinging their censers or whatever they are called, come the madding crowds. Everyone who was there this morning is coming this way this evening carrying some kind of lanterns, candles in a special holder that doesn’t look all that fireproof to me..

They are all carrying their banners and emblems, presumably taking them to the church to be blessed again after this morning’s service. And I’ve no idea why they would want to do that twice on the same day.

Some people might think that involving the children in carrying the emblems and whatever might be a good idea but that little kid at the back is having a bit of a rough time carrying that ship.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBehind the couple carrying the ship comes almost everyone else.

There’s another one of these white ships coming on behind. This one is carried by two kids and I bet that they know all about the climb up the Rue des Juifs carrying that. It’s not as easy as you might think carrying something like that.

Behind the kids come all of the banners belinging to the different organisations and corporations of the town. And I wish that I knew exactly what they represented because I can’t decipher anything from what I can see on them.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo pirzes for guessing who these people are

In their orange jackets and pushing the rowing boat that we saw earlier this morning, they can only be the lfeboatmen, the sauveteurs de mer. And here’s something that I don’t understand, which is “why haven’t they painted their bot arange and green, the same colour as their lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

And I bet that they know all about dragging that up the hill as well. It’s not as if it’s light. Mind you, if they had any sense, there would be some kind of motor under that blue canopy.

religious procession 72nd grand pardon procession Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBrining up the rear are the religious dignitaries from the region.

The one with the pointed hat is a bishop, I reckon, but I don’t know who the other one is. But if he’s a bishop and needs a good crook, I’m within beckoning distance. There’s no better crook than me.

So they are off to the church, shepherding the stragglers along with the bishop’s crook, I suppose and so I clear off too back home. I still have plenty of work to do.

Things are taking a lot longer than I anticipated which is a shame, and I need my beauty sleep as I have a lot to do tomorrow.

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Thursday 19th November 2020 – I FORGOT …

… to mention last night that my great little niece (or is it my little great niece) Amber has been offered a place at the nest University in the World. So well done her. I know that you will be ready for Antigonish, but will Antigonish be ready for you?

And well done me too. Just for a change I managed to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. It was touch and go – I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off, but at least it counts as “up”.

And plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. Some friends and I – Hans in Germany was one – were planning on going out to the High Arctic last night on a voyage and needed to research as much information as we could. I noticed on my friends list that there was a woman who was an Arctic explorer who had been with us on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR during one of our trips and I’d get in touch with her. I typed her a message asking her if she could contact me some time and posted it off. I expected a reply in about a month. 2 minutes later I noticed that there was a message on my screen and she said “hello” in nice argotic Danish. I replied in English again and told her who I was and that we’d been together and that I was planning to go to the High Arctic. She said “well done, that’s very nice and challenging, all that kind of thing. I was on the point of mentioning that we’d been together and that I’d be requiring certain information but then I suddenly awoke.

There was something too about going off on our holiday, camping somewhere and a couple of young girls wanted to come with us too. One was a tall, thin girl with her hair in two plaited braids down the front of her body. And I’d loved to have known where that was going to go.

After the meds and the dictaphone I had a shower and then went out to the shops.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd, as seems to be usual I didn’t get too far before I ground to a sudden halt.

We have a visitor in the harbour this morning. Thora, the smaller of the two Channel Island freighters, has come into port on the tide to do a quick aller-retour with a pile of freight. She certainly wasn’t in port last night anyway while I was walking around the headland.

And excuse the somewhat blurred photo. Once more, I forgot about the strange focusing of the NIKON 1 J5 – it seems to focus on the nearest object rather than on the depth of field when the settings button has changed and I haven’t noticed.

So I planned to take another photo on the way back.

puky childs' bike Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I walked past here the other day I noticed these bikes parked up here in the Boulevard Aristide Briand.

And I’m glad that they are still here this week so I can photograph them, because II have to say that I don’t think too much of the kiddie’s bike either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I vowed never to make fun of people’s translations into English as mine into a foreign language are even worse. But in view of globalisation, professional organisations ought to be very careful and pay good money to make sure that their products are marketable throughout the whole world.

Lidl was packed and to make matters worse, the entrance door was under repair so we had to fight our way in past the tills. I didn’t want much so I needn’t really have gone out, except that the walk once a week does me good. I didn’t buy very much, except they had a punnet of raspberries at €0:99. It was worth that for an experiment to see if they would go nicely in my next batch of kefir.

There were butternut squash too, so I bought one, and I’ll try to contact Liz to pinch her recipe for butternut squash soup and I’ll give that a try.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I went past the harbour to retake the photo of Thora.

But to my surprise, she had gone! That was what I would call a quick turnround. It’s hardly any surprise that I haven’t seen her very much if she’s been in and out as quickly as this today.

But there moored underneath the crane right now is Chausiais and she’s being loaded up too. It looks as if there’s a nice load ready to go out to the Ile de Chausey later this morning. But she’ll need to be quick if she wants to get out while there’s still enough tide here and on the island. That’s not always very evident.

Back here I made a sort-of desultory start on dealing with the arrears from my trip around Europe. Only a desultory one though. For some reason, despite the early start and the exercise I wasn’t feeling in the mood.

Lunch was a little later than usual, and then I had work to do. A pile of carrots needed peeling, dicing and blanching, and then the sourdough needed to be fed, as well as the pressure being relieved on the new kefir that’s fermenting. I was trying to get away from commitments like that.

On my walk this afternoon in the gale force wind I was accosted by a couple of the brats who asked me “have you seen a briefcase around here?” I replied that I’d only just arrived but then they cleared off before I had the chance to interrogate them about the orienteering or whatever it was that they were doing. That was a shame.

person taking photograph seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out last night I noticed that they’d laid a new bed of gravel around the monument to the lifeboatmen who have lost their lives.

Of course last night it was too dark to take a photo of it, so I planned to take it this afternoon. And my luck was in. Fate was certainly smiling down on me today because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one thign that features on these pages almost as often as pathetic parking is photos of people taking photos.

Sure enough, a passer-by whipped out her phone to take a pic just as I was about to snap. Perfect timing, I reckon

lighthouse semaphore war memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I had my equipment out I was having a good look around.

It occurs to me that while you may have seen a great many photos of the lighthouse, the semaphore and the War memorial to the Resistance fighters, you haven’t seen them in a photo all together, and certainly not from this kind of angle. And so I duly obliged and it all came together rather well. It’s a shame, though, that the flagpoles are obscured by the large tree in the centre of the image.

From here, I let the gale-force wind blow me home to a nice hot mug of coffee. I was certainly ready for it and no mistake.

This evening I really enjoyed myself on the guitar. For the bass, I picked 6 numbers that I knew fairly well and with some backing tracks I had a little concert, following which I did the same with the acoustic guitar. I can see that if I carry on I’ll have to get myself out there and look for a group, but this area is a bit barren when it comes to things like that.

Tea was a slice of frozen pie with veg, followed by more apple crumble.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on tonight I was on my own again outside.

My running was really difficult tonight because of the gale that was blowing. I had a push off down the road setting out but that was as good as it got. I struggled against the wind all the way down at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I could see that we were in for a rough time with the spray splashing about everywhere.

All in all I stood there for about 5 minutes and took several photos, without very much success because for some reason I was having blurring issues.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the only other one that really worked, after a fashion. And I wouldn’t like to be those two people standing right there on the edge of the sea wall.

With no-one else about, I ran on home as best I could, even though for most of the way I was running into a roaring headwind. And once back here, I wrote up my notes for the day.

It’s much later now than it ought to be. I ended up having a good chat with my friend with the Covid and also with another one in the Borders of Scotland who is also having health issues – or, at least, different health issues.

But now I’m off to bed at long last. Tomorrow I need to find out about Caliburn and if he’s ready, go and pick him up, which shall hurt my bank balance enormously.

If he’s ready, I’ll go and do my weekend’s shopping tomorrow while I’m out and save myself a journey. And I mustn’t forget my travel arrangements for Leuven either. That’s come round quicker than I was expecting.

Sunday 25th October 2020 – I KNOW THAT …

… it’s Sunday and Sunday is a Day of Rest, a lie-in and all of that, but nevertheless, 11:20 is just a little exaggerated, even if it was about 02:30 when I went to bed this morning.

Another thing that I learnt today is that my fitbit doesn’t automatically reset the time when the clocks change. So in actual fact, it was 10:20, not 11:20. That makes me feel better. Clocks only an hour back not like the UK where they are busily setting their clocks back 200 years to the days when the rich and privileged sent starving kids up chimneys and condemned the poor to workhouses.

Mind you, I needed that extra hour in bed because of the distance that I must have travelled last night.

I started out in Shavington last night. It was snowing and wintertime. We were all hanging around outside, doing all kinds of different things and it gradually became dark at night. I went around the street at night looking in people’s gardens because they would put out things that they wanted other people to have. I was collecting a nice little collection of Christmas decorations. Every night I would go out and look but tonight I was at someone’s house I knocked my box over and all the decorations went everywhere. It was embarrassing trying to pick them all up again because you would think that people would be thinking that I was stealing everything. Then I went for a slide, like you used to do as a kid, on your feet. I remember sliding all the way down Vine Tree Avenue into Chestnut Avenue and I got to where the new-build houses were. I couldn’t remember whether they had any Christmas stuff or whether it was just the old ones, so I went over there to have a look. I was doing something in an attic and I can’t remember exactly what it was that I was doing. Something to do with my clothes or something, I’m not too sure, all a very sad, solitary thing

Later I was at the doctor’s. There was a queue in front of me and we were gradually advancing one by one to get in. It was an Asian doctor and most of his clients were Asian. Who should walk in behind me but an Indian woman whom I knew in Stoke on Trent. After some people had gone in she said “go on in Eric, it’s your turn”. I said “no, there’s someone just gone in”. She replied “no, there can’t have been”. “Yes there is” I countered so she had a look and she was right and this doctor was doing some kind of strange tests and setting everything right.

Some time later there were all these people milling around in the bus station thinking where it was they were wanting to go to. I was going to somewhere along the North African coast and people keep on presenting me to their cousins who were travelling with me or travelling in the reverse direction. There was a queue at the reception desk, and I was busy trying to find the bay for my bus because it wasn’t very clear. If you were travelling by car the bay was actually somewhere else outside, but I couldn’t see from the map. I was hoping for a clue when there were all these people who had got to the front of the queue and were being told by the receptionist that they could discuss the matter amongst themselves but preferably do it away from where the ticket machines were and the queue for the reception was because they were blocking the road for everyone else.

Later still I’d been out for my usual early morning walk and as I crossed over the railway bridge where one of the branch lines came into Crewe an electric goods train went underneath. I had a look at my watch – it was something like 06:15 and I thought “I’m usually somewhere else at this time, not here. I have to be out and on my way to the station by 06:30 and I’m well over a mile away from home. How am I going to manage this?”. I cut short my route and went home through a side street. The first thing that I came to was a wolf- a sheep that was all alone. It came over towards me so I shoo’d it off. It went over to where a pack of dogs was so the dogs chased it off down the street. I continued walking and came to a T junction. I didn’t remember a T junction here so I didn’t know which way to take. There was a hill where I could climb to the top to look over but it was on private property. When I went over the fence onto this land to try to climb this hill I was suddenly surrounded by several people who demanded to know exactly what it was that I was doing. I gave them an explanation but they wouldn’t believe a word of it.

I’ve not finished yet. Not by a long way.

I was manning a look-out post on a high ridge overlooking a valley. I had a tent there and that was basically my camp. I was out on this ridge with a large-bore shotgun. I had no idea what I was supposed to be looking for – just generally watching the movements. First of all a couple of young people came up. They put their tent up not too far from mine and then changed into their hunting gear complete with feathers on their hats and wandered off with their guns further off down the ridge. Then a couple of couples, elderly couples turned up and started walking aorund, taking a great deal of interest in my van, like an old Ford Thames 400E with a high-top roof. Filthy inside – it had been used as a butcher’s van and it was all lined with dirty fat inside. I had a few words with them. There was a girl about 9 or so who was expressing an interest in it. She said something to me that was extremely informal so I asked “did your father teach you to say things like that to people whom you don’t know?” She replied “my father’s here. You can ask him”, something like that. I ended up having a chat with this guy. He took me down to his farm and then wandered off. I was still there, on guard in his farmyard now, and noticed a really ancient moped so I went over to have a look at it. The handlebars were broken and the rear wheel was missing. This girl came out again and I said “is this yours?” “No” she replied. “It’s dad’s”. He came over and took me into this room, barn or storeroom or something. He had all kinds of machinery all over, huge stuff and he was showing me one or two things. I hadn’t a clue what they were but he showed me the crankshaft of an engine which was really long but really lightweight. I thought “I wonder what it is that this is from”. We had a chat about it. he had a few other bits and pieces together and showed me roughly how it worked. Further on down into this barn was all of his electrical equipment – desk meters and so on. He had one that turned out to be some kind of 2-way radio, a 2-way hi-fi radio so he could actually talk on it as well. As he was showing it, he said “ahh! Table-tennis!” and started to tune it in so people could have a game of table tennis on this machine.

And finally I ended up walking across a car park, the one at St Nicolas. There was a van there parked in the roadway in the car park and the driver was eating his sandwich. But there were plenty of places for him to park, even one right by where he was stopped. I had this great big dig with me for some unknown reason and it came across 2 girls having a wrestling match, so he shot off to join in, which didn’t go down very well and everyone said something about it. Then this girl from the previous voyage put in an appearance. Stepping back into a previous dream yet again!

And when I said “finally”, I’m not sure that I really mean it. I’m certain that there was much more to all of this and furthermore, the files on the dictaphone are numbered consecutively and there are two missing. I’m not sure how it happens because it doesn’t have an “over-write facility” (well, yes it does but I’ve disabled it) and I’ve also disabled the “delete” facility – the only way that I can delete files is through a computer interface.

So what’s going on here, then? It beats me.

This morning there wasn’t much time left after I had typed out all of that. I went and had a hot chocolate and some of my fruit bread.

And having had some food, I then prepared another fruit loaf. Two small bananas, a dozen or so brazil nuts finely whizzed up in the whizzer, several handfuls of raisins and, for a change, a couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut added into the flour and salt mix. Then, the yeast and water (more water than usual – I’m told that my mix is too dry) mixed in and kneaded well into a lovely dough ball.

While that was proofing, I took some pizza dough out of the fridge and kneaded that ready for tonight.

With the important stuff out of the way, I turned my attention to the day’s work. I know that it’s Sunday and I don’t usually do any work today but I’ve been so lazy just recently that I thought that I’d better do something.

Accordingly, I started on the updating of the journal to include the stuff that I didn’t do when I was ill or when I was away. The first one, for 23rd August when I was recovering, is now completed and you can SEE THE FINISHED VERSION HERE. I’ll be working on backwards from here and finally you’ll get to read about some of these weird and wonderful nocturnal voyages that I went on and told you all about.

All through the morning (such of it as I saw) we were alternating between sunshine and torrential downpours. And it became worse and worse after lunch.

crowds on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually the rain eased off. It had all gone quiet and I could hear voices of people outside. It must be the moment to go for a walk I reckon. I took to the walls.

There was no-one sitting down on the beach this afternoon and I’m not at all surprised by that. But nevertheless there were still plenty of people taking, presumably, their last stroll on the beach.

And when I say that, I don’t mean it terminally. Although of course, with almost 50,000 new infections disclosed yesterday, it may well come to that for so many people. I really don’t understand what is so difficult about the restrictions that are taking place.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, I walked (not ran – there were far too many people about for that) around to the Square Maurice Marland.

And here you can see exactly what the weather is doing today. Huge and horrendous squalls of rain being blown by the wind across the Baie de Mont St Michel. I’m glad that I’m not out there in all of that, that’s for sure.

In fact, I’m not going to hang around at all. I’m going to head for home as soon as I can to avoid being caught up in this because as sure as night follows day, this lot will be dropping on my head in about 20 minutes.

lifeboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it doesn’t look as if I’m the only one with doubts about the weather either.

As I watched, out from the harbour came the port’s lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. it headed off to sea, cutting its way through the waves that were crashing down on her bow. If it’s an emergency call, it’s no surprise in this weather because the storms really were raging again.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t see where she went. She certainly didn’t head out into the English Channel as far as I could see, and she didn’t go across the Bay to the Brittany coast either. All told, she wasn’t out for long. When I checked her fleet log an hour later, se was already back at her berth.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that’s for sure – she wasn’t going to rescue the passengers of Joly France, the ferry that goes out to the Ile de Chausey.

The bad weather today hasn’t stopped her sailing. As Notre Dame de Cap Lihou went one way, Joly France came the other way, back to port with a load of passengers.

And it must really have been a shame for them. All that way out to the island, it’s not cheap either, and to have had the dreadful weather that’s bothered us for much of the day, and then had to come home in a storm that created a really rough crossing for them.

waves crashing over sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd rough crossing it must have been too.

The wind wasn’t as strong as the last couple of days when I spent more time running after my hat than I did walking around my little circuits, but it was still strong enough to send the waves crashing over the sea wall, even though the tide was quite far out as you saw in the photo of the beach just now.

All of this has got me thinking. And I know that that could be quite dangerous. looking back over the last few months, we seem to have spent most of our time being battered by storms. I know that I’ve only lived here 3.5 years and that’s no time at all but I don’t remember it being as windy as this for as long as this.

brittany coast cap frehel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking for the lifeboat, I went for a walk over to the other side of the headland to see if I could see where she went.

No such luck, but what I did see cheered me up immensely. Through a large gap in the clouds the sun was treaming down onto the Brittany Coast round by St Cast le Guildo where we went with Spirit of Conrad and the Lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, on the extreme right of the photo, is quite clearly visible.

No lifeboat so I came home, noticing that one of my neighbours had left the headlights burning on her car on the car park, so I gave her a buzz to tell her as I came in.

When I came back, I checked on my bread. It hadn’t risen as much as I would have liked – far from it in fact. But never mind. It’s had three hours to have sorted itself out so I gave it another good kneading, and then shaped it and put it in the mould that I use and covered it for its second proofine.

home made fruit bread vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the pizza dough, I gave it a good kneading and then rolled it out . When I had it how I wanted it, I put it on a greased pizza tray and left it to proof.

In the office I sorted out the photos that I had just taken and wrote up my notes, and then bunged the fruit bread in the oven. It hadn’t risen very much but once in the hot oven it went up like a lift. While that was cooking I prepared the pizza and when the bread was cooked, I took the bread out and put the pizza in.

Half an hour later I was tucking into one of the best pizzas that I have ever made. Everything about it was just so right.

And I’ll tell you about the fruit loaf tomorrow.

moonlight baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTonight’s run was rather depressing, if not something of a failure.

There was a biting, howling gale coming hurling itself down the Rue du Roc that brought me to a standstill as soon as I started on the uphill bit. With the sky being do clear I was hoping for a good photo of the moonlight reflecting off the bay by resting the camera on that handy stone that I found last night but no chance of that. It was impossible.

From the shelter of the Atlantic Wall bunker there, the result just wasn’t the same. But you can’t win a coconut every time.

rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing at all happening out to sea so I harried on along the path to the viewpoint.

Nothing in the harbour either. The tide is too far out for the fishing boats to come in, assuming that there are any out there tonight in this wicked storm. And so tonight I took a photo of nothing – except perhaps the lights of the restaurant in the Rue du Port.

From here I ran on home again, bunging in a little deviation to make up some of the ground that I’d lost. After all, it it’s deviation that you want, then, in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man”.

So tomorrow I have work to do. Two radio shows have to be prepared. But at least I have a head start for I’ve sent off this week’s – and next weeks – already, ahead of time. Next week’s of course because I won’t be here and it’s almost impossible to work when I’m away.

Consequently I need to be on form. None of these 10:20 or even 07:20 – starts. Not that I’m optimistic but I’ll see what I can do.

Monday 14th September 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… whether this has been a good day or a bad day.

When the third alarm went off this morning I was still in bed but surprisingly, I actually sprung up out of bed and sat on the edge. I’ve no idea what happened there – the “springing up” bit, I mean.

And neither will you when I tell you that I was still up and about at 01:40 this morning too. Having a lie-in is one thing but not when it adjusts my body clock quite like this.

As usual these days, it took an age for the bed to stop spinning so that I could get off, and once I’d gathered my wits I had a listen to the dictaphone.

We started off with a voyage that went on for ages and ages. I thought at first that it was a dream about football but it’s not. It took me a while to think about what it was actually about because when I tried to dictate it, it had all gone completely out of my head for a while but suddenly it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed.

It was actually about skiing. We were all going skiing, a huge group of us with a couple of friends of mine from the Wirral. I had some people whom they knew from the past but couldn’t remember very well some of the people. We’d all met up and having a ski around in the mountains. I was explaining to them my favourite ski runs particularly in the summer when there was still snow up in the mountains and skiing was still possible. We were making plans to all go and they were asking me “did my friends like this? Did my friends like to stop for regular breaks?” All this kind of thing. I hadn’t really got round to telling them that there was only me who was interested in going with them to do this. This conversation about my favourite ski runs in this mountain went on – you get to the top and you get the drag lift up here and you take this nice beautiful red run all the way down here. This went on for ages. Then it was time for break and we were sitting around. I was waiting at a table with this particular group. People were asking “do we want to continue? Do we want to go on?” I said “my group hasn’t asked for any food yet” so I said to them “do you have any requests? And make sure that they are physically possible”. Everyone burst out laughing but no-one actually asked for anything.

A little later it was a beautiful afternoon and I was walking around the little park/lawn place by the Boulevard Vaufleury and is this the first time that I’ve dreamt about Granville? Even though it was beautiful there was no-one really taking advantage of it except a group of schoolkids doing physical exercises under the supervision of a teacher who might have been called Taylor. There were people discussing a murder and whether a certain guy had done it and someone else chimed in “well they’ve got the wrong Taylor there haven’t they?” to which everyone wondered what he was meaning. I’m not quite sure where it went after that.

Not only that, I attacked a few of the arrears and I’m slowly whittling them down. As well as that, while I was listening to this week’s radio programme before I sent it off (I did remember), I spent an hour or so on the arrears of photos for July.

Having sent off the broadcast, I extracted the digital record turntable. Not being able to find the software for it, I had to hunt it down on the internet. But once it was all installed and connected up, it seemed to work quite well and I was able to record an album – the one that I wanted to record.

The only downside is that it recorded in mono. That’s not as big a deal because I can convert it into stereo. It was true mono too – not just one track of a stereo recording, so the fault either lies with the album (it might be a mono recording) or with the settings that I’m using. I shall have to check.

But once I’d done it, I was able to use part of it to complete some old stuff that I have from another time in order to recreate a rock concert that I had seen in 1971. That took the rest of the day but now it’s a nice live concert of almost an hour, including the legendary track about which I shall one of these days recount a very long story.

government boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs usual, I went out for my afternoon walk. And in the heat too. My thermometer at home was showing 29°C and it felt like it too.

The crowds of people who were out there were enjoying it too. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people out there on a working day. Not so many people out a sea today though, which isn’t really all that much of a surprise. But this boat was out there again, towing a dinghy behind it this time.

It’s been a couple of times that I’ve seen it now and I’ve still not been able to work out what it is and who owns it.

government boat lifeboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut anyway I carried on around the headland to the other side and there I was treated to an interesting nautical danse macabre.

The lifeboat was coming out of its berth in the port de plaisance and it crossed the mystery boat right outside the harbour. We had a couple of toots on a siren and then a complicated manoeuvre as they avoided each other.

The mystery boat, which has an interesting heavy-duty crane in the bows, then carried on into the Port de Plaisance. And I carried on home.

There was the session of Welsh and the time on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. Stuffed pepper followed by my delicious apple crumble with the left-over ice-cream out of one of the containers in the freezer. I need to make some more room in there.

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still stifling hot when I went out for my evening walk and runs.

There were quite a few people about this evening here and there which is hardly surprising given the heat. There was a heat haze out to sea so the view wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently.

However the view of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains along the coast was particularly impressive tonight and the photograph that I took came out rather well.

The Rue du Nord on the right of the photo has come out rather well and on the left you can see the red lights on the wind turbines round somewhere near Cerences.

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallBut my reverie was disturbed by a noise coming from down below on the beach so I had a look over the wall.

Pitch-black is one thing for most of us but for young people it’s something else. These two down here checking messages on their mobile phones seemed to be having a very enjoyable time. And why not?

As for me I walked up to the old gate in the walls and then ran down the path towards the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset.

helicopter english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I didn’t get very far and actually had to break off my run which disappointed me, because the excitement yet isn’t over.

As I was running down the path I was overtaken by a helicopter that flew along the coast and then went to ground down near the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

“This is a strange time of the night to be having your chopper out” I mused to myself, and then carried on with my run. On reflection, the helicopter is quite probably the local air-sea rescue machine.

Nothing much else happened so I headed home. I managed my three runs although I do have to say that I never ever felt less like it. Having crashed out for 15 minutes after tea has taken its toll.

Tomorrow it’s Welsh class so I need to do some more revision, and then there’s the concert to finish off, followed by the missing week of my internet course.

Then at last I can turn my attention to other stuff. And not before time either.

Friday 11th September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what has happened this week. I really don’t.

With all of this pressure that I seem to have put myself under with doing these radio programmes, it seems that I overlooked to actually send the one in for this weekend.

Luckily they had something in the pipeline, but it’s really pointless me doing all of this work if I’m not going to send it in. It’s pretty much a waste of time.

And not only that, it seems that I’ve also overlooked to do my second week of internet course.

What with one thing or another, it’s been a pretty miserable week and I’m going to have to be doing better than this.

At least I managed to be out of bed before the third alarm. Sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for the world to stop spinning round so that I could get off.

During the night I’d been in hospital and there had been some kind of operation. I was eventually allowed up. Someone from the hospital phoned me up to see how I was. They were interested to know if I was capable of doing my own shopping and they asked me about my plans. I said “the nearest LeClerc is 20-odd kilometres away so are you happy that i’m going to be cycling 40 kilometres just to go to the shops?” but they didn’t reply very much. It was a very non-commital answer that I had from them. The woman said that she lived in a small town where the nearest supermarket was only a minute or two away by car so she could do all her things like that. That didn’t help my matter very much. As I was walking around I came across a pub. It was a Sunday morning not quite before lunchtime. The pub was on a second level higher up. There were a few people whom I knew in there. I thought “should I go and have a drink?” but then though “that’s a stupid thing to be doing, going drinking”. So I carried on walking and came to the second one and there were even more people whom I knew in there. One of them was a boy whom I knew in school and with whom I shared a flat for a short while later. There was a group of about 4 boys and they were playing a few songs. On bass was another boy who was in my class – someone with whom I had very little contact whatever so how come I suddenly remembered him? I was extremely jealous because they were playing a couple of numbers that we used to play. I thought that they were going to steal a march from our bow and get themselves established in this pub.

While I was at it, I transcribed a few more days’ worth of dictaphone notes from the pile of arrears. There are still 47 entries remaining that cover a three-week period of my voyage to Central Europe.

Apart from that it’s been another slow day with something of a lack of motivation and an excess of fatigue. I’ve finished all of the arrears of photos from June and I’ve now started on those from July.

Only three days from my trip down the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad remaining, and then I can start on the photos from Central Europe. I’ve already done some of those but there is still a huge pile to do.

And then there are the photos from my two trips to the Arctic.

At least I managed to remember to book my trains and accommodation for my trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s one thing. Here’s hoping that I remember to print out everything and that my appointment isn’t cancelled.

speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had the usual interruptions this afternoon too.

The afternoon walk was one of them of course. There were crowds of people out there today walking around in the beautiful weather. Crowds of people on the sea too. Plenty of small boats out there such as this speedboat that was roaring past.

Nothing in the way of large boats though. No Joly France no fishing boats and no Channel Island freighters. It seems to be quite quiet out there in that respect these days.

F-GDED Robin DR400 180 granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the air too.

Our autogyro was flying around but rather too far out of range to take a decent photograph. This aeroplane here was flying quite high but with the NIKON D500 and the BIG NIKON ZOOM LENS I could take a good photo of it, and even tell you what it is.

According to the official register, it’s a Robin DR400 180 light aeroplane.

Incidentally, you are quite lucky to actually see it. On 22nd May 2019 it suffered an engine failure and crash-landed in a field near Eurodisney. Luckily no-one was hurt and damage was said to be only minor.

It could have been much, much worse.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was no less busy around the southern side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This beautiful yacht was on its way around and into the port de plaisance this afternoon. Just one of several small boats out over there this afternoon.

But apart from that, there wasn’t very much else going on. It was actually quite quiet as far as excitement went. I slowly wandered on home.

Much of the remainder of the afternoon was spent revising my Welsh ready for the start of my course next week. but shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep on the chair again. To such an extend that I missed half an hour of my guitar practice.

lifeboatmen sauveteurs de mer place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday’s pepper, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans.

But while I was preparing it, I noticed plenty of movement outside at the Public Rooms. The lifeboatmen, sauveteurs de mer, were congregating outside the building.

As an aside, later on in the evening the band stuck up and there was a lot of music and noise coming from the building.
I enquired as to what was going on there.
“We’re holding a Lifeboatman’s Ball” came the reply.
“Well for God’s sake let go of it” I urged. “He’s making far too much noise!”

Later on I went for my evening walk around the walls.

The lights of Jersey were twinkling quite brightly in the distance and I took a couple of photos of them with the camera. Unfortunately, with them being hand-held and in the dark, they didn’t come out very well and I discarded them.

From there I ran on along the path and then across the Square Maurice Marland.

big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe roadworks in the Rue Notre Dame were finished and the barriers and traffic lights dismantled. I walked past them and carried on around the walls.

But what caught my eye tonight was how nice the port area and the town looked in the streetlights, with the water tower on the skyline in the background just to the right of centre.

The big wheel was looking particularly nice so I reckoned that I had better photograph it tonight. This is going to be the last weekend that it’s here this year

people up to no good city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I’m not quite sure what was going on here.

There were two people with a rather large briefcase and a couple or portable radios hidden away in a corner up on the walls. i’ve no idea what they were doing and they certainly weren’t too keen to enter into conversation.

Having observed them for a couple of minutes I ran on home. My three runs of about 600 or so metres in total once more. There’s only Saturday that I’ve missed in this respect but then again I’ve been well over 120% of my day’s activity ever saturday that I’ve missed.

it’s Saturday tomorrow and US Granville are playing away. I have shopping to do of course and I’m hoping that I remember everything. I’m having a really bad time right now and I don’t know what i’m going to do about it.

Thursday 16th July 2020 – TODAY WAS …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… not much better than the last couple of days. In fact in some respects it was worse because I missed the third alarm yet again.

So while you admire the photos of tonigh’s sunset, I’ll tell you that I only missed the alarm by 5 or so minutes, but a miss is as good as a mile, as we all know. What didn’t help was that all through the night I was awoken by some wicked attacks of cramp that really had me in pain. I could have done without those, right enough.

After the medication I checked the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallYes I’m not too sure about very much of last night’s dream at all except that I was in Belgium and I’d been out somewhere. I’d ended up on the frontier with France right on the point of a headland by the sea. There was a river that divided the two countries and you could see everything that was happening in France and I took a few photos. Then I went back to tell everyone where I’s been but people weren’t all that concerned or interested in what I was doing.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA little later on I was playing football, playing central defence. I’d gone into a kind of forward attacking role to play the ball but I’d made a bit of a mess of it and the ball had got behind me with three attackers so I was running back after it but I just blew up – ran out of steam completely and could hardly move while I was chasing the ball and chasing these players
After another attack of cramp I went back to sleep and found myself on the playing field at the back of where we used to live in Shavington. There was the upper football pitch and the lower football pitch and I was on the upper one. everyone else was on the lower one and no-one was coming along to play with me so in the end I went down to join the others. But there were many more than 11-a-side there so I reckoned that one team ought to wear chasubles (I’m dreaming in French again) so that we would know who is on which team.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving disposed of all of that I turned my attention to the photos from July 2019. Another 50 or so bit the dust today which is good news, although I haven’t advanced very far. Right now we are in a fleet of zodiacs zooming around Kangerluluk Fjord on the east coast of Greenland. At this rate I’m never going to get to the North-West Passage, never mind New Brunswick.

It was shopping today too so I had a shower and a weigh-in. And my weight is still under my first target weight which is good news, I suppose.

And nice and clean, I changed the bedding and did a machine-load of washing. It’s all clean and nice-smelling right now which is good. I like the conditioner that I bought the other week.

film crew foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo off into town I set, having a quick chat with a neighbour as I left.

But I didn’t get very far. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a film being made here just now. The seem to have transformed the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs into some kind of Government office and it was all floodlit this morning.

They must be filming something right at this moment, I reckon. And for that reason we are not allowed to approach the site.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route into town continued. And as I looked over the wall here I could see that down in the harbour “Old Faithful” is nack.

Chausiais must have moved pretty smartly this morning from the mooring underneath the crane because Normandy Traders, one of the little freighters from Jersey, is now in port.

The gates havent long been open so I imagine she sneaked in on the morning tide to drop off a load of shellfish from the Jersey Seafood Co-operative and pick up a load of material.

moving house place godal granville  manche normandy france eric hallOn I pushed to the Rampe du Monte Regret where I pictured a bizarre kind of house removal.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in Brussels we had portable lifts for all of this, but here apparently not. They were hauling up the stuff by hand with a couple of ropes.

That must have been hard work but it’s not a new experience for me. When I was younger I did all kinds of furniture removals like this, but that was in the days before Health and Safety regulations were in force.

Making my way into town, I called at the Post Office and sent off my letter – the one that I had written yesterday. Then I walked on to LIDL.

It beats me really why I went because I didn’t want to buy very much at all – and for a good reason too as regular readers of this rubbish will find out in a couple of days.

weedkillling with hot water rue de la houle granville manche normandy france eric hallIn the end, the grand total of €6:12 or something like that was what I spent.

On the way back down the Rue de la House I encountered this trange phenomenon – some people spraying the streets. That intrigued me greatly so I went to make further enquiries.

On the side of their little vehicle was a little sticker “weedkiller with boiling water”. So that’s what they are doing them. Pouring boiling water on the weeds.

How effective is that? I asked myself. It’s better for the environment than Agent Orange, that’s for sure. But does it really work that well?

On the way back I called at the vegetable shop and bought two (yes, two) carrots. For tea tonight and tomorrow. I won’t be needing any more for a while after that.

loading normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I headed on home up the Rue des Juifs.

Normandy Trader was still there being worked on. They were loading her up quite rapidly so it looks as if they are pushing to have her out of the harbour and on her way as soon as the gates open this afternoon

Back here I carried on with the photos for a while and then I had something else to do. There are a couple of cunning plans running round my head right now, one or two of which I have put in motion already.

One of the people approached actually replied (and another one did later this evening too) so I decided to push my luck and see if fortune would carry me onwards. That meant replying to the mail with a certain amount of jen ne sais quoi and seeing where we go with this.

But it’s not for right now, although it makes sense to push along while it’s fresh in people’s minds.

After lunch I started on my two courses. Firstly the song-writing course. And by the time that I knocked off I’d done the first week.
It didn’t teach me anything new but that’s not a problem. There is plenty of time and I have great hopes for this.

joly france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter I’d finished I went for my afternoon walk around the walls.

The tourist season is well under way as we can imagine right now. Joly France is keeping quite busy, taking day-trippers on a couple of laps around the bay as she waits for the tides to turn so she can go back to the Ile de Chausey and pick up those whom she dumped on there earlier.

They do a lot of work in the tourist season, do the two Joly France boats. This is the older one, with the smaller windows, the larger upper deck and without the step in the stern.

boats people fishing baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis is the kind of thing that makes me wish that I’d been out here 10 minutes earlier.

There is a huge load of small boats moored just off the headland as if there is a shoal of sea-bass in the vicinity. It seems to me that anyone who can hold a rod in his hand is out there trying his luck at catching supper.

I learnt the following day that it was in fact a shoal of mackerel that had appeared off the headland

And what confusion it must have caused to everyone when Joly France came round the corner at a rapid rate of knots. Scattered them like ninepins, I reckon.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallCarrying on my walk around the walls, I came to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The tide is rushing in right at this moment and the massed crowds of grockles have now retreated up to the sea wall to keep their feet out of the sea.

The tide isn’t a particularly high tide today – a coefficient in the 40s – so they might be lucky and stay dry. But it would be interesting to see the outcome of all of this if the tide does comme in higher than they are expecting.

hang glider bombed by seagull plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just on land or in the sea was it busy.

It goes without saying that there was plenty going on in the air this afternoon too. The Birdmen of Alcatraz are out there in force swooping around like a bunch of vultures.

The seagull here is taking a great deal of exception to this particular birdman. It spent a good 10 minutes or so buzzing him, presumably to get him to clear off. Unfortunately I didn’t have tile to stay and see how it ended but my money was on the seagull.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just boats out on the sea either. There were plenty of swimmers there too.

The diving platform was crowded with people too and others in the sea swimming out that way to take part in the sports. This young boy here showed us quuite an acrobatic somersault into the water.

He received a good 4.9 for artistic impression from the bystanders but he lost a few points on the technical merit. His entry into the water could have been better.

kids jumping from diving platform granville manche normandy france eric hallBut at least he entered the water quite rapidly. This young boy here was not quite so keen.

The onlookers on the cliff were urging him on, chanting “sautez, sautez” but he didn’t budge. A couple of the people on the platform were also counting him down to enter the water too.

Eventually the young boy in the previous photo pushed his way to the front and leapt in. This seemed to galvanise the other one here into action and he leapt in immediately afterwards, to a loud cheer and round of applause from the onlookers.

loading boats onto thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound I went to the Square Maurice Marland I went to check on my baby seagull but he seems to have definitively gone now.

Something else that has gone is Normandy Trader. She must have cleared off the moment that the harbour gates opened because there at the loading bay in her place in Thora, the other Jersey freighter.

You might recall seeing in an earlier photo some shrink-wrapped boats on the back of a lorry at the side of the quay. They are now being loaded into Thora ready to go to the Channel Islands.

And Marité is back in port too after her adventures just recently.

market place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving spent a few minutes looking at the loading, I carried on with my walk.

And there are changes in the Place Cambernon too today. It looks as if a little market of sorts has sprung up in the square. Only a couple of stalls but it’s a start, I suppose. We could do with more like this in the neighbourhood

There is the pizza van of course. That’s here on Thursdays too so it looks like that’s the day for everyone to come to the old town just here. I wonder if the market will expand over time. I hope so.

film crew foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I was walking along the elevated section of the walls when I noticed that the filming at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs had finished.

They were packing up the equipment so I took a photo to show you what was going on.

Back here I started the other course – “building an interactive website”. And unfortunately and depressingly, i crashed out yet again. Another good hour or so on the chair, well away with the fairies.

As a result I didn’t do half as much as I liked, so I’ll have to push on tomorrow as it’s going to be rather a busy day for me

There was the hour on the guitars, followed by tea. A lentil and potato curry out of the freezer followed by apple crumble.

joly france lifeboat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfterwards I went out for my run. And I don’t know why because my heart isn’t in it right now.

It’s knowing that I had a collapse in health a couple of weeks ago on the Spirit of Conrad that’s done it. I can feel the difference right now and it isn’t very nice.

But anyway I made it a good way up the hill before I shuddered to a halt, and then walked the remaining 100 metres to the corner. From there I ran on down past the itinerant to the clifftop.

There were a few people around but nothing at all happening so I walked across the lawn to the other side and then ran on down the next leg of my run.

From that rest point I could see that there was something going on at the ferry terminal. Joly France is there of course but the lifeboat is tied up next to it.

It beats me why it would be there. The only thing that I can think of is that it’s been out on a job and missed the tide for going back into the port de plaisance where it lives.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord I have to do in two legs these days. The strain is definitely getting to me these days, that’s for sure.

At the viewpoint I watched the sun go down, and you have already seen the photos of that. But once more there were the crowds on the beach enjoying the good weather (it was a really nice evening).

Having seen the sun go down, I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes. And now they are done I’m going to put away last week’s washing that I took off the clothes airer and then go to bed.

It will be a long day tomorrow so I want to be on form for it. I hope that I don’t have another attack of the cramps like last night.

Thursday 4th June 2020 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst day that I have had today for a couple of years.

It didn’t get off to a very good start either. I eard the three alarms go off but I was in no real mood to make a hurried exit from the bed seeing as I was going out for the day.

07:35 was rather later than intended, but nevertheless …

During the night I’d been on my travels too. I was in some kind of Institution and the virus was taking a grip. I was interested in learning how to do different stuff from different people like bread making, that kind of thing. And this continued on and on and you don’t really want to read the rest of it because you probably are eating your meal right now.

For a change I had some breakfast and then a shower, and headed off to LIDL for the mid-week shopping.

Despite being in Caliburn, there wasn’t any heavy stuff that needed buying or anything really exciting in the special offers either. Mind you, there was quite a queue to go into the shop – just 20 people at a time being allowed in.

Having done the necessary I drove off to Laurent’s place at Bréhal Plage and we went off together for a drive.

Not as many photos as I would have liked to have taken. But that’s because, quite simply, when someone else is doing the driving you’re pretty-much dependent upon them and their time more than anything else.

commodore clipper ship leaving channel islands flamanville manche normandy france eric hallOur first stop was at Flamanville right up the coast near Cherbourg.

But before I say anything about it, I was distracted … “as usual” – ed … by something offshore. It’s been an absolute age since we’ve had a “ship of the day” on these pages and so the presence of a large one sailing by about 10 miles or so offshore immediately caught my eye.

Of course at this kind of distance it was impossible to see its name, but its silhouette bears a great reemeblance to that of Commodore Clipper, the shuttle ferry that runs between the Channel islands anf the Uk mainland and ideed she did leave St Peter Port in Guernsey about 20 minutes before I took this photo.

guernsey flamanville manche normandy france eric hallAs for where Guernsey might be, the answer to that is that it’s right there. The island of Sark is there too, but that’s lost in the background of the larger island.

Where we are is at the head of a peninsula right up near the top of the Cotentin Peninsula, very close to the port of Dielette and it’s from here in the summer that there’s a ferry service over to the Channel islands.

Not right now, of course, because everything is postponed while we all recover from the virus.

jersey flamanville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s usually Granville that provides the summer service over there, because judging by the look of the port at Dielette, Victor Hugo is too large to go a-manoeuvring around in there.

The ferries run a shuttle service from here to the various Channel Islands. That’s Jersey over there, a mere 40 or so kilometres away, much closer of course than it is to the port of Granville.

So it looks as if Dielette is the place for me to come in the summer to go on a nautical excursion if I can’t hitch a lift on Normandy Trader or Thora

brittany coast flamanville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather was pretty grey and miserable today, which was a shame. Not the ideal day for photography.

Nevertheless, down there on the horizon in a faint grey wisp is the coast of Brittany, which according to my calculations is a very improbable 90 kms away. But there’s no other land anywhere else out there in that vicinity so I can’t even begin to think what else it might be.

It could, I suppose be wishful thinking, the same kind of thinking that led the sailors of Christopher Columbus to believe on a couple of occasions that they had seen land before they finally espied San Salvador, but it looks pretty realistic to me

buoy english channel flamanville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a floating buoy just offshore, but I reckon that I know the reason for this.

Where we are (although you can’t see it) is at the side of the big nuclear reactor at Flamanville. This is France’s equivalent of New Brunswick’s Lepreau Reactor, in that no matter how much money they throw at it and how many technicians then send in to wotk at it, they still can’t make it fire up correctly.

To be fair, the original two reactors from the 1980s seem to work fine and at one stage they were producing as much as 4% of the total amount of France’s electricity without any major problem. A third reactor was commissioned in 2007, with an on-line date of 2012 and a cost of €3.3 billion.

However one catastrophe after another has pushed the start date further and futther back, with a latest date being 2022 and with costs now rising to €12.4 billion. And none of that is certain to be the final position either.

It makes people wonder at just what stage will these people finally throw in the towel and stop throwing good money in after bad money.

harbour goury la hague manche normandy france eric hallWe drove from there all the way along the coast on the “Route des Caps” as far as it was possible to go by car – to the harbour at Goury La Hague at the Cap de la Hague.

This is another place that I will add onto my list of places to come another time when I have visitors because even in the most miserable weather it was really nice. This little harbour here would look beautiful when the tide is in and all the boats ar bobbing about on the waves.

But I couldn’t help thinking that that is a massive wall to protect such a small harbour.

woman painter lifeboat station goury la hague manche normandy france eric hallRegardless of the despressing weather, this woman here seemed to be njoying herself.

She had her notebook out and was busy painting a scene of the local landscape while her dog sat patiently close by.

This is a beautiful building just here on the quayside and Laurent asked me if I could guess its purpose. After a few moments thought I had to donner ma langue au chat as they say around here

lifeboat station goury la hague  manche normandy france eric hall
Apparently it’s the local lifeboat station.

And what is interesting about it is that it’s a roundhouse. There are two slipways, one behind the harbour wall and the other one straight down into the sea.

The lifeboat is on a turntable on the inside and depending on what the weather is doing and where the tide is, the turntable is moved round so that the lifeboat is launched down the most appropriate slipway

lifeboat slipway goury la hague manche normandy france eric hallAnd it’s hardly surprising that you need a lifeboat in a location like this.

This is the view down the slipway that goes directly into the sea. There are enough rocks just offshore to put the wind up anyone. And talking of wind there was plenty of that today too.

The green and red posts in the water tothe left are, I reckon, to mark the entrance to the little harbour there. “Green” has five letters so that means “right” – you keep that to your right as you are coming in. “Red” is the same colour as “port”, which has the same number of letters as “left”, so you keep that to your left.

la falaise de jobourg la roche cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallHad the weather been better, the view from here would probably have been better as well.

Nevertheless we could see a long way down the coast all the way past “La Roche” down to the Falaise – or cliff – de Jobourg. And looking at that cliff answered a question of mine – namely, why would there have been the signs of the école d’escalade – the School of Climbing – that I had noticed as we had driven throught the town of Jobourg to reach here.

Well, now we know, of course. One look at that rock face right down there tells us everything.

la roche cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallThat’s the Cap de La Roche and behind it to the left is another industrial complex of eerie significance.

It’s the site of France’s answer to Sellafield, and where all of the country’s nuclear waste – altogether more than half of the World’s capacity – is stored ready for whenever they discover a method of disposing of it.

Laurent had always wondered why they had chosen that particular site, and of course I was able to tell him. The prevailing winds in this area come up the English Channel from the south-west, and there is no French land whatever anywhere in the direction to which they will be blowing.

Any leak of radioactive material whatsoever will be blown out to sea by the prevailing winds and make landfall somewhere over the south-east coast of the UK.

alderney marker light cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallThere are some more rocks out there in that direction too, with that beautiful marker light perched on top of them to warn shipping.

The island behind it is the island of Alderney, the most northerly of the Channel Islands. These of course are British possessions which remained in English hands after the English were expelled from Normandy in 1204 for the simple reason is that the French King at the time didn’t have a fleet handy at the time to go along and invade them.

By the time that subsequent French Kings had arranged a Navy, the opportunity had been passed by and the islands had been reinforced ready to repel any invader.

The French Kings might have been forestalled, but others were not. In one of the most shameful incidents of World War II the British Government surrendered the Islands and their population to the Germans in 1940 without even firing a bullet in their defence.

Furthermore, even though the fighting had long-since passed them by, the British did not go along and claim them back from the Germans until after the end of the war. Hundreds of British citizens had died in the Concentration Camp on Guernsey or had been deported to places like TITTMONING, WHICH WE HAVE VISITED, Buchenwald or even Auschwitz, and the starvation of the citizens during the winter of 1944-1945 when the island was blockaded by the British caused hundreds of deaths.

Anyone who talks about hos “The British Won The War” needs to be reminded that without the help of the Americans they didn’t even dare to fight the Germans on their own soil until any danger of the German fighting back had been removed.

lighthouse cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallThis here is a symbolic photograph.

It’s basically the final point of French territory around here – the lighthouse at the end of the Cap de la Hague. And a lighthouse is needed here too because of all the rocks that we have seen littering the area that will catch many a mariner totally unawares.

And shipwrecks just here are legion too – even big ships like the 10,000 tonne Button-Gwinnett that ran aground on the rocks on 19th December 1947 as well as any number of smaller vessels and pleasure boats that round the headland straight into a contrary current.

cross vendemiaire shipwreck cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallAs well as shipwrecks on the shore, there have been innumerable accidents just off the coast too with collisions in the narrow navigable seaway.

This cross commemorates the crew of the French submarine Vendemiaire. She was built in 1910 when sumarines were in their infancy and submarine tactics were relatively unknown and untried.

On the 8th of June 1912 the three submarines of the Cherbourg flotilla were sent out to practise an interception on a few ships of the French navy that were steaming up the Channel. For some unknown reason the ships failed to co-ordinate their manoeuvre and the warship Saint Louis struck Vendemiaire amidships, sending her straight to the bottom taking all of hercrew with her.

Her wreckags was discovered in 2016 about 70 or so metres down, off the north-east coast of Alderney and the gash in her side was clearly visible, exposing her interior.

pointless stile goury cap de la hague manche normandy france eric hallThis photo was one that I took for my friend Louise.

She has a “thing” about useless gates, and while this isn’t a uselass gate it’s one of the next best things – a useless stile. I’m not sure at all why this would be there.

By now I was feeling really ill and the drive back to laurent’s was extremely uncomfortable for me. When we reached his house, I simply said my goodbye and drove home

Back here, I crashed out on the chair, and was gone for several hours. When I awoke, I was feeling even worse so I did something that I haven’t done for a couple of years and which I vowed that I would never do again, and that was to go and crash out on the bed.

And off I went on a long, confusing voyage. I was on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again. I was friendly with a couple who had come on board ship – a young couple. They had been on all of the yoages and were making a season of it but what had happened was that after the first couple of voyages they’d moved to the other side of the ship. When I encountered them later on they had had to move back. I asked them why and they told me “well the steward on the first side of the ship they were on was not very friendly so they wanted a nicer steward so they had moved across but they had no idea why it was they they had had to move back. We were chatting and by this time I was in Montreal and there I was wandering around in this shop like a big restaurant place. They had all these foods and sweets laid out where you could help yourself. I was wandering around trying to find something there to eat but there was nothing to eat for me. I was having a look at the sweets as well but there were no mint sweets of any kind that I could eat. I felt really bad about that. Then I was off again wandering around Montreal looking at an apartment. When I saw the rent, which was about 24,000 per year I thought that maybe I wouldn’t do that. But it was a nice lovely place down by the river. I was wandering around through the town and there was this abandoned car. The rear end was missing off it and the front end had been smashed and the engine was missing – a red one. I was wondering about the logistics of how I was going to stay – whether I could get a car, whether I could get a drivers’ licence, how much it would cost to get a driver’s licence on the Black Market, all kinds of stupid things like that
There was one instance where something was involved with firearms. I had a firearm which was not like me. Someone else had one and an issue came about that. I showed my firearm and this guy asked me all kids of weird and wonderful questions about it so I took the bullet and showed him the bullets. I quickly grabbed his and pulled his bullets out of his gun. They were a different type so I said something like “you have no room to talk about bullets” but this guy then turned to start talking about hunting which was not what I was trying to do at all.

Someone called me at sometime – I’ve no idea who because I didn’t answer. I was dead to the world and that was that.

No danger of me ever moving again.

Thursday 28th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall … all of the excitement that has been going on this evening – and is still going on even now judging by the noise just outside my window – just offshore in the English Channel, let me tell you about my day today.

It started off as we meant to go on – with me having yet another late night. Due primarily to me taking too much time to write out my notes from yesterday.

There weren’t any other distractions, which makes a change just recently.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd in accordance with usual procedures just recently, I missed the third alarm.

Not by very much, I have to say, but a miss is as good as a mile, as they say. Nevertheless, 06:30 is not an unreasonable time to be out of bed when I didn’t get into same until about 00:45.

Surprisingly, there was nothing on the dictaphone yet again. And I have the disctinct feeling or impression that at some time during the night I was somewhere else

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt rather reminds me of the old story about the man who dreamed that he was awake. And when he woke up, he was!

After breakfast there were a few little things to deal with around here, and I even did some tidying up. But I still can’t find my magnifying glass.

And then a shower and weigh-in. And I’ve put on another 100 grammes. I’m not working hard enough on my health, I reckon. I have to be doing better than this.

installing edging floating pontoon rue de port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being Thursday, that’s shopping day. And I hadn’t forgotten that I was going to go down to the port to see what was going on down there with the big cranes.

And the answer is that it’s not really evident. They’ve worked hard on the pontoons of course, and they’ve edged and trimmed them now, presumably with the bits and pieces of metal or aluminium that were on there the other day.

But with just one row of pontoons, with the supports poking through, that’s not really wide enough for people to pass carrying boxes of fish and the like.

digging trench rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’d seen the traffic lights in the rue du Port and I wanted to see what they were for, seeing as they are still here but the cranes are gone.

Nothing to do with the cranes at all – just digging a trench across the road. It’s a company called Cegelec that’s doing the work so it’s likely that it’s something to do with electrical work.

There are some now power boxes on the pontoons, but I would have thought that they would have been connected into the existing circuit rather than having a new one.

chausiais trawlers leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was up on top of the cliff I’d noticed that Chausiais was moored up in the loading position underneath the big crane.

By the time I’d come down and walked along the harbour she had pulled away. There were several fishing boats pulling away from the quayside too so it looked as if at any moment the harbour gates are going to open and let everyone out.

As for me, I pushed on to the labroatory where I went to pay for my blood test last week and pick up my results.

And my blood count is down – by 0.3. Not that that’s any surprise. After all, I’ve not had my essential four-weekly treatment since January

At LIDL there were quite a few people – more than there have been for a while. There was nothing in the specials that I needed but even so the bill was somewhat large for a mid-week shop, due to the fact that I needed a lot of stuff.

But remember those frozen red fruits from the other week? They had bags of frozen raspberries in there today so I bought a pack. Somewhere lying around I have some agar-agar so I’m going to have a go at making a strawberry flan next week.

trawler entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I called at La Mie Caline for a dejeunette and then headed for home.

The harbour gates are now open and the queue of boats had long-since departed . It was now the turn of those coming in to pass through the gates, like this one is doing right now.

Back here, I had to shuffle things around in the freezer to fit the strawberries in and then, coffee in hand, I attacked a dozen or so of the photos from July 2019.

Right now, I’m back on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour and just coming in to Reykjavik harbour on a grey and miserable Sunday morning.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLunch was exciting because it was such a glorious day that I went and ate my butties outside, sitting on the wall overlooking the harbour.

And I wasn’t alone either, as you can see. Sometime during the course of the late morning while I was working on my photographs Thora has sneaked into port and tied up at the loading bay underneath the big crane where I had seen Chausiais earlier.

Word has reached my ear that there’s a strike on in the port of St Malo, and a lot of freight from there is being delivered here instead

boats entering leaving harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just Thora and a fishing boat that was using the harbour either.

It looked as if the whole world and his wife was either coming or going in and out of the port today. Dozens of people were making use of the facilities in the glorious weather.

For ages I sat and watched them, and I was accompanied by a lizard. I bet they missed me last summer when I wasn’t here. In previous years I’d fed tham with my pear droppings.

yacht baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallDo you remember the big navy blue yacht that we saw the other night? I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the photo.

She must have moved into here – or, at least, the Port de Plaisance – because here she is again taking advantage of the breeze that was blowing out to see.

But she didn’t hang around for long and disappeared out of my view. So I finished my butties and cme on back to the apartment.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire more photos of this evening’s activities, I worked on my web pages.

Firstly I rewrote one of the pages on one of the websites – a project that I’ve started just recently.

And secondly, I treated a couple of pages on the other website to the new modernisation procedures. One of those pages had a substantial rewrite while I was at it because events have moved on since I first wrote it in 2008 and it’s one of those rare pages that has never had an amendment.

baie de mont st michel st pair sur met kairon plage marker light entrance to port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was time to finish off this week’s accountancy course (next week, it’s Maths!)and then go for my afternoon walk.

Such a beautiful afternoon it was, and so I went off and snapped a beautiful photo of the marker light by the entrance to the harbour, with St Pair sur Mer and Kairon Plage in the background.

Crowds of people out there today. Restrictions here are being further lifted on 2nd June but you would be forgiven for believing that they have been lifted already, with the crowds who were out there.

seagulls pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNot just crowds of people either.

The tide is well on its way out and so the flocks of seagulls were jostling for position on the rocks ready to dive down onto the mudflats and scavenge for the shellfish.

It’s impressive how they seem to understand about tides and the like. Animal instinct is a wonderful thing and it’s a shame that most humans don’t use theirs.

cleaning mooring chains port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the headland, past the chantier navale where there were still the two boats.

But I was intrigued by the work that was going on in the tidal harbour. There are mooring chains all over there, marked by buoys that presumably float the chains up and down with the tide.

These guys were cleaning out around one of the chains. It’s probably become bogged down in the silt and isn’t moving as it’s supposed to znd needs freeing off.

bad parking college malraux granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can tell that the schools are back, can’t you?

It’s chucking-out time at the High School down the road and the parents are here, parking on the pavement in a narrow road because, presumably, their little darlings are too tired to walk the extra 20 yards to the huge free car park just across the main road in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

As for me, I carried on with my walk and came back home

And you won’t believe this but me, not having played the piano since I was about 12 (and that’s over half a century) I can now play quite happily a 12-bar blues two-handed with Cmaj7 as the root chord in the American blues scale. It’s so impressive!

It did involve a little cheating – I had to label my keyboard (I have one of these 5-octave keyboards) so that I could see the notes at a glance rather than think about how they relate to middle C – but it was still pretty good and I completed the first week’s course with some kind of comfort.

What was even better was that for my hour on the guitar later, I sat down and worked out the note spacing for the blues scale and then did a half-hour of walking bass up and down the scale followed by half an hour of lead guitar solo

It seems to me that I’ve learnt more in an hour this afternoon than I have in about 50 years of playing guitar.

So week 2 tomorrow. And at this rate I might even catch up with the course. That’s rather more optimistic than yesterday, isn’t it?

Tea tonight was the leftover stuffing with kindey beans made into taco rolls, and a slice of my totally delicious and juicy apple pie – the best one that I’ve made so far.

Outside for my evening walk – and straight into controversy as when I finally reached the clifftop after my struggle up the hill I – and everyone else there – was buzzed by a helicopter.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWe all stood and watched it for ages at it circled round and round and round the same spot, going lower and lower each time.

It’s the local air-sea rescue helicopter that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen before, so the conclusion that we reached was that there had been an “incident” of some description.

We noticed, as you can see in this photo, that it’s attracted the attention of a fishing boat that has changed course and now come over to where the helicopter is.

air sea rescue boat helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA couple of minutes later, the lifeboat came around the corner to join in the fun.

So whatever it was that was going on, it was clearly important and I’ll ptobably find out about it tomorrow in teh newspapers.

So knowing that this wouldn’t be resolved in a minute I decided to carry on with my run and presumably by the time that I got round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord they will still be out there working.

open motor launch fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe presence of the air-sea rescue operation wasn’t deterring the rest of the nautical craft.

Commercial operations would hardly be affected and it seems that leisure activities weren’t halted either. these guys in their open boat are still chugging on their way regardless of the commotion that was going on around them.

Back at the apartment I enlarged the image and I could see that they were loaded up with rods and lines and the rest of the fishing gear.

chausiais joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was some excitement over at the ferry terminal too.

While Chausiais was out on her travels today, it looks as if someone, the little blue and white boat, has ppinched her berth and moored herself to it. That means that poor Chausias has had to go and moor herslf somewhere else, as you can see.

That certainly seems to be something new. I’ve never seen a boat moored there before and I’m not convinced that it’s a good place to moor either, with the force of the rising tide risking smashing her into the wall.

air sea rescue boat helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round and across to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

The lifeboat was there now, and the crew was alongside the rails presumably looking for something – or someone.

They were there for quite a while too. I stood and watched them for an age but it was clear that whatever they were looking for, they weren’t going to find it in a hurry.

And I was right to, for they were still at it long after I returned home.

picnickers beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it’s no surprise that I wasn’t alone there either.

My picnickers were there again this evening. And out in force too. They must be multiplying or something because there seems to be more and more of them each night. If I remember correctly, we started off with four.

So I turned round and ran back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day with no planned interruptions (I say “planned” because we know all about unplanned ones). No accountancy course so I’m going to have a good go at the music course to try to catch up with the arrears. it’s certainly piqued my interest

But of course something is bound to happen to disrupt all of my plans. We all know how that works out.

Tuesday 19th May 2020 – HOW LONG IS IT …

old cars citroen 7l traction avant rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall… since we’ve featured a decent old car on these pages? After all, it’s not like the Auvergne where old cars are two-a-penny round here is it?

The answer is “probably about as long as I managed to beat the third alarm to feet to my feet” which is another sore point around here, especially this morning.

And so, in order to whet your appetite for a decent old car, here’s a “Traction Avant” – one of the Citroen front-wheel drives made over a 20-or -so period between the mid 30s and the mid 50s and which featured as gangstermobiles in almost every French film of that period – driving along the Rue du Roc this evening.

old cars citroen 7l traction avant rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallHorsepower was calculated in different ways in different countries so in the UK this would be known as a Light or Heavy 15 depending on whether it was a “4” or a “6” cylinder model, whereas in France it’s either a 7L or an 11L. And, of course, “Traction Avant”, or “front wheel drive”.

It’s one of the very last models too, which you can tell by the boot lid (the earlier ones had the sloping boot lid with the impression of the steering wheel in it) and the rear bumper (which is straight, not curved).

And if you want to know how come I know all about these vehicles, there’s one of them SITTING AT THE BACK OF MY BARN in the Auvergne.

It was supposed to be a retirement project when I’d finished my house but, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, what we need now is a miracle.

While we’re on the subject of miracles … “well, one of us is” – ed … I think that I’m going to need one to get me back into getting out of bed at a decent time in the morning before the alarm.

Whatever it is that i’m doing right now, it’s not working. It was about 07:20 when my feet touched the ground and that, dear reader, is simply not good enough.

After the meds I had a look – or rather, a listen – to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

Last night I was visiting some kind of zoo and we went to see the chimpanzees although another name was used for them I can’t remember who I was with. The animals were being kept in really squalid conditions in a place the size of a lock-up garage. There were about 10 chimps in there and a few of them, mothers and babies, were in a mass huddle. I asked if they were de-fleaing each other but the person there told me that each animal de-flead itself. I was interested to know what happened to the young female chimps when they reached maturity because if they stayed there they would be inbred which wouldn’t be good for the stock, so did they exchange animals with other zoos to mix the gene pool around? But by this time we were walking away and I couldn’t find anyone to ask.

After breakfast I finished off yesterday’s notes, having crashed out last night in the middle of writing them, tidied up little and then brushed up on my Welsh. The course got under way at 11:00 and finished at 13:00 and the teacher is going at a cracking pace, not leaving us very much time to draw breath. This course goes on for 10 weeks and if I’m still here at the end of it I’m going to be out of breath!

There will have to be a bread-baking session tomorrow morning because at lunch I used up almost the last of my home-baked bread. I’ve already run out of cordial so that, I reckon will be my morning taken care of.

After lunch I started on finishing off the radio project. And by the time that I was ready to knock off, it was finished. Not without much effort either because for some reason that I don’t understand, I’d miscalculated the length of the last track.

And so I had to do the last part again and with a different song and – badger me – I miscalculated again. I’ve no idea what was happening to me today, I really haven’t.

At least I didn’t crash out, which is, I suppose something. But there was an interruption while I went for my afternoon walk.

lifeboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I walked out of the door I walked straight into something going on. A few people (there were masses of folk outside) including a couple of my neighbours were gazing at something going on offshore so I went to join them.

The local lifeboat, which regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on a few occasions, was doing some kind of what looked like a rescue at sea.

Whether it was a trial run, a practice or an actual rescue we really couldn’t say, but it was quite exciting to watch it as the events unfolded and did what it was supposed to do.

yacht boats buoy english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it’s hardly surprising that there’s some kind of “incident” out at sea just now.

There are the sailing schools here of course, one in Granville and it looks like one in Bréhal-Plage. We saw the other day some yachts that might have come from there and there are a few out there today with a couple of rows of buoys that, presumably, the yachtsmen have to sail around.

And that speedboat that we saw yesterday with the rod-and-line fishermen in it – there’s a similar boat out there today in the same place with similar people doing a similar thing.

english channel yacht lifeboat speedboat fishing boat ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut if I told you how many water craft there are out there today, you wouldn’t believe me.

So here’s a photo that I took of the view out from the top of the cliff towards the Ile de Chausey and you can see for yourself how many there are just in this shot.

There’s the lifeboat of course, the yacht far out in the distance toward the island, a couple of fishing boats and a speedboat. It’s hardly any surprise that there’s been some kind of “incident” out there this afternoon

paraglider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s not just on land and sea that there are crowds of people either

As I was concentrating on what was going on out at sea I felt the cold hand of death on my shoulder. It was actually a shadow and when I looked up to see what was causing it, I noticed that it was one of the birdmen of Alcatraz floating on over my head.

It always amuses me that their point of take-off is right next to the cemetery in Donville les Bains. If they have any serious problem they don’t have too far to do.

fishing boat yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me around the headland and onto the south side of the headland.

And if anything, it was just as busy there. There was any number of photographs that I could have taken to illustrate the point but I contented myself with this one because it was rather symbolic of the dirty working diesel-powered fishing boat and the clean sleek lines of the wind-powered craft propelled (at least nominally) by the wind.

There are a lot of symbolics in my photos of course. Some people say that they are just “sym” but other people say something else.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe haven’t finished with the water craft either today.

It was odds-on that with all of this water craft about, there was bound to be some kind of commercial traffic too. We haven’t seem our two little freighters from the Channel islands for a week or so but this afternoon, here in port we have Normandy Trader

These days the turn-round is very quick and so it was today because when I went out for my run later on in the evening, she had loaded up and gone.

fishing boats refigerated lorries fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will remember the other day that we saw four refrigerated lorries parked up at the fish-processing plant.

Today it looks as if we’ve gone one better and have a nap hand of lorries here – 5 of them in fact. And you can see all of the fishing boats tied up at the quayside. Coupled with the number of boats out at sea, it’s hardly a surprise that they need 5 lorries to take away the catch.

As for me I came home to finish off my radio work and have my hour on the guitar. I mustn’t forget that.

For tea tonight I added some kidney beans into the left-over stuffing and had taco rolls with pasta and vegetables.

Thatw as followed up by another slice of my nice redfruit pie with soya coconut dessert stuff.

zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis evening, somewhat earlier than of late, I went out for my evening run.

We saw the Traction Avant that crossed my path earlier and I’m sure that you don’t want to see any more of the trawlers and fishing boats that were fishing away offshore. Instead, as I walked around the corner of the headland there was this bright yellow zodiac.

It wasn’t easy to see what they were doing either, so I took a photograph of it with the aim of blowing it up (the photo, not the zodiac of course) back in the apartment for a closer look

zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I was destined to be confounded because the moment I clicked the shutter he put his machine into gear, put the pedal to the metal and piddled off out of it.

So whatever it was that they had been doing just there, they had clearly finished and there wouldn’t be all that much point in looking.

Consequently I carried on with my run down past the chantier navale (no change there) and the port Normandy Trader has piddled off too, as I mentioned and with the usual pause for breath, headed off for the viewpoint at the rue du Nord.

kids on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallToo early for the sunset so I admired the view for a minute or so.

Once more, a noise from down below attracted my attention and sure enough, the young people who have been there for the last few days are down there again having another picnic.

It doesn’t look too much like “social distancing” to me but that’s their problem, not mine. As long as they realise the consequences then that’s fine by me.

Not wishing to wait for another half hour for the sunset I ran on home to write up my notes and listen to some good music.

So tomorrow morning will be a cookery morning, I reckon. Bread and perhap a small apple crumble because there are only two slices of my pie left. I’ll have to make some cordial too – lemon and ginger this week, I reckon.

Here’s hoping that I’m on form.