Tag Archives: mairie

Monday 7th March 2022 – IT WAS A …

… very different experience today at my physiotherapy session. She put four electric pads around my knee, coupled them up to some kind of electric machine and then spent 20 minutes putting electric shocks through my knee.

When the machine wasn’t pulsing, it was as if someone was tapping the surround of my kneecap with a small hammer. And when the current was going through it, it was as if some kind of retired Bulgarian weightlifter was squeezing my leg in a downward direction.

But anyway, more of that later.

Last night I actually had the first decent sleep that I’ve had for quite some time. I was in bed by 22:15 and there was one file on the dictaphone at 23:17 and a second at 05:12 and that was about that until the alarm went off at 06:00.

So where did I go during the night?

The night started off by me getting on a train in Central Europe, a steam train. I was trying to syphon some lemon juice from one empty container to another. I looked out of the window and there was a woman having a row with what looked like an old border guard in an old border guard uniform. The woman with me and I went down to see what was happening. He was trying to detain her but as this wasn’t the border here he had no authority so we simply told this woman to come on board and ignore him. He became quite agitated at this and threatened to arrest us all but he had no authority to do that. We took no notice and in the end the woman with me broke the hold that the man had on this other woman. She could board but my lady-friend was subjected to some rough treatment from this guy so I went over there. It ended up that he let go of her and the 3 of us boarded. As the train was heading away I went to find out where everyone was sitting. I found my friend but the other person, she was now a pair of twins whom I knew from years and years ago. They were sitting somewhere else. Being of African descent they were quite obvious in this 3rd class carriage. The woman and I sat not too far away from them. I wandered over to where one of the twins was. She was asleep but when I was very close to her she awoke so I made some kind of gesture that I hoped no-one else noticed that the two of them should come and sit by the two of us and discuss what our next move was going to be. We certainly couldn’t say that we were inconspicuous with what had happened boarding the train.

And later I was with someone last night who might have been a girl with whom I worked 40 years ago. We’d bumped into each other quite by accident and she told me that she was working out at the back of Chester. She mentioned the place and I said “yes, I know it well there. It’s by the Little Chef, isn’t it?”. She replied that it was further on down from the Little Chef closer towards Shelton Bar … “he means John Summers Steelworks at Shotton” – ed. I mentioned that it must be near somewhere else but she replied that that was in the other direction. I thought that I’d better shut up otherwise I’d make more of a fool of myself than I’m doing at the moment. Of course that’s an area that i used to know years ago all around there. We started to talk about this and that and I asked her how she was going to work. She replied that she was going by train. I thought that the railway line there had been closed years ago but apparently not. They had reopened it with new stations and there was a new station that had opened that very day right where we were. That was where she was heading to catch the train. We set off to walk to the station and quite by surprise I found myself holding her hand and we were having a very friendly boy-girl chat about next-to-nothing. When we reached the station there was a train just pulling in so she let go and ran for it but the train didn’t stop. It pushed on right through the station. I arrived on the platform just behind her. We asked someone and they said “the train you want is the 17:17 which is in a minute’s time. That was a non-stop through train, that one. Her train pulled in and she boarded, and I did as well for no particular reason other than to go with her to her particular station.

After the medication I started the radio programme that I wanted to do today and it took me much longer than it ought to have done, simply because there were so many interruptions of all sorts. Have you ever tried to explain to someone with no braincells the difference between cost-of-living increases and price increases?

No wonder the UK is in such a mess.

After lunch I had a shower and a good clean up and then I left for my physiotherapy appointment.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on the way out to test the camera.

The tide wasn’t very far in at all this afternoon so there wasn’t anyone out and about down there. As usual these days, one of the Joly France boats is over there at the ferry terminal waiting for her next trip to the Ile de Chausey, whenever that might be.

The walk down into town was rather difficult today. There’s a ramp of four steps halfway down the hill where I can test my right knee to see if there’s the strength in it to lift me up.

And today, there was no force whatsoever. I had to climb the steps with the left leg leading and the right leg limping along behind instead of climbing up normally with alternate legs leading.

digging up rue saintonge Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the Rue Lecampion, I noticed that in one of the side streets … “Rue Saintonge” – ed … they had closed off the street and were busy digging up the surface.

It doesn’t look as if it’s a cable-laying job as there’s no trench there and no cables either. It looks as if they are just digging a hole there.

In the town centre I went to the Post Office. I’d written two letter earlier and they needed posting. Not that anything will necessarily come from them but nothing will anyway if I don’t post them.

Up the hill I went to the physiotherapist. It was quite agonising but I managed it without having to stop for breath. I’m not so sure that going to the railway station on Wednesday is going to be any better.

decorating mairie place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back down into town I noticed that there were things going on at the Mairie.

We were all across the road from there showing our support for Ukraine, but I hadn’t noticed the blue and white banner that was attached to the balcony and I was surprised that I had missed it.

And there’s a cherry-picker out there too with a couple of people sticking up posters for something else. I’ll have to wander past there when they’ve all gone and take a closer look at what’s happening.

erecting scaffolding rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s something happening in the Rue Georges Clemenceau down at the end of the Rue Paul Poirier.

There are several buildings that have changed hands down there just recently and this afternoon they’ve been erecting scaffolding up around one of them.

Parked over there too is a carpenter’s van so it looks as if the building over there is going to be having a new roof within the next few weeks or so.

The walk up the Rue des Juifs towards home wasn’t as easy as it has been for this last couple of weeks. I wasn’t feeling too good over the weekend and it seems to have continued into today. I hope that it picks up before Wednesday. I don’t want to be going to Leuven like this.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went into the apartment for a coffee I went to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be down on as well today, but only a couple of people down there on it. It seems that everyone has gone back to work or back to school now, and that will be that until Easter when we’ll have the crowds back again.

After I’d had my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then did a little tidying up. Not for any good purpose because it looks as if the Nurse has forgotten to come round today to give me my injection for Wednesday.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all kinds of bits and pieces hanging around in the fridge. And there’s enough left over for tea tomorrow as well. At least the fridge will be fairly empty when I go to Leuven.

But right now I’m off to bed. It might be early but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow is my Welsh lesson and I need to be on form for that. I’ve been rather flagging over the last few weeks as far as that goes.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

replacing cobbles rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… when I said the other day that maybe I was being rather too hasty with my vituperative comments about the surface of the Rue St Michel

Those big bags that we saw on the back of that pick-up yesterday were actually full of cobbles and then are all now dumped on the corner in the Rue de Cambernon. But several have actually made it up to the far end of the street.

If you look carefully at this photograph you’ll see that a pile of them have even been laid and the work is slowly progressing down the hill towards where I’m standing.

Mind you, it’ll take them a good few days to reach this end of the street. And then, I suppose, someone else will come along and dig it up for some other purpose.

After last night’s antics I needed someone to come along and dig me up out of bed when the alarm went off because firstly I was in bed late, not being tired earlier, and then I was awake after just about 4 hours of sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep until, as usual, about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

Consequently I was staggering around for a good few minutes trying to gather my wits once I finally made it out of bed.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I went and edited the sound-file from Sunday morning. It was a mess as I expected, with pops and bangs everywhere, but I’ve managed to trim well over 40 minutes of sound down to half that – and there’s plenty more to go as well.

However I need to send it off to Laurent for a listen and for him to dictate some supplementary questions.

A propos of absolutely nothing, two of the interviewees started to talk about the Erasmus scheme and the ending of mutual recognition of qualifications and that will make a pretty good interview all on its own so I cut it out and filed it separately.

All of that took me right up to 18:20 this evening, but it was a job well-done.

There were the usual interruptions of course, one of which was for breakfast, and another was for a shower. And having weighed myself again, I’m down to my lowest weight since it piled back on after I stopped running. Those were the days, hey?

With a late lunch as well today, it was almost time to go straight out for my walk to the physiotherapist’s.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Seeing as I was a few minutes early today, I went to have a look at the repairs to the medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

First thing that I noticed was that they hadn’t re-erected the shelter that was blown down by Storm Arwen, the shelter that they have over their heads when they are pointing the wall, to stop objects from above falling on their heads.

But then by the looks of things, the pointing has hardly advanced at all since we saw it last. Mind you, they have had other things to worry about, like gale-force winds and the like. And this afternoon’s wind was nothing to be ashamed of either.

You have already seen the photo of the Rue St Michel so I pushed on and walked over the drawbridge into the Rue des Juifs.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The other day we saw a photo of all of the Ile de Chausey boats moored up in the inner harbour.

However today, there has been some shuffling around of the fleet. The Joly France ferry that was over on the far side of the harbour has now disappeared completely.

Chausiaise has also moved, but not as far. She’s now in front of Marité in the loading bay underneath the crane but I don’t think that all of that freight just there is for her.

As for the other two boats, they are still tied up here against the quayside right underneath where I’m standing.

site of christmas market place pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s quite a lot of activity going on down below too on the Place Pleville de Pelley.

That’s where the bar ephemère hangs out during the summer and is used as the boulodrome for the rest of the time, but today they are setting up some little wooden cabins there.

We’re going to be having a Christmas Fair, so I’m told, and that looks as if it’s it. It doesn’t look particularly impressive though.

Given half a chance I’d be in Aachen or Köln next weekend at a real Christmas Fair, but I’m going nowhere unnecessary while there’s all of this going on.

On the way up the hill I stopped at the Carrefour and bought a bunch of bananas. I’m running low on them and I can’t survive at all without bananas.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me on the cross trainer again for 5 minutes and then more kinetic exercises, including throwing this ball about again. Today though, I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t feeling anything like as well as I have done this last couple of weeks – and that was nothing much to write home about was it?

ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I stepped out of the physiotherapist’s, I was overtaken by an ambulance going down the hill at some speed.

There must be some kind of emergency somewhere for him to be driving like that with all of his lights flashing.

Having taken a photo I pushed on down the hill where I bumped into “Father Christmas” coming out of a shop. We had quite a chat about our interview the other day and he was quite impressed with how well it came out.

In the end, they didn’t do a bad job of it but it could have been ohhhh! So much better and I feel that an opportunity has been let slip here.

cherry picker fixing wreath to town hall place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was more excitement going on when I arrived at the town centre.

There’s one of the Council’s cherry-pickers down there in the Place General de Gaulle and the gus in the nacelle are erecting some kind of Christmas wreath on the wall of the Mairie.

Not that I have any idea why they would be wanting to do that because putting it as high up as they seem to be doing, it’s not as if many people are going to notice it up there.

empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now we were having a really heavy hailstorm so I wrapped my rain jacket tighter around me and carried on through the town and up the hill.

The part of the port where the fishing boats tie up was strangely deserted this afternoon. Almost every boat was out at sea, and in this weather too. They must be expecting a bumper harvest this evening when they all come back on the tide.

When you think about it, it’s quite a heroic endeavour being a fisherman and since the demise of coal-mining in the West, it’s probably one of the most dangerous occupations going. On the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula a trawler with four people on board was lost at sea two nights ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the lousy weather right now, I went over to have my customary look at the beach.

As I expected, there was no-one down there at all right now. People have far more sense than to be out and about in all of this.

Back here I made myself a nice hot coffee and then carried on with editing this sound file. I was glad when I finished it too – at least this particular bit. There will be plenty more work to be done on it, and on the other sound files too that relate to this project.

And who knows? Maybe even one of my colleagues might contribute something to this project, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tea was the rest of last night’s curry and left-over curry is even more delicious the next day when all of the spices have marinaded deeper into the food.

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. For the next two days I’m staying at home with no plans anywhere. So that’s the cue for Caliburn’s bits and pieces to be delivered to the parcels centre and for his new tyres to arrive, isn’t it?

Tuesday 16th February 2021 – I’VE HAD SOME …

… good news today. And, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

There’s a website that keeps people up-to-date with the Covid vaccination programme here in France and for the last week or so I’ve been following it closely. Today, I noticed that they had moved away from just “Healthcare Staff” and there was a box to tick for “Over 75”, with appointments from 8th March.

Of course it wouldn’t let me reserve a slot as I’m not over 75, despite how I feel, but my understanding was that the next step was to include Vulnerable People as well so I rang up the Virus Centre again (they must be sick to death of me) to enquire.

And indeed I’m right. It is for vulnerable people too but the centres at Avranches and Granville have a preponderance of older people compared to some regions so they are just concentrating on those for now. But if I were to try an industrial area maybe where there are more younger people, he told me, I might be in luck.

So I let him do his stuff seeing as he has the appointments registers in front of him, and sure enough, I’m off to Valognes in the suburbs of Cherbourg, 100 or so kms away, on Friday 12th March for my first jab.

To be honest, I don’t really care where I have to go as long as they’ll give me the injection. Once I’m in the system, that will be fine for me and I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Another thing that I can breathe a sigh of relief about was that I had the date wrong for my one-on-one with my Welsh tutor. It’s Thursday, not Tuesday that I’m having it. And I’d made a special effort too. I’d even beaten the third (well, it’s now the fourth) alarm to my feet yet again.

Plenty of time to listen to the dictaphone. Yesterday’s entry is now well and truly up-to-date, having found out where I’d been, and now I could turn my attention to where I went last night.

I had been with a former friend of mine and her family in Scotland and they had this most extraordinary cat which was like a square box with legs. Apparently it was a stray and they had found it in their kitchen so they had adopted it. The question came up about war crimes, don’t ask me why, in ex-Yugoslavia. I was worried about this cat that might be connected with that there and might be prosecuted again for its role. It was all extremely confusing. There was so much more to it than this but I can’t remember the rest.

Last night had in fact been a very late night – and I do mean “very late” too. This file transfer thing had about an hour to go after I’d finished my notes so I sat and waited for it. It did indeed take an hour to transfer what it could, but dealing with the duplicates was something else completely .

Anyway, this morning the first task was to go through it, merge with other back-up drives and discard where appropriate. It’s about half-done because I ran out of steam but even so, it’s liberated an extra 100GB of free space here and there.

Incidentally, I always have four or five jobs going on at once because I do have a tendency to run out of steam, so when I lose interest I have other things that I can do to stimulate my interest and I don’t ground out.

The next job, after my abortive attempt at a Welsh tutorial, was to download the drivers etc from the Acer website for the laptop that I’m hoping to repair. And the procedure has changed since I last restored a hard drive set-up. Nowadays you just download a bootable sector onto a memory stick, plug the memory stick in, switch on the machine and follow the instructions.

Mind you, I have downloaded all of the drivers and the BIOS and a few other bits and pieces (including an operating system) because we all know how these things work with me.

What I was going to do was to nip to the shops as I said yesterday but when I looked out of the window and saw the rain I changed my mind a little.

After lunch I had a baking afternoon.

With the extremely volatile sourdough that I have I made a pile of sourdough dough with a banana, dried fruit, jellied fruit, desiccated coconut, sunflower seeds and ground brazil nuts, and that’s quite happily festering away, going to have its second kneading tonight before I go to bed.

home made ginger beer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd see those three bottles in the foreground just here? I’ve made a start on brewing my ginger beer now that my starter is ready.

Grind up 100 grammes of ginger and add 1 litre of water and bring it all to the boil. Once it’s boiled, add 100 grammes of sugar, stir it all together and leave it to cool.

When it’s cooled down to room temperature,, add the juice of a couple of lemons and 300ml of the ginger bug that you have been brewing for the last week or so. Then filter it through your filter stack into some strong clip-top bottles and leave for 3 days, releasing the pressure every now and again.

Last thing to do of course is to feed the sourdough and the ginger bug so that they’ll be ready for the next batch in due course.

waterlogged path college malraux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to my afternoon walk time around the headland.

By now the rain had stopped and it was a lovely summery afternoon. But you can see what I mean about waterlogged paths. That was almost dry the other day and the rain that we have had over the last day or so has caused all of this. Can you imagine what it must have been like after two weeks of continual torrential downpour and then all of that snow?

But still, if the weather keeps up, it might dry out in aa day or two’s time, but the next downpour that we’ll have will bring it all back. For the amount of people who use these paths around here, they might try to do something about all of this flooding or we’ll all have to be buying canoes.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I mentioned that it was quite beautiful out there this afternoon. It was another day where we would see for miles up and down the coast, and out to sea too.

Just recently I’ve been back out with the big NIKON D500 and it was just as well because we could see all the way to St Helier on the island of Jersey, all 58 kilometres, this afternoon and even the houses were visible. The little NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t pick up the island and the houses as well as this.

There were quite a few people wandering around outside in the lovely weather but they were all on dry land. There wasn’t anyone that I could see out to sea or even in the air.

The sun’s too high for any decent reflections off the sea too. We’ve had that for now.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead of waiting for things to happen in the bay, I pushed on … “he means “pushed off”” – ed … to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Yesterday we had just one of the Joly France boats moored up at the Ferry terminal. Today we have both of them morred up over there, so I wonder where the other one was yesterday. And there’s still no Chausiais. I wonder where she has got to … “she’s hiding down at the bottom amongst all of the trawlers” – ed.

And there are still the same four boats in the chantier navale. Aztec Lady hasn’t made it back into the water as yet. I think that I must have been rather optimistic yesterday.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of ferries … “well, one of us is” – ed … I posted a photo of Granville, the Channel Islands ferry, moored at the port and because I couldn’t see Victor Hugo, the other Channel Islands ferry, I assumed that she was hidden by her colleague.

Apparently not, because she is now back in the outside position of the two ferries. So all that I can think of is that she must have gone out for a quick run around yesterday afternoon to stretch her legs.

And talking of stretching legs, I was going to stretch mine too. I had a letter to post (I’d found some time to do that this morning) and then I needed to do a little shopping for the fruit and veg that I had forgotten at LeClerc on Saturday morning in all of the excitement

Having posted my letter I had a quick look in the window of the Mairie to see what the last Council meeting had agreed. And it seems that they have budgeted something for the repairs to the walls around the Rue du Nord, at long last.

snow white with hypodermic and face mask biblioteque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhere I went for my fruit and veg (and forgot the tomatoes) was the Carrefour Supermarket, just opposite the library.

And while the Carnaval might be dead this year (they would normally be parading today) the spirit lives on because the people who have been working on the floats have nevertheless completed some of the artwork and have been to deposit it all around the town to brighten up the place.

This might be Snow-White, I reckon, although doubtless some junior reader might enlighten me, and you’ll notice that she is not only socially distancing herself from the Seven Dwarves but is wearing a face mask and about to give herself an injection.

So on that note I came on back up the hill at a steady walk and spent the rest of the afternoon such as it was dealing with the issue of positioning the photos in the stuff that I’ve written about Oradour sur Glane. And doing some rewriting too in order to improve the style and add in a few more things that I’ve discovered.

The guitar practice was miserable tonight and so I vent off, rather depressed, to make tea.

Stuffed pepper and rice it was. So I brought the water to boil for the rice, switched off the heat as soon as it boiled, waited 12 minutes for the rice to cook, went to strain out the water, only to find that I had forgotten to put the rice in.

Yes, only I could do something like that.

But now I’m off to knead the sourdough and then go to bed. It’s late, I’m exhausted and I’ve already crashed out once. High time that I had a decent sleep.

Thursday 3rd December 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… go to the shops today.

On looking out of the window I noticed that it was absolutely chucking it down and there was a violent wind bending all the branches of the trees. It’s not as if there’s anything particular that I need today, so I’ll wait until tomorrow and try again.

Another thing that I didn’t do today was to beat the third alarm. When it went off, I was still in bed. Mind you, I was up and about within seconds so it didn’t make a great deal of difference either.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith it being shopping day (even though it ended up not so being) I had a shower, and then while you admire a couple of photos of tonight’s storm, I’ll attack the dictaphone.

A gang of thieves had raided a large shop and had escaped with an enormous amount of money in the run-up to Christmas. They decided that they would go on and do it again thinking that there would be more money in it now and they would have learnt a lot from their previous escapade. So that was what they did. But what was lacking this time was a suitable watch-out, a suitable dedication and a certain amount of ruthlessness. They obviously thought that they knew it all before and that they knew it all but whereas the authorities had learnt quite a lot, these people hadn’t. The person who was actually the security guard was actually one of the criminals. He faked the hold-up while someone fired a shotgun blast that blew out one of the windows in a door and the guard let everyone in. They started rampaging through the store, going through the safe but there was just one guy working. The others were larkign around a bit. There was no-one in the foyer of the place keeping an eye on who was coming up and down in the lift which was still working. Of course the Police appeared pretty quickly because they were all clued up by this before the gang had even finished loading up the stuff from the 2nd safe. It was the look on the guy’s face when everyone was urging on the safecracker, when he got everything out of the 1st safe and they said “there’s another safe to go now”. You should see the look on his face because he’s the only one working. The others were just larking around when speed was the essence. if they had taken what they had out of the 1st safe and disappeared they might have made it. As it was there was a running battle all the way down this street with the police and these gangsters. They’d set the whole street on fire in trying to make away their escape in the confusion. But it hadn’t quite worked like that and they were trapped by the flames. And I awoke in a night sweat

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little later I was staying in a house with a family. A house very similar to Davenport Avenue. There was a question about this mattress. We had to put it out of the way and I had assured everyone that it would go somewhere in a cupboard so I tried to push it into a cupboard but after a while trying, it wouldn’t go so I said in the end “what would it matter if it went into the attic?” They all agreed to put it into the attic so I climbed into the attic ready for them to pass it to me. But it looked far too long to go into the attic and had to be folded in half. I wasn’t sure whether it would fit. We needed it to be in the box to keep the dust away from it and that was going to be even more difficult. It was going to turn out to be one of these Chinese puzzle things . Again I awoke in a sweat. There were a few other things we could get into the attic afterwards as well if we persevered which would make the place look a lot better anyway

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

Having typed all of that I spent the morning dealing with the arrears of my journey to Central Europe. There was a break for my hot chocolate and chocolate cake and I do have to say that despite how it looks, my chocolate cake is delicious. And the icing, once it had set, was perfect too.

That recipe will be used again, certainly, but with individual cake cases to better manage the dough mixture.

kiwi kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I had the kefir to attend to as stocks are getting low right now. The earliest batch of kiwis are now super-ripe so they were whizzed up into a pulp, the juice was extraced and the remainder squashed to extract the final drops.

The kefir that had been brewing was now passed through the filter with the kiwi pulp in so that it would rinse more liquid through into the juice in the big jug while I made up another batch of kefir

The kefir and kiwi juice in the big jug were all mixed together and then filtered through the very fine mesh filter into the bottles where it will ferment for a few days

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, believe it or not, it was time to go out for my afternoon walk.

And so walk I did seeing as the rain had stopped for the moment. But the weather had certainly brought out the mushrooms. They were sprouting everywhere and were quite an impressive size. This one must have been about three inches in diameter.

Many people have asked me if I know whether these mushrooms are edible or not. I usually reply that I don’t know, but there is a test that works. All you do is just before you go to bed, take a small piece, cook it and eat it. If you wake up next morning then you know that it’s perfectly safe to eat.

It’s infallible

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStrangely, even though the weather was heavily overcast and it was threatening rain, there was a really good view down the Brittany coast.

If you look closely at this photograph you’ll not only see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel but also the headland behind it that it is protecting. And while seeing the lighthouse is not an everyday occurrence, seeing the land is even less so.

The gap in the land mass that you will notice just to the right of centre, that’s the bay with Saint-Cast-le-Guildo at the bottom – the little port where we stayed one night in early summer when we were out aboard wem>Spirit of Conrad.

north coast of Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view in the other direction from where I was standing is pretty impressive too despite the weather.

from left to right, we have

  • Coudeville-sur-Mer on the extreme left
  • The “Route Blanche” caravan site
  • The large white building which I think is the grandstand for the racecourse
  • the airport buildings
  • Bréville church on the skyline
  • L’Oasis camp site
  • the start of Donville les Bains just disappearing behind the hedge

ceres 2 yacht chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there, I pushed off around the headland and down the path on the other side to see what was happening.

Chausiais and Joly France were over there at the ferry terminal of course. And there’s a sign of things to come in the chantier navale this afternoon. For some unknown reason they have erected a tarpaulin tent over the rear of Ceres II as if there’s some kind of important work like repainting going on underneath it (although it’s rather too cold and damp for painting right now, I would have thought).

It looks as if we might have to wait for a few days to find out. But could this be a sign that at long last she might be going on her way very soon?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of comings and goings in the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s someone who has come into port this morning and, presumably waiting for the gates to open so she can go out again.

Yes, we’ve been honoured with the presence of Normandy Trader over there being loaded up ready for departure. And moored the correct way round too, not like Thora yesterday, although it’s not so crucial which way round she moors as her accommodation is at the rear.

With that much excitement going on, I was overwhelmed so I had to come on home for a mug of nice hot coffee to warm myself up.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then I went for tea. I fancied a vegan pie but to my surprise I’ve run out completely of main-course pies. I had one of my vindaloo curries that I made a few weeks ago instead, followed by apple pie.

So tomorrow, I can see that I’ll have a job to do – like bake a pie. I really fancied one today too so I’ll have to make one tomorrow instead, I reckon.

This evening I almost came within an ace of not going out for my runs. It was teeming down with rain and there was a howling gale blowing.

But having missed so many, I gritted my teeth (well, it was freezing) and set off.

christmas lights mairie cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRunning was pretty difficult and I didn’t even consider the path underneath the walls. That’s waterlogged at the best of times so heaven alone knows what it would be like right now. I remained on the Rue du Nord and round to the top of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent

That’s possibly one of the highest part of the walls at this end and you can see all the way out across town. And down into the Cours Jonville and the Mairie – the Town Hall – which is now all decorated in blue Christmas lights.

There’s a hint of decoration in the trees opposite the Mairie too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the electricians stringing up the lights in the trees down there a while ago.

escalier du moulin a vent viewpoint place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy usual viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch is down there.

You’ll see the metal fence, and if you look below it you’ll see what looks like a row of small arches. I’m usually tucked in the corner on the far right of those arches when I’m taking my photos. You can see the difference in height between the two positions. It’s probably about 30 feet to right down there.

And that was where I went for my photos of the storm that you have seen, and then I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland and straight home. No detour around the walls in this weather.

So if the weather is better, it’ll be shopping tomorrow. I shan’t be going if it’s still like this though. I was soaked to the skin and frozen to the marrow. Never mind my woolly hat – it’ll be gloves tomorrow if I go out.

Wednesday 1st January 2020 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May I take this opportunity to wish all of my readers (both of you!) a very happy New Year. I hope that you will receive everything this year that you wished on everyone else during the course of the last year.

It goes without saying, of course, that whatever you wished on Brexiters, the Conservative party, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, the Republicans and Canadian Tories are exempt from this. If the World comes to an end in 2020, we’ll all know who to blame.

And for that reason, this song is going to be my anthem for the current year. I have often said … “and you will say more often” – ed … that if violence is the answer, then it must have been a very stupid question. And the question on the Referendum paper in 2016 is about as stupid as they come.

And the fact that 17.4 million people were stupid enough to vote for it, and 14 million people were stupid enough just now to vote for the Tories shows you that people still haven’t got the message.

The only way for you to tell them the message in a fashion in which they will understand it is –
1) to tell them about it slowly
2) on their thick skulls
3) in Morse code
4) with a pickaxe handle.

Yes, “if you want your rights you’re going to have to fight” and “we’ll walk hand in hand to the promised land” “if we bring down the Government now”.

On the subject of walking, as I mentioned last night, I went out for a walk at about 23:30 to see what was going on in town. Not hand in hand though. I was on my own and had a camera to carry.

night christmas lights rue st sauver granville manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates were open so I had to walk along the rue du Port and that way into town and just as the clock struck midnight, I found myself at the end of the rue St Saveur.

Having a think about it, I don’t recall if I took a photo of the street with its Christmas lights so I took a photo of it just now to complete the picture.

Mind you, I’m not sure why I bothered, because they aren’t really all that much to write home about, are they?

night christmas lights place generale de gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there, my perambulations took me along the street into the place Générale de Gaulle.

This is much more like it. They seem to have pousseé‘d the bateau dehors a bit more here as we have seen before. The ski slope is certainly different, although I’m still not sure why they would want one.

But apart from that, it’s still pretty much the same as previous years and I do with that they would try to do something different next year.

night christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the rue Lecampion, I’m not quite sure what to say.

What certainly didn’t help was that they put out the overhead lights just as I was preparing to photograph the street, so we were just left with the lights up the sides of the shops.

The overhead lights going out was the cue for me to go home. And by the time I returned here I reckoned that I hadn’t even encountered a dozen people wandering around.

There were a few noisy parties going on – even one in this building, and so I was grateful for 1.2 metres of solid Chausey granite walls between me and the rest of the world.

Not feeling in the least bit tired, I did some personal stuff on the computer. And no-one was more surprised than me to notice that the time was now 03:30. Where had the time gone?

Bedtime by now, I reckon, even if I didn’t feel like sleep. I have to make an effort.

And sleep I must have had. No alarm and so I awoke at 07:00. Not the slightest chance of me showing a leg at that time of morning.

And neither was there any chance at 09:00. This is after all a Bank Holiday, no alarm, I’m entitled to a rest, and I’ve had a late night too.

What is much more like it is … errr … 12:15. That’s a REAL lie-in.

As for any voyage that I might have had, well, what’s this bit about hunting furs last night? I don’t remember very much at all but apparently someone living in France who could catch 60 squirrels and skin them had the same style of life as someone normal, which of course I found hard to believe and the people to whom I was telling this story they found it hard to believe too but apparently that’s how it went and that’s really all that I remember about last night.

Breakfasting at 13:00 is much more like it too and so seeing as I had my fig roll and (finally) some strawberry jam. Yes, jam today. And I hope that it will last so that there will be jam tomorrow too. Perhaps I ought to think about making a jam tart.

So once the breakfast was over, there was work to be done. And as I promised myself, I attacked Project 008 for the radio.

That’s now finished and, even though I say it myself, I think that it’s the best to date. It’s not just that my technique is improving, but that instead of speaking “off the cuff” as I would normally like to do, I’ve started to write scripts.

That means that I’m not umming and ahhing as much (which means that there is less stuff to cut out) and I’m not pausing the dictaphone as often while I look for material, so it sounds much more seamless.

pointe du roc cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d finished it and played it through to make sure that it was as I wanted it with no mistakes, I went out for my afternoon walk.

With having not been out for any bread this morning (I’d missed lunch of course) I took the long way out right around the new bit of path that they had excavated after the rockfall and where I had met my Waterloo in May.

Crowds of people out and about, even if the weather was pretty miserable and you couldn’t see a thing.

pecheur de lys chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOnce I was out, I was going to stay out, and well out too.

My trip took me past the chantier navale where I could see what was going on. Pecheur de Lys was back on dry land after her little sojourn through the summer in the water. She’s looking rather sad though and could do with a coat of paint.

Spirit of Conrad was there too, as were the other two fishing boats. But there was no-one out there working on them. “Knocked off for the holidays” I reckoned.

The tide was out so the harbour gates were closed, which meant that I could take the path over the top and across to the other side.

seagull with sea shell mollusc port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhere the fish processing plant is, there is a huge concrete apron and the seabirds here have learnt quite quickly to take advantage of it.

This gull is just one of many that will scavenge a mollusc out of the silt and fly over here to drop it on the concrete to break it open, and then dive down for a feast. It really was quite impressive.

The wildlife kingdom is amazingly versatile and can adapt to most kinds of environment – if only humans would let them.

lifeboat sauveteurs  en mer port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing exciting going on in the inner harbour, I went for a walk over to the port de plaisance, the yacht harbour, to see what was going on there.

Not an awful lot, but there were a few boats that we have seen on several occasions, such as the lifeboat over there on the far side.

That has plenty of use of course and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it disappear into an enormous wave during the storm that we had the other day.

lys noir port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHere’s another one that we have seen a few times in the past.

She’s Lys Noir, and when we’ve seen her moored up in the harbour, it’s usually been in the wet harbour at the back of where I’m standing, where boats like Thora, Normandy Trader and the gravel boats tie up.

So why she should be here, I don’t know. If she’s advertising cruises, she won’t have many people passing by to read the notices where she is.

la granvilllaise  port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis is a boat that we’ve seen even more often than Lys Noir.

She’s La Granvillaise and immediately recognisable by the “G90” on her bows. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that she too spent some time in the chantier navale a while ago being given a good going-over.

But with all of these boats, there isn’t presumably much happening right now so they are laid up for the winter.

Nevertheless, with all of the tourists here right now, wandering aimlessly around the harbour, I’d have had them plastered with adverts for the summer season trips that they do, and put them where people could actually see tham.

rue du commandant yvon electric vehicle charging point mairie granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me right along the seafront, such as it is here, through the new modern apartment complex at the end, and back into town via the rue St Gaud and the rue St Saveur.

But round the back of the Mairie in the rue du Commandant Yvon, whoever he was when he was at home, if he ever was, is another set of electric vehicle charging points.

Europe needs to get its act together with the phasing out of new internal-combustion engines cars by 2040, and it’s good to see that here in France they are organising themselves.

electric vehicle charging point public car park cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I decided that I’ll keep a closer eye out to see what I could find, and I didn’t have to go far to find some more.

Not even 50 metres, I reckoned. Here are two more on the public car park around the corner off the Cours Jonville. So with the two that I saw at the railway station earlier this week, that makes 6 that I’ve found in Granville without looking too far.

And that’s not counting the half-dozen or so that are installed at the LeClerc supermarket on the edge of town.

porsche carrera strange number cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallAcross the road from the car park I noticed this old Porsche Carrera.

Nice and interesting the car might be, but it wasn’t the car that caught my eye but its registration number. It has the “F” for France on the number plate of course, but the registration is hors serie – out of the usual run of numbers, whether pre-2009 or post-2009.

It could mean absolutely anything of course, so I shall have to make further enquiries about it. I did look at the insurance sticker in the window and that was displaying a “WW” series number, indicating Trade Plates.

Back home, I didn’t do a great deal. After all, it is a Bank Holiday.

new year dinner setan onion gravy garlic roast potato peas carrots leeks endive brussels sprouts granville manche normandy france eric halllater on, I made tea though.

Same as Christmas night as well. Seitan slices roasted in olive oil with onions, garlic, gravy and herbs, with roast potatoes in olive oil and mint. Vegetables included an endive, peas and carrots, green beans, a leek and some sprouts.

Followed by Christmas cake for pudding, you really cannot even begin to imagine just how delicious it all was.

Plenty of sprouts and endives left to finish off, ad a leek too, but I intend to make a leek and potato soup with that sometime soon.

This evening I was all alone on my little walk around. Not a soul out there. I managed my run too, and made it to the top of the first ramp.

So I’m off to bed now. It’s not early, because I’ve been busy. I found a “live” concert from the BBC with only a small audience, and as I have a project on the back burner that needs a small audience, I was stripping out the applause to use.

But here’s a thing – the applause is evidently over-dubbed, without question. And as they didn’t have enough material for the spot, they’ve extended the applauses by adding three or four together.

None of that is the issue though. What is the issue is that they seem to have done it all on a two-track recorder in stereo and without the overdubbing facility that multi-tracking can give you, they have simply joined the tracks together – and you can see all the joins. Tiny little milli-seconds of silence.

What I’ve had to do is to edit the applauses after I’ve stripped them out, so that the joins have gone and it all looks pretty seamless.

Given the facilities they have there, it’s not very good at all, especially when even a home-based four-track set-up like the cheap affair that I have can produce a seamless show.

Maybe I’m in the wrong job.

Friday 1st March 2019 – DYDD GWYL DDEWI HAPUS …

… to everyone.

And haven’t I had a big surprise today.

Remember when I went into the Mairie the other day to have a discussion with the Maire and ended up with the secretary?

Well, the secretary phoned me back today. Apparently the Maire has taken on board my remarks, made a few enquiries and come back to me.

I wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure.

It’s not advanced things very much, as I didn’t expect that it would, but having someone like the Maire on your side is a comfort in these difficult times.

And difficult times they are.

Being completely wound up last night as I was, I was still up working at 02:00, totally unable to sleep. More like 02:30 when I went to bed,. And as for sleep, well, there wasn’t very much of that. I was tossing and turning all night.

There was enough time to go off on a travel. I was in Greece in some kind of primitive café helping with moral support (although what support I could ever give anyone would be considered as being moral) some girl who was trying to run it despite all of the opposition and difficulties that her family – the nominal owners – were putting in her path. The strange thing was that when the alarms went off, I totally ignored them and stayed in bed. And although I was by now awake, the journey carried on. And carried on for miles too from exactly the same place where I awoke. Not something that happens every day.

By 09:25 I was ready to awaken, and straight into controversy yet again where a couple of self-important auto-sycophants were bragging about how they had “briefed” a politician and “won a famous victory for UK citizens in Europe” by getting him to look at at. Completely oblivious of the fact that the EU had thrown out this idea weeks ago.

And so this totally shameless display of self-serving egocentricity caused me to explode yet again. And even deeper into the abyss.

I went for a very late breakfast after that. and then came back to start on the blog and the text database.

But not for long, because the Mairie interrupted me.

And then, almost immediately, another phone call from someone else who is on my list of things to do.

This started me off on a wave of work. From somewhere, I summoned up a piece of energy so went on a tidy-up in the bedroom.

Bank statements are fairly tidy now and I found a couple of other papers. And so I then sat down, made a few more phone calls, sent out some e-mails and wrote a letter too.

It may sound not much, but it certainly made an impression on the stuff in here.

My lunch was a light one, and that made me feel a little better.

I did manage to do some work on the photos and the database. Not a lot, but I’m back as far as 18th October 2018. It’s going a little quicker than I was expecting.

cale de hacqueville port de granville harbour manche normandy franceLater on in the afternoon I went for my afternoon walk.

I went around the headland at the Pointe du Roc through the crowds and hordes of tourists up there

And there was a beautiful view across the harbour right over to the coast on the far side by the Cale de Hacqueville.

la granvillaise chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere were quite a few people at the Chantier Navale, loitering around that big wooden boat that I mentioned last time, so I went over for a chat.

The boat that is on there is in fact La Granvillaise – a yacht that we have seen on many occasions around the harbour.

She’s been taken out of the water for a complete refit and overhaul by the volunteers, and she’s going to be there for a while.

armor chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I was down there at the Chantier Navale, I went over to have a look at Armor – the ship from the diving place down the Brittany coast.

They’ve stripped off most of the old paint, and are currently giving it a good go over in white primer, ready presumably for its top coat.

They have put a lot of work into it. It will look good when it’s finished.

stage place charles de gaulle granville manche normandy franceMy route into town took me past the place Charles de Gaulle.

Here I could admire the stage that they had erected the other day. Events will be getting under way tonight, although I won’t be down there.

Instead, I went to the Post Office and sent off the letter that I had written. It won’t go until Monday afternoon but it needs to be on its way.

ferry ile de chausey entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBack up the hill, I stopped to watch one of the ferries from the Ile de Chausey coming into port.

And there was a weird commotion going on behind me.

Some woman pulled up in her car, shouted to a passer-by “watch my vehicle” and ran off down the road shouting “Chantal” or something.

Everyone was standing around there shaking their heads.

Back here, I had a pleasant surprise. A friend of mine in the UK has sent me a little present for my birthday to help me along my way. That was just so very thoughtful of him and I’m overwhelmed.

Tea was a small stuffed pepper with a little rice followed by a pot of soya dessert and a banana.

And then football. The Welsh Cup, Caernarfon Town v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

Connah’s Quay were strangely subdued, michael Wilde was at walking pace and Callum Saunders was somewhere else in his mind, I think.

But Caernarfon seem to have gone off the boil too – a shadow of the impressive hard-working side of earlier in the season.

The Nomads won 2-1, but it was a very long game.

So it’s bedtime now.

I’m feeling a little better, and maybe a decent sleep might cheer me up again.

It’s Carnaval tomorrow.

And I seem to have lost one of the camera gloves that my friend Liz bought me for my birthday of 2008. I’m dismayed.

coastline granville manche normandy france
coastline granville manche normandy france

chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france
chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france

harbour light st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france
harbour light st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france
chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franc

Tuesday 26th February 2019 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… the water heater switch itself off this morning at 06:25 but if anyone thinks that there was a possibility of me leaping sprightly out of bed at that time of the morning, they are totally mistaken.

Instead, I turned over and went back to sleep. 08:25 is much more like it for someone recovering from a viral bronchitis.

Plenty of time though, to go off on a few little voyages.

We started off on a big ship last night and sailing down some channel, and a few fires breaking out here and there, including a large one that, in order to put this one out, I had to sail the ship into the lee of the shore. I was tempted to laugh off these attempts and dismiss them, pretend that they hadn’t happened, but somehow there were too many witnesses and there were too many signs of damage.
A little later on, I was wandering over some kind of park supervising the cleaning. There were papers littering the place, torn ones of the kind that would have been the track of a 1920s paperchase in a Public School. One of the young gardeners had made very little effort to clean them up, and I wondered why. He exlained to me that his blower wasn’t working properly so that there wasn’t very much that he could do. I asked him whether he had reported the matter or taken the machine to be prepared, to which he didn’t respond. So I gave him a little lecture.
Later still, I was in a room in my house. This was somewhere round by the east end of Crewe by where Nerina’s family lived. I had to go off to the south of the town so I wheeled out the old Honda Melody that I had when I first moved to Brussels. I wasn’t sure how much fuel was in it, and whether I ought to go down Earle Street on it to the cheap petrol station or down Macon Way to the petrol station on the roundabout by the station. The latter was a shorter route by a couple of hundred metres but the fuel was dearer, and bearing in mind the fuel consumption of the Melody, how much difference would it make? And then I had the big motor-scooter – a four-stroke foot-first thing that ought to have a run out too. There was also a bike lying on its side on the floor of what I imagined was my bedroom. The wheel was wedged up against the wall so when I moved it, the wheel spun round and the dynamo front light illuminated. And I couldn’t understand why there was sand all over the floor.
Finally … “thank God” – ed … I was at the seaside. We were sitting in a coach that was being used as a waiting room. A discussion broke out amongst a few people about some kind of pink pottery on board a ship and that corresponded with some kind of nocturnal voyage on which I’d departed years ago. I tried to insert it into the conversation but no-one paid any attention. So I ignored the conversation and tried to read the newspaper. But reading a newspaper on a coach even when it was stationary was rather difficult. Eventually I looked up to see that the people to whom I’d been talking had all moved on. Instead, there were other people, talking about Mr Soandso whose car had just been badly damaged by some kids whose sled had gone out of control and collided with the car.

I eventually crawled out of my bed and went off to sort out my medication and some time later, I went back for a pile of porridge for breakfast.

And having done that, I had some errands to run.

repairing window seals foyer jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy franceNot that I managed to go very far.

There has been some work going on at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs for a few days now so I was interested to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are replacing the window seals around the dormer windows in the roof by working on one of the mobile platforms that they had out here over the early part of the winter.

On the way down the hill I met the “electrician” from the other day. Busy erecting wooden shuttering around an empty shop front.

Just as I thought. Some electrician.

First stop was at the estate agent’s. I’d had a reminder about a bill that I’d missed and I needed to find out what.

Seems like I have the dustbin tax to pay.

Second stop was at the Mairie. I’ve decided to take the Bull by the Horns and tackle Madame la Maire about my little project.

It’s not easy because she’s busy, but it you don’t try, you don’t get.

I made it past the downstairs and as far as her secretary, and the latter took a pile of notes. We shall see where we go with this, but at least I’ve put my feet on the road.

Final stop was at the bank – firstly to pay the dustbin tax of course, and secondly, to find out why my telephone provider had sent me a reminder for a bill.

It seems that it’s not from the telephone provider at all but, as I suspected, one of these scams that is going around.

I checked at the Telephone company, and they confirmed it.

erecting stage place charles de gaulle carnaval granville manche normandy franceBack down the hill in town I noticed that they are pushing along with the preparations for Carnaval.

The roundabout that was there the other day has gone, and in its place is a stage. I seem to remember there being some music on there last year, as well as the MC of the whole proceedings.

I hope that it’s going to be a little more lively this year than last.

rue des juifs clearing streets for carnaval granville manche normandy franceRound the corner and up the hill, and a temporary road closure.

The rue des Juifs is where they park some of the floats for the carnaval, and so they are clearing the streets of some of the street furniture to give them more room to manoeuvre.

Outside one of the cafés here is an old rowing boat that is used by customers to sit in and admire the evening. They are in the middle of winching it off to I’ve no idea where.

Back up here I carried on with updating the blog but it was soon lunchtime.

And it was such a beautiful afternoon that I made some butties and went to sit outside on the wall.

While I was there I took a few photos with the different lenses of the camera and edited them.

You can see the results down below and these shouls give you some kind of idea of what the camera is – or isn’t – doing.

After lunch, I attacked the Royal Bank of Scotland yet again.

A mere 87 minutes on the telephone and not much further forward either and this is going to be a very long job to persuade them to do what I want to do, and take me a great deal of effort.

I just don’t know why I’m stuck with the useless pile of bankers that I seem to have acquired. I am really totally and absolutely full of dismay about all of this.

Totally fed up, I went off for a walk around the walls. And took another pile of photos on different settings.

Strangely, it seems to work like it should on automatic exposure, and about three stops up on manual exposure – in other words, it needs twice as much light than it says that it’s receiving.

I’ve had a look on the internet to see if there’s any firmware update, but not at all. So I’ve no idea now.

No tea tonight. I had a few biscuits and one of Jenny’s chocolates, followed by a chocolate soya drink. Not that I couldn’t have eaten anything but I’m trying to keep some weigh off now that I’ve got it off.

I don’t suppose that I’ll be able to keep it up but that’s no reason for not trying.

trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy franceInstead, I went for a walk around the Pointe du Roc in the pleasant evening, and to play with the camera again – this time with the 50mm f1.8 lens.

Of course it’s very difficult to tell what’s happening with that lens because I only every use it in the dark and set it by eye anyway, frame by frame.

But they don’t look like they used to, that’s for sure, especially after all of the work that I’ve been putting in.

trawlers coming in to port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceRound to the entrance to the harbour to watch the trawlers come in with their catch.

This would have been a beautiful photo in the right conditions with reliable equipment, and I was expecting to have done something much better than this after all of the practice that I’ve been doing.

I’m going to have to upgrade the camera some time soon, which is a shame.

So, dismayed, I’m off to bed. An early night. I’ve decided to start with the alarms tomorrow and see how I’m going to get on.

——— RANGE ONE ——-

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

beach quay herel granville manche normandy france
beach quay herel granville manche normandy france

——- RANGE TWO ——–

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france
donville les bains city walls granville manche normandy france

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

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

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

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

trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawler coming in to port de granville harbour normandy france
trawler coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawlers coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawlers coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france

trawlers coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france
trawlers coming in to port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Tuesday 18th December 2018 – TODAY WAS …

… probably the worst that I have felt for a long time. In fact, it is quite a long time since I felt like I did today, although I do have to admit that at one time it was a fairly regular occurrence.

It wasn’t such an early night as I was hoping to have, and it was a struggle to rouse myself from my bed at anything like a reasonable time. I’d been on my travels too, discussing football results with a group of people, one of whom was a former friend of mine from Stoke on Trent. For those of you who are not clued up on these things, TNS – The New Saints of Oswestry Town, perennial winners of the Welsh Premier League, are having a bad time this season by their standards, and are adrift in third position. but last night they had apparently been playing Connah’s Quay Nomads who are out in the lead, and beaten them 7-0. Such an astonishing (but not surprising) result given the inconsistency in the WPL, and there we all were on our nocturnal ramble last night discussing the result.

After breakfast, I drifted around for a while not doing very much because I couldn’t concentrate on anything, apart from stirring around a pile of photographs. For part of the morning I was even flat out on the bed trying to gather my wits. Not quite sleeping, but not far off either.

Lunch wasn’t much better either I could feel myself slipping downhill until round about 15:00 when I went off with the fairies. And there on my chair I sat in a stupor until a loud noise on the computer awoke me. 15:45 it was too.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWith something of a struggle I staggered off out into the hurricane and torrential rain. No-one was out there at all which is hardly any surprise given the circumstances.

But Thora was in port again, moored up at a different berth again.

She could well have come in yesterday evening from St Helier because I might have seen her outline at the quayside as I drove past her berth in the night.

cement mixer rue st jean granville manche normandy franceThere must be some serious kind of work going on somewhere in the old medieval walled town.

There were several pieces of heavy equipment such as this concrete mixer parked up here or hereabouts.

The streets of the old town are very narrow and the two archways through the walls are narrow and low. This prevents this kind of vehicle from going in and they have to park here and trans-ship their load.

cherry picker residence vauban place d'armes granville manche normandy franceWe also have a visitor – a piece of heavy equipment – parked up on the forecourt of our building.

It’s some kind of cherry-picker with a large working platform. So it looks as if we are going to be having some kind of roof or guttering repairs to our building within the course of the next day or two.

I’m glad that I live on a lower floor.

Still feeling like death, I remembered that I had some of those high-energy drinks that I had bought last winter when I was ill. And so I liberated one from the Stores and drank it. Surprisingly, I felt a little better after that and I began to perk up.

So much so that a little later I was even working away on my High Arctic web page and it’s been a while since I’ve done that. It’s amazing what a little something like that will do.

For tea tonight, I found a Pepper and Green Bean curry from 14th November 2017. With some rice and vegetables and a leek from the weekend, it was delicious too. It’s amazing the stuff that I’m finding in the freezer.

night plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe wind and rain had died down this evening so it was a reasonably-comfortable walk around the walls.

The sky was pretty clear too for a change and the photography was quite good tonight.

This particular shot of the Plat Gousset and the houses on the top of the cliffs on the rue de la Falaise came out really well. It’s a shame that the tide wasn’t fully in

And now that I’m home, I might try for an early night. I hope that this improvement in my health keeps up tomorrow.

night brehal granville manche normandy france
night brehal granville manche normandy france

night donville les baines plat gousset granville manche normandy france
night donville les baines plat gousset granville manche normandy france

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

night rue georges clemenceau town hall mairie christmas lights  granville manche normandy france
night rue georges clemenceau town hall mairie christmas lights granville manche normandy france

night place marechal foch granville manche normandy france
night place marechal foch granville manche normandy france

Thursday 6th December 2018 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again.

With having the appointment for my anti-flu injection at 11:00 this morning I decided to go and do my shopping at LIDL as normal and call in at the medical centre on the way back.

And do you know? I was halfway into town, quite wet in the rain, before I realised that I had forgotten to take the injection with me and that it was still in the fridge. And that’s despite leaving a prominent note on the table in the dining room.

Last night was a rather later night than normal and I was still asleep when the alarm went off. Much to my surprise I was up and about fairly quickly too which is a change.

After breakfast I had another letter to write. One that I had forgotten to write the other day and which needed doing quite rapidly as there was a time limit involved.

After my abortive trip into town, and back here having found the medication, it was too late to go back out to LIDL so I stayed here and made a phone call. And as a result it was arranged that I can make another phone call on Monday afternoon in this respect.

But as an aside, I was given an e-mail address to which I can send a mail. But knowing the way things work, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I will be surprised if I have a reply.

christmas decorations place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceBack into town for my injection.

That isn’t snow down there in the place General de Gaulle, even though it might look like it. They are busy setting up the decorations for Christmas.

Only two and a half weeks away now.

The nurse who attended to me is from Lille, and he has a Flemish surname. It turns out that he has relatives in Flanders and we spent some of the time talking in Flemish.

At the Post Office I posted off all of the letters that I had written over the last few days, and then worked my way round to the Railway Station to pick up my tickets. And I’m glad that I picked them up well in advance during office hours because the ticket-printing machine was once again out of order.

One of these days I’ll forget, turn up at the station for my train and the machine will be out of order again. I wonder what the penalty is for travelling without a valid ticket.

There were a couple of things in LIDL that I would have picked up today but I wouldn’t be able to carry them home. I’ll have to wait until Saturday when I go up there in Caliburn and hope that there will be some left.

The exertions of the morning had worn me out and I ended up crashing out for half an hour in my comfy office chair. That took me up to lunch.

This afternoon I attacked the files that I had downloaded from the desktop computer. And I found all of the OU postings that I had saved for further reference, including the legendary “I’m a Pottymouth” message by the equally legendary Lee Prostitute, fairy boots and all.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy franceNow that the wet weather was drying out this afternoon, there were crowds out there walking around the Pointe du Roc.

And on my way out of the apartment I bumped into one of my neighbours coming in.

But there’s a storm brewing in the offing as the waves are slowly to climb up the sea wall. I hope that it it will be as good as the one last winter.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy franceBy the time that I rounded the headland and came back, it was school chucking-out time.

And so of course we have cars parked all over the pavements by the College Malraux and on the boulevard Vaufleury which is the main bus route and where the school coaches pass by.

There’s a huge free public car park just 50 metres up the road from there, but that is clearly too far for our poor little dears to stagger, so let’s just disrupt all of the traffic instead.

Why not?

And as I was coming back in, I met the same neighbour going out. It’s a small world.

Remember the tin of potatoes that I had opened in error yesterday? While I was ferreting around in the freezer I found a pie from last year left over. So I switched on the oven, prepared a quick rice pudding, soaked some of the tinned potatoes in olive oil, and bunged the rice pudding, the pie and the potatoes in to cook.

While that was going on, I cooked some frozen peas and carrots, and made some gravy. And it was all very delicious. Except the rice pudding, which wasn’t ready. But I’ll finish that off next time that the oven goes on.

night christmas lights mairie place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceNo-one else was about on my walk last night, which isn’t much of a surprise.

I had plenty of time to stand on the walls and admire the view. The Christmas lights down in the town were illuminated quite brightly.

They seem to have done a good job of lighting up the mairie and I hope that they can do as good a job of the rest of the town as they have done down there.

night christmas lights rue couraye granville manche normandy franceThere is quite an array of lights going up the rue Couraye too.

One of these evenings I’ll go for a walk up there and see what they are really like in the dark.

Alone out there I might have been, as far as human company went. But Minette was there though, and she let me stroke her for a few minutes before having a spit at me and wandering off. Dunno why she’s in such a bad mood just now.

night rue st jean granville manche normandy franceOn the way back to the apartment, I walked up along the rue St Jean.

From the corner of the rue du Nord there was a good view right down the street, under the gate and off into the place d’Armes. So I stopped to take a photograph of it on my way up.

Back here, I bumped into yet another neighbour. And she told me about a music course in the vicinity. I asked her to make further enquiries on my behalf.

So an early night is now on the cards. Tomorrow I’m going to wire up a big external hard drive to the desktop computer and copy the entire contents of the desktop computer onto the external drive.

Then, I can review it at my leisure without having to worry about the reliability of the desktop computer.

That lot should keep me out of mischief.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france

storm sea wall port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france
storm sea wall port de granville harbour baie de mont st michel manche normandy france

fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Tuesday 19th June 2018 – THE ONE THING THAT I LIKE …

… about my blog, and one of the (many) reasons why I keep it, is so that when I have an altercation with someone, I have it chapter and verse about when and where it took place, and what was said.

So that way, whenever I’m having an argument with a semi-official body, I have the notes to prove my point.

But let’s not get ahead of ouselves.

Last night after having done almost everything that there was to do, I sat down and watched a DVD, something that i haven’t done for quite some time. Last night’s entertainment (if that’s the correct word) was Batman (the Movie). A totally absurd, incredibly camp film that is so bad that it’s good.

And what is probably the funniest part of the film is Adam West trying so hard not to laugh at some of the lines. Brings back many happy memories of the 1960s.

Despite the early night it was a struggle to come up for air this morning and I was a little later than usual leaving the stinking pit. But a breakfast and a hot shower brought me sort-of into the Land of the Living.

First thing was to put the bathroom back together and then to attack the living room. Do it while I’m in the mood. So that’s something like, stuff is sorted out, more stuff has been found (including my missing 32GB memory stick) and more stuff thrown away. And it was quite profitable too, because I found €1:03 too.

Spend, spend, spend!

And I’m glad that I did it too then and there because I didn’t have time after that.

Looking through the e-mails that had come in through the night, there were two that were very important and needed to be dealt with on the spot. And that involved a phone call to my bankers in the UK.

I’d tried a few weeks ago to set up an on-line banking service, but it had spectacularly failed, so I put it out of my mind. That was the first thing.

And despite what they told me, they had indeed been notified of my new telephone number. It’s there in black-and-white in my letter of 19th January, and when I had an argument with the bank’s customer service, they telephoned me back on that number on 6th February.

And since then, they’ve been sending me security codes when I’ve been using my UK credit card.

The second thing though is that I need to make a substantial payment to North America, and make it quickly. And I can’t do it by telephone despite whatever pleading I can use. It needs to be done in writing, although a fax machine is acceptable.

I threw away my old fax machine in 2011 so this meant a good hunting down of a fax machine in Granville.

First thing was to type out a letter, and while I was at it to deal with some more post that needed answering. That took me all the way up to 13:45. And then into town to search for a fax machine.

No go at the library. The Tourist Information Office was closed, the Mairie didn’t have one, and neither did the Post Office. But the Post office sent me across the road to the newspaper offices. They had a fax machine, but it was private.

But the newspaper shop next door advertised photocopies and photo-scanning, so I went in there. And sure enough, a very friendly newspaper shop owner had a public fax machine, so that was that.

I picked up one of my favourite baguettes and came back.

Lunch was exceptionally late and I was joined by no one but two lizards who spent more time fighting over a lump of pear than they did actually eating it. And that was surprising because there was more than enough for two.

school bus place d'armes granville manche normandy franceHaving had a lengthy walk just now, I abandoned the idea of going out this afternoon.

And so I was in my apartment to notice one of the school buses take the wrong turning up to the High School and get stuck in the gateway to the Place d’Armes.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a couple of buses do that earlier this year, but at least there was much less drama associated with this one. With a couple of bits of shunting he managed to get round quite comfortably.

Instead of my walk I sat down on the sofa with a cold drink, and the efforts of earlier were clearly far too much for me because I was out like a light for a good half-hour. This isn’t doing me any good at all.

But I managed to fit in my guitar practice, and then made tea. A burger in a bap with baked potato. And remind me next time that when I go to defrost the burger in the microwave, to take it out of the plastic bag first.

radio mast jersey granville manche normandy franceIt was an absolutely beautiful evening, and the view across to Jersey was one of the clearest that I have ever had.

If you notice the radio mast over there, it’s really hard to believe that that is 34 miles away from here. But it is.

There was no-one about so i had another run. 110 paces tonight. But I was disappointed that the last two runs haven’t shown up on my fitbit. It’s disappointing to say the least. I’m clearly not going fast enough, but you can’t run before you’ve learnt to walk, can you?

sand and gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound the other side of the headland I could see that we’ve had a whole pile of deliveries to the gravel bins.

There’s gravel all over the place again, and even a couple of hundred tonnes of sand.

Does this mean that we’re going to have another gravel boat some time soon? I shall have to pay much more attention that I’m doing, otherwise I’ll miss it.

Tonight I think that I’ll watch another film. I’m becoming quite bourgeois in my sentiments these days. I’m going to have to snap out of that.

But one thing that I did during the odd period here and there of lucidity was to finally finish the blog entry for one day of my trip to the desert. And never mind finishing it, it almost finished me.

It still needs to be poof-read, have the tpying examined and have a spelchek, but it’s all of 5645 words, a new record and by an enormous margin too. You can read it at your leisure.

I deserve a medal.

Monday 15th January 2018 – IT GOES …

… without saying that this morning didn’t go according to plan, doesn’t it?

In fact, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m continually being confounded by issues not of my own making and I have to go to extraordinary lengths to circumvent them.

Just for a change, I was awake before the alarm went off, but that’s not quite the same as saying that I was ready to leave the bed. In fact it was something of a struggle to haul myself out of my stinking pit.

Fist thing though was the urine sample. Despite a thorough search this last few days I’ve not found the report from Leuven so I had to go through the procedure here. That’s what I call “taking the P155”. Then I could have my medication and once that worked, I could have my breakfast.

There was a form to fill in to take to the laboratory and that involved some tracking down of stuff too. But once I’d done that I could set off. Into the howling gale and driving rainstorm. After the couple of nice days that we have had, it goes without saying that as I’m out and about on foot we are going to have this kind of weather, doesn’t it?

First stop was the Mobile phone repairer. Having been told that he was back today I made this my first port of call. But as I really ought to have expected, it’s Monday today and many places are closed in France on a Monday – the mobile phone repairer included.

Next stop was the mairie. The doctor who is doing my medical examination told me that I could find some forms here. But according to the mairie, not any more. The forms are available to download on line.

But at least this means that I need to take some decisive action to resolve the cable issues that I’m having with my printer. The tag that holds the plug in place has broken off so the plug won’t stay connected. I shall have to invent a means of locking it in position, or even making a direct connection.

But it’s just typical of Hewlett Knackered. They can’t use standard infinity plugs like anyone else – they have to go for something really fancy and complicated that breaks under the slightest pressure and renders the machine unusable (unless you have a devious mind of course).

Hiking up to the laboratory (which is just on the station roundabout) I was running out of steam – I clearly haven’t recovered from my health. And the bad news is that the lack of this urine sample means that I’ve had to pay €6:80. no wonder I’m spending a fortune with being so unprepared.

On the way back I picked up a baguette and then staggered back up the hill to here – thoroughly exhausted and thoroughly soaked to the skin – to such an extent that I had to change my trousers.

And just for a change, I had a coffee. First one (apart from some warm brown liquid at the football the other week) since I’ve been back from Leuven. And it tasted awful.

Soup with pasta and bulghour for lunch again, with some of the fresh bread (the rest went into the freezer) and then I had a relaxing afternoon not doing very much, although I did have a good session on the bass guitar. To my surprise, some of the stuff that we used to play 40-odd years ago came back into my mind.

For tea tonight, I made a huge curry – the first one for a while. Mushrooms, peppers and because it didn’t make as much as I was hoping, a tin of sweet corn. One helping tonight and four more for the freezer.

My evening walk was a disappointment. Pouring with rain still and a howling gale. So I just did a short lap around the streets and came home. No sense in risking another attack of Bronchitis.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m off down to town again to see if this mobile phone repairer is finally going to make it back to his shop. He better had be because it’s getting my goat.

And the music?

For most of the day we’ve had Jethro Tull going round. If I really had to choose one group to be my favourite, it would have to be Jethro Tull. It takes me back to my school days and Benefit, Stand Up, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play – the latter two albums being so good that it took the critics 30 years to realise it.

Those five albums, and many others that they released subsequently, have been on my playlist for getting on for 50 years and won’t ever lose their place. Other bands and artists may come and go but Jethro Tull will always be there

Monday 11th December – WE’RE HAVING …

… a disaster here right now.

On the point of going off to bed last night, I looked for the mobile phone to put under the pillow to awaken me in the morning.

But no trace.

I rang the number but I couldn’t hear the ringing, so I went downstairs to tip out Caliburn to see if it was there. But no trace either. And so I ended up by sorting out the old phone that I used before I got into smartphones, and that fired up okay. At least I had an alarm.

All of this at 01:00 too.

Last night was really a bad night too. I was still awake at 04:30 so it was something of a struggle to rouse myself when the alarm went off. Down in Caliburn at 06:15 to see if I could hear the second alarm, but no such luck.

And so I turned out the apartment making more of a mess that it was before, and although I found my missing notebook (which is always good news) no trace of the phone.

The last time that I remember havong it was at the football match, so at 09:30 I set off to retrace my steps from Saturday. No luck on the roadside, no luck at the Mairie, which deals with the fottball ground issues, and so I went to the police and reported it missing.

My route took me past the railway station where I picked up my tickets on Saturday night, and no luck at the football ground, although I did meat Johann Gallon, the coach of the football club, and we had a chat.

What didn’t help matters was that not only did we have a driving rainstorm, we had a howling gale too and it was really uncomfortable. But I did get to meet a helpful chemist who not only pointed me in the direction of a good doctor, told me that he was authorised to dispense Belgian prescriptions.

I’ve invented a new drink too. Fed up far the moment with coffee, I bought some blackcurrant syrup and I’ve been drinking this with hot water and a dash of lemon juice. And it’s very more-ish. And so I’ve had no coffee all day (and no breakfast either)

This afternoon I had a good sleep to catch up with what I missed, and then went for a walk. But I missed the high tide so I’ll have to try again tomorrow. But all of the zinc guttering and facing on the roof of the building opposite is now flapping about in the wind.

Another sleep and then I spent the rest of the afternoon (such as it was) obliterating duplicate radio programmes from my laptop.

For tea I had potatoes with the beans and vegan sausages left over from the other night, and then went out for a walk. But I was blown back inside.

So I hope that I’ll have a better night tonight and I’ll be able to organise my telephone tomorrow. I can’t be doing with this Monday closing.

Friday 19th May 2015 – I FINALLY MANAGED …

… to go out for a walk this afternoon. Mind you, it was a bit touch-and-go.

Last night was another difficult night as far as sleep went, but I was still asleep when the alarm went off so it must have done some good. And it was a nicer morning too – I enjoyed my walk down for my baguette. And I did come back via the scenic route too seeing as how the weather was so nice.

I treated myself to another coffee when I returned, and then spent most of the morning sorting out the confusion on this old laptop. So far, I’ve cleaned out about 30GB of duplicate or unnecessary files and I’m sure that there’s more to come.

Once it’s tidied up, I’ll be moving most of them onto a portable drive and then I can “retire” this laptop. It has a smashed screen (I’m using an external screen off Marianne’s old desktop computer) and a keyboard that has some keys stuck and some other keys missing (I’ve plugged in an old keyboard) and it dates from 2011 yet it still soldiers along, which is more than can be said for the two that I have bought to replace it. One of them ground to a halt in Germany two years ago, and the current one hasn’t ever worked right since the first day that I bought it.

In fact, I’m half-tempted to salvage the keyboard and the screen from the one that failed and use it to rebuild the smashed one. Shame that I’ve left all of my tools and equipment back in the Auvergne.

After lunch, I carried on with what I was doing, as well as doing a little tidying up around here. Strangely enough, the place doesn’t look any tidier no matter how much time I spend on it.

I don’t know what it is about doing nothing much but it makes me more tired than when I’m working hard. I was away with the fairies for a good half an hour this afternoon. But I awoke round about 17:00 and decided that with the sun shining and the sky nice and blue, I really ought to go out and about.

place d'armes granville manche normandy franceFrom up on the city walls at the back of my apartment, there’s a beautiful view of the building where I live these days.

If you look at the tree in the centre of the photograph, the window directly above it is my bedroom window. The two windows – one of which is partly obscured by the tree – round the corner are the windows in my living room.

And if you look carefully, you can see Caliburn parked round the front of the building.

jersey channel islandsI’d taken the big telephoto lens with me up onto the walls, because it was another one of these marvellous days, ideal for photography.

And with the telephoto lens there was an excellent view of Jersey out there in the English Channel. It’s very difficult to believe that it’s at least 59 kilometres – 36 miles – away out there.

jersey channel islandsFrom this position, there’s an even better view of Jersey, and you can even see some of the superstructure and buildings on the island. I’m quite determined that one day in the not-too-distant future I’ll be out there on a day trip.

Especially if it means negotiating the buoy and the seagull that the telephoto lens has picked up.

And that reminds me. Michael Jackson had once applied to join the navy, but withdrew his application after he was told that no matter how it was pronounced, the objects that you find in each port are called B-O-U-Y-S.

granville manche normandy franceWhile we are on the subject of going out to the Channel Islands, there in the harbour this afternoon was the ferry that I would take when I go there. It’s not a vehicular ferry and you can tell by looking at it that it won’t take long to go there.

And that’s the reason why I’m here in Granville. Being a Pisces I always feel the call of the sea and here,
I can pop on a boat whenever I feel like it.

But it’s really a bad idea, because it doesn’t do my humour very much good. Every time I see a ferry, it makes me cross.

lighthouse granville manche normandy franceMeanwhile, back at the ran… err … on the city walls, there’s an excellent view right out along the coast. Right out there in the background on the horizon is the coast around Barneville-Carteret where I went to see those apartments a while ago, and that’s over 80 kilometres – 50 miles – away.

On the left-hand edge of the photograph is the lighthouse that warns of the rocks that are out there half-way between the coast and the Channel Islands. I do know it’s name, but it’s temporarily slipped my mind.

And on the right of the photograph is the big buoy that marks the entrance to the shipping channel into one of the rivers up there. This telephoto lens is magnificent, isn’t it?

granville manche normandy franceThat’s the main road into and out of the town. Right at the top of the hill is a roundabout – straight on is the road that leads eventually to Caen. The football stadium, the big shops and the hotel where I stayed the first night that I was here are along there.

To the right is the road that heads south along the coast to Avranches and eventually to Rennes and it’s how we would arrive here from the South.

Half-way up the hill at the roundabout that you can see there is where the railway station is – just to the left.

granville manche normandy franceThat down there is the road that leads from the harbour to the centre of the town.

The yellow building in the centre is the tourist information Office, and the light-coloured building next to it is the Mairie.

On the street corner to the right is the street where you find all of the normal town shops, and to the left is that nice little studio where I stayed for 12 days

carolles plage manche normandy franceI showed you a photo of this the other day, but that was taken with the standard lens. Seeing as I had the telephoto lens with me, I reckoned that I’d retake the photo.

It is of course the headland out at Carolles-Plage and you’ll remember that we walked out there a few weeks ago.

In the background is the coast of Brittany on the other side of the Baie de Mont St Michel

jullouville manche normandy franceHere’s another view of a photo that I took a few days ago but I’ve retaken it with the telephoto lens.

It’s Jullouville of course. That’s another place of the many that has had my company for for a couple of days, and it’s where I had that strange encounter with that weird estate agent.

The hotel where I stayed is behind the big building that you can see to the right of centre.

eglise st paul church granville manche normandy franceJust across there is the Eglise St Paul – St Paul’s Church. Despite it looking like a typical Byzantine basilica, it’s actually reasonably-modern, construction having started in 1891 and it’s still unfinished (and it’s very unlikely that it ever will be).

The dome by the way is not made of stone as you might expect, but is one of the early examples of the use of reinforced concrete. And because salty sea-sand was used in the construction, it’s quickly crumbling away and demolition of the entire building has not been ruled out.

And in the background, you can see the floodlights of the football stadium.

house with turrets city walls granville manche normandy franceTurning round a little more, my lens now focuses on my nice little building – the one with the turrets that we saw from down below the walls the other day when we were walking about.

I still reckon that the turret would be an interesting place to live, if ever it were to come on the market – not that it would be likely I suppose. The view across the harbour and the bay would be tremendous.

granville harbour manche normandy franceIn fact, that’s the view that you would have from the front window of the turret. We have the fishing port just there, with the mechanical grab for speedy unloading and the storage sheds right behind.

And then a little further back we have the town beach with that nice apartment block behind it.

In between the two, to the left, you can see the masts of the yachts parked up on the quayside

iles de chausey pointe de la roc granville manche normandy franceMeanwhile, behind me, there’s the end of the headland around which we walked the other day and where we took some photographs.

Our pirate friend is over there on his plinth, to the left of the mobile home that you can see disappearing into the distance towards the car and coach park.

In the background on the horizon to the right you can see the Ile de Chausey

eglise notre dame to cap lihou church granville manche normandy franceYou’ve seen several photographs showing bits of the church that is here in the old walled city, but this is the first decent view that you have had of all of it.

It’s the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and its claim to fame is that it’s built on the site of a chapel that was constructed by the English when they occupied the site during the Hundred Years War.

The church here today though dates from 1628 and took almost 50 years to construct. It was registered as a Historic Monument in 1930.

city walls granville manche normandy franceThe medieval aspect of the old city is apparent in photographs like this. While the buildings themselves might not be the originals, it’s very likely that the street layout has been preserved.

There are little alleys like that one down there all over the town and it gives the place quite a mystical air. The kind of place where it would be nice and quiet to live, but not very practical if you are the owner of a motor vehicle.

granville manche normandy franceIf we continue our walk around the city walls we’ll come to an area where they are undertaking some renovation work.

Part of the walls is fenced off while they repair it, and they are taking the opportunity to transform some of the vacant land at the foot into a public garden.

It’s not finished yet, and won’t be for a while, but it will be nice when it’s all done.

granville manche normandy franceAnd so we end up at the eastern end of town where there’s a car park and an orientation table. The pyramid shape that you can see in the photo is the roof of the tower of the casino, and then we have the Casino Beach and the promenade, with Donville-les-Bains in the background.

There’s the tidal swimming pool too. The idea is that it fills when the tide is in, and when the tide goes out, the water is retained. But these days there must be a leak in it

granville manche normandy franceThe final photograph, for now anyway, shows you a little more of the fortifications of the old city.

If you can clamber up the rock – which is not all that easy – then you have a ditch to negotiate before you arrive at the fortifications proper.

You can see how the shape of the fortifications permits the ditch to be overlooked from all points, so any attacking army trying to scale the walls would be trapped like rats in a barrel.

So from here, I headed off slowly back to the flat. That’s enough walking for today and it’s almost tea-time. And I have another helping of last night’s curry to attend to.

And then it’s an early night. I’ve done quite enough today, and I’ll leave you with another 1950 words to read. That will keep you lot out of mischief too.

Tuesday 10th February 2015 – IN WHICH OUR HERO MAKES GREAT STRIDES

The first lot of great strides took me up to Virlet and the mairie to be censored, seeing as how it’s census time again and I missed both visits of the census team. And it’s clear that the people at the mairie read this rubbish because the first question that I was asked was ” did I manage okay seeing as how I was snowed in for 10 days at home?” and the second topic of discussion was about the postie and an explanation as to why she couldn’t make it here. All totally unprompted.

Not only that, I was taken to see the new snow-clearing apparatus and I was asked for my advice about some technical aspects. Well, well, well. Whatever next?

Second lot of great strides were down to the bottom of the garden and the composting bin, where I empted out the beichstuhl and refilled it. Such delightful jobs that I have to do around here. Still, it’s all grist to the mill, and compost for the garden too.

Once those delights were sorted out, I attacked the bedroom and gave it a thorough cleaning – or, at least, the best cleaning that I can do seeing as how there are still four sheets of plasterboard in the middle of the floor. And as usual, running my big magnetic dish through the pile of sawdust and plaster dust and ordinary dust, I salvage about a hundredweight of screws and nails that have been dropped over the passage of time.

plasterboard stud wall bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome franceWith that out of the way, I can press on and fill all of the joins in the plasterboard. And how I wish that I have the time and the money (and the inclination) to rip off the wall everything that I did a few years ago in here and start again.

All of that work so far took until lunchtime and it really is quite impressive, even though I say it myself (apart from the rubbish plasterbaording of course). I could be quite happy living here.

Although it was still very cold today, we had another really bright alpine day. Not good enough for varnishing or painting, but good enough to sort out the circular saw and cut the first of the two end-pieces for the remaining unfinished wall of the wardrobe. To cut it, shape it and fit it, it took all afternoon firstly because it needed to be an exact fit – 1mm out and it’s no good at all, and secondly because trying to fit it on my own was almost impossible.

It had to be the upper piece that needed doing. That needs to be fitted first and difficult as it might be with nothing underneath it holding it in position, fitting it in second is impossible. In the end I had a crowbar wedged underneath it at the bottom and an endstop nailed to the beam above, and I was gently levering it into position between the uprights with a big wood chisel.

osb wall boarding wardrobe end les guis virlet puy de dome franceI had it in position and screwed in nicely after about an hour and a half, only to find out that it had slipped down the crowbar and was about 15mm out at the top. Taking it out was a barrel of laughs too, as was putting it back in again in the correct position but finally, at about 18:30 it was in exactly where it ought to be, and all screwed in position.

A wash in the beautiful warm water in the home-made 12-volt immersion heater (we had 104 amp-hours of surplus electrical energy today and we would have had more had I not used the circular saw) and up here for a nice warm fire and oven chips with peas, carrots and falafel balls.

What I’ll do tomorrow depends on the weather and the sun. We are promised a warm day and if that is indeed so, I’ll be painting the landing. Otherwise, I’ll be sanding down the filler.

But starting work on the wardrobe already. Isn’t this progress?