Tag Archives: Louis de Funes

Saturday 12th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… good and productive morning today which was nice. And which was just as well because I had a pretty lousy afternoon.

But more of the afternoon anon. Let’s talk about the morning first.

As the alarm started to ring I leapt out of bed and wandered off for my medication. And then I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone.

And there was nothing on it from the night, which was a surprise because I had all sorts of vague ideas and images going around the margins of my mind when I awoke but they had all flown away as I had tried to grab hold of them.

There was however some stuff on the dictaphone from 30th and 31st May that needed transcribing and so I dealt with that and brought their pages in the journal up-to-date.

While I’d been doing that I’d been listening to music. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a week’s radio programmes was lost in some king of confusion and my records ended up being out of order for a week. And rearranging it meant that I had a blank week.

Without confusing things any more, I was rather stuck for what to do. But then yesterday I had an idea. I have a load of music that is waiting to be digitalised and even more than hasn’t yet been sorted. So I went through and sought out the groups who are debuting in my playlist.

The CDs that needed digitalising were then digitalised and I made up a playlist of albums where the groups and musicians were debuting in my lists.

And so today while all of this updating of the journal was going on, I was listening to music. I’d already been listening it last night and I’d selected a few tracks from it but by the time I’d finished the updating this morning I ended up with a nice collection.

And so I selected my tracks, edited them to cut out bits I didn’t want and to regulate the volume and then I combined them in pairs. So that’s the music sorted for that programme. On Monday I need to start by writing the music which is good because I have an appointment at lunchtime and I need to have the programme done by then.

When I’d finished what I’d been doing I grabbed a Louis de Funes sound file and chopped that up for more soundbites and I’m now accumulating a nice bunch of soundbites. And there are plenty more to go.

When I’d finished it, that was when it all started to go wrong, because I almost immediately crashed out. And a good and proper crashing out it was too. It was a very late lunch today because I didn’t come round until about 14:20. And then I was staggering around like a drunkard for a few minutes until I grabbed hold of my equilibrium.

The rest of the day has been spent cutting up albums (and there are still plenty to go at) and editing photos from August 2019. And I’m now actually at South Pass – at least where Highway 28 goes through it.

It didn’t look like the description that I had though and while things can change since 1845 they don’t change that much so what I did then was to go back to find a hotel and make further plans and do further research. So unless I am distracted tomorrow you might get to hear a little of my adventures.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did, as you might expect, is to interest myself in what is happening down on the beach today.

And so girding up my loins I headed for the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down from my viewpoint. And as we can see, there’s plenty of beach again today because the tide is well out again today. As I go out most days at roughly the same time, it’s interesting to see how the tide evolves over a complete cycle.

And while the weather is better today than it has been, warm with hardly any wind, there weren’t as many people down there as I was expecting to see. After all, it’s the holiday season and the place is swarming with Parisians right now bringing their viruses with them.

marite english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I was admiring the people on the beach my attention was caught by some kind of movement away on the horizon.

It was a ship – I was pretty sure of that. It couldn’t be anything else at that spot but with the naked eye it was far too far away for me to make out exactly what kind of ship. I was intrigued to see what it might be so I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can still do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation).

And so there you are. It’s a large sailing ship with at least two masts. And according to my shipping radar, Marité, the old fishing schooner that lives in the port, slipped her moorings at 07:53 this morning and headed off towards Bordeaux. And I can’t say any more than that about the ship out there.

microlight aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd its not just people on the beach and ships at sea that is attracting our attention right now. Try to do something serious and concentrate and your reverie is immediately interrupted by a buzzing noise overhead.

It’s not a mosquito or an insect like that, but it’s one of these microlight ULM powered hang-glider things. These kinds of things have their origins in the pou de ciel or “flying flea” microlights designed in the 1930s by the Frenchman Henri Mignet and popularised in many magazines, with plans being produced for home-builders.

Ever since then the French have had quite a reputation for building light aircraft of all shapes and sizes and regular readers will recall that we have seen quite a few different types of light aircraft flying over our heads when we’ve been out and about.

Cessna F182P Skylane F-GBTS pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand, is a real aeroplane and it makes a change to see one that not only was picked up on radar but is entered in the books of the airport at Granville.

She’s a Cessna F182P Skylane, a model that was introduced in October 1971 and powered by a Continental O-470 piston engine fitted with a carburettor and producing 230 HP, or 72 kW. With a range of over 1,000 miles, the models for the European market are quite often flown over from Wichita, crossing the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Baffin island, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

This one though was noted as being at Toulouse Airport this morning at 11:59 and was picked up by the radar near Balma at 13:21. And I could follow her route from there all the way to Granville where she landed at 16:15.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right now I haven’t finished with the air yet because there were other things going on too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have a local bird of prey that we have seen quite regularly. I’ve forgotten what breed he might be because the birdwatching lectures that I had from Nerina weren’t about this type of bird, but it hovers about the edge of the cliffs because there are many small animals, including a colony of rabbits, that have made their home there.

And to my surprise, I noticed today that it had a mate. Or, at least, there was a second one working the cliff edge farther along. It will be nice if we can have our own colony of vultures or whatever they are.

men fishing from zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLet’s turn our attention back to the sea now because there was still plenty going on out there too.

With it being Saturday,, then of course we can expect the local fishermen to be out in their droves this afternoon trying their luck from their boats just offshore at the foot of the cliffs. But doing my best not to make any tart remarks about their success rate, I pushed off along the path.

And the path was crowded with people today too. And despite the Préfet‘s instructions about masks being compulsory until the end of the month, many people were walking around maskless or with their mask tucked under their chin.

And seeing that many of them are holidaymakers from Paris, that will tell you all that you need to know about why the disease is so rampant in those places. And here they are, bringing their disease to us.

trawler beached port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed my way along the path all the way around the headland until I reached the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour from where I could see what was going on in the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have talked … “at great length” – ed … about trawlers left in the outer harbour to go aground when the tide goes out.

So here’s another one of them – one of the bigger ones too, tied up in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position to the harbour wall underneath the red marker light for the harbour entrance.

There’s definitely something fishy about this, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

gerlean l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut to put your minds at rest L’Omerta and its friend, which is called Gerlean, are still tied up at the fish processing plant and are sitting on the mud.

But it beats me why they are there because it can’t be very popular with the other little fishing boats. With those tow moored there, there’s less space for the others to tie up to unload and so they’ll have to queue for longer.

But anyway, that’s not my problem. There’s a hot coffee and some ginger cake waiting for me back at home so I headed that way, and ended up having quite a lengthy chat with one of my neighbours on the stairs. That’s not like me at all, is it?

Tea tonight was interesting. There was some stuffing left over so I lengthened it with stuff that needed using in the fridge, added some tomato sauce and had it with some pasta. And as an ad-hoc meal it was surprisingly good.

But now I’ve finished and I can hardly keep my eyes open, and so I’m off to bed. A nice Sunday lie-in tomorrow and won’t that do me the world of good?

Monday 10th May 2021 – AFTER ALL OF …

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall.. shenanigans that went on last week out at sea, it was very interesting to see the position of the fishing boats on my radar today.

The port itself was practically empty except for the odd fishing boat here and there and everyone else was out at sea. Half of the fleet was fishing away in the Baie de Mont St Michel and the rest were in between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey, many of which boats we can see in this photo. It seems that the local fishermen are keeping a low profile right now until the situation cools down.

There were however one or two boats right out in between Jersey and Guernsey, but they were the larger boats from the fleets that operate out of here so I don’t imagine that they had as much difficulty obtaining their records over last weekend.

Talking of things not having much difficulty … “well, one of us is” – ed … I didn’t have much difficulty leaving my bed this morning after the first alarm. And after the medication, the first task was to deal with the carrots.

Last night I’d forgotten to mention that while things were cooking I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots and they had been draining overnight. They went into one of these ziploc plastic bags and were bunged in the freezer.

After that had been accomplished I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was living in Virlet and a new British couple had appeared on the scene. I’d been in the shops and tomorrow the shops were going to be closed so I got up, bought a few things that they might need which I could always use if they didn’t and went round to see them. They said that they were fine for stuff. In the end we chatted. He had a Wartburg saloon that he was going to restore. We talked about Income Tax and other kinds of things. He showed me his income tax form which he didn’t understand. Not having seen a French income tax form I wasn’t any more the wiser either but I was able to work my way down and in the end I arrived at some kind of calculation which didn’t disagree at all particularly from what the French government’s calculation had been. I was able to explain the fact that this was only an estimate based on what they had said that their provisional tax might be and how it could all changed depending on what they did earn and all the allowances and reliefs that they could change simply through reading this form.

Armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the radio programmes for the next while. The live concerts have fallen behind somewhat in the rota and I wanted to do two of them today and, to my surprise, I managed it too.

It wasn’t too difficult though really because the first one is of a group with whom I had a very long and animated correspondence about 18 years ago and they had sent me a pile of stuff back then. Some of it was hopelessly confused and I never succeeded in untangling it but I managed to rescue enough today to make up a concert.

The second was a concert from the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm in 1973 that some of my friends who played in that group sent me. The difficulty with that was that It was extremely difficult to trim it down to the right size and in the end I had to resort to what I can only call “imaginative editing”.

It wasn’t easy but in the end I managed it even if there was only space for an intro of 42 seconds. And I do have to say that it all went together really well. In fact when I listen to some of the stuff that I did when I first tried doing this back in the olden days I cringe with embarrassment. And I’ve improved a lot more over the last 18 months too.

Having finished that I attacked a Louis de Funes soundtrack to extract a few more soundbites for my radio shows. He’s the special guest on my radio shows and I make up dialogue with me asking questions and using the soundbytes to manufacture replies. It provides some levity in the programmes.

And, shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep at this point. That was a real disappointment, although it probably isn’t much of a surprise. But whatever you might say about it, it meant a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a listen to the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend and then sent it off to the guy who maintains the internet schedule to fit it into its little slot.

By now it was time for my afternoon walk

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it seems that I can’t go for an afternoon walk without first going to the end of the car park to look down over the walls to see who was about on the beach.

There was no neighbour around today to squidge me so that was a task that I could perform in comfort. But even though the tide wasn’t right in as yet and there was plenty of room on the beach, there was no-one around.

That was something of a surprise because although it wasn’t as warm as it had been yesterday and there was slightly more wind, there was plenty of beautiful sunlight out there and it was a nice spring day. The kind of day when you might have expected the madding crowds to be out and about.

There were a few people on the path but not the crowds of yesterday which made a nice change so I could go for my walk in comparative comfort.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the path by the lighthouse I stopped for a look back at the College Malraux to see how they are doing with that roofing job that they started a couple of centuries ago.

And despite all of this time since they started, they still haven’t finished it as yet. Judging by the material that’s around here there is no heavy or major work being undertaken so I really have no idea what is taking the time.

One possible answer to that is to take a closer look at the photo. A nice sunny day, albeit a little windy, it’s not yet 16:00, and there is no-one up there working. It seems to me that they have all knocked off and gone home, and that’s no way to work at all. It’ll never be finished at this rate.

kite surfer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned the hordes of fishing boats … “not hordes, actually” – ed … of fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel and I was determined to go along to the end of the headland and look at them.

Indeed they were there and I was intending to take a photo of them but I was rather distracted by this guy here. I’m not quite sure the name of this activity that he was practising – it must be kite-surfing or something.

But whatever it might be called, he was certainly brave to do it around a fleet of fishing boats. I mean – you can see the boats but not necessarily the equipment that they trail out behind them and it wouldn’t be very much good tripping over all of that.

So forgetting to take a photo of the fishing boats, I pushed off along the path round the other side of the headland.

le styx trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today we have more excitement in the chantier navale, so I dashed down the path in order to have a closer look.

And we now have another occupant in here as of this afternoon (or, at least we will haven once she’s dropped onto her blocks) in the form of Le Styx, one of the smaller trawler-type of fishing boats.

Mind you, judging by how far out the tide is right now, they seem to have left her in the portable boat lift for quite a lengthy period of time. And with the van parked up by her, it makes me wonder if she is actually going to be put on blocks or whether they are simply giving her an inspection, rectifying a few minor matters and putting her back in the water at the next tide.

Mind you, after my prophesy with Aztec Lady that backfired so spectacularly, I’ve given up speculating on the boats in here.

fishing boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso over there we have another fishing boat that has been left to go aground as the tide has gone out.

There are actually a few people aboard her so I wonder what it is that they are doing. If it’s simply a case of provisioning the boat, it still beats me why they can’t do that in the inner harbour. There’s definitely something going on about that.

The diving boat is still there too, so I wonder if when we saw the men with the jetski the other day, it really was nothing to do with any diving activity and the disturbed water was just a coincidence.

But on that note I came home for my hot coffee and because I had things to do. Like pay for my Welsh course and also to book everything for my next trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s come round quicker than even I had anticipated.

After all of that I had a session on the guitars which I enjoyed and then went for tea. Burger and pasta followed by the last of the summer w … errr … jam roly poly

Now I’m off to bed for an early night. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form. I can’t remember anything at the moment and I need to find the motivation from somewhere.

Thursday 16th April 2020 – I COULDN’T KEEP IT UP …

… this morning, which id something of a shame.

Having done so well this last couple of days, I couldn’t beat the third alarm today. I missed it by about 10 minutes.

Mind you, I didn’t have the early night that I was hoping for last night. I was listening to music again and so enjoying myself, I split up a Louis de Funes soundtrack to extract some more soundbites for my radio shows.

Definitely my favourite French comedian, Louis de Funes, and he deserves to be my co-star on the radio.

So where did I get to during the night, After the medication I could go along and find out.

I was going some kind of post-dated ad for the end of the month – the old men wanted it for some project or other. I’d get them to sign in and anyone who sends me any connections will have a reward because of it. But I was with Nerina for some part of the time.
Later on, a group of us was going skiing. We were all sitting around waiting for the bus to come and pick us up. I had all of the stuff to hand out to everyone for them to take their possessions. But some of the stuff, some of the people couldn’t carry. My brother was lucky – he just had a suitcase there and a guitar. I said “there’s no guy ropes or anything with this”. he said “yes that’s fine, not a problem. It turned out that all the stuff like that was in my suitcase and I’d got tons and tons of stuff like this. Mine was just really really heavy. There was someone who might have been Nerina but I’ve no idea who it was who didn’t have very much either, and someone else who might have been one of my sisters who didn’t have plenty. We were all there with all of these things and there was tons of it all told. I was wondering how on earth we would manage to get all of this onto a bus or a train, however we were going. Each person was responsible for his own but that’s not going to be right with all of the stuff we have. It’s just escalating all of the time out of hand like this
Later still I was just about to go off on a trip with Stuart Graham, the Honda motorcycling racing specialist and tuning guy who lived near Nantwich but just as I was getting ready to go off the alarm rang and put an end to that.

There was much more than this going on too but as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare you all the gory details.

After breakfast it was digitalising the cassette collection time. Another four albums have bitten the dust this morning but, once again, they are four albums that I won’t beusing in the radio projects, for a variety of reasons.

And it made me realise that there are a pile of albums that I no longer have and I don’t understand that at all. And bearing in mind what they are, I have an idea where they might be. But I’ll never have them back now. Ahhh well!

But the splitting was reasonably comfortable and reasonably rapid, but somehow I’ve ended up with two *.mkv files, which is what I’ve been trying to avoid.

A shower and general clean-up was next. And I weighed myself too. And after all of this running and so forth I’ve … errr … GAINED 800 grammes. It looks as if my scales are as reliable as the blood machine in Castle Anthrax.

manoeuvring flaoting pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA shooping trip to LIDL was called for next.

And I was right about something else too. Starting on Tuesday earlier this week I’d been hearing strange noises coming from the port and I’d been thinking to myself that it sounds as if they have restarted work on the pontoons.

And that certainly seems to be the case. The big crane on the floating pontoon has one of the large supporting pillars in its evil clutches over there.

installing floating pontoong support pillar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd when I came back from the shops later on, they were hard at work on the pontoon.

You can see the piledriver up there, supported from the big crane, pounding away at the pontoon support and driving it firmly into the bed of the harbour.

And just think how much easier it would have been to have done this work two years or so ago when the harbour was drained and they were reinstalling the new harbour gates. What an effort they would have avoided had they done it then.

marite cargo on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut in the meantime, my attention was distracted by the excitement going on down at the bottom end of the harbour.

You can see Marité there of course, but you’ll also see a pile of large bags of building material. That would seem to indicate that either Thora or Normandy Trader is on her way to port.

We haven’t seen either of them for a few days, but that’s not to say that they haven’t been here. With us in detention à domicile like this and only being allowed out briefly, and with the rapid turnover that the ships seem to be enjoying these days, it’s not impossible that I’ve missed them.

disinfecting streets rue couraye granville manche normandy france eric hallOnwards towards LIDL and in the rue Couraye I came across something interesting.

There have been reports from all over the world about the disinfecting of the streets that receive heavy use. Here in Granville most of the banks and important local shops are situated in the rue Couraye and here they are out spraying the street.

It’s quite possible that the speech by the President the other day has galvanised them into action.

There’s also a story that the town council has ordered 20,000 masks from a local clothing manufacturer to distribute to the population. This ending of the detention à domicile on 11th May might actually be a possibility.

At LIDL tomatoes were in very short supply and those that they had were expensive. In fact I spent a lot of money there, but much of this was on new cooking supplies. They had some new tart cases and stuff like that today.

On the way back, I discovered that La Mie Caline had reopened, so I bought a dejeunette. Things really are slowly returning to normal, bit by bit.

fishing boats entering leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was an article in the local paper this morning that the amount of fish products landed here during the month of march had fallen by 30% or so.

That’s certainly some kind of clear evidence that fishing is continuing despite the crisis, albeit in reduced numbers. And as I walked up the hill in the rue des Juifs there was a delightful nautical danse macabre in the harbour.

One fishing boat was on its way in and another was on its way out, and they were having a nice little waltz around each other.

After lunch I started on the remains of the two radio projects that I hadn’t finished. I’d chosen the final tracks and edited them last night so it was just a case of writing the text, dictating it, editing it, merging it into place with the final track and then editing it all down to one hour for each project.

That took me up to about 16:15 to do them both, and I could have done it quicker too except that I … errr … relaxed for a while.

And then, until 18:00 I had some “me time”. I deserve some. And one of the things that I did was to order a new computer hi-fi system.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the one here has its problems and seeing as I spend so much time these days listening to and editing music and so on here, I ought to have some decent stuff.

And so I ended up in discussion with a musical equipment wholesaler and we’ve worked out a package. There won’t be much change out of €300 for what I’ve ordered, but I’ve had this hi-fi here for at least 18 years and it’s due for a change.

After the hour or so on the guitars, I made tea. Now that I had bought an aubergine I made myself an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit – and forgot to use the mushrooms that were left. I had some of that for tea and there are four helpings left for the freezer. I need to build up the supplies again.

The apple pie was delicious too, with the last of the coconut soya cream. But there’s that lovely banana sorbet for the next couple of days to take my mind off things.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went out for my evening activity.

There was a really beautiful red sky in the distance and by the time that i’d run up to the top of the hill (and that had me in agony) it was lookign even better, with the sun just peeking through the sky over the Ile de Chausey

It looked absolutely wonderful with the cloud just there like that, in exactly the right place.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I carried on with my perambulations while I recovered my breath.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have recently been discussing fishing activity deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. There’s another fishing boat out there this evening – not the one to the left of the photo which seems to be heading into port, but the one to the right.

That one is farther out, deeper into the bay and has its workign lights switched on, so it would seem to be actively working out there.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut by the time that I’d gone round to the other side of the Pointe du Roc, the sun had sunk below the horizon.

And here I’m presented with one of the most extraordinary sights that I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad that I had the big NIKON D500 with me to photograph it. The way that the sun is reflecting on the cloud above it behind the Ile de Chausey is just like the light of a theatrical backdrop and I’ve never ever seen this effect in real life.

It was totally spell-binding.

spectator enjoying sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t the only one out here tonight enjoying the sunset either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned on previous occasions that we are seeing more and more people flouting the regulations about staying in and so on. We had a fair crowd out in the streets today, and here’s someone who has passed the security barrier to go down to the little cove there to watch the sunset.

Still, I suppose that the sight was well worth it.

support plllar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith my usual two stops for a breather, I ran all the way home from here.

But in one of the breaks I had a little diversion to look at what they had been doing in the harbour today. And they have indeed stuck another pontoon support pillar into the ground.

Not all the way down, so presumably they’ll be back to finish it tomorrow and to install the rest. Obviously the local council isn’t worried too much about this virus.

So I’m off to bed, later than I intended. Tomorrow, with no radio stuff to deal with for the first time since I don’t know when, I can make a start of a few of the arrears that have been building up.

And aren’t I looking forward to that?

Wednesday 22nd January 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Went down to ma Mie Caline for my dejeunette this morning, didn’t I? Normandy Trader had sneaked in on the early morning tide and there were a few other things that I needed to observe so I made sure that I had the big Nikon D500 with me.

It was when I was reviewing a photo that I had taken that I discovered that I had forgotten to put the memory card back in it last night.

And badger me if I went out this afternoon still having forgotten to put it in. But at least there, I cold go back for it which was more than I could do when I was down on the docks.

Last night, just for a change, I was in bed before midnight. Only just, by a couple of seconds or so but nevertheless …

And I slept right through until the alarm went off without moving, and not going anywhere, either virtually or for real The alarms went off as usual and while I didn’t beat the start of the third alarm, I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it stopped. So I suppose that I kind-of beat it.

The early part of the morning was spent cutting up digital music tracks as usual. That’s another pile organised but there are still plenty – dozens if not hundreds – to go at over the next while.

Another thing was that while I was looking for a track that had somehow been missed, a few things by Louis de Funes popped up. Anyone who has listened to my “A La Pointe Du Rock” programmes on OUR LITTLE RADIO STATION will know that Louis de Funès is my regular studio guest and having as many examples of his speech as possible is always useful so I downloaded a pile more of that.

With the Zoom I’m entitled to a free download of Cubase and also Wavelab. Not that I intend to use them – I’m quite happy for now with Audacity – but I can see possibilities so I downloaded Cubase.

That was the cue to go for my bread, take my camera and forget the memory card.

There was no indication of anything that would indicate what work was going on in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers so I pushed on down to the docks where there was no water vessel beached today.

Across the top of the harbour gates and over to the other side of the harbour where I fell in with someone wrestling with a huge, really long wire rope that was about 10mm in diameter. He was opening it up with a file head and threading a nylon rope through it. “Something for the fishermen” he told me, after I’d asked him about four times.

Normandy Trader was bearing more of a resemblance to the Marie Celeste. Fully loaded up but not a soul about anywhere. One day I’ll get to meet the skipper and his crew I suppose.

Back home I attacked the radio project and that took me all the way up to about 18:00 to finish off. There was all of the text to finish writing, and then it needed to be recorded, spliced into its individual sections and then merged in with all of the music files. It’s just like a little military operation.

Some of it needed to be redone because it overran by about 10 minutes. Hefty editing was called for, including the dropping off of a song that I was hoping to play but then that’s what editing is all about.

There were the usual interruptions of course. Lunch was one of them and my afternoon walk was another.

normandy trader aztec lady ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNormandy Trader was already leaving port and heading off into the wild blue yonder so I went to take a photo of her. That’s when I remembered the memory card.

But a dash back to the apartment and load it up again. Then back outside just in time to see her disappear into the afternoon fog that’s been swathing us for a couple of days now despite the wind.

And the yacht that’s out there with her – that might well be Aztec Lady. There’s certainly a resemblance.

chausiais baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd there wasn’t just Normandy Trader out there either.

Here’s Chausiais heading back into harbour having clearly been somewhere. And not too far either so it’s quite possible that she’s been doing a delivery to the Ile de Chausey.

If I remember correctly, this is the first time that I’ve seen her out in the open sea (although I have seen her sailing around the harbour) so I’m glad that I went back for the memory card.

wind surfer hermitage holiday camp donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon’s walk took me, for a change, around the city walls, just by way of being different.

Out there in the bay just off the holiday camp there were a couple of windsurfers enjoying the sunshine and the wind out at Donville les Bains near the Hermitage holiday camp. Like I said, there was a lot of maritime traffic today.

As for me, I had my run along the north side of the walls, and again along the Square Maurice Marland, although not all the way for the latter because there were some people loitering around.

But nevertheless I actually made it to the top of the first ramp so that’s something.

pollard trees boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallDesperate to reach the 100% figure, I carried on further than I otherwise would have done, basically to see what was the purpose of the bollards in the Boulevard Vaufleury last night.

Talking of bollards, how about pollards? They are pollarding the trees along the boulevard. Something that they do every spring before the growth starts so as to make the place look pretty.

The machine upon which they are standing is extremely interesting and I could find a hundred uses for something like that.

road sign fibre optic cable rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBack round to the rue du Roc to clock up the miles and here’s an interesting notice that I saw.

“No parking from 08:00 on 23rd January while they connect up the fibre-optic cables”. This can only be good news. They’ve been playing about with the installation almost since the day that I arrived here, so it’s about time that they finished it off.

Here’s hoping that I’ll be connected soon!

back at the apartment I … errr … closed my eyes for a few minutes before finishing off the programme. And then I did nothign whatsoever until teatime.

Tea tonight was an everything curry with all of the leftovers going in the pot. And as there wasn’t quite enough, I lengthened it with a handful of peanuts.

Apple pie and sorbet for afters and the remaining piece of pie went in the freezer for when I come back.

The evening walk was around the headland. Freezing cold it was and I didn’t hang around. I just went out and came back. No photos, although I did get yet another run into the programme, but fell short of my target point.

Not that I’m worried too much, because it was the third run of the day.

So in a minute I’ll be having an early night. I’m off on my travels tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Wednesday 4th December 2019 – BRRRRHHHH!

caliburn freezing fog iced windscreen granville manche normandy franceWinter is acumen in. And Caliburn is the first to notice it.

It was absolutely taters in my apartment this morning. And even with one of the radiators going full-tilt overnight in the living room, the temperature was a mere 9°C.

The other radiator won’t be switched on though, because I spend most of my life in the bedroom-cum-office here and even with just one small radiator, it keeps quite warm in here.

But outside this morning, the temperature had descended to just 0°C, with the promise of more frost on the way. Winter is well and truly on its way.

It’s not the only thing that’s on its way either. I was on my way during the night. I had an old beige Cortina mkIV (UOB? YLO? WGS?) that had been involved in an accident and was quite badly damaged at the front so we were taking the seats out of it to put in another one. We were having to do this on the very quiet in the hope that no-one would ever get to see about it because with the floor pans being the same all the seats in the mkIII, mkIV and mkV were quite the same. But the door cards wouldn’t fit and I remember thinking so it was probably a mkIII that we were going to fit these seats in. But apart from that I don’t really remember very much else and awoke shortly after the dream started.

There were further instances too, but the battery in the dictaphone went flat as I began to dictate them and by the time that I had sorted out new batteries, I’d forgotten where I’d been.

An early start meant an early breakfast and I was back at my desk quite early too. And by the time that I knocked off at lunchtime, I’d reduced the dictaphone backlog to just 8 files. I’m hoping to finish those tomorrow if I can get a good whack at it.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was planning to head off for this outside market on the football club car park. So I took a break from the dictaphone and headed off outside.

bad parking avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceMy route took me up the hill into the avenue des Matignon and here once again we witnessed one of the eternal banes of this site – the pathetic parking of various selfish motorists.

Here’s one guy who’s parked over not one but two places in a loading bay while he went into the boulangerie, despite the fact that right behind where he parked was an empty public parking place.

It really is unbelievable.

new house building avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceAnother thing on which we focus is the various house-building activities that are going on all over town.

This site in the avenue des Matignon has featured before, but a long while ago when it was nothing like as completed as it is now.

And judging by the space heaters and moisture extractors in use in the building, it won’t be long before it’s ready for occupation, I reckon.

open air vegetable market avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceAd I’m glad that I wasn’t expecting too much of this open-air market today, because I wasn’t disappointed at all.

There were a couple of bakers there but none of them had a loaf my size so I eschewed the opportunity. And the price of the fresh veg was, well, out of my range I’m afraid.

But there was someone there selling baking apples and had I not been planning my getaway in a week’s time, I’d have bought a few. Instead, I’ll get a few next week and they will be nice and ready for when I return.

erecting christmas trees place pierre semard granville manche normandy franceOn the way back down into town, the workmen were there once more at the roundabout at the place Pierre Semard, working on the Christmas tree.

Today they have brought another pile of smaller trees and they seem to be erecting their own little forest. And without any obvious Health and Safety issues, although had it been the UK, they all would have had to wear armour-plating to defend themselves against splinters.

Having admired them for a few minutes, I continued on down into town, picked up my dejeunette and came back home.

And much to everyone’s surprise, especially mine, I managed to run about 100 metres up the steep hill. I’ve not done that before.

Still an hour or so to go before lunch so I continued with the dictaphone notes, leaving just 8 to do, as I mentioned when I knocked off for lunch.

After lunch I had another play around with the Fostex mixer desk and I’ve managed to make it work after a fashion. At least, it’s recording tracks and I can upload them to the desktop computer, but the recording level is too low for my liking.

Still, I’ve ordered a few of the correct cables for the external microphones and when they arrive, I’ll be in business (I hope).

Next task was to edit out some soundbites of Louis de Funes and his friends from a few video soundtracks so that I can use them in my projects. I had an 8-minutes soundtrack and I’m halfway through it, having selected out about 15 so far.

At some time during the course of the afternoon I must have dozed off on my nice new comfy chair, because I suddenly sat bolt upright with quite a shock. And it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

freezing fog english channel granville manche normandy france 16:00 – time for my afternoon walk.

There was bright sunlight out there in places, yet it was freezing cold still and the sea was covered in this layer of freezing fog.

All in all, from this point of view it looked like a rather depressing afternoon.

peche a pied plat gousset granville manche normandy franceDespite the cold and the fog, there were some people out there enjoying themselves.

Some guy was out there with his bucket, doing what they call round here the peche à pied – fishing on foot. Scavenging in the rockpools for the cockles and mussels, alive, alive-ohh, hey?

And I hope that he shares them out with his friends. After all, one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish

donville les bains granville manche normandy franceFurther on along the coast the beach out at Donville-les-Bains was swathed in glorious sunshine.

There were quite a few people out there on the beach enjoying the sunshine while they could, and that sad former hotel building that is now apartments and where I went to look at something once, even that was looking quite nice today in the conditions.

But as you can see, the fog isn’t all that far away. You can’t see very much behind the building.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just on the beach at Donville-les-Bains that the people were sunning themselves either.

There were quite a few people walking out on the promenade at the Plat Gousset and there were even some intrepid souls who had made their way onto the beach.

As for me, I carried on with my walk and seeing as there was no-one out and about on the Square Maurice Marland where I take my evening run, I leapt into action there too.

All the way along my little track and up the ramp at the end too. It was something of an effort, that final 20 metres and that’s what usually finishes me off, the rise at the end, but I made it up to the top today.

Back at the apartment I started to split into their individual tracks the digital music that I have been downloading just recently. Today, I did two albums and I reckon that along with the photos, this will be my project once the dictaphone notes are finished.

There was some stuffing left over from the pepper the other day so I added a tin of kidney beans and made some taco rolls for tea. And there’s still some stuffing left over now. What I’ll do, probably on Friday, is to make some pasta and eat it with the stuffing and the left-over veg.

christmas lights rue du port granville manche normandy franceFreezin cold and pitch-black outside so I didn’t loiter on my evening walk.

They have installed the Christmas lights on the rue du Port so I stopped to photograph them. And, frankly, if that’s the best that they can do, it’s all rather sad if you ask me. They needn’t have bothered.

No-one about again so I broke into a run and made it all the way down my course here without too much effort.

Even though I say it myself, I’m feeling much better with myself because I’m making the effort to move about more. Who knows? At this rate I might even start looking for a partner. Wouldn’t that be something?

So LIDL tomorrow. I don’t know what they have in the specials but it will be fun finding out. So I’ll catch up with my beauty sleep right now.

After all, with my looks, I need all the beauty sleep I can get.

Friday 8th November 2019 – IT REALLY WAS …

yacht seagull baie de mont st michel brittany granville manche normandy france… beautiful out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon.

And you can tell that from this photo. Plenty of sunshine out there on the water, the Brittany coast (18 miles away if you are interested) in the background, and the yacht sailing with the wind.

Not to mentioned being photo-bombed yet again by another blasted seagull. Although I do have to say that it adds a certain extra something to the image.

But never mind that – I had some tissues and I was wearing a hat.

Mind you, I’m surprised that I managed to actually see anything of the daylight today. Despite promising myself an early night, I was still up and playing the guitar at 01:30 this morning.

And even more surprisingly, I managed to beat the third alarm out of bed, even though I was feeling like something that had been dragged through the cat flap.

Plenty of time for me to go off on a nocturnal ramble too. And a big “hello” to Castor and Pollux who came to join me on my journey, which was yet another one of a long line of tumultuous journeys riddled with turmoil. I’d had a big row with Castor and Pollux so they weren’t really speaking to me. And so I was in the dining hall and I was at a table hoping to catch a glimpse of them because I knew that they would be coming out very soon. In fact there were all these cars already up the street – there must have been 1,000 of them parked up there waiting for the everyone to come out. I couldn’t find which car had come for them and I knew that he would get there early so that he would be close to the gate but I didn’t have a clue. But there in the refectory I was sitting there at a table I suddenly saw them all with about 2 or 3 other people around them. And I sort of half went over to chat, and half didn’t and I couldn’t make up my mind what to do. In the end I went back to my seat. Just then a teacher appeared with a pile of stuff. She was looking for a girl called Kenneth. She had had some work and gave it to this girl called Kenneth and told her something. There was also some more work and I thought that it was for some other person but it turned out that it was for her as well. So the teacher gave her these three loads of work that needed doing, and that was when I awoke. One thing that I did notice was that Castor and Pollux and the other people with them were having quite a good amount of fun and I was terribly jealous in this sense because I wasn’t in there having the fun with them.

Things are really getting at me these days, aren’t they?

We had the usual medication and then breakfast, following which I attacked the dictaphone notes. And what with a few interruptions, I’d transcribed 9 by the time I knocked off.

One of the interruptions was the parcels delivery man. Another load of stuff has come, part of which was the 40-watt amplifier for the guitar. I forgot to photograph it so I’ll do that tomorrow.

low tide trawlers coming into port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBefore I could allow myself lunch, I went for a walk. Down the steps, along the rue du Port and back up the rue des Juifs.

No groups of tourists today. Instead, we had groups of fishing boats coming in to harbour on the turn of the tide.

They did well to dredge out that little channel there at the foot of the quay. Those boats that only have a shallow draught can come right in even though there’s a long way to go before the tide fills the outer harbour.

For lunch, I had one of the containers of soup that I made yesterday. And I don’t know why but it doesn’t taste as nice as any one of the others that I have made. That’s not to say that it’s bad of course – just not as good.

This afternoon I’ve been playing the guitar and dealing with the web site amendments. And although the site isn’t half-done as yet, there are a couple of bots even as we speak trawling their way through the revised pages

thora english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAt 15:45 we had the usual stop for our afternoon walk in the glorious sunshine – even though it was still rather windy out there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Thora has been in port for the last day or two. But as I was going out, so was she. Braving the stormy seas off the Ile de Chausey on her way back to the Channel islands.

You can see the spray out at the bow of the ship as the waves go slamming themselves into the hull. Even though the wind has died down somewhat, there’s still a great deal of force left in the sea.

workmen bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that back earlier in the year I had a guided tour of one of the old bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. Some group of volunteers has taken them over with the aim of starting a museum of sorts.

There was a large lorry fitted with a hiab parked outside the bunker so naturally I went to see what was going on.

It’s difficult to see of course, but certainly something seems to be being delivered. So it looks as if whatever they are doing, it’s now starting to make progress.

And good luck to them too.

sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceWe weren’t the only people out there enjoying the good weather either.

The guys from the Sailing School were out there in the bay too, presumably giving sailing lessons. One of these days I’ll go down to make further enquiries.

Back in the apartment I made a start on my Project n°3. I want to get ahead as much as I can and build up a stock for future reference.

One of the things that this involves is to cut soundbites out of a collection of clips of Louis de Funes. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was always doing that out of old British radio shows, but this needs to be done in French.

Tea was pie with veg and gravy followed by, seeing as I had the oven on, a rice pudding. The pie was one slice of that which I made just before I went away and it was absolutely delicious.

granville by night manche normandy franceThis evening I took my walk around the walls rather earlier than usual. Nevertheless I was still all alone on my walk and wasn’t disturbed at all.

Some of my night photography didn’t work at all, but one or two others have come out rather well, such as this one of the town with Kairon-Plage in the background, slightly to the right of centre.

Once more , it’s a hand-held shot with the monopod, so it’s not too bad, I reckon.

trees night square maurice marland granville manche normandy franceThis one of the trees in the Square Maurice Marland has come out really well and I quite like this. In fact, I took a couple of good photos today.

This is actually round about the end of my running strip, and I made it this evening halfway up the ramp before I ran out of wind.

But I think that that’s about as far as I’m ever going to get. I don’t seem to be able to push on.

I was wondering if maybe I were to start at the ramp and run anti-clockwise, that might be better and I might go farther.

Yesterday I said that I might stay out with the tripod when we have a nice night, and it was certainly a nice night tonight.

But there was football on the internet – Aberystwyth v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League.

The score was 5-0 to Bala, and you might be thinking that this was a really one-sided game. But that’s far from the truth. Bala’s second goal was scored from a breakaway following a sustained period of Aber pressure.

But the fourth goal made me weep. How many times have I said to defenders to stop messing about in defence with the ball and clear it upfield quickly?

Sure enough, Aberystwyth were mssing around with the ball just outside the penalty area for a couple of minutes and inevitably, because you can guess what happened just as easily as I can tell you, they needlessly lost possession.

The fifth goal too was extremely unfortunate. Roberts in the Aberystwyth goal made an excellent save, the ball hit the crossbar and could have gone anywhere. But of course it has to drop right at the feet of Chris Venables and he’s not going to miss sitters like that from three yards out.

So now I’m off to bed. Still no Caliburn so I’ll be walking to the shops tomorrow.

But before I go, I was hunting around in the Al Stewart lyrics that I have had for probably 40 years, looking for the source of the quote “spaghetti, two forks, one plate” when I came across these lyrics –
“And so as she slept and the pure morning crept”
“Through the windows to take her away”
“I thought you can’t make people be what you want them to be”
“I could see my self nailed to a dormitory tale”
“Of a holiday night’s escapade”
“And just yesterday she had seemed like a woman to me”

“And so like a child with the sleep in her eyes”
“Where the sadness of age had once been”
“She left on the plane with a “See you again” and a smile”
“And I couldn’t say what I had won or I lost”
“Or even just what I had seen”
“But when I’m alone I just think of her once in awhile”.

Remind anyone of anything?

fishing boat out at sea english channel granville manche normandy france
fishing boat out at sea english channel granville manche normandy france

thora english channel granville manche normandy france
thora english channel granville manche normandy france

workmen unloading cargo bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
workmen unloading cargo bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

granville by night manche normandy france
granville by night manche normandy france

Sunday 20th October 2019 – APARTMENT SWEET APARTMENT!!

Yes, after almost 4 months away from home, here I am back in the comfort and safety of my own four walls.

And what a nightmare it was in order for me to make it back here.

The day started well enough – or actually, badly enough as it happens because even though I was in bed “something like”, a couple of girls decided that they were going to have a party. What annoyed me was that I’d made a special effort to have an early night, even watched (the first five minutes of) a film just to make sure too.

But then they came in later and started to party, and woke me up.

From then on I was tossing and turning throughout the night, going on some amazing voyages but then eventually the alarm awoke me, as it always does.

For a change I was quickly out of bed, packed and then had a few things to attend to. It’s the birthday of someone very dear to the heart of Strawberry Moose and he wanted to send a card. I had to help him of course, so I hope that the person concerned received it. It goes with all of his greatest esteem and affection and with particular (but not exclusive) reference to one night and several evenings.

Food was next so I enquired of the night porter where I could buy a baguette. He took me a few doors down the road to a large wooden door, and after banging on it for a while, it opened.

It turns out that it’s the door of a commercial bakery that supplies bread to hotels and restaurants, and for a mere €1:00 they sold me a baguette big enough to have made lunch for the entire hotel – staff and residents combined.

What I did was to make my sandwiches for lunch (of course) and also a couple for breakfast – saves me buying my raisin buns. And with what was left I made some butties for tea too.

For the first hour of being back on the road, things were going on as normal. I left the hotel and, dragging my heavy load behind me, made it up to the Gare du Midi.

The train was already in the station so I was one of the first aboard and settled down in my comfy seat ready for the off.

We were about half an hour or so into the journey when the commotion started. The ticket collector came along to check the tickets, and it turned out that the young guy sitting on the seat across the aisle from me didn’t have a ticket. The ticket collector asked him to 3come along with” him, and that was when the violence started.

As I said, I am (unfortunately) a different person from when I set out on my voyage. The artist Samuel Gurney Cresswell remarked that a voyage into the High Arctic “ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”.

Well, I don’t know about “better” but it’s certainly made me a lot wiser, after everything that was thrown at me on that final voyage and it’s awoken a lot of things in me that had lain dormant for years. And so while I vowed that for as long as I lived I would never ever help anyone out about anything ever again after how I was repaid for it, I wasn’t going to stand by while some young thug was dishing it out to an elderly gentleman merely doing his job.

Sparing you all of the gory details, the net result was that when we arrived in Paris there were four policemen and a police dog waiting on the platform and he was carted off. The ticket collector (the complainant) went along and I was “invited” too, ostensibly to give evidence but possibly in case the assailant started to complain about his dislocated right arm and shoulder. He won’t be hitting anyone again for quite a while.

The drive through Paris was exciting – just like Louis de Funès in the old Renault Estafette – blue flashing lights and sirens and the full works.

Three hours I was there waiting my turn, and upsetting everyone by wandering off to look for a toilet. I ended up in someone senior’s private office and “there will be an enquiry” about that, apparently.

By the time that they had dealt with me, my bus had long-gone and that was that.

But not quite.

After a 10-minute walk I found my way to the ticket office at Gare Montparnasse (luckily the Police Station wasn’t far away) and joined the mile-long queue, everyone trying for revised travel arrangements due to a lightning strike by the TEC drivers.

And I was lucky. There was a TGV going to Brest in half an hour’s time and there was a seat vacant as far as Rennes. At Rennes there would be a 20-minute wait for the last train to Granville – if it’s running.

So I took a gamble and scrambled aboard the TGV. If the train to Granville isn’t running, I fancy my chances much more finding a hotel in Rennes than in Paris. And thinking on – my ride in a police van had meant that I hadn’t had to struggle around on the metro.

But my luck is in! And isn’t that a change from just recently? The Granville train is running, and it’s here, and I can climb aboard without any problems. So I do – and promptly fall asleep.

At Granville I decide to bite the bullet and for once, take a taxi. But there isn’t one. So I go round the corner to the café to ask the proprietor if he knows of anyone. He nods to someone at the bar who replies
“I’ll take you. 15 Euros”.

Like hell he will. I only wanted a ride, not to buy his cab from him.

The walk was difficult with my 30kgs of luggage, but once I’d organised everything it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. I took my time and had plenty of rest stops but I made it fine enough. I’m badgered if I’m going to pay €15:00 for a 3-km trip.

But the strap on my fitbit has now definitively parted company. I’m annoyed about that.

So here I am, safely back home in familiar surroundings at long last. But for how long? What’s next on the agenda? and how long will I be away for? I was disappointed that my nice little office chair was broken but it wasn’t made for heavyweights.

So I’m off to bed. I’ll check round the place tomorrow and see what else needs doing and then I’ll start to unpack. I’m not doing anything tonight. I did make a start on backing up but the spirit was weak.

It’s probably a good idea to go to bed – my first night in my warm comfy bed. And I’ve missed it, although I wouldn’t have missed for anything the experiences that I have had over the last four months. Good or bad experiences, they were all good really regardless of the outcome. Je ne regrette rien

But here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve had a great deal of issues with the statistics recorder on this blog, convinced that I’m not having accurate readings.

As a result, a week ago, I spent some time uploading a new statistics reader to run alongside the existing one, and the difference is startling. The new one is much more accurate, much more up-to-date, updates quicker and tells me much more about my audience.

So why doesn’t my audience tell me more about themselves? You can see the “Leave a Reply” link just underneath the title up at the top. Use it to introduce yourselves.

And I shall add my best birthday wishes to those of Strawberry Moose. I hope that you enjoyed your day.

Sunday 27th January 2019 – NOW THAT’S …

… more like it.

No alarm this morning. And when I finally did awaken it was a gorgeous, beautiful 10:15. And when I finally did rise up from my stinking pit, it was an even better 10:40. Now why can’t I do this every Sunday when I don’t have to catch a train?

There was plenty of time to go on my travels too. Last night I was once more upon the Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. There was a musician playing the guitar and singing and at some point he had invited me to join in. But when we reached the point where I should have joined in, someone else from the back of the room took up the part. And that upset me somewhat. It was something similar to the scene in The Gendarme At St Tropez when, on his way to choir practice, Louis de Funès arrests a burglar. A little later I had to go to the restaurant and take with me a crate of stuff, including half a dozen bottles. But I was so weak that it was a struggle to carry it, and when I found that it wasn’t needed and had to take it back, I couldn’t move. I had to put it on the floor and drag it, but that was even more difficult.

With a very late breakfast, I didn’t bother with lunch. Just a few pieces of fruit and a slice of my Christmas cake. It’s even better as it matures, although there is a limit.

But with it being Sunday, I had a very lazy day and didn’t do too much at all. I downloaded a program from the internet and had a play around with it, but it doesn’t work as well as I would like.

I also resurrected an ancient program from about 10 years ago to give that another go, but there seems to be an issue with that. Mind you, it’s been transformed through several operating systems and several computers so it’s probably not compatible with new technology and there’s probably been an upgrade along the way.

I eschewed my afternoon walk today. The wind was howling around outside like nobody’s business. It didn’t look very good at all.

night sea plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThis evening though, when I went out for my evening walk after a delicious vegan pizza, the wind had died down somewhat.

It was now a mere hurricane strength, but because the tide was so far out, there were no impressive waves crashing down on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Had I been out this afternoon I might have had some kind of impressive view. But as Kenneth Williams once famously said, “I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds”.

Minette the black cat was out there tonight on her windowledge. And believe it or not, that’s the only person to whom I’ve spoken today.

So tomorrow, back to work. there’s a lot to do and I keep on putting it off.

night sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france
night sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Saturday 7th April 2018 – SO THAT WAS …

… Summer then.

This morning we were back with the grey, miserable, depressing overcast weather that was threatening rain again.

I leapt from my bed with a spring in my step at the sound of the first alarm … "QUITE" – ed … and then went through the usual morning ritual followed by a shower and a turn of the washing machine. I need to have everything up-to-date here before I go.

The shops were pretty boring and I didn’t buy all that much – hardly surprising when I’m not going to be here for 10 days. LIDL was quite boring, except for the enormous queue at the one till that was open, but there were a couple of DVDs in NOZ that attracted my attention. Les Grandes Vacances starring Louis de Funès who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is my favourite French comedian, and also “Le Brigand Bien-Aimé”, or to give it its English title, The True Story of Jesse James – but unfortunately the 1950s remake, not the original, classic 1939 version.

There was also a nice imitation-copper tray too. Very heavy. Just the job for putting on the table to keep the condiments and so on handy whenever I carry out the additions to the kitchen.

It was exciting at LeClerc though. Some woman was insisting that they weighed her fruit and vegetables BEFORE she put them in the bag, despite the fact that the scales there are set to minus 0.5 grammes to take into account the weight of the bag. Just how petty can anyone be?

Back here, I had a coffee and a tidy up (just a little one) before lunch and then, seeing as I can now pick up 5-Live with the new hi-fi (with which I am almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin) I listened to the football on the radio.

As that finished, it was time for me to set off to the Stade Louis Dior and this evening’s football. US Granville’s 1st XI were playing Stade Briochin, the team from down the coast at St Brieuc.

And true to form, as the teams lined up for the kick-off, we had the downpour. 535 brave spectators witnessed a rather depressing football match.

Stade Briochin are second in the table and are challenging for promotion to the National League. And it was easy to see why. I’ve mentioned in the past that US Granville’s attack can be pretty aimless at times, especially when their centre-forward doesn’t feel much like it, and that was the case today. I’ve never seen then so ineffectual up front.

As for Stade Briochin, they were much more focused and dynamic, and played with a system, a shape and a plan. They scored two goals with some very good play and could have had even more had the Granville ‘keeper not been on top form.

Granville improved in the final quarter of an hour after a couple of substitutions but still didn’t seriously threaten the Stade Briochin goal and they are probably still out there now trying to launch an attack on the empty net.

And surprise, surprise. As soon as the referee blew for full-time the rain stopped and my trudge home was rather damp but dry.

Tea was out of a tin as is usual on a Saturday when I’m late home. Rice and veg with a tin of those champignons à la grecque. Not my favourite meal but at least it’s different and adds some variety to my diet.

It was very kind of the FAW to hold up the kick-off of tonight’s Welsh Cup semi-final until I was back home. And so thanks to the internet and my new television I was able to watch Connah’s Quay Nomads totally demolish some clueless rabble in blue that pretended to be Bangor City.

With Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann in central defence and a debut appearance for The Invisible Man at left-back, who had to be just about the worst defender that I have ever seen at this level of football, the Nomads rattled in 6 quick-fire goals and could have had half a dozen more except for a brave display by Matthew Hall in the Bangor goal.

Bangor’s reply – a penalty – was nothing more than some soft consideration or consolation for what had been the worst performance that I had ever seen.

I’ve mentioned in the past that Bangor’s inconsistency is costing them dear. Last week they took on TNS, who had just been crowned League Champions, and beat them 1-0. And earlier in the season they had beaten TNS 5-2. And then they go and turn out an embarrassing, humiliating performance like this?

So on that note, I’m storming off to bed. It’s been a bad day for the football.

Wednesday 19th April 2017 – I HAD A …

cat BRICQUEVILLE SUR MER manche normandy france… spectator while I was making my tea tonight.

Old, creaking, grey around the edges and more than just a little mangy.

But that’s enough about me – let’s talk about the cat. He’s seen better days of course (but then, haven’t we all) but he is friendly and enjoys his little cuddles. It takes a lot to move him from his comfy seat in the verandah, but then any kind of activity in the kitchen usually works for any animal.

Last night I was asleep long before the end of the film that I was watching (I can’t even remember what it was now … "it was Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard with Louis de Funes" – ed …) and slept right through without awakening until about 06:30.

Breakfast was quite a simple affair – exactly what I had specified – but I couldn’t do with the landlady insisting on engaging me with conversation at some silly time of the morning. I don’t do mornings, as you know.

This morning I cracked on with a few things that needed doing and then I wandered off to buy a baguette for lunch. And good luck in Bent Tin City … errrr … I mean Netto. Not only was the baguette cooked properly, I managed to find some vegan salad dressing. I forgot to mention yesterday that every salad dressing in the LeClerc yesterday had milk in it, and I just don’t understand that at all. Mind you, Netto is renowned for catering to the … errr … budget-conscious, so that’s where you’ll find the basest products.

And the basest customers too – especially after this morning.

st martin le vieux manche normandy franceIt was pretty windy on the seafront at Bricqueville sur Mer and so I headed off down the coast. Eventually, I ended up at St martin le Vieux.

Here on the promenade, I managed to find a little spec out of the wind where I could sit on a bench and make my butties, as well as read my book for a while.

I know that I’m supposed to be working but I’m not as young (or as fit) as I used to be and I need to take things carefully

st martin le vieux manche normandy franceAll in all, I was there for an hour or so and I would have been there even now, except that the sun went in and it started to become quite cold. I didn’t fancy staying out there much longer.

But at least there’s a good view of the rock of Granville away down there, and you can see Donville le Bains in at the head of the bay down there. I’m still lamenting on that dreadful studio that I saw there, with one foot in the sea, but I do have my pride and I haven’t come here to live in a slum.

sheep bricqueville sur mer manche normandy franceI headed back up the coast to the seafront at Bricqueville but was interrupted by a herd of sheep moving about. It’s a tidal road like the one that we encountered in New Brunswick in 2011 and apparently the sheep know when the tide is turning, for they head off to the high ground.

Once they had cleared off I drove down to the parking area where I … errr … closed my eyes for a short while. This is getting to be rather too much of a habit, isn’t it?

When I awoke, the wind had dropped and so I went off to sit on the beach amongst the dunes for a while – with my book. No-one was more surprised than me to see that I was still there at 16:40. I was quite comfortable there.

Back here, I had a good search through Caliburn for some papers. I didn’t find the ones that I wanted but I found some others of equal importance which is just as well. And I found some stuff for tea too. Lentils and veg in a tomato sauce with pasta – and piles of it too, enough for the next few days. My spectator enjoyed the scene anyway.

So I’ll have another early night, and try to watch the rest of my film tonight. See how far I get, hey?

Sunday 16th April – I’M GLAD …

… that I was up and about something lively-like, because I had all kinds of issues on my journey today.

But to put things in their proper order, let’s start right back at the beginning.

My sleeping habits aren’t improving any just now – we were back with the early-morning interruptions again, bu nevertheless I did manage to drop back off to sleep again and stay like that until the alarm went off.

But my nocturnal ramblings of the night were quite disturbing. I was trying to do something with my living accommodation – decorating it or something – and every single (and even the married) member of my family was there – standing in the way and generally obstructing me from proceeding with what I was trying to achieve. That really is the story of my life, I suppose, as you well-know.

Breakfast was quickly over and then I set to in the studio, tidying it up and packing things away. Making sandwiches was the plan too, but I noticed that the bread had “turned” and so all of that went in the bin instead. Luckily, and I had forgotten to mention it and I don’t know why, the other day Alison and Jenny had brought me some vegan snacks (which was very nice of them) and so I stuffed a few in my back-pack. They will do fine for the journey.

And so having left my hotel early, I arrived at the railway station early. This meant that instead of taking the 09:29, I could leap aboard the 09:09.

Old, dirty and smelly. But that’s enough about me – let’s talk about the train instead. and even though it went via the airport, it arrived at Bruxelles-Midi well ahead of the one that I should have taken. And I’m glad that I wasn’t going to the Costa Stella today because the stations were heaving with holidaymakers.

All of the foregoing meant that when I arrived at Bruxelles-Midi the TGV to Paris at 10:13 hadn’t arrived yet. I’d planned to be on the 11:13 and I wasn’t looking forward to the mad scramble across Paris with the perturbations on the Metro and so, seizing the initiative, I went to blag my way on board the earlier train.

tgv paris nord bruxelles midi belgium april avril 2017The negotiations took probably longer than the journey would have done, but nevertheless they found a seat for me and we were away. The train was packed too – I probably had the last free seat on board.

Ordinarily the crowd would have bothered me (as you know, I don’t “do” crowds). There were a few things that I had wanted to do in Brussels too and that bothered me too, but I was far more bothered about La Traversée de Paris, and I didn’t have Jean Gabin, Bourvil and Louis de Funès to help me out.

And I’m glad that I caught the earlier train too. Because I took the signposted deviation to Paris Montparnasse thinking that it would be quicker than the route that I had picked out.

And wasn’t that a mistake?

Line 6 came to a shuddering halt half-way down the route and we ended up being decanted into a bus to take us the rest of the way to the Porte d’Italie and the connection to Montparnasse.

I’ll tell you something for nothing – and that is that had I caught the train that I should have caught, I would have been struggling to be on time. As it was, I had enough time to sit and catch my breath and eat a packet of vegan crisps. Struggling on the Paris Metro is not for the faint-hearted and I can imagine that if you are disabled, it would be totally impossible.

That’s not the best of it either, because the line out of Montparnasse is under repair and we ended up being bussed to Dreux. I had a pleasant companion next to me, but I spent the journey with my eyes closed catching up on my beauty sleep.

At Dreux, there isn’t a toilet at the railway station, would you believe. You have to use the publics down the road, and these are pay toilets too. I declined and decided to hold out until I was on the train.

train sncf dreux granville manche normandy franceSo here’s my train, in the station at Granville. And just look at the beautiful weather that greeted me when I arrived.

The journey had been completely uneventful – the guard didn’t even want to check the tickets – and I had a nice, relaxing journey back here.

I’d been a bit nervous about where I’d had to park Caliburn for the time that I was in Leuven, but he was unscathed and that cheered me up. We all headed out to Jullouville and my hotel for the next two nights.

As for tonight’s hotel, the Hotel des Pins in Jullouville, I’ve stayed in many worse places than this too. The town is a bit miserable too – a holiday resort and not much at all in the way of food. I made myself a pile of vegetables from the tins out of Caliburn – that will keep me going for a bit anyway.

And now it’s an early night. I’ve had a hectic day and it’s taken a lot out of me.

Thursday 25th December 2014 – MERRY CHRISTMAS …

… to all my readers. And I shan’t make any wisecracks about the walls of the public conveniences on Crewe Bus Station because I say the same thing each year and you must be sick to death of it by now.

During the night I was in Rome being fleeced by an Italian shopkeeper, and having to sort out a few kids, some of whom were mine and the rest of whom were kids that I was looking after, and they were having a fight in a hotel room and the police had been called.

I was awake early this morning but managed to stay in bed until about 08:30 – I wasn’t in anything of a rush to leave my stinking pit as I’m sure that you can imagine. And after breakfast, I did precisely zilch.

I’ve watched a few films though. First up was The Mask of Dimitrios starring Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet. Lorre is one of my favourite actors and this film continues the joint roles that the two of them played in The Maltese Falcon. That’s a film that I can watch time after time after time, and having seen the Mask of Dimitrios, that will be the same.

I’ve also watched the first couple of Fantômas films. Louis de Funès is my favourite actor but occasionally he has a tendency to over-act and these films are not amongst his best. But still, I found a box set of the Tantomas films going cheap

I’ve not eaten much today either. I have plenty to nibble on so I’ve been attacking all of that. I even found a bag of Bombay mix from I don’t know when and that tasted wonderful.

And do you know what? It’s more of the same tomorrow. I’ve absolutely no intention of going anywhere or doing anything at all. Which is probably just as well as when I went out just now to take the stats, there was the start of a heavy frost. Everywhere is cooling down again and there’s snow forecast for Sunday.

Saturday 4th January 2014 – I FINALLY MADE IT …

… off the premises today, but I didn’t go far, which is just as well.

I had yet another bad night – not going to sleep until long after 02:00 and being awake long before dawn. And when I finally bit the bullet and hauled myself up, it wasn’t even 09:00.

Just as well, as I needed to make an early start.

I had to go to Cécile’s this morning. She’s awaiting an urgent letter which requires someone -such as Yours Truly – to make a dash to St Gervais prior to 11:30. And while I was there at 10:45 with plenty of time to spare, Cécile’s mailbox rather resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, so that was that.

I nipped into St Eloy for the shops and the only excitement there was that LIDL was having a sale of tapes. Not the audio variety but the sticky variety and I never have enough aluminium tape or masking tape, so I stocked up. And with all this extra expense, well, my shopping came to a massive €25:00. It’s good to be here and not in Brussels.

This afternoon I did some more work on the website – only a bit because the lack of sleep caught up with me and I crashed out for 90 minutes.

Later on I watched what is my favourite French film, La Folie Des Grandeurs starring my hero Louis de Funès. A magnificent comic actor and this film sums up everything that there is to say about him.

Tomorrow it’s my final day of rest and I need to make the most of it because I’m back at work on Monday. I’ve been making a little list of things to do and believe me, there’s enough to keep me going for a couple of years.

Tuesday 30th July 2013 – I’M HAVING A …

… bad day today!

And I missed some of it too because at about 15:30 I went and crashed out for 90 minutes. That’s just how it was.

Mind you, I was up long before the alarm and I don’t remember much of my dream except that there were two people in it who were green, something similar to Fantômas in the series of Louis de Funès films.

After breakfast I made piles of space in the living room and in the big bedroom and photographed almost everything that there is to sell.

My plan is to make a web page of articles for sale and then advertise it on places like Craigslist and so on, and have a kind of open day or two.

But here’s no rush because the Estate Agent called me again today. His pool of clients has now whittled itself down to zero and so he wants to restart the visits. Consequently we had a brief discussion.

Three times he’s “sold” this apartment “subject to the availability of finance” and three times the “availability of finance” has not been forthcoming. High time he presented some serious clients.

Apart from that, a lunchtime and at tea time (and the second portion of my potato pie was even better) I’ve been watchin the John Wayne film The Undefeated – and watching it open-mouthed.

Although this was the film that directly followed True Grit , it has to be one of the worst main feature John Wayne films that I have ever seen.

It’s a rambling, shambolic 100 minutes of tiny little sub-plots with just the vaguest hint of story stringing them along. It’s as if someone has taken a TV series of 26×50-minute episodes and made a collage out of the highlights.

His character in the film, by the way, is called “John Thomas” – probably because the film is all c*ck.

In other news, the BBC tells us today that “for years the Arab world’s dictators kept radical Islamic groups in check but the uprisings of 2011 gave them freedom to operate more openly”.

Anyone who has been following this load of rubbish for any length of time will be only too well aware that I’ve been saying since the Iraqi invasion over 10 years ago that the west will end up regretting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his like.

Truth travels slowly but it’s finally reached the BBC.

Trouble with me is that I’m 10 years ahead of my time.

Wednesday 4th January 2012 – TODAY DIDN’T WORK …

… out as I had wanted it to do.

Forgetting to switch off one of the alarm clocks didn’t help much, for a start.

But nevertheless it was about 10:00 when I finally surfaced.

As part one of the plan, I watched one of the the films that Marianne had bought for me for Christmas. I’m a big fan of Louis de Funes and have a great many of his films, which I can watch time and time again.

But I’ve had loads of difficulty trying to track down one of his films that, to my mind, is by far and away the best film that he has ever made –  La Folie Des Grandeurs.

It concerns de Funes as a Spanish nobleman who runs foul of the Queen of Spain. Apart from the legendary “towel in the bath” scene, it also contains the immortal lines –
de Funes – “tell me some little flatteries”
Valet – “senor is the greatest Spaniard who ever lived”
de Funes – “that’s not flattery – that’s the truth. Try again!”
Valet – “errr … senor is very very handsome”
de Funes “that’s better!”

Anyway, Marianne tracked down a copy for which I am extremely grateful, and I sat and watched it. and I’ll be watching it again … "and again and again" – ed.

But at lunchtime, Terry rang up. He and Rob were working somewhere and they had run out of concrete. So that involved digging out the Sankey trailer and setting off for the quarry. He just had the sand/stone mix and so we had to go to St Eloy les Mines as well, and that took most of the afternoon.

So much for my plans to tidy up and do some paperwork.

But the tyres on the Sankey are thoroughly perished and they need to be changed before it goes anywhere else. You can’t haul a tonne or two of sand and gravel on tyres like those.

So this evening was quiet – I read a book. And that’s really it.

But going back to Marianne’s I do remember one evening sitting down to watch La Grande Vadrouille, another de Funes film in which he stars with Terry-Thomas. It’s another one of my favourites and Marianne had bought that for me as well.

And as I was getting the film ready to watch, Marianne was idly surfing through the channels and what should be on the TV but La Grande Vadrouille?

Coincidence or what?